Misunderstood Minimalism


By: Cheryl Adelman Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers

What it isn’t: Lack

Not a radical idea, Minimalism is a lifestyle, a practice, that is often misunderstood. It’s not about not having enough, nor does it promote lack of personal wealth.

What it is: Personal choice, a way of life

Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it. Joshua Becker

Minimalism is about Quality over Quantity, Beauty rather than hyper-consumerism, Creativity and Productivity instead of confusion and wasted time, and oh, yes, Happiness.

We listen to our inner compass instead of the outer influences of advertising and social pressures.

This means: knowing yourself, so that you decide how to dress, what to eat, what you work for, what your work is, and how to create surroundings and relationships that are pleasing to you.

And, yes, there are families with children who live this way.

Minimalism is about clarity, not comparison. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

In the arts, minimalism is a style that uses pared-down design elements.

The personal challenge: Feeling what we need to heal

On some level this can be difficult, because in the quiet we can feel our own void. It leaves empty space for contemplation, to feel feelings. But, then, instead of filling that void with things, busy-ness and noise, we have the opportunity to choose what we really need and want. We start to heal, and ultimately, live more fulfilling lives.

History: Contemporary

Minimalism began in post–World War II Western art, most prominently, with the visual arts in the 1960s and early 1970s in America.

Venturing back further in time, when there was not the level of abundance we know today, nor such availability of throw away items (low quality and cheap) and unsustainable hyper-consumerism (brand driven, novelty seeking), minimalism was the way of life, without being identified as such.

Benefits and value: Freedom

Big business has successfully advertised and marketed its way into our hearts and finances. Often it profits at our expense and to the detriment of the planet.

Minimalism gives us freedom from the influence. We get stronger. We develop minds of our own. That said, we still enjoy and celebrate innovation and beautiful things from which we derive tremendous value. The difference is; we choose intentionally.

Cheryl Adelman is a Home Organizing Coach, Owner of Organize In a Day™. organizeinaday.com 609-287-3119. She also loves to write about and gives entertaining talks about organizing.