It’s a concoction of amazing, believe it or not. First, I started my own journey with minimalism. It was a long, painstaking, arduous process of emotion and exhaustion mixed with moments of being overwhelmed. All due to the sheer volume of my downsize, having so many kids involved and years and years of accumulated “sentiment”. I had amazing support from D – garage sales he encouraged and helped with that I didn’t want to do but I’m grateful we did. Weekly rotating pickup’s scheduled from Salvation Army and Boys and Girls Club where I could drag everything we didn’t want to the driveway and come home with a clean slate. I freely admit the beginning was easy, cleansing and felt amazing. The absolute relief of unloading stuff we didn’t want, use or need was cathartic and addictive in nature. Coming home to a newly empty driveway that a few hours earlier was laden with crap was bliss. I will also readily admit that towards the end I had to come to terms with my more sentimental side, which I previously believed lay dormant. I cried for reasons I couldn’t pinpoint except that it was heart wrenching to part ways with items I felt a personal connection with.
2 1/2 years post purge, I have to say the relief has never dissipated. Great advice I received was to take pictures of items I loved to remember them. This resonated to me from my former days as a scrapbooking queen and the knowledge that I have a tendency to remember certain events more easily when I see a picture. Then the memories come flooding in. I admit I don’t look at the pictures often – oddly when I run across one, though, I can feel fondness for something now long gone, with no lingering emotion of missing it. The reduction of stress has remained as well. Though my home was always clean, it was also always at a high, claustrophobic level of cluttered. I love living in an open, uncluttered space where everything we have has real meaning. I also enjoy the weekends that we decide to go through all the closets, the garage, our clothing, etc… because the process is streamlined and easy now and decisions are no longer painful.
About a year ago, I was asked to guest write about the Konmari system. Prior to this, I had heard about it, but never in any detail. D and I pored over the information, always willing to continue our relationship with minimalism. I walked into our bedroom to find D already jumping in ahead of me, ready to continue the journey. We had fun actually and minimized more because we had a new way to look at our items with joy. Yes, even socks can make you feel joyful – ask any runner who has inadvertently worn cotton. We were also thrilled at how folding clothing in a new way takes up considerably less space, makes things easier to find and actually makes me smile when I open my drawers.
With so much that didn’t fit, didn’t “fit in” (it’s amazing how much your style is altered through minimalism), or didn’t spark joy, we’ve ended up having to go shopping. A daunting task when you’ve spent so long downsizing. Figuring out what you really like, what fits well, what makes you feel sexy, confident, happy, strong, comfortable and excited to put clothes on takes a little effort.
- First, I now try everything on. If I don’t have the time or want to take the time, I don’t make a purchase. I don’t like trying things on, but what I like less is mindlessly grabbing articles of clothing to find out at home I don’t like them and sticking them in the closet despite the fact I’ll never wear them. So pick the battles.
- Second, my style is my style but within that, it’s ever evolving. I don’t need to shop often, but I really love fashion and the process of putting things together. So when I shop it’s a fun event because if it isn’t, what’s the point. I still look for sales but I don’t buy because “it’s only X amount”. I just like to score a deal and part of minimalism is spending less. There’s no guilt in the purchase but no feeling of necessity driving it either.
I’m such a proponent of self-care, I’ve come to look at minimalism in that same light. Slowing down to take time (even when we bought new couch cushions), feeling good about what you have or what you purchase and the addictive feeling of having confidence and being happy in what you own helps take care of you. It leaves more time for adventure and less stress. After all, you’re worth it!