Minimalism Isn’t For Sissies

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You might wonder why minimalism has become so popular in recent years. When Americans experienced an economic crash during the Obama administration, many people lost their jobs and houses. Morale in the country drastically dipped, and the unfortunate decided it was time for a lifestyle adjustment. They had too much stuff, spent more money than they were making, and had little savings. It was a wake-up call for everyone.

I’ve owned six houses in my lifetime, or maybe I should say the banks owned me. I decorated them beautifully, and people that visited marveled at what a beautiful, cozy house I had. After a while, I realized that my material possessions owned me. That’s when I decided to become a minimalist. I sold almost everything.

If you want to become a minimalist, you have to start by getting rid of what you don’t need. This appears to be the hardest thing, on the road to minimalism, for most people.

Decluttering

I used to be sentimental about things that had belonged to my grandparents. I gave them to my children to pass down through the generations. I have wonderful memories of my grandparents, so I don’t need material items to weigh me down. If your sentimental value gets in the way, ask yourself if it’s something functional that you could really use. If the answer is yes, keep it; if no, give it away or sell it. See if a family member would like it.

I have a friend whose home looks like a thrift store warehouse. She bought the house from her parents, along with all of their belongings. Then, her aunt died, and she brought everything that her aunt owned into her home. Now she has the belongings of three family’s: Her own, her parents, and her aunt’s.

One day she asked me to help her declutter. She intended to give things away. We started in her living room. I went around the room, picking up knickknacks and asking if she wanted to part with them. It went like this: No, I really like that. No, my daughter might want that when she gets a house. No, that belonged to my grandmother. I finally gave up and said I couldn’t help her if she weren’t willing to let go.

Photographs

This is a hard one. At some point in time, I’m sure my descendants will wish they had a photograph of an ancestor. The best way to deal with it is to copy and store those pictures on a computer cloud. It’s work-intensive, and you may not want to put in the time, but if you do, you’ll be glad you did.

Decluttering so you can live a minimalist lifestyle is not easy. If you’re having a hard time letting go, try this. Put the things you think you might want to keep in boxes that are taped shut. Set them in the garage or somewhere out of sight. After several months or a year, if you haven’t missed anything, or don’t remember what’s in those boxes, get rid of them. Don’t open them, but take them straight to the thrift store. Have a friend or relative do it for you if it makes it easier.

Deciding what to own

Everything I own has a functional purpose. When it comes to decorating, I keep only what can hang on the wall. There are no knickknacks in my home. If there’s a flat surface in the house, I will pile it with junk. That’s why I don’t have a coffee table or end tables. I use floor lamps instead of lamps I would have to set on an end table. The seating in my living room consists of a sofa and two occasional chairs.

It takes strength

Remember, minimalism isn’t for sissies. We are all different. Only you can decide how you want to live. Living a minimalist lifestyle has its rewards. You’ll leave a smaller ecological footprint, and you’ll experience peace when you walk into your home that isn’t cluttered with junk.

A free spirit, visual artist, writer, animal lover, introvert and independent woman.

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