While not exceptional, our life is not identical to anybody else. It is our life – nobody else’s. And if we were going to become minimalist, it would have to be a style of minimalism specific to us. It would require us to ask questions, give-and-take, identify what we most value, and be humble enough to change course when necessary.
Eventually, we defined minimalism in four aspects:
1. We will remove all “clutter” from our lives. The process of decluttering began with the physical items in our home. We moved from room to room selling, donating, and recycling everything we no longer used or loved. Almost immediately, our home began to breathe new life and energy rather than draining it from us. As we began clearing physical clutter from our lives, we began noticing new opportunities to remove other non-physical clutter from our lives: schedule clutter, mental clutter, emotional clutter, and spiritual clutter. One freedom opened the door to another. And we walked through as many as we discovered.
2. We will decorate in a minimalist style. Since becoming minimalist, we have removed numerous pieces of furniture and countless decorations from our walls and shelves. What remains is not just clean, sleek, and modern, but is meaningful. The decorations and paintings that remain are the pieces most dear to our souls and lives. As we did, we began to discover that fewer decorations allow our most meaningful decorations to stand out and speak. Rather than subtracting warmth from our home, we find the few, significant pieces actually add it. As a result, our house draws praise from many who enter and enjoy its simple beauty.
3. We will use our money for things more valuable than physical possessions. Madison Avenue has controlled our finances for too long. The average American sees over 5,000 advertisements every day. And they all try to convince us of the very same truth: buying their item, service, or destination will result in greater joy. Since the day we were born, we have been told what needs to be bought, when it needs to be purchased, and what store we should visit to find the best value. But when we chose freedom from material possessions, we broke the control that our consumer-driven, capitalistic society had over us. As a result, we have been freed to use our finances to pursue endeavors far greater than those offered at our local department store. Rather than buying more stuff, we have helped dig wells in Ethiopia, support coffee shops in Mongolia, build churches in America, launch new artists, and feed the hungry.
4. We will live a counter-cultural life that is attractive to others. We have met many minimalists over the past few years that live a life that is far from attractive to us. They have sold all their possessions to live communally on a farm. They have packed all their possessions in a backpack to travel the world. Or they have quit their jobs to work only 4 hours/week. But we didn’t find any of those options particularly attractive. We like our jobs. We like our neighborhood. We cherish significant, life-changing relationships. Because of these realities, we have determined to live out a rational minimalism that fits our lifestyle and invites others to simplify their lives as well.
The benefits of our decision are unmistakable: more freedom, more impact, more time, and less stress. Since our decision, we have sought to encourage others around the world to simplify their life, remove clutter, and become minimalist. We have discovered there is more life to be found in owning less than can be found in pursuing more. And we invite you to discover the same.
Joshua Becker’s Newest Book on Minimalism
His story has been seen on the CBS Evening News, NPR and countless media interviews around the world. His books have sold in the tens of thousands, and he has the opportunity to share his message to thousands of people at various venues all across the country.