Want to skip reading? Scroll to the bottom to see the photos and links.
Minimalism – What’s that?
Minimalism: a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity (source)
Hoard: to accumulate for preservation, future use, etc., in a hidden orcarefully guarded place (source)
I don’t often get “deep” or very personal on my blog. I try to stick to promoting the things that I strongly believe in – sustainable living and thrifting. However, the subject of minimalism has been weighing on my mind and heart heavily lately. Why? Because I am the furthest thing from a minimalist. In fact, I’ve even been called a hoarder by my husband and best friend. Recent moments of self-reflection have led me to the root of this issue – 1) growing up with a lower household income than most, 2) not having a good understanding of finances, and 3) fear of never reaching my potential, fear of losing things that I love, and fear of never attaining things that I want.
Despite not having a lot, I always felt secure. When the security was gone, these issues – MY issues – rose to the surface. Here’s how that all worked.
Physical items =/= security
Once I entered the real world on my own – college – I felt like I lost all security and didn’t really know how to fend for myself. I guessed things would work out ok because I was in college, which is what you’re told to do if you want a good life. It’s not really a great game plan to “hope for the best” because you’re doing what THEY tell you to do.
In my first college apartment that I lived in for 2 years, you could find items dating back to 5th grade, old clothes that I forgot about, and schoolwork for my entire college experience. I felt that I had to hold on to these things because I didn’t have a “home” with parents to go back to. Who else would hold on to my trivial memorabilia if I didn’t?
Packing on more mental and physical baggage
College was frustrating and very trying for me. I thought that I wanted to be an architect for my entire life before starting college, but I quickly came to see that it wasn’t for me. Check out my post about why I don’t want to be an architect anymore. I stuck with design, though, because I didn’t think I would love anything more than that. Change scared me so much, so I never seriously considered making such a big life decision like completely changing my major. Switching to interior design was enough for me.
During my collegiate experience I learned many life lessons, but I got hit with a ton of bricks again once it all ended. Enter the REAL real world. I tried to cop out and go back to grad school, thinking I’d finally decided that I DO want to get my professional degree in architecture. My hard work paid off and I got accepted to SCAD, but when it came down to it, I couldn’t afford it. I had to get a big girl job. Hello extreme fear of change, you again? Life was going nothing as I planned. Enter next apartment filled with things I held on to because I was losing all that I knew and that I thought I wanted. I couldn’t let go of what little I already had.
I know I’m not the only one
I imagine that there are a lot of people out there who are like me – grew up with just enough but wanting more. Some people in similar situations learn to successfully live with less and actually dislike clutter. People like me cling to what they get and fear letting it go because we don’t know if we’ll get something like it again. I hope that by sharing this post, other people can relate and want to be better for the earth and for their personal self.
It’s time to unpack and get rid of my shit, mentally and physically. Minimalism, I welcome you into my life.
Hoarding, or keeping what you don’t need, is Inherently Unsustainable
- This type of mindset allows perfectly useful things to sit unused, and that causes them to decay a lot faster
- It causes you to always buy things that you don’t need with only a hope of using them. It also leads to unecessaary consumption.
- Just because you can buy something cheaply doesn’t mean you should buy a lot of it or more than you’ll actually use (I will keep this as a mantra whenever I go thrift shopping lol).
My Baby Steps To Minimalism
I won’t become a minimalist overnight, and I don’t know if I will actually WANT to be completely minimalist. However, in order to clear out space in my home and in my mind, here are a few things that I am doing.
Read Literature by Minimalist Experts
I started reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo and it is a great book so far. Kondo takes a no BS stance on getting rid of your clutter and making your home functional and clean. I haven’t finished reading the book yet, but these are the rules that I definitely want to follow so far:
- Everything needs to have a home within your home. If you don’t have a place for something to belong, then it will always be out of place and, thus, messy.
- Purge once and for all. Don’t slowly get rid of things. You’ll never finish if you do that. Do a major overhaul and purge of all things that are not serving you. Only then will I be able to truly keep a clean house.
I’ll also read posts from my fellow sustainable living and minimalist lifestyle bloggers. One of the greatest posts I’ve read lately is “White Walls of Minimalism: Why You Don’t Need Them,” by Jenn of Simply On Eden. She delves into why your version of minimalism doesn’t have to be a huge purge or all white walls to replicate popular minimalist photos on instagram. It is a really great read!
Counting My Clothes
I believe that counting the amount of clothes that I own will really put things into perspective for me. I’m even counting AFTER I gave a lot of things away during a disaster relief clothing drive. I’m honestly afraid to see how many items I own, but I’m excited to drastically cut that number down. I will update this section with the results once I count everything before and after I purge.
I used to hold on to clothes for 2-3 years before I would wear them (because I purchased them when I didn’t need them) and for several years after I wore them only once. I’ve also purchased items at thrift stores with the sole intent to sell them, but never got around to listing them. I also realized that maybe thrift flipping isn’t what I needed to be investing my time in at that moment. I had that realization, but I still have those things that I purchased. I’ve been holding on to my idea of “what if I get the time TOMORROW?” My new answer to this will be – “well you can start the search to buy a new one tomorrow.”
I won’t lie and say that this will change completely. However, I’m creating a limit on how many clothes I can own at once, and how many pieces of decor and toys I can purchased at once. When I buy things, I will do so with the thought “will this have a home in my home” in mind before I make the move to own it. Instead of an actual number, though, I’ll leave it at more of a feeling.
Questions I’ll Ask Myself:
- Does my closet feel full of things that don’t wear?
- Do I really like the clothes that I don’t wear?
- Do I intend to wear these clothes soon, since I haven’t worn them at all/in a long time?
I believe that questions like these will help me to only buy and keep things for their usefulness, versus my desire to hold on to them, even though I don’t actually find them useful or want to wear them.
Saying NO to Myself
I’ve learned to say no to other people when I need to, but I haven’t learned to do so with myself. That is about to change! Self-control is imperative for me right now. Just because I’m clearing out my closet does NOT mean that I can fill it right back up. I need to get even more creative and use the pieces that I have in more different ways than I have before.
Final Thoughts on My Journey to Minimalism
For my final thoughts & a constant reminder to be aware of, I will tell myself the same thing that tell people who are discovering sustainability. When something is new to us, we feel intimidated because we aren’t “perfect” at it. Perfection has no place in either of these journeys. Effort, consistency, and growth are the things that matter the most. I promise to make the EFFORT to refrain from buying and keeping things that I truly don’t need. I will check with myself regularly to make sure I am consistent and don’t backslide. My goal is to remain CONSISTENT in my routine to do better with all of this. If I give the effort and remain consistent, the only possible outcome is GROWTH.
Here’s the dress that I recently purchased that led to the the ideas behind the creation of this post.
Dress: Gap, thrifted for less than $5 /// Necklace: Laura Zabo, $29 – currently sold out, see larger version here for $33 (see me styling more Laura Zabo pieces here) /// Lipstick: Gabriel – Pomegranate (organic), $19 /// Book: Sustainability Made Simple, $36 /// Shoes: Women’s Eve Footbed Wedge Quarter Strap Sandals – Merona™, $24.99
If you read this entire post, THANK YOU! If you just came for the pictures, THANK YOU! Leave a comment and spew out some emotions and real talk just as I did.
xoxo dolls & dudes,