A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. A minimalist by any other name would still have less stuff.
I try to not get caught up in labels on this blog. In fact, it’s probably one of the many fundamental flaws in my overall blogging strategy.
It flies in the face of anything you’re taught and told in terms of marketing and branding.
But it aligns perfectly with how I aim to live my life. And that was–and is–the overall purpose of this blog. I simply wanted to create a platform that helps me–not my avatar–live more purposefully. A lot of times that deals with money, and a lot of times that deals with stuff.
But I don’t call myself an expert, a frugalista, or a minimalist.
And I had the great pleasure of getting called out by Britt on the Tiny Bites podcast for exactly that last point.
What is the Tiny Bites podcast?
Britt from Tiny Ambitions has an amazing podcast called Tiny Bites. Even though I don’t call myself a minimalist, I am a huge fan of Britt, her blog, and her podcast. She really practices purposeful living, and she’s totally genuine and makes everything very accessible.
If you’re nervous about minimalism, pretty sure that you want to keep your full-size house (thankyouverymuch), and definitely have a bone to pick with Thoreau (guilty as charged!), that’s actually all the more reason to check out Tiny Bites.
Previously, she has done solo shows (at least to my knowledge!), but recently Britt has also started hosting interviews on her podcast.
She launched her interviews with Michelle Summerfield and then she asked me to be on the podcast. You can check out all that I had to say here, including what happened when she called me out on being a minimalist…or not.
I’m Not a Minimalist, Am I?
I’ve written quite a bit about decluttering, but I have never called myself a minimalist. It’s not that I have anything against the term; it’s actually more complicated than that. There are two big reasons why I don’t think of myself as a minimalist.
I Haven’t Earned It
It’s a lot like when I won my Plutus Award for Best Frugality Blog. I didn’t know that I was exceptionally frugal until someone handed me the trophy. Much like that, I wouldn’t be offended if someone called me a minimalist. In fact, I’d be flattered, honored, and surprised.
I do find some parts of minimalism inherently problematic. Privilege isn’t something anyone should apologize for ever, but there are layers of it woven throughout some aspects of minimalism (and yeah, it’s in frugality, too!). The ugly truth about the excess in my life is that I worked to amass so much when others have so little. Then, I put myself in a position where I could give most of it away.
But Cait Flanders and Joshua Becker are two of the people who really reaffirmed my beliefs that it was time to do away with so much of what I had. And people like Britt, who don the title minimalist, underscore just how positive that label can be.
I’m Actually Probably Not a Minimalist
In addition to feeling like I haven’t earned or been given the title, I’m not actually sure that I am a minimalist.
I’m deeply practical, largely frugal, and…I’m the mother of a soon-to-be two year old. None of those things disqualify me from being a minimalist, but the three combined definitely exist in deep contrast to someone who lives with 33, 67, or even a few hundred things. It’s not that I object to these kinds of challenges.
RELATED POST: 3 Things My Toddler Helped Me See About Minimalism
While I don’t have a medicine cabinet (we intentionally opted to not add one to our bathrooms), I do have multiple bathrooms. And I do have a part of our linen closet that has OTC cold medicine and First Aid items just in case. I’m trying to rid our lives of excess, not everything and not even just the essentials.
We also welcome hand-me-downs with open arms. While I used to think my baby only needed a handful of outfits, I now realize that between him inheriting my coordination (or total lack thereof) and his desire to play in anything that is wet, muddy, or sticky (or a combination thereof), we actually go through a handful of outfits a day sometimes.
That doesn’t mean that I’m not actively decluttering. I am, and I’m chronicling it month by month on my blog. But I’m not interesting it parring down my belongings until I hit a particular number or threshold. Don’t get me wrong. I find numbers that minimalists share to be both enticing and motivating, and I’ve participated in the #MinsGame myself a few times. (OK. I’ve failed it a few times.)
But I’m not interested in chasing a number; instead, I’m focused on what decluttering adds to my life: time and a greater sense of calm. Still, I’m not quite sure that makes me a minimalist or even a minimalist in training.
To hear Britt and I chat more about minimalism, decluttering, and how essential it is to have support throughout the process, check out Tiny Bites!
So Tell Me…Are you a minimalist or an aspiring one? Do you ever get tripped up with labels and names?
Britt @ Tiny Ambitions
Thank you so much for talking to me for Tiny Bites, Penny! Honestly, it was such an honour. What I loved most about our conversation is that you openly acknowledged the privilege inherent in being a minimalist and you really try to own that when practising decluttering in your own life. Plus, it was nice to hear from someone who also used to own a TON of stuff. We reformed consumers need to stick together!
Nope, not a minimalist here. Not even an aspiring one. I like my stuff. I don’t need a ton of it, but I definitely like more than a minimalist would. Especially trying to build up my wardrobe a bit. So, no, not minimalist. But I’m impressed with people who are. It’s just more of a voyeur experience for me than an inspirational situation.
Nope, not a minimalist. But I am married to a bit of a hoarder which drives me crazy. Can’t imagine how it would be if I was a minimalist. We’d probably have divorced years ago?
Oh, Tre. I feel this in my soul. My husband is definitely a “just in case” kind of person. Thankfully, he’s starting to learn to let go of some things (like plumbing that connects to a faucet we don’t own anymore?!).
What a great article. I have been following Britt at Tiny Ambitions for a while. When my children were young, yes, there was so much “stuff”. As for now, I do not like clutter or excess at all. However, I am still far from being a minimalist. I guess I have an average amount of stuff!
That’s how I feel, too! I’m mostly just happy because there’s a place for everything 😀 And Britt is awesome. I was so excited to do the episode!