07 Mar Adopting Minimalism
For the last few months I have been incredibly restless, the sort of restlessness that has me looking up ticket prices for our family to go explore a new country with no real plan of what we’d do when we get there. At one stage, I even considered selling everything and just road tripping for the next few months – our work lifestyle lets us do that, so why aren’t we doing that. Why aren’t we doing MORE?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that what I was looking for is an environment without any distractions. A place where it was just us and our kids. Sure, we’d have work but without so many distractions – so much clutter – I’d be better at this juggle. And then it hit me, it’s clutter – life’s clutter – that was distracting me.
We work, play and live at home and while I try to get rid of anything that I haven’t used or worn in the last 3 months, my husband is a closeted hoarder. Add to the mix two dogs and two kids under 4 years old, and our home can seem a little crazy – well, it does for my own OCD tendencies.
For the longest time, I have fought the nagging urge to spring clean the entire house, getting rid of everything as I go, but after watching a documentary on Netflix called, ‘The Minimalists’ my urge became a need and before I knew it, I was throwing out 14 foundations, that top I love but never wore and makeup brushes that just added to my chores. It was liberating reclaiming my space by getting rid of everything that no longer served a purpose and only keeping what adds value to my day and life.
The cleaning didn’t stop there though. Next, I was in the kids’ room where I was brutal and found myself tossing out bags and bags of toys for donating. There was nothing wrong with the toys, other than the fact that the kids didn’t play with them. They have so many other toys that they get more joy from, so it made sense giving the unused toys to someone who would appreciate them more.
My kitchen couldn’t escape my vengeance either. That juicer I bought for that fad diet which only lasted 2 days? Gone! The expired spices, meds and empty boxes of plasters? Gone! I realized that if I had to ask myself will I ever use this? I probably wouldn’t, which made it so much easier to decide what stays and goes.
Also gone are those little boxes and drawers piled up with crap that you have no idea where it should go. If it didn’t serve a purpose, it’s gone. Simple.
I feel like the simplicity of minimalism has been lost and it’s become another eyeroll-inducing buzz word or even a style. When people think of minimalism, they picture a house that looks aesthetically pleasing, perfectly styled in monochromatic furniture that features a pop of colour every now and then, but after watching the documentary and then listening to their podcast, I realized that I completely misunderstood what minimalism is and perhaps it’s something I could get behind.
Truth is, I still live a life of excess – I still have more makeup than anyone could possibly get through in one lifetime, a bookshelf littered with hundreds of books, and there are still toys strewn across the lounge floor, but I do feel that I have made progress by getting rid of the things that no longer added value to my life. I am not sentimental – I do not keep the kids clothes from when they were small, I don’t care for ornaments that gather dust, so why was I allowing myself to stock pile “stuff” in other parts of my life.?
This can even apply to social media.
Ever find yourself scrolling through your timeline to see another post from Negative Nancy, you let out a sigh, maybe an eyeroll and think “Gosh Nancy, great way to ruin my Friday vibe?” You probably think about unfollowing her but never do. Here’s a revolutionary thought; DO IT! Nancy is probably too consumed with her own life – as we all are – to even notice that you have unfollowed her and even if she does, so what? It’s up to you to keep yourself free of clutter that brings you down and leaves you distracted. Only you hold the power to reclaim your space.
So, do I consider myself a minimalist? No. But I do appreciate the approach and will continue learning more about it, to see how else I can free myself from the clutter of life. I still have a few more areas of my life that need to be cleared out, but I already feel better and more motivated.
I have also decided that instead of trying to fix my restlessness by buying more, I am going to save up for us to plan a quick getaway in April and then a week-long break in July. I figured that I want to live a life of less excess, by DOING and experiencing more. As I said, one of the advantages of our work is that it goes wherever we are, so it’s time to switch up our office for the day and go explore new sceneries.