Minimalism isn't a competition

If you’re familiar with the simple living movement, you likely know about a variety of “minimalists.”  Minimalist has many definitions, but I define it as an individual who focuses only on persons, commitments, and things that are necessary or bring joy.  They don’t waste their limited resources on that which doesn’t bring them value.  

I consider myself a minimalist, but I don’t know exactly how many possessions I own.  I’m sure there had been times when I owned fewer than 100 things, and there had been times when I held a few thousand.  To me, it’s a state of mind--not a checklist.  People who stress about counting their possessions suffer from the same problems as hoarders.  They let acquisition take control of their lives.  

Rather than counting your socks, spend time counting your blessings.  Minimalism is the ultimate first-world problem.  I don’t fault those minimalists who focus intensely on their possessions.  At least, they recognize the problem.  But using minimalism to fill the void left by consumerism is like pouring gasoline on a bonfire.  People often make the mistake of assuming that advertisements create our consumer culture.  Advertisements only capitalize on preexisting insecurities.  Marketers are smart.  They see that most of us are unfulfilled, so they sell us the appearance of a satisfied life.  Strip away the fancy ads, and it’s just stuff.  Some of it will bring value to your life, and some of it won’t.  It’s not the stuff that’s the problem; it’s what we attach to the stuff.