I have never considered myself a minimalist. Although when I was working in the corporate world, I wore a semi-uniform, an everyday ‘look’ that took no thought, minimal investment and was totally predictable.
Even today my closet houses only about 50 items: 3 white blouses, 2 white silk shirts, 3 trousers, 2 pairs black shoes, 2 belts, 6 sweaters, and 2 necklaces. (Can you tell I had given the idea of a uniform some thought?) And the more casual: yoga pants, 2 jeans, 3 sweatshirts, 2 sneakers and 10 white t-shirts.
Truly the closet of a non-fashionista (although my favorite TV show right now is Project Runway – go figure!).
But even my closet seems stuffed-full compared to what I have been reading about the Minimalist Movement!
This movement defines itself like this:
Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution. ~The Minimalists
Based on that definition, it’s truly more than just getting rid of The Stuff, but let’s just start with that because it’s what seems to scare the bajingles out of most of us!
For my parents, The Stuff revolved around their legacy. What would they want to leave for their children? For many baby boomers, it has been more of showing our kids what we spent all our money on for ourselves (ouch!).
But the Minimalist movement is more than a generational assumption. It’s about sloughing off all that might be getting in the way of having a more fulfilled life, no matter what your age.
So, after reading so much about it for a few weeks, I have some thoughts. (Is it an oxymoron that there is a TON available to read about minimalism? Hmmm….)
- I want my kids to have what I ‘have for them’ now – not after I die. So there are some things I will gladly give up, for a very non-minimalist reason.
- I have always been a minimalist of sorts, as nothing that hasn’t been used in 3 years I tend to toss. My husband, the semi-hoarder, hates the thought of throwing anything away so it’s a battle that has lived in a tense truce for 40+ years. And so we walk a tight rope of compromise, all the time.
- Some minimalist sites include lists of things that people have remaining after minimalizing – a kinda Boast-of-Less list. One bragged of a reduction to only 48 possessions (although he did not count individual socks, just pairs – I question his real devotion to the movement.) That’s total, not just clothes.
- Many proclaimed minimalists do not own a home. We have considered the RV-life from time to time, but the cost to store my husband’s massive number of have-to-keeps always slows down the discussion!
- Minimalism allows for organizational ease. With fewer belongings to manage and protect, spontaneity becomes effortless.
- One minimalist divorced her non-minimalist husband. Did she recycle him, or just toss him to the curb with her other clutter?
And my final thought…my Ah-Ha in all of this:
My new minimalist attitude has me questioning new purchases: will it be the clutter of the future, or something I actually need? (I did not buy an InstaPot based on the answer to this question!)
So, I start with the easy stuff…
As I stared into the basement storage closet, I couldn’t think of any reason to keep 3 sets of unused dishes (all in their original, sealed boxes) that I bought some 22 years ago.
Two decades, people!
Someone else can certainly use my never-or-barely-used,
The idea of cleaning out a basement full of THINGS that are never used has become a refreshing, humbling exercise. I am sure there will be more difficult decisions, but for now, there are some initial, easy wins!!
It’s so freeing!
I have especially enjoyed unloading each carload at the thrift store, knowing two things:
someone might really need this, and
others might have a wee bit more space to fill in their clutter closet.
Either way, it’s no longer filling mine!
BUT as for my crammed-full sock drawer. Off limits. I NEED every one of them. Every.Single.Pair.
Here are some things to read that may fuel (or feed) your curiosity about Minimalism.
And not exactly about minimalism, but so related that it’s worth the read…
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