I don’t like to get too far into a new concept/religion or declare myself a supporter of a cause without looking at the true definition or meaning behind it. When I was asking my friend, Google, about minimalism this morning, both Google and Merriam Webster kept wanting to tell me about art. Not my favorite topic. But with some searching I found this definition that made me go – That’s it!
When you call a person a minimalist, you’re describing their interest in keeping things very simple. A minimalist prefers the minimal amount or degree of something… except when it comes to dogs. You can never have too many dogs.
Okay, I might have added that last part. But I do love nice clean rooms, organized spaces, empty counters, and a nice clear workspace. After our family room re-do in Dexter, Marty put the furniture back in place while I was at work. Couch, chair, two tables and lamps, TV and TV stand. When I came home and walked in, I had a euphoric feeling. “I love it!” I gushed. “Let’s leave it like this.” There was not a picture on the wall, not a remote control or magazine on the table. No blankets, dog toys, iPads, or (gasp!) books. Suffice it to say that it was short lived, but I still remember the feeling.
Let’s face it. You can’t live like that. Actually, I should say I can’t live like that, nor can most people. I have run across a few people in my life that apparently do – or give the appearance that they do. Once when I took a mis-delivered piece of mail to my next door neighbor, she invited me in. She then apologized for the state of her spotless house and grabbed a hardcover book off of the coffee table (the only thing non-stationary in the room) and tucked it into a drawer.
I’m just looking for some balance. I l don’t want to get rid of my library of books, my collection of puzzles and games, my tub of yarn and crochet hooks that I use once every five years or so. But I would like to pull into our garage and park beside my husband without having to employ my non-existent gymnastic and yoga skills to get out of the car and into the house. I’d also like to be able to get the Christmas decorations out of the storage room without creating enough chaos to cause a divorce.
But another driver of my minimalist goal is to take my focus off of material things and put it onto the important people and experiences in my life. I have spent HOURS of my life shopping and purchasing things that have caused my debt, lost their appeal after a time, and now weigh me down because nobody else wants them and I don’t want them to end up in a landfill. I just want to be more thoughtful about “stuff” and as my new minimalist friends say, “live purposefully.”
So my first step – and a fairly easy one – is to eliminate some stuff in my life. I’ve decided that I am going to get rid of at least one thing each day that is not bringing joy to my life. That seems to be the bar by which people measure things these days. (Note to self: don’t forget to watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix)
I’ve got myself a buddy who has agreed to join me in my a-purge-a-day endeavor, and we check in with each other by text. We’ve made it through four days so far. I’ve eliminated eight coffee mugs, 2 jar candles, three framed wall pictures and everything from inside my car that was not related to traveling in a car. My buddy has purged ten year old wart remover remedy, wallpaper paste (she has no wallpaper in her house), two lamps (that she replaced) and has taken a swipe at her closet. She clearly has some low hanging fruit there, but I admire her initiative to donate perfectly good lamps instead of keeping them because “they might come in handy someday” (a mantra often repeated by my mother). And the closet attempt? Wow! That’s an emotional ride that I will be putting off for a while. Oh all the different sizes I’ll see!
There are many different facets to pursuing minimalism. Some I will embrace, others not so much. I am determined about the reduction of “stuff” and hope I can make it 361 more days. Along that path I’m sure I’ll have hard decisions and maybe some tears. (Am I being dramatic? Ask me on day 345.) But on those days, I plan to hug a loved one, phone an old friend or do something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and have been putting off. YOLO
… does anybody say that anymore? Upcoming blog topic: the staying power of sayings. Those that are timeless, and those that are a flash in the proverbial pan.