What do you think about when you hear the word "minimalism"? Do you think of stark whites and a lack of clutter like this picture? Do you think about maintaining a lifestyle that is filled with intention? Or, perhaps, of a lifestyle filled with rules and lack of the finer things?
I've been reading and watching a lot about minimalism these days. As COVID 19 continues many of us have nothing better to do than take inventory on all of the things in our homes and contemplate their significance. It's crazy to think that in this very materialistic time there are people out there letting go.
I've always been one for a good impulse purchase. My closet and room are full of things I gained instant satisfaction from and then promptly forgot. Now that I'm cleaning things out in preparation for moving fully out of my parents house (since I recently graduated), I've been focusing a lot more on the impact that each item brings me.
For me, minimalism is less about having less and more about having more, with intention. I think I'd rather have less things that have significant attachment than a lot of things with little emotional value. Of course there are some things I have to keep regardless of how much "joy" they bring me, such as banking statements and my bills (ugh).
Other things, such as old pictures and childhood art projects teeter on the balance of sentimental and duty. A lot of it I felt that I had to keep based on some idea that I need to have it to remember those childhood memories. I read somewhere that obligation is not a good enough reason to keep something, that that thing can end up causing more stress and pain by keeping it than giving it up. I wanted to keep my memories while still preserving my peace (and my storage!). Ding! I had the brilliant idea to photograph everything that I felt was a memory. I could still look back on everything without holding it physically. It's very freeing to have the comfort of the digital version while being able to remove the physical version from the equation. I felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders, I could still "keep" the memories without disrespecting them. I did this with old photographs, old art projects, and other things like souvenirs and awards.
Working through all of my childhood things seems like the right thing to do, especially since I'll be leaving my parent's house for good soon. Getting to take a trip down memory lane, and find all those things I thought I lost, is actually a really nice way to say goodbye to this part of my life.
Creating this space for minimalism looks different for everyone. For me, it involves purging my stuff of things that don't bring me joy, have no function, or aren't important. I certainly have things that have no useful function other than the fact that I like them and they bring me joy. I think this feeling of happiness I receive when I hold or see these items is enough. I don't think minimalism needs to be a deprivation of things and luxuries. To me, minimalism is the act of intentional choosing of what comes into your life and affects you, from physical things to digital media to the people we interact with. The intention of each interaction we create is what minimalism is all about. It's about embracing the things and people in your life that make it better, improve it in some way, and make you a better person.
I'm not sure if I can call myself a "minimalist" by the dictionary definition, but I believe that to live my life with intention is something I should and can strive for. Living with intention can help me find value in the little things, focus more on the relationships in my life, and give myself the allowance to love every crazy thing that comes my way!