I’ve been an aspiring minimalist for the last several years.
I say aspiring, because, well, I still think we have a lot of “excess” in our home and I would love to pare down more.
But in the past few months, I’ve been making the switch to living more Earth minded and have been thinking more and more about the impact I have on the planet.
And some things about the minimalist lifestyle as it’s portrayed today don’t quite sit well with me.
Specifically, there is a mindset circling in the minimalist community to purge your belongings ruthlessly if it doesn’t serve your needs or add value to your life.
While initially, this isn’t an issue, the deeper message of “It’s just stuff” is where I think we are telling ourselves a huge lie.
The fact of the matter is, this “stuff” doesn’t just disappear into thin air once you get it out of your house. It ends up in the dump. In ends up in our oceans. It has a footprint.
So, no, it’s not “just stuff”, but it has a tangible impact on this planet and I fear that our flippant attitude towards our physical belongings is doing more harm in the long run.
Minimalism has a reputation for creating peace in the homes of many individuals and families. Getting rid of that clutter frees the mind and increases focus. But what good is that peace if just outside your window, the planet is dying?
We can either sit in our peaceful houses and ignore this problem, or we can try to address it for the sake and peace of future generations.
How we address it starts with some mind shifts and habit changes.
We need to stop ruthlessly purging our belongings and start ruthlessly filtering what comes into our homes.
We need to stop seeing things as disposable, and start reusing, repurposing, and recycling.
We need to stop spreading the lie that it’s “just stuff” as our inspiration to get rid of clutter and to simplify life.
We need to stop seeing things as easily replaced, and start investing in products and items that will last us longer.
It’s not just stuff. We may not value it, but if we don’t deal with it responsibly, what we are really showing is that we don’t value the planet. We don’t value our home.
I LOVE minimalism. I love the peacefulness it’s brought to my home. I love the mental clarity I’ve received from having less distractions and more focus on the things that matter the most to me.
This planet matters to me. My kids being able to play outside in nature and enjoy its fruits matters to me.
I can’t ignore the impact of my actions anymore.
And I can’t ignore how little thought is put into both the acquisition and the elimination of STUFF.
It’s not just stuff.