It’s been a while since I’ve written about minimalism, that can be found here, but I think it’s high time that I revisit the topic.
For the past few years, I’ve been toying with the idea of minimalism. Like I said before in my other article, I’m never going to just live out of a backpack (at least that’s not a goal at the moment). I like clothes and shoes and drawing supplies a little too much for that. I also like having a place to call home so I don’t think I’ll ever be fully rootless and just have a P.O. Box for my mail. And that’s okay.
I’ve been exploring other minimalist blogs and youtube channels to find inspiration because I’ve been feeling lost about what this whole “minimalist” thing means. One of the main things that I gather from these is that minimalism is about keeping the things that bring joy and function into your life. But what the hell does that even mean? What brings joy to my life? What am I meant to do? What do I do once I figure that out?
The KonMari method, while not specifically advertised for a minimalist lifestyle, has a wonderful philosophy about finding what it is that sparks joy. Essentially, as you go through your things and ask yourself “does this spark joy?” and you decide what to keep you’ll start to see what it is that makes you happy. You’ll start to recognize the things you love to do or the things you love to be.
I think why this is such a successful campaign is because, especially in America, we’re told what it is to be successful. You need to have these clothes, this watch, this partner, read these books, have this career. It’s maddening and overwhelming. With this method and with a minimalist ideal, people are finding what they actually want to do. KonMari says that
“At their core, the things we really like do not change over time. Putting your house in order is a great way to discover what they are.”
I think this is an important realization because it forces us to think about what we’ve always loved to do and who we have always wanted to be.
Growing up, I always loved being artistic whether it be writing, drawing, or painting. I found a lot of joy in these activities. I also loved helping people, organizing, and dancing. However, as I moved to smaller town and became a teenager (oh the angst!) I tried to adjust myself to fit into what my friends were doing. While they weren’t bad people, I lost myself a little because I tried to be what they wanted me to be. I struggled keeping friends because not only could they tell that I was trying to be something that I really wasn’t, but I also didn’t enjoy being someone that I wasn’t. Part of the problem was my low self-confidence, and the other problem was that being in a small school if you didn’t fit in with an established group, you didn’t have friends. I spent a lot of evenings in my room by myself doing homework or writing stories.
When I got to college, I was determined to have friends. I reinvented myself several times and molded into what other people wanted me to be. Whether it be friends or boyfriends, I was not being my true self. There are a few people who are still my friends today and that is only because I was truly myself with them in the first place. They didn’t judge, they listened, and I am very happy and content in their company (shout out to Heidi, Ashley, Isaac, James, and the ballroom friends).
Eventually, this constant change and pretending became tiring. I fell apart, even though I didn’t know who “I” was (yes, very dramatic, but bear with me). I started to look at my life, and the stuff I gathered, and what it all meant.
Most of the things that I had meant nothing to me anymore. All that money, all that time, all that space, was useless now. And so I started to purge.
Through moving, getting new jobs, breaking off relationships, I got rid of a whole bunch of stuff. Clothes I hated or that didn’t fit, old jewelry or stuffed animals from old boyfriends, notebooks about things that I didn’t care about, everything was donated, sold, or thrown out.
I’ve made huge strides in my minimalist journey. However, since getting married, I’ve accumulated more things. Mostly because I gathered more and more things as gifts from well-wishers, and because I gathered all of my storage from my parent’s home. I did a quick purge of those things before bringing a bunch of it back home.
My next step in this process is going through all of my possessions once again and find what really sparks joy. I did a crash course of the KonMari method when I was moving and first exploring minimalism, but I didn’t really get into it. I didn’t do it in the correct order and I didn’t have all of my possessions with me. I want to really sit with my possession and process what they mean to me. If they mean anything at all.
My goal for this whole thing is that I want to finally fully be myself. I want to do and be the things I’ve always wanted to do and be. Of course, I’m not naive enough to think that I will finally have my dream life once this process is over (living in a tree house with 10 cats and a corgi), but by emptying my life of the unnecessary will make the space for other things to come my way.
I’ll be documenting my progress on this blog and hopefully, you’ll gain something from it. I hope that you are finding the most joyful way to live your every day life. Have a great day!