We’re surrounded by the idea that “more is more.” Commercials, magazines, and society in general tell us that having more is a good thing: a bigger house, a fuller closet, the latest technology, etc. While I’ve never valued my worth in terms of what I own, I have accumulated a lot of possessions in my lifetime. The latest seasonal fashions – I want them! The newest iPhone (even though my current one is completely fine) – gotta have it! Bath & Body Works candles are 2/$22 – let’s get 10! I know I am very fortunate to have what I do, as there are so many people in this world who go without. However, I own way more than I need, and I never considered the negative effects of that until recently.
It all started a few months ago when I was apartment hunting (spoiler alert – I’m moving soon!). I kept finding beautiful spaces in great locations at decent prices that I felt were a little small: not enough closet space, not enough kitchen and bathroom storage, not enough square footage, etc. I became frustrated, because I was looking at some really neat charming places and passing on them because I didn’t think all of my stuff would fit. Then all of a sudden, a lightbulb clicked on: what if I just had less stuff?
In a split second, I came to a realization that literally changed my life and perception of owning things:
I had too much stuff. Too much stuff I didn’t need, that it turned out money was wasted on because it didn’t end up getting used enough. The money was already wasted, already gone, I couldn’t return the items for a refund. Keeping these items was not going to un-waste my money. Example: sweater I bought a year ago and have only worn once.
So here I am, with all of this stuff I wasted money on, looking to waste more money to live in a bigger place so I can store all of this stuff I wasted money on. *BOOM* My head exploded.
So I began purging. And when I was done purging, I would purge some more. It wasn’t quite as hard as I thought it would be. I looked around my home and began to see how trivial all of the extra clutter was, and the more I cleared out, the better I felt. When I got stuck, I read minimalist blogs to “inspire” me to keep going. I took a car full of clothing, shoes, and accessories to Salvation Army. I donated and sold furniture, decor, and other household items. I cut my makeup collection nearly in half. IT FELT AMAZING.
While I wouldn’t consider myself a “minimalist” (yet), I have definitely embraced some values of minimalism in this process. Does this mean I no longer shop? That you’ll never see a haul video from me again? No way!! The way I interpret minimalism is that it’s not about owning as little as possible, but only owning what you really use and love. There should not be any items weighing your life down that don’t hold a real value to you. Be a conscious consumer. It’s also a journey; today I went through my closet again and pulled out about a dozen pieces to donate. I’ve become much more conscious about new items I’m bringing home. Over time, I expect that these efforts will result in even more space and less clutter.
One of the best things is, I’m much less stressed about moving! I have so much less stuff to box up and pack. Ironically, the apartment I ended up finding happens to have great storage and room, as well as a wonderful walk-in closet that I’m now wondering if I can even fill. But you know what? I’m finding that I prefer the feeling of extra space to the feeling of extra “stuff.”