As some of you know, I have struggled with minimalism in the past. For those who don’t know, long story short…I wanted to be a “good” minimalist with no mistakes. I constantly saw YouTubers and bloggers showing off their minimal lives and quickly realized that my minimalism was a bit different than theirs. Eventually, I realized that there is no one-way to be a minimalist…there is no one-way to do most things in life actually.
Minimalism became really popular and trendy in the last few years. Like most things people took this way of living and ran with it. Today, almost every minimalist video is about “Things I Don’t Buy Anymore” or “My 20 Item life.” While I think those videos are interesting and fun to watch they can be a bit extreme especially for someone who is only prospective about minimalism.
When I decided to take on the minimalist life, I got really stuck on decluttering and stayed in the mind set for a long time. I became so obsessed with purging and getting rid of everything I owned. Before I took my decluttering process too far, I stopped and really thought about everything I was throwing away before I actually threw it away.
I think we get stuck in this thought that we shouldn’t own that many things because things are making us unhappy. But what happens when you’re still focused on the things you own but in the reverse? Suppose I paired down all of my things to 100 items and still wasn’t happy? Do I keep going and pair it down to 50? 25? After awhile, purging items becomes your new lifestyle and not minimalism.
Now when I watch those videos of people who don’t buy anything or don’t wear makeup I think to myself “well that is good for them and I’m happy that that is working for them.”
I had to stop thinking that I was a “bad minimalist” because I owned more than 100 items. I had to learn that owning things isn’t bad – what’s bad is owning things we don’t even want or need. Sometimes you have to ask yourself do I need that ______ and do I even want it? If yes, then it won’t make you any less of a minimalist.
Maybe minimalism isn’t actually anti-materialism but anti over consumption. Technically you’re still materialistic if you’re on a journey to getting rid of 365 items this year.
I’m sure some would say that I’m not actually a minimalist because I own over five skin care products and have a growing collection of shot glasses. That’s alright though because as far as labels go I prefer simple living anyway.
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