if I write long enough (and you read long enough) you will notice that I love to try whatever everyone else is doing. Not always… i will never try a fad diet. I’ve lost nearly 40 pounds so far without consulting Beyonce, so I think I’m good there. And you’ll never catch me on the leading edge (and probably not even the trailing end) of a fashion trend. In a world of Fashionistas I’m a Contra. But when “everybody” starts doing something that catches my fancy, I have to try it. I might only try it long enough to learn that I don’t really want to try it, but I have to try to try. My sister was right… I’m a copycat. Lately I’ve learned about the “new” minimalist thing that’s all the rage, and that immediately appealed to me. It’s been on my mind.
…my personal journey into minimalism began with a dresser drawer. I didn’t organize it…I slept in it. I was an Army brat, born in another country to parents who would shortly be heading back home to the states. A crib was an unnecessary expense, so they put me in a drawer. I’ve been told they didn’t close it.
My parents, like many of their generation (and almost everyone from the generation before) were accidental minimalists. When they had their children the two-income home was not yet common. Mom stayed home, dad worked. So many people today seem to think that times have changed, and now two incomes are necessary for the support of a family. But it’s the expectations that have changed, not the economics. It was possible to have four kids on one income back then because four kids meant 8 pairs of shoes (one every day, one dress for each kid) that Mom picked out, and we accepted. The shoes were analogous of everything. We wore hand-me-down clothes, we shared bedrooms, we economized everywhere. The main cleaning product in our home was elbow grease (which is as plentiful today as it ever was).
I grew up with the words “waste not, want not” in my ears, and it stuck. There is a world of minimalism in those four words, but there is also it’s opposite… a tendency to hoard. That had potential to fill my life with a load of things I don’t need, but life intervened.
I won’t go into it now, but something occurred a few years ago that caused me to lose most of my stuff. This might seem like a good mental exercise to expand your way of thinking about your things: imagine you are told you have 6 hours to pick one carload of your stuff to keep, and everything else must go. That happened. Instant minimalism. I would NOT recommend that to anyone. I lost some things I would much rather have kept. But I also lost all the clutter. All of it. Gone. Poof! Most of it has never been replaced. Some things I replaced because I needed them. A couple of things I replaced because I needed to stop resenting the person who made the decisions that caused me to lose them.
For me the challenge of minimalism is in the future stuff, and in the “stuff” that isn’t actually stuff… the stuff in my head. I could still do some purging in the house, and I probably will, but most of what is there will stay, for now.
I have way too many clothes, but that’s because I got fat. The big pile of skinny clothes might look unused, but I use those every day, for inspiration. And as I shrink into a new size, the fatter size gets chucked out immediately. I’ve always avoided trendy clothes, so those skinny clothes I wore a couple of years ago have some life in them yet, and by keeping them I avoid having to replace them later… minimalism of another color. I choose to shop less, spend less. I recently started reading about “capsule wardrobes”. I have capsules divided by size.
I did notice some shoes that had no business being in my closet. Cute shoes that kill my feet. Fugly shoes that don’t kill my feet. I got rid of those. I’m finding things to purge. Old cell phones! I need to put those on my list. I’ve been meaning to take them to the cell phone repair place to recycle… a project for this weekend. I’m not going to do any official challenges, or games, or lists, but I’m glad other people are doing them. It keeps this on my mind. It keeps me thinking in terms of “less”.