The Problem with Minimalism

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After a delightful few weeks off, Ben and I are back in the podcasting chair. In today’s episode we talk about our break (the good, the bad, the unexpected) and a little of what we’ve been up to in July.

Despite best intentions, July has still been a full on month in terms of work projects, one of which inspired today’s episode.

A few weeks ago I was part of a TV show called Insight, and the episode I was (a small) part of dealt with stuff – and more specifically, hoarding. In this poggie I talk a lot about my misgivings of taking part in the show (judgement! privacy! comparison!) and also the bigger issue of presenting minimalism and hoarding as opposite sides of the same coin.

If you’ve seen the show you’ll understand that the guests who shared their stories of hoarding had a vastly different experience of stuff than I did back in my pre-simplicity days, so I felt more than a little uncomfortable about any comparisons that might have been made.

One of the best things to come out of the experience, however, was an even greater clarity on ‘minimalism’ and why I really really don’t love it as a label. Ben and I go in deep on this topic, but essentially there are two reasons I struggle to identify as a minimalist:

  1. It breeds comparisons (“Do I not have enough?” “Do I have too much?” “Why doesn’t my house look like that?”)
  2. It can encourage an obsession with our things which takes us away from living life.

The stories we tell ourselves absolutely have an impact on our happiness and while the distinction between ‘minimalism’ and ‘simplicity’ might seem like semantics to some, I don’t want to add to the pressure and expectation to measure up that so many of us already feel.

So that’s what you can expect in today’s show, and I’d love to hear your thoughts both on the episode of Insight, and the label of minimalism.

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