Things Every New Minimalist Tries at Least Once

February 2, 2012 § 10 Comments

I have joyfully embraced my status as a nobody, and now, friends, I am also ready to embrace my status as a total cliché.

I have suspected this for months. I visit a lot of simplicity, minimalist and green blogs and I’m finding that my fellow bloggers are beating me to the punch on several topics. (I’m lookin’ at you minhus! I was SO going to write about coconut oil…)

This isn’t a bad thing! In fact, it reinforces a lot of my decisions and also helps me feel connected to a community of like-minded souls when I often feel like I’m on an island surrounded consumer-infested waters.

I also had my fair share of belly laughs when I watched Portlandia for the first time and realized, yep, I do all of that, too. (I did stop at asking for the chicken’s name when I ordered it, but I have asked about the farm. I also may have screamed “bike rights” once or twice while pedaling to the store. There may be a bird or two on some of my things.)

So I’m a nobody and a cliché, and that’s fine with me. If you’re looking to dip a toe into minimalism, here are some things you’ll probably find yourself doing at least once:

  • You’ll run the numbers to see if you can get rid of one car.
  • You’ll make your own toothpaste
  • You’ll make your own laundry detergent.
  • You’ll clean, and clean, and de-clutter and clean. Then you’ll start all over again. 
  • You’ll bake your own bread.
  • You’ll attempt to minimize your wardrobe by “Garanimal-izing” all of your basic pieces.
  • You’ll walk or bike to the grocery store.
  • You’ll take a yoga class.
  • You’ll meditate.
  • You’ll create a plan to eliminate all of your debt, including having a yard sale where you decide to sell everything in your home. 
  • You’ll shop at the farmer’s market.
  • You’ll silently judge others as (insert sneer here) consumers. Then, you’ll chide yourself for not being more compassionate. 
  • You’ll go meat free on Mondays. Then you’ll go veg. Then you’ll go vegan. You’ll swoon over homemade hummus.
  • You’ll obsess over tiny homes.
  • You’ll start a blog.
  • You’ll write an e-book about something.
  • You’ll consider living with just 100 things, wearing the same dress every day for a year, or eliminating all unnecessary shopping forever.
  • You’ll try to repurpose everything you bring home.
  • You’ll read labels on everything to make sure it’s natural, local and not made in a sweatshop. You’ll forgive all or one of these offenses if the item you want is especially a) delicious b) unique or c) adorable. You’ll beat yourself up about it later. Then you’ll forgive yourself because you’re doing “so well” in other areas.
  • You’ll freak out over thezerowastehome.com. No one in your circle will share your enthusiasm.
  • You’ll compost. This may or may not include worms.
  • You’ll re-asses all of your beauty products and eliminate everything but soap and eyeliner. Then you’ll go out and find a bunch of all-natural alternatives that may or may not work as well as your original stash.
  • You’ll read Walden, The Story of Stuff, Your Money or Your Life, Born to Run, The Four Hour Body, and every post by Leo Babauta at zenhabits.net. (You should read The Freedom Manifesto, by Tom Hodgkinson.)
  • You’ll watch Forks Over Knives, Maxed Out, The Story of Stuff, Supersize Me, Who Killed the Electric Car, Zero Impact Man and Dive!
  • You’ll seriously consider dumpster diving for a meal. (See Dive! above). Someone will talk you out of it. Thank them.
  • You’ll breathe more, panic less, find beauty in small things, discover your own path to health and wellness, spend less time shopping and generally just feel more in control of your destiny. (Hopefully this last one will stick).

It’s OK to be cliché! Those of us who seek a more peaceful existence will try all of these things because many wise people who have gone before us have done the same — and some of these things really work.

If being a cliché means that I work less and live more, that I waste less and appreciate more and spend less but have more, then slap a sticker on me and call me a cliché. I’ll proudly wear it on the one organic cotton T-shirt (with a bird on it) I still own as I ride my bike to the farmers market.

 

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§ 10 Responses to Things Every New Minimalist Tries at Least Once

  • Doh! But as many wise people have said before me, nothing is truly original, and yet we all have something to share.

    Love this post, especially “If being a cliché means that I work less and live more, that I waste less and appreciate more and spend less but have more, then slap a sticker on me and call me a cliché”
    and it’s something I wouldn’t have thought of in a million years! 🙂 Plus, now I have some new reading and viewing material.

  • EcoCatLady says:

    I, for one, think it’s totally cool that the green movement has progressed enough to merit cliché status!

  • The other thought I had when reading your post, but forgot by the time I got to the comments (because I have the attention span of a gnat) is that although some minimalist/green things might be a cliche amongst my Internet circles, they certainly aren’t in my real life ones. I’m often shocked when I’m at other’s houses and am reminded of how much I have changed, even though it’s far from extreme, or even really green by net standards.

    p.s. Back atcha Type A, back atcha.

  • I actually prefer to read the blogs of people who are nobodys! Some of the people who have developed a big presence online in the minimalism community have become seriously arrogant about it. Not to mention I’m tired of their “now that you love me, buy my books, e-books, cleaning kits etc!” mantra.

    Loving your blog. You’re so down to earth and I can really relate to your experiences!

  • Shirls says:

    Oh heck, Bethany, I don’t think you’re a nobody at all. You’re wry and funny and you’re on my A list. Plus I loved this post.

  • Sarah says:

    I love this online community and I love your blog. I’m yet to be a cliche in my neck of the woods, so I just keep my mouth shut (mostly), and enjoy my journey to freedom!

  • Martha says:

    I consider myself a minimalist in the making (obviously) but have never never done many of the things mentioned – and some I seriously doubt I ever will. Not that they aren’t all great things, but I just want to live a simple fairly uncomplicated life without a bunch of stuff in the way. I think minimalism can mean many different things to different people. The last one “You’ll breathe more, panic less, find beauty in small things, discover your own path to health and wellness, spend less time shopping and generally just feel more in control of your destiny” is definitely the most important!

  • linmari says:

    This is awesome, and funny, and true! Really great post!

  • Ha, ha. 🙂 This post is great Bethany! I was laughing and nodding my head as I read down your list.

    I’m proud to declare that I’m a nobody too. And I’m thrilled to connect with other nobodies that make my choices seem less eccentric than they seem to appear in my physical world.

    Thanks for the laughs this morning.

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