My personal journey into minimalism began with a dresser drawer.

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”.

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17 thoughts on “My personal journey into minimalism began with a dresser drawer.

  1. I love, love, love this post! I am not a minimalist, but I’m far from cluttered. Clutter makes me crazy! I believe in the power of good Feng Shui and as such I clear a lot this time of year (New Years’ until it’s done — every closet, every drawer, everything!) I also clear all year.
    And I completely agree that a single income can be enough to provide for a family, as we are living proof. But, we don’t take elaborate vacations, or shop as a hobby, or do any number of spending that others do. We have a simple life, and we LOVE it.
    Although we’ve had tough times and I do think “basic living” is more costly, our way of life is much less complicated and time together more frequent. I know this because I’ve done both.
    I’d put my baby in a drawer if I wasn’t stayin, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely right! It’s a matter of making choices and setting priorities. A single income can be enough if you’re not set on keeping up with the Joneses. I sold real estate for many years and it’s amazing how many young families “needed” full baths attached to each of their children’s bedrooms. Seriously?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Or my favorite, Jolene, was being involved in a massive kitchen construction project with all the bells and whistles: granite, stainless steel, top-notch appliances, etc. for a woman who proudly announced she doesn’t cook, she “heats.” I spent much of my career biting my tongue as you can imagine. As to the cleaning, of course you’re right.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. LOL I’ll be honest, the best cooks I’ve known have had rather small kitchens. It seems unfortunate, but that’s how it is. Mine is ample.
        Twice we’ve had 2.5 baths, and both times, the childrens’ bathrooms have been a sore spot of disgust, contempt, and contention!
        I can only imagine the tongue-biting you did.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post. I am a true minimalist at heart. Less is more and keep it simple. I don’t quite get to live my full fantasy, however, but the ideals are there. When the kids were small I actually had a giant clear plastic tub that I would put them in, sometimes with a bunch of cheerios, sometimes with some water toys. We’d park them next to us and they’d spend hours playing. LOL, no doubt these days putting babies in a plastic tub is frowned on even worse than tucking them in a drawer, but it was the best playpen and crib and toy box and bath thing ever. It wasn’t like we tucked them in a closet or anything 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A Contra?! What the hell’s a “CONTRA”?! I’m not a fashionista, so am I a “CONTRA”? Oh dear, sounds a tad too classy for moi!!! I’ve never slept in a dresser drawer myself (or at least I don’t THINK I have! Who knows where my parents could have “bedded me”, as an innocent, unsuspecting child! I COULD have slept in a drawer for all I know!) You’re too funny! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had two apple boxes nailed together for a high chair, All of us kids fought over it. If I don’t use something in a year, it goes out. I got rid of all my good clothes when I retired. Now I dress in my favorites old stuff everyday. I guess when it wears out, I’ll go to Goodwill and find some more soft old clothes. I never want to dress up again!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m with you on that! I have a job that allows me to dress casual (except on Wednesday, when the dress code is still pretty casual) and I never want to give it up. My current struggle is that my size x jeans that fit me (and no, we’re not going to solve for x) are getting threadbare and I can’t seem to get down to x – 1. I guess no one ever gets beyond x, because none of my thrift stores ever have any. I may be wearing pajamas to work next month.

      Liked by 1 person

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