A reader of this blog sent me a private email asking me some tough questions about some of my recent blog posts.

This reader has noticed some contradictions in what I have written compared to what I say I think about living a minimalist lifestyle. They noticed that I use the word “struggle” quite a bit in my posts.

I guess I struggle a lot;) I don’t particularly like this aspect of my life so it time for some introspection.

It got me to thinking about various things and I realize that I do indeed contradict myself at times.

Here are some tough questions.


Am I happy?

Am I happy with the form of minimalist living I currently have(or think I have)?

What are my passions?

Am I “forcing” minimalist living on myself?

Is minimalist living black and white, or are there grey areas?

These are indeed good questions to ask myself.

As usual I would love your feedback on all of this so please comment.



10 thoughts on “Tough Questions

  1. Here are My Answers to some tough questions.

    Am I happy? No, I spend far to much of my life dealing with “Stuff” and moving it.

    Am I happy with the form of minimalist living I currently have(or think I have)? I am becoming happier, but no I am really not satisfied. I have a great desire to just be able to travel.

    What are my passions? Motorcycle Riding and at the end of a great ride a good glass of single malt with friends.

    Am I “forcing” minimalist living on myself? “Forcing” is an interesting way to put it, I am struggling/suffering going through all the items and getting rid of them to get to where I really am free to make decisions for the future, I have so must material possessions from the past it is like an anchor around my neck.

    Is minimalist living black and white, or are there grey areas? There are as many grey areas as there are people.

    Over the last few years I have asked these and similar questions many times, and I don’t see a point I won’t be asking them in the near future, I would hope to get to the place that I can just not think of it, but that can’t happen when there are still piles of boxes to sort.

    Hope this helps. I am really wondering about the responses you get from others.

  2. OMGOSH… These ARE tough questions. First, I’ve got to say that I don’t consider myself as living the Minimalistic Lifestyle. It’s something I feel that I need to do, however, I’m not sure how much of a “purist” I’d be. I love electronic stuff, though, this year I had to give up the smart phone I had. I really, really miss not being “connected”, but I’ve got to say that I don’t miss it more and more as the months roll by. My hubby is always saying that I have too much stuff, yet he also avoids throwing non-essential stuff out. He’s a procrastinator, and I guess I am, as well. He takes too long sorting through stuff he intends on recycling; while I tend to keep things around because I fear that I’ll need that, whatever it is, almost as soon as I throw it away, and that HAS happened.

    Anyway, I’m not happy… and I’m realizing that stuff will not make me happy, though I knew that already. I HAVE resolved to get rid of most, but not all, of my yarn stash and that’s a pretty big step for me. I realize that aside from the obvious, “I’ll never use up all this yarn in my lifetime,” that I have other interests that get shoved to the side because I feel the obligation to knit. My yarn is beautiful… which is what has drawn me to it. My goal, however, is to sell it and not just give it away. I definitely need to make back at least some of the money I spent on it. I need time to get used to this idea of parting with my stash, but I tell myself that I’m not getting rid of all of it. Plus, I’ll be focusing more on spinning and whatever yarn I spin, I know that I can either sell it, gift it, or keep it for myself.

    I feel as if I’m leading a minimalist life right now because our spending has dropped way down to just the essentials like food and when the time comes, school uniform and supplies. I will not be purchasing a brand new backpack because the one that was used last year, is just fine… I also have two other good ones, but they are too big and unwieldy for our eight year old. Also, we’ve been utilizing the free library more and more.

    I don’t feel as if I’m forcing myself into a minimalistic lifestyle because I guess I’m not telling myself that is what I’m doing. This is something that’s been hovering over me for awhile and maybe I’m slowly slipping into it. I know that I have hoarding tendencies, but after experiencing the extreme hoarder in the person of my MIL, and watching the tv show about it, I got scared that I’d end up like that. My MIL definitely lived the life of a minimalist, but she was a hoarder. One thing I learned from her is to reuse the wax paper bags from cereal boxes. That’s great, clean stuff after you shake it out and I haven’t bought new waxed paper in almost a decade and I never run out of it. I open the bag up at the seams and most times is the perfect size… Or I use them to throw out wet/food garbage (we can’t compost).

    I think there can be plenty of gray areas… It’s whatever makes you comfortable and on track. That’s how I would think about it. Everyone is different and has that one niche that needs to be satisfied, whether it’s electronics, or clothing, or whatever. I think that it’s important to always question yourself. If you let it get to a place where you don’t have to think about it, I think we might miss something. I think that with the things we don’t want to eliminate completely, there is the responsibility to not get carried away and indulge ourselves past the point that is reasonable. I have a ton of clothes and this summer, I am seeing that I’m not wearing half of them. I’m so afraid that I’ll need something right when it’s not there. Also, my style preferences change all the time, so my goal with this is to have a place, a hanger for everything, and whatever doesn’t have a place, needs to get donated somewhere. Since I discovered second hand shops, I’ve made it a point to get my clothes just from there. It’s fun to do and the quality is good to excellent.

