The ”Pursuit” of Minimalism

During the month of April, I was very fortunate to have been interviewed by several news outlets as a result of promotion for “The Big Downsize” documentary series.  A few of them asked me about minimalism and how to live a more minimalist life. I believe that owning less brings you a sense of freedom and hopefully more money in your pocket to enjoy experiences instead of stuff.

We haven’t been able to enjoy a lot of the experiences we might want to over the past three months due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.  That situation, along with the riots across America (and thankfully peaceful protests), has me thinking about the fact that there are so many more important things in life than accumulating and letting go of stuff.

There are many people in this world, especially during this unprecedented time of difficulty, who don’t have the option to buy something they don’t really need.  Many can’t buy what they do really need.  And, yet, so many of us continue to consume and then discard at an alarming rate. 

As I write this post, retail stores across Canada are reopening and people are lined up around the block at stores like HomeSense, for example.  Which has me questioning just how much money everyone has to spend even though millions of Canadians have been off work for two or three months.  I also wonder what you could possibly “need” that badly at a store that sells home decor that you will stand in a line up for that long.

I was so hopeful that while we were all at home, we would contemplate our life and the stuff we fill it with and perhaps conclude that rampant consumerism is not necessarily a good thing.  And I thought that perhaps we would also question how we discard the stuff we don’t need as we sat face-to-face with it and had no place to drop it off. 

Giving away our items to those in need is always a good thing.  However, I have seen so many things dropped off at a donation center that are really and truly garbage. I can only assume that we do this in order to make ourselves feel better about owning so much.  Does that somehow give us permission to go out and buy more because we’ve done a good thing with what we no longer want or need?

A van full of stuff on the way to a donation center

If we didn’t buy so much in the first place, then we wouldn’t need to “pursue” a minimalist lifestyle. We would already be living one, by choice.