A couple of years ago I became interested in voluntary simplicity. I followed a few web sites and read some books on the subject. I found the idea of a simple lifestyle appealing and encouraging. However there was a lot of emphasis on self sufficiency – cooking, gardening, keeping animals, and other DIY activities. This didn’t really fit with my interests or my city lifestyle.
More recently I have found blogs on minimalism. I particularly like Miss Minimalist who has a very appealing writing style. Minimalism, with it’s emphasis on owning less stuff in order to focus on the more important things in life, seems more relevant to an urban lifestyle. Voluntary simplicity has you bottling your own tomatoes; minimalism has you throwing out the jars! I have read a lot of minimalist blogs and found it encouraging hearing about how other people are shaping lives with less physical and other types of clutter.
Having said that, I am more comfortable with the term voluntary simplicity which is a better description of the lifestyle I am interested in. The term minimalism seems to lend itself to extremes. After all, the minimum is the least and pursuing this aspect can lead to an attitude that if less is good even less is better. Trying to live with the least possible risks a new type of obsession with things, an obsession with not having them or disposing of them. I don’t want to live on the borderline between “barely enough” and “too little”. I am happy with enough plus a percentage for comfort. Then I can stop dwelling on my belongings and get on with my life.