My “Why” of Minimalism and My New Priority of Decluttering
Why would you want to pursue minimalism?
Let me tell you why minimalism and decluttering my space have become increasingly important to me.
I have previously referred to myself as a hoarder. When I was younger, if I had $10 of birthday money I was thrilled that I could go to the dollar store and buy 10 things! It was so exciting to buy new items, yet I always had a sense of financial insecurity so I was most excited by discounts, dollar stores, and clearance sections.
I’m not sure where the sense of financial insecurity came from because I didn’t grow up poor. My family took road trips to Florida and Disney World every year, I went to summer camps, and I was always fed and clothed. I never had light up shoes or the hottest tech toys, and I was never fashionable. For some reason getting something for $1 was an incredible value to me. I had an obsession with stationary and little wooden boxes that you could paint yourself, but I never did.
Once a consumer not always a consumer
As I grew up, I continued to enjoy purchasing as a past-time, but it always had to be cheap. I loved buying things but I never owned much that I really loved. It was always just a kind-of-okay sweater from the clearance rack, or $5 flats with no support (ouch! seriously), or a zebra winter hat that was cute but I never wore because it had a big snout (why did I buy that?). So many of these items never got used. I stored away so many things and I carried them from apartment to apartment into my adulthood.
Why did I have an unworn sweater from 5 years ago stored in a plastic tote? Why did I have a purse that was “too nice” to actually use so it lived in a box? Why did I keep make-up samples so long they expired? I have no idea why, but a year ago I realized why I wanted to change this.
I don’t want to carry these things with me anymore. I don’t want to find a place for the box of mementos or the bag of 25 winter scarves. I finally want to wear that trendy sweater I bought in Prague 4 years ago and actually look trendy in it!
Minimalism and decluttering go hand in hand
Of course, I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I read it in 3 days and that was the fastest I had read a book since, well, ever. This actually launched me into a new love for reading non-fiction books and blogs. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up got me extremely excited to get rid of all those things that were weighing me down. I can finally learn to be free! I actually read this book while on vacation at a cottage, no where near my hoard. This gave me plenty of time to process the ideas in the book and mentally catalogue the absurd collection of things I had waiting for me at home.
Decluttering has been a very slow process, and it has felt uncomfortable. Those things I have been hoarding for so long were weighing on me to the point where I felt guilty getting rid of them. I kept this mug tucked away for 5 years and now I am considering donating it without having enjoyed it myself even once? This seemed almost impossible for me. So I had to take it slow.
I used to “save” things for years
I still have a long way to go but I feel extremely hopeful. I would estimate I have freed myself of 40% of my hoarded and unused items. I called them “saved” items. I had “saved” them from ruin by never using them, and “saved” them for that perfect time they would be useful. It definitely took a lot of well-meaning comments from close friends, like “why don’t you just use that?” and “I bet you already have one of those that you never use!”, to finally realize how ridiculous I seemed, and how very little happiness this habit was bringing me.
I want to find a version of minimalism that works for me because I don’t want my stuff to occupy so much of my brain anymore. I am nearing 30 and I want to find my passion, navigate my career path, and spend time with family. I don’t want to be owned by my things. In simplifying my space I want to simplify my mind! It feels incredible to take back control one item at a time. This is my “why” of minimalism.
Decluttering has become a priority
This change in my life comes just before an even bigger change, moving in with a serious boyfriend for the first time. I am moving into a shared space and I cannot, and do not want to, bring my hoard with me. I want to design a new simplified life. I will continue to learn about minimalism and decluttering, and I will work really hard to be mindful of my choices.