Minimalism: It’s not about the stuff

Do a search on Google for “minimalism” and you’ll find pages and pages of perfect, ultra-modern, streamlined apartments with pure white sofas, freshly painted white walls, windows with not a curtain to clutter the view. No thick, cosy quilts. No patterns.

It’s all so appealing, so tidy, and so beautiful.

And have you noticed how they all seem to play the guitar? What’s with all the guitars?!!!


It’s easy to get depressed and to think, My life could NEVER look like that!

In my case, I have kids. They make mess – a lot of it!
I live in a cold climate, and the curtainless look is not an option.
We need our thick quilts that bunch up and look messy.
The walls in my house are papered, which I hate, but as I’m selling I’m not about to change it just now.
And crisp white shirts look horrible on me – I’m one of those people who doesn’t suit white.

I sometimes feel like I fail at minimalism 101. I just don’t have the “look”. I wonder if I’ll ever be good enough as a minimalist. I mean, can a mother of two be a minimalist when she’s out buying Christmas presents for her kids, none of which are actually needed? Am I destined to forever be a minimalism wannabee?

The marketing of minimalism as a “look” and an image

What has happened, as usually happens in our consumer society, is that we’ve taken an idea and marketed it. Minimalism has sold out. We’ve given it a look that is readily identifiable, and stamped it and sold it and called it “minimalism”.

Once again we’ve done our best to make ordinary people like you and me feel like we’re not good enough unless we buy into that look with the right stuff and the right homes and the right clothes. Once again we’ve done our best to turn people into puppets.

I’m not saying that people whose homes and lives look that way are bad. But what I am saying is that you do not have to look any particular way to be a minimalist.

Minimalists do not have to have expensive clothing. Or designer furniture.
Minimalists can have hand-me-down shirts and sofas OR the latest in homewares. It’s our choice – nobody else’s.
Minimalists don’t have to buy sleek, expensive Apple e-products. (But it’s okay if we do.)
Everything minimalists own doesn’t have to be white. We can have patterns, and plaids, and paisleys – it’s our choice!
And yes, we can have curtains. And quilts.
Finally, if we don’t play the guitar that’s just fine 🙂

What minimalism is really all about

Minimalism is about eliminating the stuff that piles up in life, so that we can figure out what we really want our lives to be.
It’s about finding our core.
Wading through the unnecessary clutter to find what makes our hearts go BOOM.
Finding the magic of living by throwing out what doesn’t thrill us.
Getting rid of the guilt and the drama and the baggage.
Finding our true selves.

So forget the stuff.
It’s not about the stuff.
It’s about us. Who we are.

Minimalism: a joyful celebration of us.


Hippie playing guitar image from Me Finding Me blog.


  1. Another blogger paid me the complement of saying my photos and blog don’t look stylized. I agree with you, when we package and market this lifestyle as another product, we miss the point. People should feel inspired, not depressed. This is why I stopped reading parenting and decorating magazines when my kids were little. I felt like a failure! And I think that’s the magic of marketing–to make you unhappy.


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