Most people who struggle with the idea of minimalism do so because they see it as living with as little as possible. However, if minimalism were strictly defined by as little as possible, minimalist art could not exist, as art is not a necessity. Minimalism is often defined as being limited to only what is necessary. For example, a minimalist in the country may be “allowed” to own a car, but a city-dwelling minimalist can’t, because public transportation is available.
On my nightstand, I have a small, red, ceramic cat. By both of these previous definitions of minimalism, I’m not allowed to own this cat, because owning it exceeds necessity. However, this small ceramic cat provides four functions:
- Stores my hair elastics.
- Stores my engagement and wedding ring while I sleep.
- Prevents my lip balm from rolling off my nightstand.
- Provides something aesthetically pleasing while completing these tasks.
While a small box, a bowl, or even a disposable plastic baggie could also fulfill at least three of these functions, I choose to keep it because looking at it brings me a little joy. As a minimalist, I’m not going to go out and collect as many small, red, ceramic cats as I can find. One is enough.
That, to me, is the definition of Minimalism. Not as little as possible. Not only what is necessary. But that which constitutes enough.
For you, enough might include a collection of vintage sneakers, which you enjoy wearing and looking at. It may look more like the lifestyle of buddhist monks, who sleep on a simple mat, own one set of clothing, and beg for food every morning. Whatever your “enough” looks like, remember to be grateful that you have not only what you need but, if you’re like me, what brings you a little joy, too.