Minimalism – Does it work?

April 27, 2022

For the last couple weeks, I’ve found myself obsessing over the idea of simplifying my life by owning fewer “things”. And by things, I mostly mean clothes.

I’ve developed a bad habit of impulse buying clothes online as a way to “treat myself” for working hard. At first, Quarantine helped me stop shopping all together..I was like there’s no point if nobody’s going to see me. But now that life has (for the most part) gone back to “normal”, it’s like I’m making up for the retail hiatus. I’m a couple years older, and now my tastes are more…expensive. As someone who works from home, it’s super obvious that I don’t wear all the items in my generous closet, and yet..I shop. If I could just add this “insert item here” to my collection, I’ll be set. I won’t need to shop anymore because my wardrobe will be complete. Ha- I’m negotiating with my own darn self! If she talks like an addict, and shops like an addict, she’s…a duck! Just kidding..she’s an addict. Quack quack! 

I was feeling overwhelmed, my mind too cluttered to focus on work or anything that required real brainpower..and so I took to the Millennial’s Guidebook – YouTube. That, my friends, is where I watched video after video of people across the world (though mostly located in the U.K. randomly enough) who have adopted a “minimalist lifestyle”. Minimalism, according to the official website for “The Minimalists”, is “a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around.” 

The idea of not being attached to “things” sounds AMAZING to me. 

To my surprise, I couldn’t find the definition for the minimalism that I am referring to in the dictionary, but I can provide more info from “The Minimalists” website; “Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.”

So basically, in layman’s terms, minimalism is getting rid of “unnecessary” things in one’s life. I’ve put “unnecessary” in quotes because this is subjective – there is no one size fits all. Ever heard of “one man’s trash is another man’s gold”?

Now, I’m not planning on adopting this minimalist lifestyle, but I’m open. I’m open to learning, and adopting habits that can help me and my family maintain a clutter free home.

This wasn’t my first introduction to minimalism – I’d watched the documentary “Minimalists” years ago , probably around 2016 when it was released. My initial thoughts on the lifestyle was that it was intriguing as far as the promises they flaunt, but seemed a bit extreme. Are the promises a guarantee? With such a vague definition, it has to be that the outcome can vary. 

  • Eliminate our discontent
  • Reclaim our time
  • Live in the moment
  • Pursue our passions
  • Discover our missions
  • Experience real freedom
  • Create more, consume less
  • Focus on our health
  • Grow as individuals
  • Contribute beyond ourselves
  • Rid ourselves of excess stuff
  • Discover purpose in our lives

These are a few of the benefits “The Minimalists” claim on their official website. And hey, I’m not doubting it, or hating. I’m here for a reason. Basically my interpretation of minimalists back in my original introduction was similar to that of the vegan. They are both hot-button lifestyles that are seen as extreme —and they are. But that’s not inherently a bad thing.

My response was “I could never do that”. Now that I’m a little older and a lot wiser (haaaayy lol), I know that’s not true: I just don’t want to. I want balance. I want a closet of clothes that I absolutely love that are exactly my style, that look great on me. I want a closet of high quality essentials that all wear beautifully together, so I don’t have to go digging like Indiana Jones every morning just to wear the same tank top and jeans I reach for multiple times a week. Does Indiana Jones dig? I wouldn’t know, I never saw the movies :(.

I want a home that is clear of clutter from trinkets and doodads that were used once upon a time and are now collecting dust in the corner of the closet shelf. 

Scissors? This family only has one pair, and here they are! 

I also want to be free from the pull of shopping as a form of entertainment. Because that’s just want it is..the jolt of getting something”new” and envisioning your new and improved life with the item only to repeat the cycle once the high comes down.

I’ve done a huge declutter of my possessions, and still know I have a ways to go. I’m by no means trying to embody the lifestyle of the minimalist, but I think there are bits and pieces that can teach me a thing or two. Everyone has their own interpretation of what minimalism means to them. To me it means distancing myself from following trends and realizing that you already have everything you need. Reddit user “liberal_texan” gives her take, “To me minimalism is not a goal in itself, but a means to purge the unnecessary noise from your life so you can figure out what you really need and love and fill your life with it.”

And that definition, I can get down with. 

To sign off, I leave you with Psalms 23:

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.