“I would rather be remembered as someone who loved to experience things as opposed to someone who just had a lot of things.”
Growing up, I was spoiled by relatives and had a lot of interests, so I always had a lot of stuff. Even though I spent a lot of money, I was decent at saving some. My goal was to save for college, but any extra went into buying books, art supplies, clothes, purses, shoes, or crafts. It was like it was burning a hole in my pocket like it wasn’t fulfilling its full potential.
When I finally did go to college, I had to leave a bunch of stuff behind – knickknacks, books, etc. because I didn’t have the room for them. Even though I left a bunch of stuff, I still had boxes and boxes full of my possessions. I tried my best to purge my things, but I still felt so attached. I was always so embarrassed whenever I had to move because I just had so much stuff. I used to tell myself that it was okay because I was a girl, I had more clothes than a boy, makeup, hair products (curly girls, you know how it is to have a million products), and even cookware because I love to cook. But it was still ridiculous. I lived with other women for several years and I think I’ve only met maybe two other women who have had the same amount or more things than I have.
For about a year or two, I’ve been playing with the idea of minimalism. I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point where I live out of a backpack (because that’s not quite my style), but I would love to be able to move my all of the things (other than furniture) with just two car trips. Very cramped car trips, but two nonetheless. Not just for convenience, but also for less embarrassment.
Even though my desire for less embarrassment was the beginning of my minimalist journey, I’ve come to realize that minimalism can have several other benefits that I desire.
- I want to spend more time doing as opposed to organizing and cleaning. Organizing and cleaning is somewhat cathartic for me, but when I feel like I have to spend my whole Christmas vacation organizing all of my stuff, I’m pretty sure that’s a problem. I don’t get to spend as much quality time with my family and friends over weekends or holidays because there’s always a little twitch in the back of my head that reminds me of the mess that I have to deal with at home. With minimalism, a normal day’s cleaning and organizing would (in theory) consist of a few quick wipes with a duster and about five minutes putting a few things away that have ventured from their appointed spots. Of course there would be a few days a month of deep cleaning and of course weekly bathroom and kitchen wipe downs, but for the most part, I shouldn’t have to feel like I have to dust every knick-knack on my shelf.
- More creative time. I have a very hard time concentrating when there is clutter about. Even now, my husband has left his laptop on the coffee table and there are a few things on the floor. I usually sacrifice my creative time for organizing. With minimalism, there wouldn’t be as much clutter to organize in the first place and therefore I could spend more time being creative. I miss being able to just sit and draw or sit and write, I hope that as I make more room and have less stuff, I can reach my goals.
- Less chaotic space/clearer aesthetic. This relates a little bit to the above point, but I would love to come home to a clear and bright home. I love my apartment, and I’m actually pretty happy with how I’ve progressed in getting rid of my stuff, but I still feel like I could do a bit more.
- I want to spend my money on experiences as opposed to things. Dinners out with friends, trips, museums, art galleries, plays, symphonies, those are things I want to experience. When you buy a thing, it sits there. It might be beautiful, and it may be functional, but does it bring more into your life? I would rather be remembered as someone who loved to experience things as opposed to someone who just had a lot of things.
- I want to help the planet and people. Our culture is very focused on materialism. We stuff our homes with stuff and then we get rid of a bunch of stuff that just goes into a landfill. To make this stuff, we have to take from the earth. When I shop, I try to shop at consignment stores. Do I always shop at consignment stores? No, partly because I am a ridiculously petite and thin person so I don’t fit into the average woman’s clothing, but I do my best. I’m not perfect at everything I do and I’m sure, despite my best efforts, I’m hurting something or someone somewhere, but I do my best not to. Minimalism, I believe, encourages us to be thankful for what we have and not to constantly try to fill some void within ourselves with what someone else has.
In my quest to become a minimalist, I have done the Konmari challenge (I LOVED it by the way) but I think I’m going to go another round with it because I don’t feel like I’ve quite hit that sweet spot and I’m sure that I’ve missed a category or two. I have also found many other things to occupy my time other than shopping. I try to only shop when I actually need something.
When I’m “finished” with this journey, I’m sure I will still have knick knacks, craft and art supplies, and lots of books, but they will be things that not only add beauty but will enrich my life in some way. I will always have a lot of cooking things, I will always have one or two too many plates because I like to feed people, and I will always have a few more shoes than one person should have, but I hope to find a way to live at peace with what I have and to live my life working to make the world a more peaceful place.
Well, I hope this post helped someone out, or at least gave you some motivation on how to start being a minimalist.
Have a wonderful day everyone!
(Originally published on TheMiniMeditatingDragon.blogspot.com 08/24/16)