How Minimalism Evolves into Practicality

Static. Complacent. Unmoving. Minimalism is not. It evolves with you, with your lifestyle. When I first began my minimalist journey, my goal was to eliminate as many physical objects from my life as possible. It was about decluttering, getting rid of stuff, spring cleaning. I purged my closets, my drawers and my kitchen till there was barely one cutting board, one ceramic knife and one mismatched set of tableware.

This lifestyle became unsustainable once I married my husband and became a smom to his 9-year-old daughter. At that point, I began to acquire the stuff necessary to take care of a household. Minimalism was no longer about me but about us. And, us did not succumb to my minimalist ideals.

I learned to adjust, as all parents and spouses do, to the clutter of family life. Even the most avid followers of Zen Habits must at some point bend to the materialistic desires of their families, though there might be some mommy blogger fundamentalists out there.

I’m not here to argue that it’s impossible to a rigid minimalist, only that I cease to be an adamant minimalist when it no longer becomes practical.

I’ve come to peace with the fact that it’s okay: it’s good enough.

Argh. If you’re a perfectionist, like me, doesn’t it irk you to hear the words good enough? I know. I know. We strive to be perfect, to adhere to rules of our belief systems. We feel like we are betraying our values when we compromise.

Have you ever caught yourself bickering over a superfluous purchase, about a toy that you think should be donated to Goodwill, an extra emergency vehicle parked in your driveway, two sets of tableware or a few too many kitchen gadgets? I have. After too many of these incidents, I made a conscious choice to de-prioritize minimalism and put practicality first.

If your goal is to be the epitome of abject minimalism, then maybe you should think twice--or three times--before you merge your life with another human being. Maybe, you should opt out of having a family altogether. Been there. Done that. I thought that’s what I wanted at the time, but the life of an adventure-bound minimalist singleton was NOT for me. In the end, I chose to get married, be a smom, get a dog and have kids of my own.

I’m happy with my choice. True, it’s not the speediest trajectory to career success, to fame, to mastery, to minimalism or to any other value ascribed to ambitious 20-somethings, yet it’s the most gratifying life I could have imagined for myself at age 28. I’m happy. I’m purposeful. I’m living in the moment without neglecting hopes for the future.

Practicality emerges. Minimalism evolves.

What about you? What aspect of your life has evolved from an earlier idealistic version, and how have you embraced the adaptation? Tweet me or email me to share your story!