There’s a lot about minimalism that appeals to me. There’s the not buying things. The money I used to spend on buying clothes and projecting this false image of me as someone who is on top of her sartorial life, is now channeled towards paying down debt and traveling. I like the idea of not owning a huge home where I’d feel like I’d have to then buy all the furniture and things to make it feel and look like a home. There’s the idea that I don’t have to spend so much energy to heat and cool more space than I can ever need. I like the aspect of not spending my time maintaining the upkeep of things. Things that need to be dusted, stored, and packed when I move.
I have stopped clothes shopping for fun for about two years now because I wanted to channel most of my disposable income into paying down debt and traveling. I used to really enjoy clothes shopping but after I stopped, I found that my life didn’t change. Instead of being a happy girl who loves to shop, I am now a happy girl who doesn’t shop. I didn’t look critically at my ginormous closet with my ridiculous shoe collection. Now that I’m moving to a place with a significantly smaller closet, I was forced to really look at the stack of shoe boxes storing boots I haven’t worn in about 3 years. I had to look at the dozens of scratched up pairs of stilettos that I used to wear to bar hop on weekends from another lifetime. As I’m frantically packing, I finally had to admit that I own over 200 DVDs and have seen maybe 10 of them in the last 10 years it took for me to build the collection. I came face to face with the guilt that motivated me to keep all the stuffed animals and snow globes and other knick knacks that I’ve been gifted by people in my life. A lot of these gifts I’ve kept not because I like the items but because I love the people who have given me these things. The space these things were occupying isn’t reflective of how I feel for the people.
In my desperation to fit my life into boxes, I’ve let go the false assumption that I need to keep the stuffed animals or the snow globes that light up in neon colors to prove that there was love. That I don’t have to keep everything to honor the people who gave it to me. And that as much as I thought American History X was an amazing film, I will not ever want to re-watch it. The same goes for Requiem for a Dream. And Heat. And Goodfellas. That my indoor grill and chocolate fondue set have been moved to new apartments more than they have been used. In the last two weeks, I’ve gotten rid of at least 60 DVDs, threw out five pairs of shoes, gave about 15 of my snow globes to my coworker whose kids love them, and started many Goodwill bags. And it feels good.
My friend Ashley published a collection of essays about Minimalism that was a great companion and inspiration to me during this month of paring down. If you’re looking to simplify your environment and creating your own meaning with the space that is cleared, might I suggest you purchase her essays? It’s a whopping $1.99 on Kindle. It gets bonus points for not taking up space on your bookshelf.
Questions: What is your relationship like with your things? What is your favorite possession?