I discovered the concept of Minimalism right after a nasty divorce. The very first Christmas after leaving that douche bag was the eye opening moment where I realized I needed to unload a bunch of stuff, mainly because a lot of it held memories of him. This realization led me to do a google search about getting rid of all my stuff…which led me to a few blogs on Minimalism…which led me to deliver 16 boxes of stuff to a local charity. I got rid of almost everything! It felt incredibly freeing and I declared myself a “Minimalist”.
It’s been ten years since that first major decluttering. Since then I’ve managed to maintain the following cycle of events:
- accumulate stuff
- read blog post making me think I would be happier with less stuff
- feel guilty for allowing so much stuff to accumulate again
- declutter a bunch of stuff
- feel happier because I’m going to finally be successful at being a “Minimalist”
- rebuy a bunch of different stuff
My initial foray into Minimalism made me happier because it was cathartic. Getting rid of all that stuff from my former marriage was symbolic of getting rid of my ex and starting over. But the process of maintaining Minimalism since then has led me down a guilt inducing failure cycle.
Recently, I was binge reading a bunch of blog posts on how to have a minimalist home and one suggested that if you chose to have rugs in your home you should try to get solid color rugs, as rugs with patterns create visual clutter. After reading this article I realized that my home is the exact opposite of every recommendation in those posts. I LOVE rugs with patterns. I love curtains and art. I love having family photos on my wall. I love keeping items that trigger happy memories. I like having a year’s worth of toilet paper in my closet and I like having the option of wearing a different shirt every day. All of these things combined make me very “Un-minimalist”.
I finally realized that the reason I suck at being a “Minimalist” is because I’m not one! I don’t have to declare myself a “Minimalist” in order to practice a few core concepts that add value to my life. That’s probably a simple realization for a lot of people but sometimes I’m a slow learner. The Minimalism bloggers I follow aren’t writing articles with intention to make me feel like a failure because I like home decor. It’s my inability to accept myself as I am, my need to identify with a label that leads me to feel like a failure. These bloggers have simply found happiness in their journey and I need to find happiness in mine.
My tendency is to believe that, if a concept like Minimalism can change other people’s lives and make them happier then it will do the same for me, and then when it doesn’t, it’s because I’m doing it wrong or failing at it in some way. I started this blog to document my journey to simplify my life and learn to prioritize what matters to me. Decluttering my identity is part of this journey as well.
It’s taken me a few years to realize that I don’t have to identify with the entirety of a concept to benefit from certain aspects of it.
I love the concepts of Minimalism. I love having fewer trinkets to dust and love that having fewer items in my home allows me to feel more organized. I strive to place value on what matters and only allowing items into my home that provide said values is important to me. I also like that by practicing these concepts I’m inclined to save money and time. I’m not giving up on the concept of Minimalism, but I am giving up on my need to identify as one.