Voluntary Simplicity – Photo by Leah Nash

Recently a blogger emailed me an interview regarding my thoughts on Minimalism. I thought I’d include my responses here. Although minimalism isn’t specifically tiny house related, it does relate to my lifestyle surrounding tiny house living. What do you think about minimalism as a philosophy? Feel free to leave a comment below. :^)

1. Do you consider yourself a “minimalist”? Why?

No, I don’t consider myself a minimalist. Although others may label me and my lifestyle that way, I’ve never been comfortable with that label. I think the label of minimalism is incomplete because it emphasizes the practice but not the philosophy. Because of this emphasis, the connotation of minimalism can be easily confused with asceticism or austerity. To alleviate confusion I usually refer to my lifestyle as voluntary simplicity.

2. What does minimalism mean to you?

While the literal definition of minimum describes the least possible, I would define ‘minimalism’ philosophy and ideology as the focus on “having enough”. Having enough to me means finding adequate comfort in material wealth and health to focus on human relationships and satisfying experiences.

3. How do you apply minimalism in your life?

Decluttering by removing excess material stuff is the basic practice of minimalism. Minimalism liberates me from the costs of superfluous possessions (i.e. time, money and emotional stress), and thus fosters happiness by increasing time and money spent on friendships and experiences that create joy.

4. What do you appreciate the most about minimalism?

This practice of removing what I don’t need has helped me become aware of the basic tools that are required for living a comfortable and healthy life. Further, I appreciate that minimalism encourages active contribution and acknowledgement to our dependance on community.

5. In what you way were you changed by minimalism?

Before minimalism, I felt limited by my circumstances in status, inexperience, and wealth but practicing minimalism has helped me think more creatively about what is possible. For example, I currently live in a 128 sq ft tiny cabin. My choice of shelter may seem extreme to some but I have everything I need to foster health and comfort. I’ve minimized my housing expenses to “enough” so now I can focus on actively contributing to my community and savoring the things that I enjoy.

6. Give a tip or two on adopting “minimalist mindset” in personal finance.

I would highly recommend reading the book “Your money or your life” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. The authors of this book gave me the original inspiration to try minimalism and voluntary simplicity. The most profound aspect of the book was defining money as “life energy”. To adopt a “minimalist mindset” in personal finance I would recommend considering how long will you have to work to pay for the stuff you purchase and asking “is this thing worth a piece of my life?”

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