As you’ve probably guessed from the title of today’s post, I’m bringing back Minimalism Monday!
I started this series in 2014 on my YouTube channel when I first discovered the concept of minimalism–completely by chance while browsing blogs online. Over the two years since, I’ve shared many videos about my progress of decluttering, including tips, closet clean-outs, and a quite a bit more.
Over the last few months, my videos about minimalism have slowed down, becoming much more infrequent than the once-weekly series. I recently realized that I was having a hard time sharing these videos because I’m not actively decluttering anymore. I’ve reached a point where I feel very comfortable with what I own, and I no longer have bags of things to donate every month. If I have five items to donate in a month, that is quite an accomplishment at this stage!
To make a video showing just a handful of things I’ve decluttered in a month felt thin and boring compared to the monstrous clean-outs I had shared in the past. I wanted to continue to create content about living more simply, but my previous format just didn’t seem to be working anymore.
That’s when I realized that what was really happening is I had shifted into a different phase of living minimally. I was done with the major decluttering, keeping a sharp eye on my spending, and forming new habits. I had reached my personal balance of minimal and comfortable.
As I was thinking about how to explain this balance I drew this little doodle.
I think it was really valuable to weigh (see what I did there?) the pros of keeping more things versus owning as little as possible. I’m curious to know what you would consider the benefits of each side – tell me in the comments!
At first, I didn’t realize I had reached my own comfortable-minimal balance because of two things:
1. When I graduated college I had to buy a lot of stuff. Like a lot of stuff. All new furniture (I sold all of mine), cleaning supplies, dishes and cookware (I had shared my room mate’s so I didn’t own any). Right after I had simplified so that all of my stuff fit in the back of my car, I had to buy all of this stuff. It kind of messed with my head. Because I was buying so much I thought “I must have things to declutter. I’m bringing in so much, some stuff has to go.” I was able to continue to donate things during this time, but I recently realized how unrealistic I was being. My life has changed a lot since I was in college. Realistically, I probably won’t ever go back to having that smaller amount of stuff again. (Unless my tiny house dreams come true!) Right now I live alone, so I need to supply all my own furniture, dishware, decor, everything! In the future if I get married and have a family, I doubt we’ll have less than I do right now by myself. It’s taken a while–about a year–for me to realize that I don’t have too much because I have more than I used to. My baseline for what I need has been raised because my circumstances have changed.
2. The other reason that it took me a while to recognize that I had found my happy balance is that I was letting others’ opinions influence me. Most of my viewers and readers are incredibly supportive and kind, but I do get comments telling me that I have too much stuff to be a minimalist, my house is way too cluttered for their taste, and so on. It’s sad to say, but I was letting others’ ideas of what minimalism should look like affect my feelings about my own stuff. I’ve always said that minimalism is personal; everyone’s process, style, and goals will differ and should be unique to them. I needed to take a step back and start listening to my own message again. So what if I don’t have a sparse, black-and-white aesthetic for my home or wardrobe? That’s not me, and I wouldn’t be happy living that way. I have created a home, wardrobe, and lifestyle that I love and that is what matters most.
So where am I at now?
I still want to talk about minimalism, but I want to shift from a more stuff-centered approach to talking more about process and lifestyle. I want to share my thoughts and struggles as I decluttered, deliberated items’ fates, and ultimately decided to keep or donate them. I want to tell you how I approached that process, what worked for me and what didn’t. I want to discuss lessons I learned about my shopping and spending habits. And I want to share what other things (interests, hobbies, people, goals) I’ve been able to focus on now that I’ve begun to shift it away from simplifying.
I hope you are as excited as I am about bringing the topic of minimalism back to the table. If you have any requests, suggestions, or questions you would like me to address in this series, leave them in a comment below!