Minimalism Is Not ‘Emptyism’

Photo Credit: homylicious.com

Photo Credit: homylicious.com

Last March, I dipped my toe into the minimalism pool with this post on how to purge clutter and embrace simplicity available on my What Mandy Thinks blog.  A year and a half later, I’ve moved locations again (my reason for starting this minimalism kick), rearranged my wardrobe once or twice, and changed my shopping habits (to say the least).  I am not and do not plan to be a total minimalist – not even close, thanks to my parents who “stuffed” the stuff-valuing principles in me from an early age. But as most of us have done, I’ve done some picking and choosing of minimalist elements and lifestyle habits to clear my mind and my rooms of toxicity caused by overspending and guilt galore.  I know I’ll never be a full-on minimalist who could fit their entire life in a laptop and suitcase.  I get attached to an item as a token to a memory or feeling, and if that item is gone, so too will that positive feeling disappear from existence.

Ever since I first heard of minimalism, I’ve had my reservations.  This was my gut reaction:  “Empty is bad.  A glass ‘half empty’ is the negative to a glass ‘half full,’ right?  How am I to feel ‘full’ in life when there’s so little to fill?”  I equated a fulfilling life to a life FULL of stuff.  Anything less than felt hollow.

Minimalism is not ‘emptyism!’  Far from it.  Just because your house is sparse doesn’t mean your life is.  The key to embracing any part of minimalism, big or small, is a shift in values from possessions and things to memories, experiences, and the people you let in.  Your life has been full all along.  It always has and always will be.  Keeping that sweatshirt from college that you’ll never wear but hang onto for those memories can easily be kept in your mind and through those pictures you took back in the day when you DID wear that sweatshirt.  Just because it’s not in your life now doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.

Look up author Francine Jay if you want an easy, light read on the benefits and joys of minimalism.  She lives minimalistically, saying it is more than just the “less stuff” way.  Her schedule, productivity, and time management are at its barest of bones with the highest level of success and happiness for herself and those around her.  She sees her world as clear and free, not empty and hollow.  Her story and lifestyle is unique in how iron-clad her techniques are for how she lives her life, but she makes it clear that we don’t have to be just like her to be free and clear with her minimalisti teachings.  We change for our own reasons, and if getting rid of some stuff in the garage is a positive step towards greater change, it’s not in any way “emptying.”

Emptyism comes from the negativity inside you, not how others perceive you or what your stuff says about you.

What will you gain from losing some stuff?  It’s not emptying, it’s simplifying with positive intentions.

About Mandy Norman

Mandy is a content manager and designer by day, and crafter/hobby writer/thinker by night. Her relationship with her cat, giraffes, music, and caffeine are borderline unhealthy, but nothing stops her from speaking her mind and “making things look pretty.” She mans two blogs in her spare time, whatmandythinks and whatmandyloves. See All of Mandy's Posts

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