No More Stuff

In the last several months I’ve become hooked on minimalism.

I’ve always loved travelling and having experiences, and whatever stuff I collect have to be unique to those experiences.

However, over the years, I’ve kept a hold of a lot of things for various reasons. Some, for sentimental reasons, some because I believed they would eventually be useful, and others because I would feel bad about throwing them away even if they were broken because I felt it would be wasteful.

Then, it all came to a head.

One morning, I had been especially stressed. I’d had multiple flip outs the past week, I couldn’t seem to make any head way in unpacking and putting together our house. It had been a good six months already and we were still drowning in things without a “home” that just cluttered every surface we had. The stuff was an ever present mental trigger for me, and it would send me into spirals of anxiety attacks and freak outs.

So on this particular day, I was tired, frustrated, and so incredibly done with working hard all day and accomplishing nothing but shifting piles of belongings from one space to another. That was when I came to the realization… I didn’t need all of it. I didn’t have to keep the stuff. If I wasn’t able to clean my house in one day and have everything put away in that time, I had too much stuff.

I didn’t broach this new discovery with my husband until we were in the car the next day. He agreed with me right away, and I grabbed a hold of this new found plan we agreed upon to half our possessions and began what I do best when hooked on a new project or goal. I researched it.

I looked up videos on youtube, documentaries on Netflix, books at the library. I dove in with an absolute passion. This idea of not owning a lot, and what we would own would only be things we truly loved or used on a regular basis, was inspiring to me.

I was not raised to have an obsessive need for stuff, I did not grow up with a “if I want it I need it so I’ll buy it” mentality. I was raised with a buy secondhand, recognize a good deal, and waste not want not mentality. But I found that I hadn’t come to a balancing point between spending little, saving what’s useful, and being able to recognize when things are no longer useful, will never be useful, or that it’s not a good deal if you don’t need it.

I especially struggle with this because my husband and I are in a constant struggle of making enough. We have variable incomes, both going to school, so it’s really tight almost constantly, and it’s so hard not to splurge on some things we “need” for the house on a month we make a decent amount. Especially if it’s also on sale.

You may recognize the term minimalism from all the hype and hoopla lately. Between Marie Kondo, The Minimalists, and the Tiny House movement, the term has gained a lot of attention in a very short amount of time.

The first thing to realize about minimalism is it has a lot of different meanings, and therefore is a very personal term that means something different to everyone.

For some, it is white walls, three chairs, a table, and not much else.

For others, it’s replacing cluttered space full of heavy curtains and Knick knacks with open concept and shelves, and green living plants in the corners.

For some it’s about focusing on the hobbies and not the supplies, for others coming closer to nature and experiences versus collecting.

For me and my husband, it’s first and foremost a survival thing I think.

We got to this point because the amount of stuff we had and were trying to house in our small two bedroom (technically three, but third bedroom is an office, so…) was in-housable and giving me mental fits and anxiety attacks.

It started as survival because the stuff that was supposed to help us survive was destroying me mentally, and this had a range of negative impacts on the rest of our lives.

So I told my husband one day,

“If I spend an entire day cleaning, and by the end it’s not clean, than we have too much stuff.”

He readily agreed.

Since that day, we’ve made at least 5 full car trips to salvation army, pitched an extra 6 bags of trash not including our everyday kitchen/bathroom trash, and have finally gotten to a manageable amount of belongings.

I don’t dare to dream this is it. Just this week I’ve once again purged my makeup and such to half its size. This will most certainly be an on going thing.

However, it no longer has to be an everyday thing. Now I can enjoy my home, and enjoy tweaking the “homes” of my belongings, playing with dĂ©cor, and just enjoying actually being home without the weight of stuff.