When you call a person a minimalist, you’re describing their interest in keeping things very simple. A minimalist prefers the minimal amount or degree of something.
I have a minimalist heart. I’m pretty sure I would be content to be off the grid in a tiny cabin with just the necessities, and preferably most of those necessities would come from hunting and gardening. But here I am, in a ranch house in a neighborhood with high-speed internet and every amenity I could ask for. How can I claim to embrace simplicity With Hannah’s burgeoning interest in minimalism, I have reexamined my own longing for less. By reexamine, I mean I really just looked around, evaluating how my home and life are set up, and what I see is that, to the extent that a suburban housewife can, I really have embraced minimalism. Here’s how:
- We garden, can and hunt for our food and cook from scratch almost every day. For those who don’t hunt and/or garden, shopping at farmer’s markets and buying local meat is a good option.
- Our furniture is almost all second-hand. Looking around, the only items we actually bought for ourselves are our 20+ year-old kitchen table set and our 20+ year old bed, the price tags for both were under $500. The rest of our furniture is second-hand, whether handed down to us or purchased second hand. We let our dogs on furniture, and our kids give it plenty of wear and tear, so why not buy furniture that’s already gently used, so our not-so-gentle use is no big deal.
- Our clothing is mostly second-hand. I feel like a big cheater here. My clothing is universally complimented. I wear brands like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Clarks shoes and more, clothing which is much too expensive for me to buy retail, but I pay between $2 and $10 an item, and I look and feel fabulous. I even picked up a coach bag for just $10!
- We drive the wheels off our cars. Or the transmission out, as the case would be.
- We take good care of what we have, so we don’t need to replace the often. Yes, our kids and dogs give our furniture a workout, but by and large, we are careful with things. Our last washer and dryer lasted us over 20 years.
- We repair instead of replace. The “we” here is mostly Mike. He’s a handyman, adept at repairing things, and when they do need replaced, like our flooring, he did the work to save boatloads of money, but I do fix and mend things when I can.
When I look around, I realize that we have achieved a minimalist lifestyle, one which accommodates our family, even with the special needs. Sometimes I still wax poetic about the notion of a tiny cabin in the woods with just the bare essentials, but upon closer inspection, we really aren’t so far from that.