    O boy, I could probably have written a post about this, myself….

  3. I think, as people who try to live minimalist lifestyles (or some version of one!) there is a reason why we started in the first place, something positive that a minimalist lifestyle did for us. So, what was it for you?

    If you aren’t happy with minimalist living, or if it feels forced, is it because the lifestyle is no longer accomplishing that objective or providing that positive benefit? Have your objectives changed? Is there another way to reach your underlying goals or desires?

    My objective was bit selfish I guess; it was all about the feeling of freedom I got when I got rid of all (or almost all) of my stuff. But maybe part of the feeling of freedom wasn’t just unattachment to stuff, but unattachment to people, circumstances, and memories that were holding me back. Monetary, environmental, and time savings are the bonuses. If I see it that way, then it’s not such a big deal to buy new running shoes, or whatever small things will contribute to making life better. But having said that, it’s still something that I have to re-evaluate every so often if I feel I’m getting off track.

    On a little bit of a different vein, my feeling is that being happy can never be the result of just one aspect of life, including minimalist living, as great of a thing as it is.

    Thanks for posting the tough questions and making me think a little bit! I wish you all the best with everything!!

  4. Yes I,m happy. Because of minimalistic lifestyle I have more time for my passions: my relationship to God, my grandson,meditating,friends,to do good and nature. I,m not forcing my self at all to be minimalist. I adore it.only that I cannot be minimalist so I would like it,because my husband is not attracted to minimalism at all. So I reduce my own possessions to a minimum….I think that minimalism is different for everybody. For me,more I cherish and enjoy good relationships and meditation,less material things I need to be happy. Thanks

  5. I’m curious why you post about being a minimalist and what you think you are achieving (in any sense) by trying to live this lifestyle.

  6. I like this post a great deal because I think that these questions and ideas are something everyone needs to be thinking about and answering on a regular basis whether you consider yourself a minimalist or not. Sure the questions can be considered tough at times–but hey, that’s because they are important and potentially life altering. At any rate my answers are:

    #1 Yes, I consider myself very happy. I’ve been around long enough to realize that my happiness is my choice in most circumstances AND that collecting stuff, going into debt and trying to please others is NOT the answer.

    #2 Since I began right-sizing my life (that’s what I call my lifestyle) I have become increasingly happier. Again, achieving zero debt, and greater awareness about where my happiness actually comes from has helped a great deal.

    #3 My passions are figuring out what makes people do what they do, how people can change, why we stay stuck and then writing, talking and sharing it on my blog 🙂

    #4 I’m not forcing anything on myself–been there done that before! Instead I am finally freeing myself of cultural and family expectations!

    #5 I don’t think ANYTHING is black and white so I certainly don’t believe there is only one way to do minimalism.

    Again, these are GREAT questions that have the potential to lead us all to a happier, more peaceful and yes, a more minimal life. Thanks for asking 🙂 ~Kathy

  7. Am I happy? – Absolutely not!

    Am I happy with the form of minimalist living I currently have(or think I have)? – No. I am by no one’s standards a minimalist. I have a deep desire to get rid of things but have some sort of very strong hold on my possessions. I don’t understand it. I feel like a slave to sentiment and the truth is I’m one of the least sentimental people I know. But specific things – usually things linked to my happiest memories – are impossible for me to get rid of. I also can’t bring myself to get rid of things that have monetary value. It’s like I feel like I’m ripping myself off if I give something away when it could be sold. Although I’m drowning in “stuff” that I can’t sell.

    What are my passions? – I used to have some but I feel like I’ve lost them. Right now I’m obsessed with pregnancy and child birth. I’ve considered going to school in a related field. I’ve lost motivation, though, because I’ve become a hermit. Following my passions will mean I have to interact and “deal” with people and I’m not willing to do that right now.

    Am I “forcing” minimalist living on myself? – Yes, I think I’m trying to. I hate – HATE – getting rid of things. It makes me angry. And part of the issue is I don’t forget things. I gave away the only outfit that really fit my son the first few days he was home. I washed it and put it on him over and over – especially if we had to go somewhere – because he was so small it was the only thing he didn’t drown in. I think about it all the time and am so angry that I got rid of it.

    Is minimalist living black and white, or are there grey areas? – I’d say it’s definitely grey. I know people who don’t really care what clothes they have on their backs but they save every book they’ve ever read. (I’m kind of the opposite.) I have friends who LOVE selling their kids clothes on eBay. I think if you can find balance in your life and you’re living well within your physical space then it works for you. I could never be happy in a plain, bare space. But I’ve seen minimalists who live this way and are perfectly happy.

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