I happily subscribe to most of the commandments of minimalism. I try to live with less, I don’t waste my money on useless knick-knacks, and my drawers are filled only with items I actually use. But there’s one area of minimalism I have a hard time getting on board with, and that’s owning a small number of items. Some minimalists live with just 100 items, some with just 200, or 300. That way of life is not for me.
My main issue with limiting the number of items you own is that my husband and I have many hobbies, and we have a lot of items to go with those hobbies. Some of them I can easily justify because I interact with them daily, like my pets. My two cats and dog take up quite a bit of space in my two-bedroom apartment and they have a lot of “accessories”, but I get daily enjoyment out of them, so it’s completely worth it.
But I have other hobbies that I use less. For example, my camping gear. My husband and I camp about twice a year, yet we own close to 30 camping related items. That’s a lot of items for a hobby we only engage in twice a year.
My Hobbies are Holding Me Back from True Minimalism
Whenever I read about ‘extreme’ minimalists who live with only 100 items, I wonder to myself “What do they do all day? What are their hobbies?” Sure, there are plenty of hobbies that don’t require much stuff, but limiting yourself to those is missing out on a wonderful world of life enhancing activities.
That’s why I’ll never be a “true” minimalist. I’ll never live on 100 items, or feel comfortable in a 250 square foot apartment. I enjoy my hobbies too much, and I would never give them up for the sake of minimalism.
Here are some hobbies my husband and I enjoy that clutter up our home, in a good way:
- Wine-making (Bottles, corker, cleaning supplies, carboy, primary fermenter, etc.)
- Bicycle Riding (Two bikes, two helmets, two locks, and a bike rack.)
- Gardening (Books, watering can, soil, and of course, the plants.)
- Cooking (Books, pots, pans, juicer, blender, steamer, slow cooker, etc.)
- Camping (Tent, air mattress, four sleeping bags, camp stove, folding chairs, cooler, etc.)
- Pets (Two dog beds, litter box, litter locker, three bowls, scratching post, leashes, etc.)
That’s a lot of stuff! In order to keep our sanity, we balance those “stuff intensive” hobbies with minimalist friendly hobbies to keep our home relatively free of clutter:
- Blogging (Just a computer.)
- Dog Training (Just a leash, and an Ecollar.)
- Running (All of my gear fits in a small box.)
- Working out at home (Yoga mat and two sets of weights.)
- Playing music (Guitar.)
- Video Games (a Playstation and drawer of games.)
- Reading (Ebooks and library books.)
- Hiking (Shoes, backpack.)
I love my hobbies. I love the feeling I get after puttering around with the plants on my balcony for an hour. I love feeling tired and dirty but satisfied after returning home from a weekend of camping. I love completely getting away from work, social media, computer screens, savings goals and side hustles, and getting my hands dirty, or sweating, or building something. It’s the spice of life.
Balancing Minimalist Tendencies with Enjoying Life
Minimalism has so many benefits, but it’s easy to get swept up in the fervor of “declutter all the things!” and forget that life is short and we need to enjoy it. Eliminate those things from your home that you don’t use any longer and make room for the things you love and enjoy.
I’m not saying true minimalists don’t enjoy life, I’m saying this is how I enjoy my life. If that makes me a bad minimalist, I’m fine with that.
Tell me one space intensive hobby you have. Tell me why you love it. I want to know!