I like to call myself a minimalist, but I still have to buy things just like you. Saying your a minimalist is kind of like saying you are a Christian. People say it, as though it actually means something. Like it’s the key to the Holy City. In practice, its something else entirely. So minimalism like Christianity comes in all sorts of manifestations (oh, God did I just make that comparison). For me, at this moment in time, minimalism is about choices. We all have to make choices about what we buy, and what we consume. Are you making the right decisions?
If you were a hermit living in the woods, one could earn the highest badge of honor in minimalism. The “no one gives a shit your more minimalist than me, oh, your so much better than everyone else, you’re going to save the world alone” Award. Most of us, however, live in a city, many of us with families. I have two beautiful sons, 4 and 11. These two small beings are ravenous in their consumption, or at least their desire to consume. Without some boundary and a short credit line, these two little gremlins would devour everything, edible, and otherwise.
A minimal level of consumption will never be achieved if you have a family. Sure, I am teaching my sons to be more deliberate in their consumption, and that will help. But meanwhile, there is a very low likelihood that you’re significant other will see eye to eye with your expectations. So you should not even peer down that road. You will develop an ulcer trying to transform your loved one into a minimalist.
So the only thing we are left with is our choices. Buy a lot less. Buy the highest quality items you can afford (as necessary, not like LV on my luggage just because). Do your research. Let someone else be the product tester. Only buy items that have been thoroughly time tested. Finally one of the most important things for me is to support brands that I am proud of as a consumer. This might be a brand that helps the environment, that is local, or maybe one that makes timeless products. Yes, timeless. If you can purchase items that are “above” trends, that is what I describe as timeless. This might be a yard sale find or a new black two-piece suit. Now that’s what I call green.
Dare I say nothing, however, is all green. Unless you want to dress and live like an indigenous person, don’t try to make your purchases perfect. There are at least a few businesses doing great things that don’t make all their product here in the United States. Some companies who’ve had questionable business practices in the past and are striving to change. Some businesses use their profits to fight on our behalf for the environment. Buy Less. Buy what works. Buy only what you love. Oh, and if you are serious about minimalism, stop loving things, go out and enjoy the world around you, and start looking for a cabin in the woods.
Aaron L. Carroll