Things. The enemy of minimalism. Possessions which, we are told, hold us captive, keep us prisoner. The items which surround us in our home, even if we love them, we believe we should set ourselves free from them. Sometimes, looking at what we own within the context of minimalism brings us shame, burdens us, slowly makes us feel suffocated. But, are things really the enemy of minimalism?
Some advice surrounding minimalism is flawed. The idea that we should simply redact all connection with material things goes against human nature. Since tribal times, there is evidence of humans valuing objects and working hard to look after their possessions and to treasure them. Even objects which only held aesthetic value, such as jewellery, were often deeply important to people. It’s interesting, then, that so many minimal speakers and influencers suggest that minimalism is a form of returning to the original state of man- with nothing. The evidence indicates otherwise, and would suggest that, in fact, humans have always relied upon objects- for use value, aesthetic value, and spiritual value.
Objects and possessions aren’t the enemy of minimalism. Owning things and purchasing things isn’t the issue. Attachment to things above all else- that is the issue. When our things become more important than our stability, than our mental health, than our self worth- this is the problem. When we start basing our self value from the value of what we own- this is the problem. But we are allowed to love things, we are allowed to love our possessions. We don’t have to simply own a travel towel, a set of bamboo cutlery, and the same four grey t-shirts.
We are allowed to bask in the joy that possessions can bring us. It is a positive thing to connect with the aesthetics of our possessions, to value them as part of our day to day life- to look at them with care, to treat them with consideration. When we allow ourselves to care about our possessions, we are more inclined to choose what we bring into our life more carefully, and to gain more satisfaction from these things. We ultimately build a positive cycle of caring and finding the best in the little things in our lives, instead of experiencing shame in relation to them.
What objects do you love and value in your life?
Featured image: Toa Heftiba via Unsplash.