For more about two years, I have been minimizing the things that I own. While in the throes of getting rid of stuff, I stumbled upon some articles about minimalists. I would not say that I am the definition of a minimalist, as some apply it, because that is too extreme for me. I have modified the lifestyle to meet my needs.
As a minimalist, I am not interested in being able to pack everything I own in a sandwich bag or wearing the same three outfits for the rest of my life. My approach to being a minimalist is to get rid of all the extra junk that clutters my house, my mind, and my life.
This includes the clothes that I “might wear” but year after year, I never do.
Buying the children toys that they do not ask for because I think the toy is cool or it reminds me of my childhood. Every single toy that I have every purchased for either of those reasons always goes unused. If they ask, I buy. Funny, they do not ask for nearly as much as I once bought.
My version of a minimalist means that if I order something online and find the existing item before it arrives, I return the new purchase. I no longer let unopened items sit around the house because it “only cost a few dollars”. As time has progressed, I go longer spans between orders and my “per order total” is a lot less than in the past.
Even better, my approach to being a minimalist is to stay at home. I do not go to the store to look around. I go to the store when I need something. Actually, I go to the store after a week or two of trying to figure out a way around a new purchase. I ask myself, do I really need a new pot or is there something in the cabinet that I can use instead. Most often, I find something that works or I move along to my next project and realize I never needed the item at all. I have even started figuring out ways to repair or re-purpose household items, which has been fun because I learn things that I never knew I wanted to know.
My version of a minimalist means that everything has a place so I have to look for very few things. I know exactly where everything is. Well, most of the time, I am still a work in progress. No matter, getting rid of the extra clutter over the course of a few years, makes me feel like I can breathe.
One thing that I do completely embrace from the “true” minimalists is the idea that the items that I own, I love. After decluttering my house, for the first time in over 12 years, I finally felt at home. In the past, I appreciated having a house but I was indifferent to it. I finally feel comfortable in my home. I no longer wonder what I can buy or paint or change so that I like the house better. I have come to realize that “stuff” was suffocating me and the need to add or change was just a bandage for the real problem.
I did not start out to be a minimalist but I have come to embrace this way of living. The ability to enjoy what I have and spend time with the things that I love is freeing. This way of being is better for me than constantly striving to get more. Read “Life in Piece of Bankruptcy” a four part series, to find out how I weathered that experience.