So I was watching through some content on YouTube as I do on an almost obsessive basis, and I happened across Matt D'Avella, eventually finding my way to this video here:
Something about this video struck me. This idea that is perpetuated in elitist minimalist circles that you can't be part of their super exclusive club if you don't conform to strict ideals of what it means to be a minimalist.
You cant be a minimalist if you're a bookworm.
You cant be a minimalist if you're a CEO.
You cant be a minimalist if you're a beauty blogger.
You cant be a minimalist if you're...
Heres the thing. I'm striving to be less cluttered and I find certain things, not everything now mind you, but certain things weigh on my mind. My clothing collection is one. I have three wardrobes on two continents. Fuck that. Who needs that? I should be able to happily store my stuff in one place. Not three.
If for me, minimalism is denoted by not having a bi-continental wardrobe, but rather having a few items I love dearly, and eight pairs of shoes, then that's what minimalism means.
Minimalism is relative. RE-LA-TIVE!!! If you are a clothing hoarder, and you cut your wardrobe down to half, and you staunch your shopping habit, then good on ya! I commend you for making a positive change in your life.
My motivation for minimizing is to declutter my space, both brain space and my surroundings.
I can be a minimalist if I truly want to move towards a lifestyle of less.
So how do I get to that end goal? To that lifestyle of less.
I've been ruminating on what actions I can take to get me to a place where I can feel I am functioning as a minimalist relative to my old self, and parting with things I don't miss, don't love and don't want anymore is going to be the first step. Starting with a fresh clean slate is important to me, and I want to be sure I get off on the right footing. Part of this means untangling the sentimentality that runs through each and every item I own.
If you're wondering why I have a picture of a pair of Converse in this blog post - a tatty dirty pair, to that end, I will tell you the answer is two-fold.
The first reason is that these were the first truly difficult item I came across. I know they hurt my feet now, they're past their best, and they need to go, but I love them. How can I get rid of a pair of shoes that served me so faithfully for so long? How can I just cast them aside like they don't matter? Like they mean nothing? What kind of person just dumps something she loves like this?
Do you see a pattern forming in the thoughts and questions here? Cause I do!!
I had to be very firm with myself and say, "Amy, they're shoes. They don't have feelings, nor are they capable of complex thought. They're literally some rubber soles, fabric and lacing to cover your feet. Get over yourself."
And the thing is, I know that is right. I know that it's true that they've served me faithfully, and that by continuing to cling to them, they are simply occupying physical space in my life, as well as occupying mental space. By continuing to keep hold of these tatty trainers, I am giving power to the part of my brain that forms silly attachments. They're shoes, not my childhood bear.
The second reason I borrowed from the gentleman above too, but from a different video. If taking a picture of them and keeping that picture helps to in some way placate the part of me that needs to be sentimental, then so be it. I can take these pictures, rid myself of the item, collate the item to a digital album that keeps them organized and safe while moving on with my life. I can keep a record of the things I have appreciated and loved in my life, while also being free to live my life unencumbered by stuff.
I managed to have a stern word with myself, and then snap a picture and just... deep breath... let them go. Exhale. Immediately I felt lighter.
There are obvious areas in my life where I can't live a spartan existence. I have a very very nice record player and collection of vinyl, and while I might be able to donate or resell a few records, I wouldn't dream of slashing it down just to fit some idealized vision of a minimalist lifestyle. Again, this all just brings home the idea of minimalism being a relative concept, a relative lifestyle.
At the end of the day, you don't have anything to prove to me, to the elitist minimalists who only own 100 items, to anyone! You have to blaze your own trail and in doing so, you will come to learn what minimalism means to you and how it works best for your life.
I hope this has been useful to you, and I hope you are enjoying your journey!