It’s not that I have a problem with the concept per se. I think minimalism is a good thing and has the potential to make us reevaluate what is really important and – hopefully – make us less materialistic in the way we think and live our lives.
No, my problem is that I have a burning desire to be a minimalist but I just can’t seem to make it work.
I’m definitely not a minimalist – I would be lying if I told people I was (which doesn’t mean I don’t) – but I have at least always seen myself as a person who doesn’t keep a bunch of unnecessary, unused items around me.
So I was surprised and not just a little shocked when I only recently realized how many little knick-knacks are spread all across my apartment. Forty-three square meters (roughly 460 square feet) is not big, so it doesn’t take much to make it look cramped and that’s exactly what has happened.
It wasn’t that long since my partner and I decided to clean out the apartment and now, only mere months later, we’re here yet again.
What defines a minimalist?
How much stuff can you own before you have essentially de-minimalized yourself?
Can I own ten different candle holders just cause I enjoy lighting candles or is there some hard rule against how many of the same thing we’re allowed?
Can I be a minimalist if my apartment is void of all unnecessary things but I’ve moved the rest upstairs to my attic instead, making that so cramped that even the spiders move out because “it’s time to look for something bigger”?
People say that minimalism will ultimately make you happier as you get rid of things that keep you down. Does that mean that I have to be happy to consider myself a minimalist?
Why do I end up with loads of things?
This is an interesting question and – contrary to the header – it doesn’t have an easy answer. I suppose it is different for everyone. But, let’s be real. It is hard letting go of what once had a purpose in your life, even though it no longer serves that purpose. Perhaps an old dress is just as much a memory of a place you visited as a seemingly useless piece of clothing. Maybe you are unfortunate (like me) and it has happened several times that you’ve thought to yourself “Ah… now that [insert item here] I gave to goodwill two months ago would really come in handy”.
Does minimalism make me happy?
We can’t all be minimalists but we all should be more aware of what we consume and how to reduce our impact on this planet.
Buy only things you love. Use them well. Repair them. Reuse them.
Will it make you happy? Maybe not.
In fact, I think happiness is much more likely to bring about minimalism than minimalism is to bring about happiness. But repeating the process above might bring you something close to happiness.
With a bit of inspiration and determination, you will get the good feeling of knowing that you’re doing your best; that you are capable of repairing things, capable of taking care of them and creative enough to think of ways to repurpose them.
I’ll make a promise to myself to become – if not a minimalist then at least a bit more minimalistic. A little like a minimalist but on my terms. I don’t know what defines a minimalist and I don’t know if I could ever be one. But if I try to be better, maybe I don’t have to lie when I tell people I’m a minimalist.
Maybe I’ll just say, “I’m a bit of a minimalist. A work-in-progress.”