Lessons from The Minimalists and 400 New Friends

Lessons from The Minimalists and 400 New Friends

Last week, I was in a room of 400 minimalists.

That’s not very minimalist[Lesson 1: we’re good at laughing at ourselves]. Actually, it is minimalist, summed up best by one of The Minimalists’s mottos: “love people and use things – not the other way around.”

Let’s back up. The Minimalists is a never-ending treasure chest of excellent, down-to-earth articles on living simply. Josh and Ryan both abandoned fancy, well-paying jobs and houses full of swanky expensive things to focus on their newfound meaning of “richness”. They’re on a world tour, and finally, I got to attend their event in Boston. I’ve been reading their stuff for years, [participating in their Mins Game this year!] and they were among my distant and constant inspiration in discovering my own flavor of minimalism.

Flavor of minimalism.

^ their words, and I really like them. When I was faced with a closet of beautiful [I thought, at the time] clutter and one suitcase to fit them in as I moved across the pond, I decided that the lifestyle I’d been reading about on the internet – minimalism – was one I should embrace myself. [more on this in my book!]. But at the time, I could not find any minimalist bloggers who also cared about aesthetics. At the Minimalists event in Boston, for example, Josh spoke jokingly about his pre-minimalist relationship with stuff: “which espresso machine represents me as a man?” I get it: our identities are not our stuff. But I do ask myself that question [“which ____ represents me as Xandra?”] often because if I need a chair, it might as well be the most Xandra chair ever. I enjoy shopping, and I still participate: I just consume less, and more mindfully.

Style is a priority for me, but stuff is not.

Side note, though: What if stuff is your priority? I’m fascinated by this Hello Kitty-collecting girl who admits that she has not been on holiday or out to dinner in years, instead focusing all of her funds into building her massive collection of Hello Kitty merchandise. This is an extreme example, but part of me wants to give her credit for identifying what makes her happy, however crazy that thing may be!

Because that, in essence is the point of minimalism: it enables us to focus on what we love. Cut out the excess until you’re left with everything that remains.

Minimalism is not about less, less, less, less, less. It’s about making room for more.

“Simple does not mean easy”, and minimalism does not solve all of our problems. For me, it helps me to shape my surroundings to better myself as a heroine.

Sometimes being a minimalist can be an isolating experience, since it’s sorta alternative. I was so amazed and grateful to be in a room of four hundred fellow minimalists, minimalists-in-training, and people who were at least interested in this thing I love. The best part was meeting new people, and collecting new hugs. Because although they were signing books, the line was for the hugs.

miss xandra bee

P.S. For a dip into minimalism, here are some ways to find calm in a busy girl’s day.

  • This is wonderful – I need to pick up that book! Also I love your comment on ‘things.’ Things shouldn’t define you or act as your sole identifier, but if you’re going to go rogue and get rid of just about everything, what you have left should be so completely you.

    • Xandra | Fashionably Light ★

      Definitely. And do read the book! It’s marvelous.

  • I know I’ve said it a million times but seriously. You’ve inspired me to find my own level of minimalism that I’m comfortable with. I’ve always associated minimalism with simplicity. I love having things that are just very “me” so your idea that minimalism doesn’t mean giving that up is fantastic!

    • Xandra | Fashionably Light ★

      Yes, it’s all about finding the right definition for you! So excited to see what you come up with 🙂

  • Rebecca B

    I agree that style is important. I do tend to favor simple things, but I get bored easily, and one of the easiest ways to maintain a good mood (for me) during the day is to like what I’m wearing. There’s a balance and a *lot* of space between ten all-black wardrobe items (like Francine Jay might have) and the overstuffed closets, drawers, bins, and racks I had a few years ago. I haven’t hit my “right-sized” wardrobe yet, but I’m getting closer.

    • Xandra | Fashionably Light ★

      It’s progress! Yes, wearing nice clothes does help me maintain a good mood too. That’s part of why I wear so much color 🙂

  • Gina Carpellotti

    The issue of personal style has long been one that I question as I review the lists from Project 333. Most people’s lists were so boring and uninspiring (to me). I understand that not everyone is interested in being a stylish gazelle, but there’s only so much black, white, and/or gray that my eyes can handle. You’ve shown that you can infuse color, fashion, and “frivolity” into Project 333.
    I plan on writing and posting videos about my minimalism journey.

    • Xandra | Fashionably Light ★

      Please share your writing and videos when you do! Thank you for reading 🙂

      • Gina Carpellotti

        Hi Xandra, I am just getting started (2 blog posts and 1 YT video), but I am doing it. My blog and my channel are “lightly lumay”.