Thursday, August 21, 2014

I Don't FEEL Like a Minimalist

I am bursting at my seams! I'm hanging onto a bunch of stuff to get rid of at a garage sale on September fourth, but it's not here yet. It's thirteen days away. My usually empty storage room is crowded with stuff I'm done with. It's driving me nuts.

If this were the only thing, I'd tell myself to stop whining - it's a matter of time. Be patient. But it goes deeper. I'm wondering if my minimalist status is only continuing to be possible because of major annual purges. I know small, continual upkeep is necessary, but this? A disturbing quantity of things is still going out, on a yearly basis, so I'm concerned about the influx. This is partly a matter of where my head is at because all this stuff is in my way! I can't see that before it was gathered, and once it's gone, I'm actually closer to looking around my spaces and seeing nothing about which to say,"I wish I knew what to do with that." (a.k.a. I'd rather not look at it, track it, find a place for it, care for it, but I question my own judgement and keep it just in case.) When I make some big overhaul like my dining room right now, there's a reshuffle of items that causes me to get rid of a lot. I'm just wondering if I replace it with just as much or if I'm making progress. If I'm buying as many items as I purge or sell, this will not get easier and from a financial standpoint, it's not lucrative. 

This extends to the clothing front as well. I understand my growing children will be yearly replacing wardrobes, but I don't need to be. (I'm not either, but I set aside a couple items I no longer go for each month.) I don't want to acquire two more things each month, if they merely perpetuate this cycle of stuff in, stuff out. I have to decide how much I'm comfortable "turning over" in a year. Because it's work. I have to address the kids clothes yearly, but I have a choice about my own.

Which is why I've started toying with a crazy idea: Not buying any clothing or accessories for me for an entire year, unless something wears out and needs replaced. I'm a pretty hip person (for a mom in Nebraska) and I wouldn't look that behind in one year. Some of you may think, "I'm there! I can't remember the last time I bought myself something." I'm just not. I have a revolving wish list for cold weather and hot weather, so I can (hopefully) buy things off season when they're less expensive. But that means there's always something on the docket and I wonder what it would be like to have that cleared. I know in my heart my buying process has become more scrupulous. I've walked away from things I wouldn't have thought twice about before. I'm just not sure I'm where I want to be. Courtney Carver (who is my trusted minimalist cheerleader, via her blog) has said more than once, "Spend money on what you want to spend it on." Do I want to spend it making sure I have the few "it" pieces I fall in love with each year or is there something else? 

In hopes of understanding what I actually spend on clothing, I'm tracking it the last six months of this year. If it amounts to something significant, I might decide I'd like to try spending it on something else - something fun still, but not stuff. Maybe eating out more or a vacation? I don't know, but living intentionally is all about exploration and second-guessing the way we've done things to see if there's a better option. I may get to the end of the year and find the joy of having those fresh pieces to wear was totally worth it, or I might realize I like the peace of stepping off that merry-go-round. We all ride some merry-go-rounds, it's just a matter of choosing the ones we enjoy and getting off ones that make us sick. 

Honestly, I don't know if I can go a whole year. It sounds drastic and hard and scary. But if I do it, I'll be chatting you up about it along the way, so I wanted to give you fair warning. It's tricky being a person who loves clothes and decor and minimalism. I need to chillax. I'm finding my own way. I need less to manage and I need to be creative from time to time. The two seem at odds, but I'm sure there's a way. A space where I'm less stubborn about both. My minimalism may never be obvious to anyone and that's okay if it's enough to make my soul calm down. My creativity may always cost me time, energy, money and space, but it's what makes my soul wake up! Both were meant to be and we will all find our way, as long as we keep thinking and keep trying, with lots of wise breaks. 

How's your journey with minimalism or another area you're trying to be intentional about? Do you feel like you've fallen off the wagon, lost your way, or just want to take a nap because it looms SO BIG? Me too, friend. If you walked into my basement (or I posted a photo for you to see - gasp) you might be tempted to smirk at my audacity, calling myself a minimalist. But I will say it. I AM a minimalist because my thinking has changed and my actions have started to change and I've liked it. That's enough. That's my HUGE beginning, because there's no other place to begin. I am a proud, flawed, distracted, (part-time consumer) minimalist. Ha!

So much love, my friends!


  1. Ack--I'm right there with you. I don't actually call myself a minimalist. . . yet. I just started paring down "for real" in the spring and have stalled slightly in the past few months. My trouble comes with the fact that I LOVE new-ness. New (thrifted) clothes are my downfall as are books and art supplies. But as long as I'm swapping one for one, is that enough? I don't know.

    I love what you said in this post though, "living intentionally is all about exploration and second-guessing the way we've done things to see if there's a better option." Totally true and a really great way to define it. :)

    1. Thanks Joyous! I too love change and newness and I don't think there's one right answer for everyone, so we are free to decide! :)