04/13/2016 11:13 am ET Updated Apr 14, 2017

The Minimalist Label

Jeremy Woodhouse/Luka Esenko via Getty Images

The minimalist movement is in full swing. More so than ever before, a large percentage of us are realising that chasing more just isn't doing it for us. We need something else and that something else leads us to the pursuit of less.

The Problem with Labels
As we pursue less and change our habits others around us may start to notice and say things like

"Oh, so you're a minimalist now?"

"If you're a minimalist, surely you shouldn't be shopping for branded clothes?"

"If you're a minimalist now, will you be quitting going on exotic holidays and spending time meditating instead?"

The problem with labels is they conjure up an image.

For many, the words minimalist and minimalism mean visions of giving up all worldly goods and living off the land. Spending days tending the earth, growing vegetables, contemplating life and meditating. The truth is, this is indeed a version of minimalism that some people do live.

For others the move is gentler. We downsize our wardrobe. We clear a drawer or two out. We stop consuming indiscriminately. We start saving. Many would argue these changes don't constitute full blown minimalism but who decides what that really looks like or means?

The truth is minimalism is a broad spectrum. It can be what we want it to be. We need to find our own place of comfort on that spectrum, not contort into something that makes us uncomfortable or is unachievable.

Minimalism is also just a label. A meaningful one for many who wear the label with pride. Equally a label that can confuse and hinder others, never feeling that we're quite minimalist enough.

Pursuing Less is a Journey to Better Living
A pursuit for less is essentially a road we travel to try to cut to the core of what is truly important to us. It should therefore support us living our own version of the good life. What that looks like for each of us can, and should, be wildly different. What's enough for me may be too much for you.

Less is also a word that can mislead us if we obsess on it. What we're really interested in is finding our version of enough. Subtracting is part of the journey to get there for many of us, but once we reach a baseline we're comfortable with we can stop. We don't have to give up or give away everything we own.

Forget the labels and forget comparisons but don't forget the concept. Live with the right sort of less and right version of enough for you. Find your own fit.

Carl is the proud owner of Frictionless Living which is focused on helping readers live a simpler and more personally satisfying life. He is also the author of several books including A Short Guide to Living Well and Need Less, Live More.