You may have noticed recently I’ve been posting about spring cleaning and minimalism. Since my last post, I’ve been doing more research on minimalism and how it can positively impact your psychological state. Since I was a child, I was known for having “stuff.” I wouldn’t go anywhere without my “stuff-” whether it was my stuffed red dog or a music box or a box of crayons. I always had something.
Flash forward a few years and I got into blogging and YouTube, constantly watching people show off all their belongings they’d gathered. Shopping hauls and sponsored vids galore. And while making purchases is all fine and dandy, I started to develop the habit of shopping and buying things simply for the sake of having more. I would buy things that were ill-fitting or impractical just because they were on sale and “I might wear it someday.” The lies I told myself, right?
In high school, I managed to become a smarter shopper. Working and making my own money made me conscious that nice things should be earned and you should love what you buy. But I didn’t necessarily want to adopt minimalism quite yet. I would go through periods of wanting to purge my belongings, usually after a traumatic or upsetting event like an illness or a breakup. But I always found myself keeping more than I needed.
Then came last December. Our basement was fumigated for mold and most of our family memories boxes of old papers and crap had to be thrown out. But after weeks of dumpsters being carried away of all that moldy stuff, a lot of our problems started disappearing. We never had to speak of “cleaning out the basement” again because there was nothing to clean. It was literally completely empty by the end, when before it was barely possible to walk through all the boxes.
That got me thinking that holding on to things just for the sake of keeping them doesn’t make much sense. The best memories will stay in your heart, and the things you do want to save you can always take a picture of. So these past few months, I’ve started tearing through closets and drawers and boxes, rooting through everything I’ve collected over the years.
Most of it was useless crap.
I have donated so much to charity it is actually crazy. I found so many things that once brought me joy, but could make someone else happier now. I would load up my trunk with bags and drive it off to the local donation center. I always felt better afterward.
I’ve come to be more aware of the waste I produce. I’ve gotten better at stopping and thinking “Do I actually need this or will it just end up in a trash bag in a few months” at the checkout line. Mostly, I have learned that contentment can’t be found at the bottom of a shopping bag. I think accepting minimalism is also truly learning what “money can’t buy happiness” means. This is very hard for me to accept because I love beautiful things. I love a good aesthetic, you know what I mean? But worrying about my own possessions was distracting me from paying attention to the beauty that is in the world. And buying new shoes and fake plants and throw pillows wasn’t about to do any favors for my travel fund. Which I want to use to go and see real beautiful things- like artwork and beaches and architecture.
I think minimalism means something different to everyone. For me, it’s about only keeping the things I either need/use or bring me joy. For example, my framed photo of Coco Chanel may not be necessary- but I bought it with my first paycheck at my current job and it inspires me every time I see it. Why would I want to give that up just for the sake of having less? At the same token, I couldn’t justify hoarding dozens of stained, ten-year-old towels I’ve had since I moved into this house 10+ years ago just in case I get the stomach flu and need an exorbitant number of towels to throw up on. It’s actually pretty simple.
I began my minimalist mindset slowly and with intention, but I’m honestly happier the more I declutter and de-stress. There’s more to life than having ten pairs of identical shoes and a mountain of throw pillows on your bed. And that’s something that’s taken almost my entire life to finally figure out and come to terms with.
Do I break down sometimes? Yes. The Target home decor section is a manipulative siren. But I’m getting there and I’m trying. That’s what matters.
Over to you! Do you find a minimalist mindset attractive? Or are you all for eclecticism? Let me know in the comments, I would LOVE to hear! 🙂
Thank you so much for reading, I love you!