I attended a parent and baby group yesterday to discuss all things environmental and simple living. One of the questions that I was asked was why do I choose to live a simple life style in stead of a minimalist lifestyle and what is the difference? This was a great question and I wish I had more time to answer. So I thought I would answer the question here about the difference between simple living and being a minimalist.
To answer as short as I can, there is no difference really they both create the same style of living, a lifestyle of freedom and happiness. I just really don’t like the word minimalist, some people do but I don’t. The reason is, minimalist sounds like you are living your life with nothing in it, like you are depriving your self of something. A bit like going on a diet and really wanting chocolate but having to starve yourself from chocolate. To me simple living says what it is on the tin just like tomato soup or a tin of beans. We enjoy all the things we love and have cut out all the things we don’t need and don’t love.
So take my home for example; We live in a home full of all the things we need to live and mean something to us but have removed all the clutter, the stuff we don’t need, the things that don’t mean anything to us or just drag us down mentally. Giving us space to breath, move, and allowing us to have more time for each other, rather than cleaning and putting away. Although this is a minimalist way to live in the terms of being minimalist, we don’t think of it that way.
Our lifestyle for example; Because we don’t need stuff to entertain us, we enjoy living outside of our home, spending time with our local environment either finding new places we never new excised, spending time in our local woods / beach or going out on our sailing boat. As a family this makes us feel free, expressive, away our children can learn and spend time with the family. We travel light as we don’t need to take massive of stuff with us that we probable we never use and everything we own is easy to transport to where ever we happen to go. On the flip side we also enjoy living in our home, full of space enabling us to enjoy each other company, be creative or spend time on our own reading a book, listening to music.
Or you could take our work ethic for example; We strongly be leave our family and relationship with friends comes first and work second. So although we work hard to bring in an income to keep a roof over our head and food on the table. We don’t need to earn a massive amount of money to be to survive, pay bills (for things we don’t need) or be able to by the latest gadget or fashion accessory because all these material things are not our family or relationships we have, they are just stuff that prevents us from spending quality time together.
Our whole lifestyle comes under both banners, its just the way we choose as a family to look at it. Living a minimalism lifestyle is no better way than simple living and vs versa. They are the same and jell into each other at every angle you look at it. Both styles reduce what your own, takes you completely out of consumer living, brings happiness to your life from the inside out and enables you to live a free and rewarding lifestyle. At the end of the day both styles, meanings and even each word means more than just decluttering all your stuff and going with out everything, a bit like a diet. Instead they give you the freedom of choice, the freedom to explore the freedom to not be sat on the rat race round about 7 days a week but instead live your life to the way your inner sole feels at more peace and enables you to live out your dreams.
I hope that answered the question or did it just create more questions?
If my answer just created more questions about simple living and minimalism please feel free to ask them either in the comments box below, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Twitter or Facebook, as I feel these questions are important to answer and look at for us to understand the way in which we live.