This has all been a process, specifically the last 6-12 months or so. Really, since I’ve been back. But honing in on this summer I’ve tried to focus on things that I can control.
The original idea can be traced to when I got back and realized I had lived out of a backpack about 2x the size of a Northface school backpack for almost 3 months without any problems or need for much else. To put it bluntly, I owned too much crap and for what? It weighed me down. It kept me attached, unnecessarily. I owned things I didn’t use.
(When I was away, it had already begun. In India, I began leaving one item in each hotel room, realizing I didn’t need something any longer. It could have been a shirt or a travel book, or something as small as an extra hair tie. The point was shedding the excess. )
I could use less, and save more which would in turn help me with all those little things like student debt and saving for more travel.
As I began, it was cathartic. It felt as though I was shedding a layer of skin, like a snake. I was no longer trapped in the confines of owning what I didn’t use or need. It was exciting to see my 6+ drawers of clothes dwindle to 3. It felt refreshing to donate over 50% of my shoes.
It wasn’t long before my initial notion mutated into: declutter your life, declutter your mind
I was feeling so much better about even the worst areas of what was going on around me, when I was in the decluttering zone. Even if it was just going through a single 33 gallon bin of miscellaneous stuff I felt better. There was no thinking of anything beyond getting through the bin. And maybe there was a bit of OCD-ness in the mentality, but in the moment, it worked.
And then, as you’ve read, I set up goals to push myself further. I wanted to become a true minimalist. I read various blogs on minimalism, on what worked for some and didn’t for others. The two that I’ve found to be the ones that I visit the most are The Everyday Minimalist and Zenhabits.
It was actually two posts made on The Everyday Minimalist that made me take a step back and really evaluate what I was trying to accomplish out of all of this. The first was this post where she talks about decluttering vs. being a minimalist. The second was a post made a few days earlier than that one, found here where the question is posed, “When do you know you’ve become a minimalist?”
Despite being confused by both posts, wondering if all I was doing was decluttering and not making as big of a dent as I had thought, in my quest for a simpler life, I kept going. I continued to toss and/or donate my things while the question of “When do you know…” tumbled in the back of my mind.
Weeks went by before I decided that for the first time in my life, I didn’t want the black & white thinking. I didn’t want to be a minimalist or a casual declutterer (semi-annual ‘spring cleaner’).
I simply… just want to live simply. Not unlike the blogger at Zenhabits has written about.
- I want to have furniture, but I like a clean, sleek living environment
- I don’t want unnecessary amounts of anything. I don’t need 4 place settings when I never have dinner parties with 4 guests
- I want to continue to strive to own only enough items that can fit in my car (excluding furniture)
- I want to have a handle on my paper filing system to where it is completely under control and not in disarray and regularly maintained
- The ultimate goal is to have nothing sticking out like an eyesore and to have everything put away at all times
(because it’s been awhile since I’ve had a post with an image :P)