Struggling with narratives of #minimalism

It all started with 2 spatulas. Seriously.


I did a bunch of food prep last Saturday. I made a huge batch of meatballs, chicken noodle soup, pizza rolls and lentil soup to try and make dinner prep easier for myself during the week. I posted some photos to instagram – if you don’t follow me there and would like to see what I’m up to on a more day to day basis feel free to follow me there.

So, back to those spatulas. I own 2. Does that make me less of a minimalist than say someone who owns 1? 

These are thoughts that legitimately started spiraling through my head as I stood there and used my spatula to pull pizza buns off of a baking sheet. One spatula for pizza buns and the other for meatballs. I suppose I could have washed one of the spatulas and reused it lessening my need to have a second. But, what if I like having 2 spatulas? What if although “unnecessary”, I enjoy using my two spatulas? What if those 2 spatulas make me more efficient by simplifying my life?

This sounds ridiculous. I know. But, it got me thinking about other things in my house. I have a few pairs of shoes, far less than most people but still more than I truly need. I mean technically don’t we only need one pair? What about pillows? Blankets? Baking dishes? On and on and on. I scraped those pizza rolls and meatballs off those trays all the while thinking all these revolving thoughts.

I told Mer that night and he laughed and said I think too much.


I think the problem is that this minimalism movement has become incredibly trendy. How many times do you come across perfectly white living rooms with some sort of caption pointing to a minimalist way of life. How did a white aesthetic come to be associated with minimalism? Does my brown couch somehow make me less of a minimalist?

In my experience, popularity somehow drives competition. I came across a blog this week claiming that a “true” minimalist has only x number of shoes, pants, sweaters, kitchen gadgets etc. But, who has the authority to set those rules? When did being a minimalist involve comparing the quantity of my goods to yours? If that’s what minimalism has become I’m not sure I want to be part of it because that whole narrative makes me rather uncomfortable.

It’s all rather frustrating too because I’ve come to enjoy having less stuff – not because it makes me more of a minimalist than you but because I’ve learned to enjoy my life in ways that are not attached to the need to own things which was such a dominant part of my life before.

It’s also rather sad because living more minimally is truly a wonderful thing. I sometimes fear that the popularity of the movement and these minimalist narratives might discourage people from challenging themselves to live more minimally because “rules” tend to be inflexible and overwhelming.


To me, minimalism is guided by two principles: intentionality and contentment.

Having less stuff means that I’m far more intentional about what items and objects get the privilege to occupy space and energy in my home. By consequence, I’m far more intentional about my choices which makes me far more content. I’m happier because the items that do surround me are important and have value (to me) – they have a purpose and I genuinely want them in my life (yes, my spatulas are included). Contentment comes from appreciating moments that were formerly clouded by consumerist chaos.


Minimalism isn’t and shouldn’t be guided by “rules”. Instead, it should be guided by  the notion that by lessening the consumerist chaos in our lives (whatever that looks like) we are able to achieve our own individual definitions of contentment (whatever those are).

What does minimalism mean to you?

If you identify as a minimalist, what contentment do you derive from living with less?





Author: Jenny

I'm Jenny, a 30-something mama to 1 living child and 5 angels. I live in a tiny blue cottage in a small suburb outside a major Canadian city. I live here with my miracle baby Margs, my husband Mer, my pup and my 2 cats. I blog about a bunch of different things including parenting, frugal living and minimalism. Feel free to subscribe to my blog and follow me on instagram, twitter or bloglovin.

138 thoughts on “Struggling with narratives of #minimalism”

  1. After moving my grandmother twice and then clearing out her final apartment after her death, it got me really thinking about how much stuff do I want to leave behind when I pass on. Particularly as I got hit by a truck walking during lunchtime a few years ago and nearly met my maker. I’ve been trying to uncluttered my life since.


  2. I am working toward minimalism. I think it means having what you need. If you NEED two spatulas use two. I need a truck. It uses more gas than a car but I can’t do everything I need with my car. (I know, get a wheelbarrow!) We all need certain tools in life. Do you NEED a computer or can I give you a pen and paper? It’s all relative.


  3. I loved your post, read it from beginning to end. I am also on my struggle to become minimalistic (quite difficult if you have children) but my main reason to become one was (now I see) very valid, I want to be happy in the space I live in. I don’t like silly rules. I will feel minimalistic as long as I see that I have only the things that I need and make me happy, instead a big bunch of this that I never use and make me feel stressed. Regards.


    1. Define it for yourself! There’s not need to try and live up to some standard set up by the internets/documentaries/podcasts. Define your own happiness on the journey.


  4. Jenny: we recently watched the documentary entitled ‘Minimalism’. [Really, though, if the producers were truly minimalist, shouldn’t the title be entirely lower-case letters? 😉 ] so the whole concept has been front and center lately. I appreciate the perspective you provide, especially with the image about subtraction for the sake of focus.
    Good work!


  5. I would not consider myself a minimalist based on the amount of stuff in my house. I still have a lot of stuff (more than I care to have anyway). Personally, minimalism is more of a frame of mind for me. Like ‘do I really need/want this thing? Because if I buy it, it’s going to take up space and one day I might look and it and want it out of my house really badly”. I also find being on a strict budget really helps keep the consumerist monster at bay. If I only have X amount of money to spend, I am only going to buy what I really want/need as opposed to just whatever catches my eye. I try to reduce the amount of stuff I have or buy not for an instagram photo, but for my own sanity. Just some thoughts.


    1. I agree. Minimalism is a state of mind but unfortunately more and more recently being a minimalist has become quantified which really defeats the purpose.


  6. I see myself as a minimalist and love it.

    Minimalism to me is working with the bare minimum effectively.

    Sure there are computer keyboards with integrated mouse (1 Product) which I will hate using every day. Thus, I have a keyboard and a separate mouse (2 Products) which can allow me to work much more efficiently.

    So you are right, minimalism should be about reducing waste and redundancy, but it also should not be rigid in defining the right amount to work with.


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