If someone says the word “minimalism” to you, what comes to mind?
Open spaces with lots of white? Marble accents with hints of black and gray? A sole mac laptop on a desk with a cup of coffee nearby, perhaps? Rooms bright, hopeful, and almost empty? That’s immediately what comes to mind for me, at least. Simplicity. Simplicity in a form so pure, so delicate, so freeing and inviting.
Growing up I was your average tomboy. I liked sports, being outside, and most importantly, Harry Potter. I was never the poster child for keeping my room clean, but material things were never the most important thing to me. What I had I treasured, and quite honestly, when I visit my childhood room, I still really dig that finger skateboard (you know the one.) When I discussed this blog with my mom, she even mentioned that I enjoyed simplicity as a child. I never collected anything, other than a handful of Harry Potter paraphernalia.
Over time, stuff just….built up. It built up to the point where I didn’t enjoy being in my own bedroom because it felt overwhelming. I’m sure many people can relate to that- owning and accepting items just because they may come in handy some day. Truth be told, I even found myself contemplating buying a storage unit JUST to shove all my crap in. That’s when I started realizing that I just need to purge myself of unnecessary items. I’ll be the first to tell you I have never once used those note cards from 5th grade even though there was a possibility they’d come in handy! And no, that’s not an attempt at humor….Oi.
Fast forward through all the stress and anxiety highlighted in the first “chapter.” (If you haven’t yet read the first installment, please do! It’ll offer some good insight why you are reading this today.) One day I just had enough with all the material possessions suffocating me, so I decided to utilize my day off and watch the documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things, on Netflix.
It takes you on the journey that two men, Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, took from being wealthy corporate materialists to only keeping, and using, items that bring value to their lives. It’s a documentary that I highly recommend.
That day, I went up to my room, filled a garbage bag with trash that I had laying around, and went through my extensive T-shirt collection to donate about 40 shirts I haven’t worn in YEARS. I even threw away my torn and stained pants from my time as a server. Gasp! To me, it was the most glorious beginning. I felt so at peace when I looked at a room that was just depleted of senseless objects. That day I sat down and made this blog (however I didn’t even begin writing until about a month later…I mean, what did I have to say after just an afternoon of inspiration?)
After I was feeling satisfied for the start of my room, I sat down and compiled a list of what minimalism means to me. As you can see from the picture below, it does not solely mean ridding myself of material objects, but transforming my overall life into something that has a purpose day in and day out.
Obviously this cannot be done in one day or even a month. It takes time. I came up with the idea to do “Cleaning Saturday’s” with my sister. We focus on one section of our (her) house and work on only leaving behind things we find value in. Today’s task: the desk in the midst of the kitchen. It was piled high with expired fliers, junk mail, old work documents, and everything else you can think of. After an hour or two of sorting through piles of papers, we accomplished the biggest eyesore in the house. Right now I am sitting there typing this, feeling a complete sense of calm and focus. It’s truly amazing what one little difference can make.
Like the muscles of the body, everything in life is connected. When one part of your life feels in disarray, that feeling will trickle down into the most bizarre places. What does minimizing my possessions have to do with my diet? With how I use technology?
E V E R Y T H I N G
Don’t worry, throughout the next few chapters I will break down the next six items on my “What Minimalism Means To Me” chart. I will continue to detail how ridding myself of material goods leads me to have a more fulfilling life. I am no means an expert at this, but I will not stop until I feel that peace I so desperately wish to find.
Until next time,