Minimalism can change over time from person to person. Here is some of my experience
Life changes, as we all know, and our needs and perspectives do too. Our views on what minimalism is to us can also shift. I know mine has.
Early 2010, I was a “super minimalist” as I’d like to call it. You know, one of those people that can fit all their belongings into a small trunk. Sure, I didn’t own just 100 items like some minimalist do, but my “minimalist percentile score” was quite high.
Partly it was due to moving and leaving behind what I no longer needed, and partly it was because I felt all that stuff weighed me down. It was the time I was my most “minimalist.”
Life tends to have times where your perspective and needs changes. Minimalism can wax and wane based of those needs. This is my experience of the ins and outs of my minimalist habits.
Around 2012, I was living in what I felt was a stable living situation. I had my own space and could have my stuff just how I wanted it in my little domain. I feel that this sense of safety had prompted me to feel like owning more things. Things were useful, rather than something weighing me down, and I didn’t feel like I had too much.
I realize I had moved a lot in my life and I did enjoy having less stuff due to that experience. Moving was never fun. But now feeling a sense of belonging, I felt more safe in owning useful things.
My life later changed even more after I got married in 2014. I married a man of what I like to kindly label as a “collector of stuff.” This was challenging for me, and still is, but it does help to have rules in place such as: every item in the house should have a location that’s it’s “home,” and that things are stored away in storage that are not in use this season.
Being married to a “collector” also can shift a “minimalist’s” perspective as well, as I try to see the perspective of my spouse, and vis versa. I believe this has created the biggest change in my habits lately. I’ve collected many kitchen items, miscellaneous decorations, sentimental items, random gifts I’ve held onto but never used, and countless other “things.”
It’s really amazing how much you can collect in just a few years…
But for my mom, who’s held onto almost everything, try using your imagination. Again I had a shift when I began helping her clean out her home. She had collected so much stuff, she had little walking space, and her bedroom looked like something right out of the show called “Hoarders.”
I took quite a bit of time helping her get rid of things that had been sitting around for years with no hope of ever getting used. I helped her learn how to ask herself the right questions so that she could decide what to get rid of, and she was glad because she was ready for change.
- Have you used this item in the last 365 days? – 99% of the time, this will help you decide whether or not it’s worth keeping. Sure, we have some things that we want to hold onto like equipment that is meant for some activity, we are holding onto something for someone else, or perhaps we really do want to use it soon. This question helps us ask the sub-question though, which is “why haven’t we used it?”
- Would you re-buy this item? – This really helps me view the item in a new perspective. It might not change how I feel about the item fully, but in some cases it will and it helps me get rid of it. If I wouldn’t buy it again, why should I keep it?
These questions helped prompt my mother to purge 9 car loads full of stuff, 2 truck loads worth of furniture, and donate them to the goodwill where these items could be put to good use in a new home with someone who can enjoy them.
These questions also helped me to reassess my life and belongings. What do these questions do for you?
If you liked this post, please feel free to read some of my others.