So, minimalism. What's the big deal? Why am I so excited? This possibly sounds silly but I feel like it is going to change my life in the best way possible. It may sound even more dorky when I tell you I feel this way because I watched a Netflix documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things. You know what though, I don't care if people think I'm dorky; especially if it helps someone else. This documentary just said all of the right things to me and I am so excited I feel like I could burst into tears.
I think I am realizing that I have a minimalist and a hoarder living in my brain. Maybe I'll start this whole thing by taking a few steps back and talking about my past relationship with things.
I don't know how it started but I have always been very attached to my things. As a child I never wanted to get rid of anything and this definitely continued into my teenage years and adult life. I remember getting upset when my Mom gave some of her books away. HER books...not even my books! My mom really liked to get rid of things and it made me very agitated and upset when she tried to get me to join in. When she finally made me get rid of some of my very important things such as old magazines and literal garbage from Austrailia (yes...I went to Austrailia and saved a bunch of my garbage instead of throwing it out), I convinced Ivan's Dad to let me store it in his attic in case I might someday want to look at these magazines, use them for something or, you know, admire my Austrailian garbage. I feel like I should point out that these things are all still up there in the attic. I haven't needed that garbage once, can you believe it?
Up until a few years ago I also had the habit of saying yes whenever someone asked me if I wanted their old stuff that they were getting rid of. Absolutely any craft supply was hoarded, old, neat looking stuff was a definite yes and pretty much anything that I might someday use came home with me. I couldn't understand why people were getting rid of these things. Oh, and don't even get me started on thrift shopping.
Fast forward a bit and I started to understand. Our house was packed with so much stuff! Don't worry, it's very far from an episode of Hoarders over here (is that even still a show?) but I started to realize that I didn't want more things.
I think that was the first minimalist thought that entered my mind. I was quickly able to curb to need to take other people's junk. I became a really picky thrift shopper (and just a picky shopper in general) to the point of being able to talk myself out of buying pretty much anything I didn't really need almost all of the time. I realized that I didn't have a hard time keeping new things out of the house...it was getting rid of things I had already accumulated.
People who don't share this desire to hold on to objects may not get what I'm saying. For me, letting go of things can be almost painful. Obviously, not everything is painful to get rid of but I have definitely gone through purges where I really want to get rid of the items but it's so hard that I just need to get them out of the house before I can change my mind.
Getting rid of lots of our stuff isn't a new thing for Ivan and I by any means. I personally have let go of tons of things in the last few years that I definitely would not have parted with in the past. Ivan has been talking about being way more minimal for a long time but I always saw minimalism as something that was going to force me to say goodbye to things I really liked just so our house would feel a little less cluttered.
As I mentioned already, the documentary spoke to me in just the right way to make me realize that this could be the change I've been looking for. I realized that I have been spending a lot of time just thinking about all of the stuff we have to get rid of. Our basement full of physical possessions is taking up so much space in my mind. I've also realized that I feel the best when we have just cleaned and there isn't excess clutter around. I've started imagining our piano with nothing on it (something Ivan's been talking about forever) and feeling really relaxed.
I guess it's confusing for me because I like to look at pictures of other people's homes that are full of knick knacks and things they love and display. I think collections are awesome and I love cute little figures of characters I like. I am realizing though that just because I like to look at pictures of those things and visit houses that are like that doesn't mean that's what I want my house to look like. I am starting to realize that to feel truly happy, I need to look around a room and not be distracted by things on every surface. I think so anyways. We'll see.
Ivan and I totally have a ton of minimalist tendencies already. I didn't realize that's what they were until I started reading more about minimalism. I feel like we are basically minimalists who just happen to have a ton of stuff in our house. We don't have many desires to have the latest, greatest, newest things. We have become generally good about making purchases mindfully. We live very much within our means and prioritize saving. Blah, blah, blah. All of this is just to say that I feel like we have been moving in this direction for quite some time now and aggressively clearing out our stuff is the next step. Like I said, I'm really exicted and can't wait to see what else this leads to.
Have you read Marie Kondo's book 'The life-changing magic of tidying up'? It helped me tons on the practical side when I got rid of sooo many things: http://www.magicaldaydream.com/2015/08/tidying-tips-from-marie-kondos-life-changing-magic-of-tidying-up.html (The post links to an old post: I took pictures of everything I threw away, which was A LOT).ReplyDelete
I haven't read it but I've heard of it. I will check out your post! I'm thinking when I get to more sentimental stuff having photos of the items I'm getting rid of might help. So far it's kitchen stuff that I'm not attached to so I don't need photos of the 3 spatulas I donated. I do wish I took before photos though!Delete
Ahh I can relate so much! I get so attached to things and I have kept a fair amount of literal rubbish because I'm too sentimental to throw it away, haha. I'm excited to see your minimalism journey!ReplyDelete
Thank you! Yep, I totally get that. I also keep lots of things 'just in case'.Delete
Yes! Just in case. Ugh. I also feel drawn to pictures of houses full of cool stuff. But in my own house, I'm the one who would have to clean that 'stuff' and not having a clean space makes me anxious! My husband is huge into tech and he orders so much online, which means tons of packaging, which also makes me crazy. And then, it's like every flat surface has stuff on it. Im going to queue up that documentary for our next movie night haha!Delete
I'm loving this trend toward minimalism recently. There are tons of Youtube channels out there about tiny houses and people living in RVs or travel trailers. Also that book by Marie Kondo really "sparked joy" with a lot of people, and I loved it too. I still have a lot to go through, and am loving this slow paring down process. Hopefully you'll keep sharing as you go as well. :)ReplyDelete
I think it's a really great thing. Focussing on the things that matter most to you feels so right! I'm doing a slow pare down too. I feel like it's going to happen in layers or waves. Get rid of some stuff, see if I use the stuff I keep, get rid of more stuff. I will definitely share more.Delete
I just watched that documentary, too, and I'm feeling similarly inspired. I'm already fairly minimalist compared to the American status quo, and I've spent the past few years paring down as a way of inching toward my dream of living in a tiny house. But I do battle my (in this case) conflicting desires for simplicity and beauty. I love my vibrant, colorful, busy patterned rugs, curtains, throw pillows, paintings, and book collection. I love decor, basically. Is that at odds with the image of a minimalist living in a stark white room with a mattress on the floor? Probably, but I'm working on a personalized definition that fits my contradictory nature. Best of luck with your process! :)ReplyDelete
Same here. Tiny houses are so neat. We have music equipment like drums so I dont think a tiny house will ever be in our future but I love the idea.Delete
I think minimalism looks different for everyone. For you it could include all those things you mentioned if they add a lot of joy to your life! I still love colour and it will always find its way in because it makes me so happy.
Good luck to you too!
Yes!!! *huge fist pump* I'm also embarking on a journey towards minimalism. I had been feeling incredibly overwhelmed and hemmed in but I couldn't tell where the frustration was coming from. After reading a bit about minimalism and also listening to The Minimalists podcast I realised that I was feeling strangled by all my stuff, and my shopping habits were making me miserable. I can't wait to read more about your journey. And if you ever want someone to bounce ideas off, feel free to get in touch with me!ReplyDelete
So glad you started blogging again. I have followed your blog off and on for year and I always loved reading your fun posts and seeing your colorful art and photos. I can relate about having an emotional connection to the things I own. I keep trying to downsize but it gets painful. I look forward to watching that documentary! Keep up the good workReplyDelete