The Stages of Minimalism

stepping stones

Through an email conversation with a friend, I got to thinking about the “stages” of minimalism. With most people who have become interested in minimalism, I doubt there was a dramatic transition from rampant consumerist to monk-like asceticism. More likely, the majority of us have eased into minimalism a bit at a time, dipping our toes in slowly at first and discovering what works for us and what doesn’t.

Consumerism

The complete opposite of minimalism. To some degree, we all start at this step, believing that the path to happiness lies in buying a better car, a bigger television or the latest gadget because that is what we’ve been told by the media, commercials and advertising our whole lives. I’ve definitely spent time in this stage in my own life. I used to have a goal of buying a new DVD or new, full-price book each week. What did it get me? Three maxed out credit cards. Luckily I was young and only had a low credit limit so they were relatively easy to pay off once I wised up and quit being quite as foolish.

No More Keeping up with the Joneses.

Eventually we may realize that no one really cares about our possessions, our money or our cars nearly as much as we do. And if they do, they generally aren’t the type of person worth knowing and associating with anyway. The massive river of spending gets lessened to a trickle as take a step back and try to remember why we bought all these widgets and disposable media discs in the first place. This is usually followed by a sobering realization of how much consumer debt has been accrued as a result or how much savings potential was missed because of the rampant spending.

De-cluttering, reduction and ceasing unnecessary spending.

The massive amount of reminders of our silly spending habits become too much to even look at anymore. Perhaps they are sold to repay the credit cards used to purchase them (gaining back much less than they cost us in the first place). Either way, our homes start to become a little more organized and filled with things we actually use and cherish.

Minimalism put into action!

Finally realizing that the previous spending has cost not only us a significant monetary amount, but also lost time and focus. It is this stage where I first understood that I would much rather be spending money on experiences than on additional possessions that I didn’t need anyway. A more conscious awareness of how we spend our time and energy leads us towards working more on projects that matter to us and less on “relaxing” in front of the television.

Did you go through these stages? Did I miss any stages?

Also, I’ve completely revamped the site and will be trying to fix some little additional issues over the next few days. I will be participating in the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon tomorrow and enjoying my Saturday computer fast afterward! Have a great weekend!

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