Saturday, September 28, 2013

Minimalism = Wastefullness?

As you may know, over the past year or so I have been challenging myself to live more simply. Not wanting to be limited by labels, I have rejected the term minimalism, and instead chosen Living Simply, because it has broad connotations that anyone can customize and apply to their own life. 

To be completely honest though, I must say that I do admire the accomplishments of minimalist 'celebrities' such as Francine Jay of Miss Minimalist, and Leo Babauta of Zenhabits. From what I have read about them, they seem to advocate minimalism in a compassionate and non-judgmental way that is accessible to all. 

However, I have noticed a disturbing trend among others who call themselves minimalists. While many provide helpful tips about decluttering and paring down, I am a little put off by a term that seems to be constantly on the tip of their tongues: 

Toss it out. 

So, you have a piece of furniture that you no longer want? Toss it out. Clothes you no longer find desirable? Toss them out.  Food in your pantry that you no longer wish to eat? Toss it out.  

Giving these individuals the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the alternatives to 'tossing it out', such as donating, selling, or recycling are understood. But, given the frequency with which I read this phrase, sometimes I wonder.

If someone out there is literally swimming in clutter, I understand the impulse to just 'get rid of it!'. Cluttered homes, workplaces and schedules can certainly take a toll on mental well-being. However, I just hope that decluttering in most cases can be done with a sense of mindfulness and willingness to benefit others- despite the urge to just chuck everything into a landfill!

What do you think?

May all beings be happy!