The Fine Line Between Minimal and Stupid.

So I am in the process of packing for a trip. I need to pack relatively light; we have limited space in the vehicles we will be using for our ground movements. As I contemplate how many bits and pieces to take, a question comes to mind that could apply to any scenario in your life where you either want to or need to go NoXS Minimal:

When does going NoXS Minimal change from being a virtue to being stupid?

Let’s consider a few scenarios, starting with my travel packing…

Where we are going is right now seasonally monsoonal and likely to be both hot and wet. So, how many pairs of shorts do I take? Last year, I got away with the same clothes (except for undies which I changed daily) three days in a row when we were in the jungle. But that was September. Should wisdom prevail and I take at least one, if not two changes of shorts more? And an extra shirt for the jungle as well? In this case, would going too minimal just be downright foolish?

Here’s another scenario – household furnishing. Let’s consider a lounge room. Minimalism might dictate that the two three seater couches and the tub chair is a bit excessive for your family of four. Lose one of the couches. Great. So then what happens when we invite people over for a gathering? Throw down a rug? Bring in the patio chairs, or maybe some boxes from the garage? Has the desire to be minimal promoted us to make a decision that really doesn’t work; especially if you have a heart for hospitality?

I remember reading a story about one of Australia’s wealthiest men, Peter J Daniels. The story intimated that Daniels only owned one pair of shoes because, “I can only wear one pair at a time.” Probably apocryphal: I can hardly imagine Daniels wearing his dress shoes on a bush hike, or running a fun run, or causally down the markets. Yet how many of us in our zeal have been guilty of parting with too much in the name of minimalism only to regret something later?

At the end of the day, this is not me repenting for striving towards being minimalist. Not at all. What I do seek though is for the balance. What is the right place for minimalism for me? I am still working out where to place the fulcrum, and will be doing so for some time, I imagine. And I need to remember that the fulcrum will be different for everyone. So, for example, my barefootedness may not suit someone else in the same way their minimal furnishing may not suit my level of minimalism. And that is okay…

However, what we should all be seeking in looking for this balance is the answer to this question – HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? And at what point does enough slide over into being too much…? I think that this is the core question in terms of minimalism for me.

I’m not minimalist because it is trendy or hip or chic; and I’m not living with NoXS because I have to. I have decided to live minimally, simply, with NoXS because I have figured that I don’t have to live with excess, and that the consumerist basis for our economy (which for some reason everyone has been fooled into thinking has to grow to be good) promotes waste and greed, and that far too many people miss out altogether because a small minority of the world have decided that having more unnecessary things is good, and that there is far more peace and contentment in living within my means, being thankful for what I have and looking after the things I have been blessed with.

And I must therefore be honest with myself and call enough when there is enough and be grateful and content and thankful with and for that. But I must do so knowing that throwing out a lot of stuff that I use to do good or that is useful and utilised on a regular basis is just plain stupid.

And in the process of chewing on this question will help me define that fine line between minimalism and stupidity. But not before I cross over the line a few times in my quest first!

Funny what pawing over a suitcase can do for your thinking, isn’t it…!

Now, I must leave you to contemplate your own responses. I need to work out if I have enough underpants packed for this trip. How much will be enough, I wonder… ;o)

Live Simply & Simply Live,

Mark G


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