We all know that the minimalist pool of possessions is limited to only the things we use on a regular basis, the things that we value. Things, such that ownership of these things is necessary to use these things at the capacity we wish to. Therein lies the two factors that determine exactly that the size of our possession pool is going to be: Value and accessibility (or availability).
You see, there are all kinds of minimalists out there. Some live in apartments, some live in houses, some have multiple vehicles, some have none, some live in the city, some are country folk. But what they all have in common is that fact that they use everything that they own. That is what makes them minimalists. What makes the quantity of their possessions vary greatly from one minimalist to the next, is the fact that they have wildly different values. Also, their accessibility to the tools and resources needed to serve those values is a huge factor too.
Example: One minimalist has a passion for re-building classic muscle cars. Well in order to facilitate this passion this person would have to have a large space (usually a garage) where they could conduct their work. They would also have to have a plethora of tools to be able to carry out the re-building process. Oh, and a whole bunch of miscellaneous car parts. This passion, this value, demands tremendous “overhead.”
On the other hand a minimalist that has a passion for writing would not require so much overhead. Their work is more digital than anything else, and everything they need can be stored on their laptop computer.
Does this make Mr Mechanic any less of a minimalist then Mr Shakespeare? Of course not.
Example: One minimalist may live in the deep country. On the top of a mountain, at least 45 min from the nearest grocery store. As a result this person really “stocks up” during the once a month trip to the grocery store. They even have a giant freezer they keep in the cellar to hold giant slabs of beef, chicken, and pork. Big enough to be well stocked for the month and even longer in case access is cut off (natural disaster, snow storm, you never know in the country). This person has adapted well to their environment, and chosen to save a tremendous amount of time by not grocery shopping every week (like most of us do).
Another minimalist may live in a heavily populated city. They pass three different grocery stores on their ten minute walk from their job to their apartment. “Stocking up” is not only completely unnecessary, but an unnecessary drain on their resources (electricity and space), so they don’t even own a refrigerator. They eat their food fresh off the stand from the farmers market located just below their apartment. If they need frozen preserved food, the frozen food section in the grocery store next to the farmers market IS their refrigerator. This person has the accessibility to not require home food preservation and storage.
So a minimalist is not measured by the size of their possession pool, but instead by how they spend their time. Are they spending their time with intention toward a valuable end, or are the working toward a vague or unfulfilling end (just playing “Follow the leader” their whole life).