Barb Caffrey's Blog

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Why Minimalism is the First Step Toward Non-materialism — a Collaboration with a Purpose Post

with 17 comments

Since I was in my mid-teens, I’ve believed in non-materialism. People, I thought (and still think) are far more important than any possessions. And while you need some things in this life (for me, these are a car, musical instruments, a computer, some clothes, books, etc.), you don’t need to go hog wild and buy everything in sight.

This feeling is now being expressed as minimalism. People who’ve never once thought about non-materialism are trying to become aware of how many needless possessions they have, and get rid of the ones that truly aren’t necessary.

It’s because of that viewpoint that the Collaboration with a Purpose group decided to discuss minimalism and its related elements this time around.

hd minimalism 1.

Jane Love put this picture together, along with the later one in this post, to give you an idea of what we’re talking about.

See, what we need is a place to call our own. We don’t need a whole lot of stuff around us that gets in our way and stifles us. (I know, I’m a fine one to talk. My room is cluttered with all sorts of things, though I blame some of that on not having enough space to do everything I need at the moment. Though it certainly has made me figure out what I do need, and why, living in a smaller space than I’d prefer…but as always, I digress.)

The point of minimalism is to identify what you do need, and use that. Appreciate that, yes. But don’t go overboard, and don’t clutter your life up with unnecessary things that serve no purpose other than to make you feel better for a brief moment about buying the latest hot gadget or late model car.

But I started off talking about non-materialism, didn’t I? So how does this relate?

There are grades of non-materialism, you see. Minimalism, I see as one of those shades along the non-materialist spectrum. And the two operate in much the same way: The goal is to give the irreplaceable — the people, furry friends, and true passions — the space and respect in your life they deserve, while minimizing the effect of everything else.

Take a look at the picture below (the second of Jane Love’s wonderful efforts this month) if you don’t believe me:

hd minimalism 2.

Here, you see a chair. A vase with some flowers. A bunch of books on a table. And one piece of art. And nothing else…because you don’t need anything else if you’re sitting down to read, providing you have enough light to read by in the first place.

See, anything else just distracts you from reading. And what is the point of that?

As for other possessions, I don’t really understand why folks feel like they need to “keep up with the Joneses” and the like. Because there’s truly no point in it.

See, a fancy car doesn’t advance your life goals much. Nor does having the latest high-tech gadget.

What will advance your life goals, then? And why does embracing minimalism or, its stronger cousin, non-materialism, do anything to give you the idea that you’re coming closer to them?

I can’t tell you what your own life goals are; only you can do that. But I can tell you that most of us want a few of the same things. To be loved for who we are. To be appreciated for who we are. And to be understood for who we are.

What you do for a living isn’t as important as those three things.

Now, we aren’t all alike, of course. But most of us do share those three things as among the highest aspirations we have. And none of them — none — have anything to do with materialism.

Minimalism forces you to realize what you need, and what you can live without.

And being a non-materialist forces you to realize that what truly matters are people, not things. Our minds, hearts, and spirits are far more important than anything else. And once you understand that, you can embrace the fact that possessions, for the most part, do not matter.

I believe strongly in this month’s topic, in short, and hope you will take the time to visit all of my fellow Collaboration with a Purpose authors (though you don’t have to do it all in the same day, of course!), as they all have different takes on the subject of minimalism. (Though I don’t know how many, if any at all, will discuss non-materialism, I’m sure their posts will be extremely valuable in their own right. They always are.) Links will be added as their posts go up, so do come back in a few days for the full and entire list of posts.

Nicolle K. (Intro post) – “Alert: A Collaboration for Minimalism

Nicolle K. (regular post) – “Three Ways I’m Applying Minimalism as a Highly Sensitive Introvert

Jane Love – “Mind Minimalism: Life Doesn’t Get Better With Worry

Sadaf Siddiqi – “Value of Minimalism

Ipuna Black – “Minimalism: What Gives You Meaning in Life?

