Minimalism is 90% the mind.
I’ve begun to take the practice seriously for this year by culling my closet, old paperwork, and other miscellaneous items that I had been storing up for a year now. But I began to run into problems. I unearthed old papers that I wrote in undergrad and didn’t want to throw them away. I began to read old Christmas/birthday cards and felt my attachment to these cards grow. I would pull out an old unworn jacket, put it on and convince myself that I should give it 3 more months in my closet. That was when I realized that minimalism is 10% of getting rid of stuff physically, but you got to do the 90% work of psychologically letting go.
If you type minimalism on YouTube you’ll find hundreds of tutorials and how-to’s. The first thing they always tell you to do is to make three big piles of 1. stuff you want 2. stuff you don’t want 3. and the “eh we’ll see” pile. They never tell you how to properly handle the “eh we’ll see pile” and perhaps that is due to the fact that before you become a true minimalist you have to do some deeper work to find out why you are so attached to certain items, find a way to make peace with it and eventually let it go. No minimalist guru on YouTube can teach you how to do this deeper work.
For example, despite the fact that my Christmas/birthday card box is taking up way too much space in my closet, and it’ll be one of those boxes that will annoy me when I eventually move out again, the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I read other people’s notes to me continuously prevents me from throwing them out. The notes remind me that I’m seen and loved. Do I need to keep those cards to remind myself of that? No. But nonetheless that’s the barrier I’m running into.
Of course there is no hard and fast rule to minimalism. If birthday cards (or anything else for that matter) are an absolute must for you to keep because it genuinely brings you joy then by all means keep it. But you surely can tell the difference between something that gives you joy and an unhealthy attachment.
In all, I’m learning that minimalism is a process. I’ve witnessed the finished products of other minimalist’s lives, but I got to remember that they didn’t cull their life in one hour. It took time to get to their place of satisfaction and ultimately, I have to figure out what level of minimalism I’m comfortable with. Because minimalism is not about arbitrarily throwing things away–it’s about creating more space to include the things you truly enjoy and implementing the lost art of discipline in all aspects of your life.
I spent a few hours this week watching tiny home tours for inspiration. Here is the channel I follow for your viewing pleasure.
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