The past couple of days have been lows for me. It’s been tempting to just use all my free time to nap or binge-watch tv shows. But I decided to put this time to good use and write another blogpost on something I have become increasingly interested in over the past few years.
When I first looked into minimalism, I wasn’t impressed with what I saw. The stark white on white photos of almost empty homes made me feel like I was in a futuristic hospital. Kind of like in the movie, Bicentennial Man. The one where Robin Williams is a robot that eventually has an existential crisis? There’s a few scenes in there where his master’s family members are each in the hospital. That exact hospital is just what came to mind every time I thought of minimalism.
I had a hard time picturing myself living in that kind of space.
The concept of minimalism was more attractive to me. The idea of living with less, eliminating the excess, not being burdened by things, and of course having less to clean up! I was already pretty familiar with these ideas.
Being at school in Hawaii and having lived in a dorm the size of a bus, I learned quickly what I could live without. I pared down on a lot of my belongings while there, and when I went home, I did the same thing. After that, it just became easier and easier to let go of things that I had been keeping around for years.
And I have’t reached a point yet where I’m satisfied. I still think I have too much stuff. I’m waiting to reach that point where I feel like I have enough. That may take awhile. We are so brainwashed into thinking we need all this stuff for survival, for convenience, for entertainment, for aesthetic appeal. Truthfully, we can live without most of it. The gadgets, the knick knacks, the “tchotchkes”(as my husband likes to call them).
Last year, I convinced my husband I needed a breadmaker. I really wanted to be a real homemaker (bahaha!) and I felt like a breadmaker was a sure way to prove that I was killing it as a new mom. We spent around $90 for it. Not too bad compared to other ones I had looked at. And it works. It makes bread just like a breadmaker’s supposed to.
But you know how many times I’ve used it since we bought it last year? 3 or 4 times. And honestly, it doesn’t really feel like it’s more convenient. I can only make 1 loaf at a time and I still have to clean up afterward. Plus it takes up more than 1/4 of the space of the bottom shelf in my pantry. And I have a tiny pantry, so that’s a waste of space for something I’ve only used 4 times in two years! Also, maybe it’s just me, but bread baked in an oven just smells and tastes better. My breadmaker bread just doesn’t have that magic crusty goodness that good oven-baked bread has.
So do I have purchaser’s regret? Yes, yes I do. And it happens with numerous smaller items that we buy. Or are gifted. Sometimes things just seem to magically appear until I’m convinced that there is a clutter fairy flying around leaving junk in my house. Oh, you have one too? Huh…craziness.
I’m constantly finding things in my home that just make me think, “Why?” Why do I have all this stuff? What is it really doing for me? I can honestly say a whole lot of it is doing nothing for me. Maybe taking up space? Making unwanted messes?
The more I ask myself these questions, the more convinced I am that minimalism is the simplest answer to having a tidy and organized home. After all, the less you have, the less there is to clean, the more storage space you have, the easier it is to find things, easier to put away, and I could just go on!
Minimalism is for Everyone
Before you spam me with comments about why you can’t be a minimalist, give me a chance to convince you.
Let’s say that to be a minimalist means whatever you need it to mean. It means minimizing at the pace and extent that you feel comfortable. I don’t think we should limit minimalism to the people that go to the extremes of downsizing to a tiny house, only have one personal set of dishes, and a 5 clothing piece wardrobe. That is commendable and impressive, but it is NOT for everyone.
For me, minimalism is about editing your life and getting rid of things that don’t add value or meaning to it.
It’s about having less so you can enjoy and appreciate the things you do have.
It’s learning how to use our money wisely and learning to control impulses.
It’s getting rid of the distraction of “stuff” so you can focus on what matters most to you.
It’s letting go of our need to impress others with what and how much we have.
It’s finding healthy ways to cope with our insecurities instead of filling an emotional void with things.
It’s spending less time inside with our toys and gadgets and more time outside and with the people we love.
Those are things that I think we all could benefit from. Certainly, it’s not easy. It’s definitely a huge change from what society preaches to us–that we’ll be happier if we have more. Sometimes I can’t believe we buy into that. But we do and we wonder why it’s not working.
I dare you to adopt minimalism into your life. To whatever extent you feel comfortable. Maybe it means paring down your wardrobe. Maybe it means getting rid of the set of dishes you never use. Or your breadmaker… Maybe it just means recognizing the value of the things you have and appreciating them more. Find a way for it to fit into your lifestyle. I’ve said it before. I don’t believe in one-size-fits all. We don’t have to have houses that look like sterile hospitals.
But give the concept of minimalism a shot. You might discover something freeing about it. Just as I am discovering.
And if you’re not comfortable with taking on this challenge,
party poopers rest assured. You can still keep a tidy house even while maintaining ownerships of your belongings. This post is for those who are seeking the simplest, easiest, surest way of having a tidy home.
The fact is: the less you have, the less time you’ll spend tidying and fretting and fuming about messes, and the more time you’ll have to enjoy the things and people you love.
Simplicity is oh, so sweet.
What are your thoughts on minimalism?