Anything taken to an extreme is extreme. If we get so caught up with living with less that we take away things that make life easier, we miss the point. It’s okay to have some conveniences.
Sometimes, it’s easy to go a little too far. It happens when we have a little too much to drink. It happens when we argue for one position over another. Sometimes, we stay in a relationship too long. And sometimes, we push ourselves too far physically. We humans tend to push things to the limit from time to time.
Sometimes We Push Minimalism Too Far
Simple living is supposed to be easy. It’s meant to give us more freedom. That’s the whole idea behind the movement, right? If we own less stuff, we’ll have more time. It’s minimalist logic. Then why would I want to get rid of the things that make life more simple?
You’ve heard it before: minimalism is different for everybody. So if living without some of life’s modern conveniences works for you, carry on. But I know how difficult life can be without some of the simple conveniences.
As A Kid, I Lived Without Plumbing And Electricity
You see, I grew up poor. There were times when my family went without electricity. Our plumbing got so bad that we had to keep buckets under the sinks. I know how much harder life is without basic utilities.
When I turned 18, I was on my own. I still didn’t have enough money for many of the things that most of us have today. I had no car, no washing machine, no dryer, no dishwasher. You get the idea. I remember walking about ten blocks to the laundromat with a sack of dirty clothes over my shoulder.
I returned to college when I was 30, stayed at it for eight years and got a master’s degree. That allowed me to earn more than I’d ever had.
In time, I was able to live in a home with many of today’s modern conveniences. I still don’t have a microwave or a power saw, but I have many of the things that make life easier. It was great to discover how much time can be saved by owning a washing machine, a dryer, and a dishwasher. I enjoy having a car that won’t break down twice a month.
It’s Okay To Make Life Easier
When I see some folks considering doing away with some of these simple things, I question their motives. If the major premise of minimalism is to own less so that you can have more time, why would you get rid of the things that help to save you time?
I understand that some folks like to live off the grid and do everything the old-fashioned way. And that’s cool. But for those who are new to the minimalist lifestyle, it’s okay to have the things that make life easier. Being minimalist isn’t about self-deprecation. It’s about owning just those things that you need to live simply.
If a car helps you to get to work quicker, then it’s okay to own a car. If a clothes dryer saves you half an hour a day, then by all means, own it. And if you like the convenience of a microwave oven, don’t let me stop you from using one. But you might not need a sandwich maker and a 72-inch TV. The goal is to be selective in what we own. To have enough to make life simple, but not so much that it swallows us up.
Don’t Give Things Up Just To Buy Them Again
As I said at the beginning of this post, sometimes it’s easy to go a little too far. It happens to minimalists, too. We can get so caught up in the idea of living with less that we wind up making our lives harder. We get rid of stuff that simplified life.
Years back, I gave up my gas-powered lawn mower for a human-powered reel mower. It was great for a couple of years. But it took twice as long to mow the lawn. I finally broke down and got another gas-powered mower. Now I have more time to do the things I really love, like spending more time with my family and friends. What could be better than that?