Gelyka Dumaraos – “Being More With Less: Embracing a Simple Life By Being Zero-Waste

Mylene C. Orillo – “How Grief Taught Me to Keep My Life Simple

Sonyo Estavillo – “Minimalism for Success: Why Little Wins Count

Divyang Shah

Swati Kadam

Do check them out, OK?

 

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Written by Barb Caffrey

May 5, 2018 at 5:22 pm

17 Responses

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  1. […] Caffrey: Why Minimalism is the First Step Toward Non-materialism Divyang Shah: Gelyka Ruth Dumaraos: Being More with Less: Embracing a Simple Life by Being […]

  2. Great job, Barb! My favorite line is “Minimalism forces you to realize what you need, and what you can live without.” This is very true. We must keep our goals in mind and not clutter our lives with too much.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Ipuna Black

    May 5, 2018 at 5:54 pm

  3. […] Barb Caffrey: Why Minimalism is the First Step Toward Non-Materialism  […]

  4. […] Barb Caffrey: Why Minimalism is the First Step Toward Non-Materialism – A Collaboration with a… […]

  5. Your post reminded me on how I read books but I can’t focus because there are many distractions. And who doesn’t have a cluttered room? Haha. I have cluttered room once in a while but I try to fix my bed. I love it when it’s neat and fixed before I leave and before I sleep. I love this quote too, “Minimalism forces you to realize what you need, and what you can live without.” Very true! I love your post. 🙂

    Mylene Orillo

    May 5, 2018 at 10:35 pm

  6. I echo what others have pointed out that this line wraps things up quite nicely:

    “Minimalism forces you to realize what you need, and what you can live without.” I agree that there are grades of non-materialism, mostly being aware of what we can live without.

    I also loved the line: “And being a non-materialist forces you to realize that what truly matters are people, not things.”

    If we focused more on people and less on things our world would be an entirely different world. But, we can change our experience by beginning with ourselves. By starting with “me,” I can hopefully influence those around me. By, changing my thoughts and my ways and being less materialistic, I can hopefully start a chain reaction that can only lead to positive results.

    Sonyo Estavillo

    May 6, 2018 at 2:10 am

    • Thanks, Sonyo.

      I agree very much with what you said about how we can change our experience by changing ourselves. And I do hope we can start various chain reactions so more people start to realize that material goods are not where life truly is; it’s about what we do here, the people we spend it with, and the care we put into it that matters instead.

      Barb Caffrey

      May 6, 2018 at 4:46 am

      • Definitely, accomplishments are great and all as what we “have” often sort of reflect a type of status. But it’s not what it’s cracked up to be. We put too much weight on all of it and it can take away from personal relationships we should be nurturing.

        Sonyo Estavillo

        May 6, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      • That is certainly true. And workaholism is not something anyone should celebrate when on his/her deathbed, either.

        Barb Caffrey

        May 7, 2018 at 12:03 am

  7. Superb post. There were too many quotes that I liked in this post, a few to mention:
    “Minimalism forces you to realize what you need, and what you can live without.”
    “And being a non-materialist forces you to realize that what truly matters are people, not things.”
    “Our minds, hearts, and spirits are far more important than anything else. To be loved for who we are. To be appreciated for who we are. And to be understood for who we are.”
    You’ve explained minimalism from various angles. Well done.

  8. […] Barb Caffrey @ Barb Caffrey’s Blog: Why Minimalism is the First Step Toward Non-materialism […]

  9. Awesome post, Barb! I love how you wrote about minimalism being on a sliding scale of non-materialism; I didn’t think of it that way before but I love the idea. I agree many people tend to keep up with the Joneses and place importance in things rather than people, something I don’t agree with; even as a child, I wondered why I didn’t get attached to my childhood stuffed toy when I knew kids were supposed to. (I suppose that makes me a pretty odd kid. 😆)

    I’d quote my favourite line from this post, but there are just too many; you’re good. 😀

    Also, sorry for being so late in reading your post! Let’s just say I got caught up with stuff. Very sorry. 😅

    Nicolle

    May 24, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    • I’m glad you read it now, Nicolle. No worries! 😀

      And thank you for enjoying it. 🙂

      Barb Caffrey

      May 25, 2018 at 12:57 am


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