I suppose you could say that my minimalism journey started long ago; I have always enjoyed organizing and tidying, as well as letting go of items that no longer serve me. Had I not kept up with paring down my wardrobe as time went on, I might by this point have thousands of items! (Yes, I used to really enjoy shopping.) So the journey started, in a way, with clothing.
Then, a few years ago, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (book review coming later), in which she encourages you to keep only those things which “spark joy” (or are necessary to your life, which means they spark joy in a different way—because you are grateful for their usefulness to you). That book sent me into a tidying, organizing, letting go frenzy, and I threw out, donated, or gave away many items. But over time, in part because of our consumerist culture, things started to creep back in…
This year is when I really started to absorb the concept of minimalism, although I had previously watched The Minimalists’ documentary Minimalism. This time, it was YouTube videos as well as The Minimalists podcast that prompted me to try out minimalism as a lifestyle, and to understand that it is about more than getting rid of stuff. I am still working on paring down my items to what is essential (for me, personally), which I find to be a fun process. But I am also thinking more about what I want out of life and how I can help others around me.
Of course, I still get tempted by sales and pretty things in the store, I just try to go less often and consider purchases more fully before I make them: Do I really want this? Do I need this? How much work will it take to care for this item? How hard will it be to find a new home for it if I eventually decide to let it go? We must also consider things like the working conditions of the people who make our products, and the toll that production and shipping take on the environment.
Coming back around to clothing, these days I try to shop more intentionally, by looking for gaps in my wardrobe and filling them only when I find the exact piece I have decided to add. I have somewhat of a “capsule wardrobe” (more on that in a future post), which means that I have a color palette that I stick to, so everything goes with everything else. It makes it very easy to get dressed in the morning, especially if I pick out my outfit the night before, which I try to do regularly.
Ultimately, I find that I am more happy and less stressed when my life isn’t cluttered with so many things. I’m not saying that I don’t like material items or don’t want to have any, but I want each of them to serve a purpose in my life so that I am not surrounded by random objects that I have to deal with time and time again, even though I don’t particularly need or want them. I like having the space in my brain to focus on other things, instead of constantly worrying about what I own, or could own in the future. I’m not perfect, and sometimes more things come into my home than leave it, but I believe that I’m on my way to living the life I want, with the help of minimalism.