Why I Became a Minimalist

Why I became a minimalist (of sorts) is a question I often get asked. And it’s not always easy to explain, particularly to those who’ve never heard of minimalism. Or when I tell them that it all came about because of a bottle of vinegar. After I learned that my daughter no longer bought chemical cleaning products.

Apparently cleaning with vinegar and baking soda was a growing trend. So where had I been? Oh yeah, here in the Land of Tradition. Where folks still do things as their mothers grandmothers have for decades!

This was all new to me. So I started researching and thus began my journey toward a more natural lifestyle. Up to that point, I had no idea how harmful chemicals and plastic can be. Shocked, I decided to work toward a chemical-free home with less plastic.

Then I noticed that a lot of these natural trends also linked to Minimalism.

Minimalism? What a crazy idea!

Minimalism was another unknown to me, and a crazy one at that! Perhaps because of all the insane things I read. Like the man who had to use his neighbor’s bathroom because he had downsized too much! Or folks that stopped buying toilet paper!

Now, I’m all for helping neighbors in need, but not because they decide they don’t want a bathroom! And it’s OK with me if you don’t want toilet paper, just let me know before I visit!

Minimalism vs consumerism

I learned that many environmental issues stem from chemical products and plastic. But our consumerist culture contributes as well. Manufacturing creates pollution and waste to some degree, and consumes natural resources. And much of it is for unnecessary merchandise and useless baubles.

All this started a huge process in my heart and mind, especially my heart. I realized I had often shopped, not out of real need, but looking for something to buy. Even spending money we couldn’t spare. WHY? Good question. I needed answers, and this is what I learned:

🪧 1. Advertising plays a big part

Advertisers get paid to make us want to buy stuff, and they do their job well. But it’s sad when they convince us to buy things we don’t need or won’t want to keep long-term. Or even to buy things we can’t afford.

đź›’ 2. In-store displays purposely entice us to spend more

Retailers even rent shelf space based on position. Shelves at eye level rent for premium prices, because we tend to buy the first products we see. And of course those are the products that usually cost more!

🆕 3. Peer pressure also plays a part

We often compare ourselves to others, even without realizing it. And their seemingly better clothes, newer cars, and finer homes, make us discontent and ungrateful for the wonderful blessings God has provided!

Lack of contentment

What it really boiled down to was simply my lack of contentment. I had everything I needed. Plenty of clothes, nice furnishings, and so much stuff I couldn’t fit it in my house. The last thing I needed was more! Plus I struggled to keep track of it all. So one day I decided to stop chasing after stuff.

  • I want to view possessions as useful tools, not my source of happiness.
  • I want deep and lasting contentment, remembering that God promises to meet all my needs.
  • And I didn’t want to be a pawn in the advertising game.

So I started thinking through what I buy, and why.

  • Is it a real need?
  • How useful is it?
  • Will I want to keep it long term?
  • Do I see it as necessary to my happiness and contentment?
  • If I don’t need it, could that money go for better things?

Often I decide to keep the money for a rainy day, or use it to help others. I’ve wasted so much over the years on useless stuff. Most of which has come and gone. Stuff which only gave a temporary satisfaction.

But unexpected problems or emergencies will always pop up. Needy people will always surround me. And the satisfaction of meeting real needs such as these brings a lasting pleasure and real joy.

Are you stressed over not having enough funds? Are you tired of keeping up with too much stuff? And fed up with trying to juggle it all?

Perhaps it time to change how you view material possessions. Try focusing less on getting more stuff. Use your funds for meaningful and lasting purposes, like investing in God’s kingdom and helping others. And learn to cultivate true contentment – even in the world of stuff in which we live!

Don’t you agree that’s a lot better than buying stuff you don’t need?

Images: Chair by Pixabay | Lantern by Mike Bird | Emojis from Emojipedia| Othera ©Signora Sheila.

8 thoughts on “Why I Became a Minimalist

  1. Thank you, Sheila, for including those questions you ask yourself before a purchase. Very helpful! I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist, but neither do I like a lot of “stuff” around that just requires upkeep and cleaning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. An inspirational post, Sheila! I’ve gotten away from chemical cleaners over the last few years and I’m doing a major household purge right now. Taking steps toward minimalism is so freeing. I have a little ways to go but I’m committed.

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    1. Good for you, Nancy! And yes, living more minimally is freeing. Stuff can really bog us down sometimes. But what I find most freeing of all is making sure that they occupy the right place in our hearts. To me, that is the true crux of the issue!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this. I long to be a minimalist, but I have a long way to go. Mainly I have been trying to do better with not buying things I don’t need and also getting rid of things I don’t need. But it is difficult road and takes discipline. You hit the nail on the head with your point about contentment. I think many of us have much to learn in this area, especially those of us living in first world nations. Thank you! I saved this post as a reference because I need all the help I can get. And I will be reading the link you shared to your post on contentment.

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    1. Oh yes, Bridget. We all have to learn, and it’s a continual process. Decluttering never ends!! These 5 questions about buying really helped me with window shopping. Now when Hubby tells me to buy something because I like it, I am able to opt out. I tell him I prefer admiring it in the shop, not having to dust it at home! I love pretty things as much as the next girl. But I also want to learn that just because I like it, doesn’t mean I have to own it. I find it very liberating to appreciate beautiful things without having to have them!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Superbly written! Not being a pawn in the advertising game! There’s a reason PR firms get business–they know what pushes our buttons. I really appreciate the questions you ask about purchases and the things you have. Simply asking if it’s a real need and whether it can be useful longterm are excellent questions that get to the heart of the purchase. Thanks for this!

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