Minimalism is something I learned about last year. I stumbled upon it right around the time I quit drinking. Once my body and soul felt cleansed, this urge came over me to get my physical surroundings in order. It started innocently at first, just with my book collection. I got rid of about 50 books out of the 200 plus that I had in my possession. I felt great! A few months later, that urge came upon me again and I went through them again. This time I was a bit more aggressive with about 75 books heading to the library. After the second run-through, I figured there had to be people out there who wanted to declutter their lives. That’s when I found the “Konmari” method – term coined from Marie Kondo who wrote The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy. I can’t say it was life-changing because I was already headed down that route, but it was an interesting read nonetheless. I was a frequent reader of /r/minimalism and couldn’t get enough of decluttering videos on YouTube. Once I felt well versed on the topic, I went ahead through each individual category that Marie Kondo suggested, and began the task of decluttering my life.
Holy hell. It was a lot of stuff. Clothing never worn and with tags still attached.. books never read, movies never opened, makeup used once and discarded to the depths of my vanity, a ridiculous amount of towels, sheets, blankets, and comforters, glassware, dishes, shoes, knick knacks, accessories.. you name it, I decluttered it. I even opened up my box of memories chock full of letters from my childhood, pictures, photo albums, and journals from when I was about 13 on to 24-ish. My personal items were not hard to get rid of. They just weren’t me anymore and they held no value in my life. Why was I holding on to this thing? Was I ever going to read that note passed in middle school or my journals from when I was a snotty 13-year old claiming to hate my parents and wishing they’d die? I don’t want to remember those things, let alone them ending up in someone else’ hands once I pass! So I took each individual page and shredded them one by one. The only time they’ve crossed my mind is when I’m discussing minimalism.
I still minimize when I can. Every once in a while I go through my categories and select things I haven’t reached for in a long time. Just this morning I put a scarf in a bag meant for donations after realizing I’ve worn it once this winter.
Having so many items in my possession that I never watched, read or wore felt like dying hope. I kept those items around with the hope that I was going to be that person who wore a crop top.. or watched that movie I got in the $5 bin at Best Buy.. or read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (I blame Gilmore Girls on that one). The truth is – I’m just not. Letting go of the hope of those items was harder than the actual act of discarding them.
A few things happened once I stopped having so much stuff. I began to question the things I spent my money on. Do I really need this? Does the thrill of owning this stop when I receive it in the mail or pick it up at the store? How will this benefit my life long-term?
I still struggle with hobbies. I’ll take up a hobby, and once the excitement dies down, I’m left with the remnants of physical items needed for that hobby. At the end of last year I decided to really hone in on crocheting. I got this grand idea of building a business and selling my makes. I haven’t picked up a hook in two months. My pile of yarn and faux fur just sits in my closet waiting to be used.
My idea of minimalism isn’t perfect or extreme and it doesn’t have to be. Less stuff means less stuff to “organize”, less stuff to clean, less stuff to pack in boxes when you have to move, etc.. It’s fascinating once you start diving in. We spend all this time in a tizzy trying to get our hands on a new this or a vintage that, and once that thrill goes away, we’re left searching for another thing to fill the void. I believe, as a whole, we consume too much. I’m doing what I can to consume less and get to the root of my happiness.
Do you think you consume too much? Are you looking to buy less and use more of what you have? I’d love to hear about it! Let us know in the comments what’s on your mind!
Thank you for reading!