What does minimalism mean to you? This is what I call your minimalism. It’s your special brand. What does it look like, right now?
This is a question that not many people ask themselves during the minimalism crazy-purge — as they are tossing out old love letters, ragged t-shirts and never worn four-inch heels. If you don’t ask it, you risk throwing away (or donating) and feeling nothing after the initial rush of getting rid of stuff goes away. Because it will. That high you get when you watch the donation truck pull away with your junk? It fades, and if you did it right you will eventually you begin to feel dirty with clutter again. If you did it wrong by not asking yourself why, you will feel nothing and probably quit, thinking minimalism is a waste of time.
If you truly ask yourself “why am I doing this” and put time into answering that question, your mind will always feel clutter again. That’s a good thing.
This is the minimalist journey — steady, slow and sometimes painful and confusing. But each time you peel back a layer of understanding, after letting go of things that no longer serve you, you will gain insight into the most important aspects of yourself. You are creating room for more free and creative thought. You are letting in room for white space — the empty physical and emotional room you will need to find yourself.
Your answer can be vague and then get more specific as you move along. For example, you could tell yourself you are clearing your physical space so you can figure out what you want to do with your life. That is extremely vague, but it’s a start. Perhaps then, you can move on to: you are getting rid of things that hold you back from doing things you love doing. Next: you are fine-tuning your surroundings so that you can make room for the one thing you wish you had more time to do (i.e. raising and spending time with your kids, meditation, sewing, working out, reading, writing, basically whatever it is that makes you sparkle up like a disco ball on the inside). Finally: everything you own serves your main purpose — everything you own has a purpose in your purpose.
After the “final purge” (or what you think is the final purge), you will realize that it is never truly final. Not with true minimalism. Minimalism is like a living organism…it fluctuates and sheds old cells over time, fine tuning itself. So too, will you fluctuate and change because you are human and that is what humans do. We change. Sometimes we read something that slightly alters our perceptions in the world — so we change. Now, all of a sudden, that hobby you thought was your savior is now a pain in your ass. Now you must tweak your environment accordingly. It doesn’t mean you sucked at being a minimalist and made a mistake before, no — it means you have changed and now you must change your surroundings to adapt to the new and ever-changing you. The better you. That awesome you. That is the journey of minimalism. That is real minimalism.
My minimalism, right now, looks like being a homeschooling mom of three kids under the age of seven — so yes, we have stuff, a lot of it — but only what we use and love at the moment. I like to write, so I keep my computer. I make a lot of empty space in my home to allow my energetic kids to run around, be loud and have fun. They are not tripping over clutter. They need the space because they are active, and because of minimalism they are able to do this. My writing gives me a sense of calm. I feel better knowing I may be helping someone realize that minimalism just may work for them. It allows me to share my passion with you. Recently, I decided to get rid of my quilting and crafting stuff. I am working on getting it physically out of my reach, but this was a long journey for me — the decision did not happen overnight. In fact, I wrote many blog postings about this subject of giving up hobbies and figuring out what you love doing.
Check them out for inspiration on how to give up hobbies that no longer serve you.
So, be sure to ask the right question: why am I doing this?
Once you know that answer — even if that answer changes over time — you will always be able to maintain your minimalism. Most importantly, you will always have your room for white space — that special empty place inside in which only you can gain access. That place that tells you who you are no matter where you live, what you do or what you own.