Over the past few months I have increasingly felt as though I am drowning in my possessions. By no means do I live in a small apartment or have multiple cupboards overflowing with dresses, or drawers overflowing with shirts and pants, but I do have a lot of items that I probably haven’t used in over a year. I don’t work and usually only go out on weekends so there are only a few items I prefer to wear depending on the weather. I have makeup that I bought and have never even opened, and stationery that I haven’t used since the day I bought them.
I recently watched Minimalism on Netflix and have been watching a number of YouTube videos about the topic. I have noticed that as I am growing older, I prefer to purchase things I am actually going to use and I constantly question a purchase before purchasing anything.
I have never considered myself to be someone who could be called materialistic and I pride myself on knowing the difference between someone who is materialistic and someone who just likes purchasing nice things. I have wealthy friends who are able to make extravagant purchases while still maintaining humility and staying grounded, and on the other hand I know people who are constantly chasing better material goods so that they appear to be ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’. The latter is usually the type of people that I prefer to stay away from.
With that said, I have fallen victim to the idea of ‘Keeping Up With The Joneses’ in the past. Growing up, my mother was a single mother so we didn’t have much. I was usually the poorest one in the group and as a result, I was often excluded from outings and conversations. When I started working, I ended up in debt because I wanted to fit in with the people at work and also partly to make up for all the things I wanted growing up but never could afford. I remember arriving at work to a group of women eager to see what shoe I decided to wear that day simply because I had based my image on not wearing the same shoe more than once a month. For someone who was earning what I was earning at the time, the lifestyle ended up costing me too much and I was forced to slow down when my monthly debt began to equal my disposable income. I understand the need to fit in all too well and have suffered the financial consequences on multiple occasions.
Like many other people who have heard the word minimalism without actually knowing what it was all about, the impression was that you only have one set of cutlery per person in a household, and one chair to sit on with a basically empty house. This is not the case at all. While minimalism promotes the idea that you don’t need much to survive, it is more focused on having items that actually have a purpose in your life. As I learn more about minimalism, I have found that it is a concept I am more than willing to lean into.
When I was younger, I was okay with having a messy desk to work at, and not really focusing too much on having everything put back into its place. I feel as though this is one of the reasons why I ended up accumulating so much things. It became normal for things to be lying around everywhere so when the piles got bigger, it didn’t strike me as something out of the ordinary. When I moved in with my partner, he just assumed the duty of cleaning up after me and voicing his frustration at the volume of junk I had brought along with me to our tiny apartment. When I left my full time job and the duties of cleaning up fell to me, it really became apparent just how much junk I had collected over the years. When we moved to Europe, I ended up leaving a lot of clothing and other items behind in our apartment but what I had essentially ended up doing is bringing a lot of useless items to fill the cupboards in our new home.
The truth is that I have gotten to this place over a period of time. I didn’t wake up one day, open up my cupboard and decide that I had too much stuff. It didn’t even occur to me when I unpacked my entire cupboard as well as everything in my chest of drawers and folded and repacked every single item except anything that was torn back into my cupboard and drawers. This all came about when my mentality had begun to shift. I prefer to work at a neatly sorted desk with very little items, I prefer to walk into a bathroom where everything has its own place and is not disorganised, and I don’t have to look through an entire basket of makeup to look for my eyeliner only to end up finding the one I bought but will probably never end up using.
Sticking with the topic of makeup, I watched a YouTube video this morning by RawBeautyKristi where she discusses the makeup industry and the overwhelming amount of launches that have taken place in the recent months. As a consumer, I have ended up stopping any purchase of beauty products due to the sheer amount of choice available. It has become a culture to use the latest eyeshadow palette or to purchase items simply because the novelty of having that particular item is more valuable than the actual product. As a result, we end up having a lot of products that remain unused while we continue using the same products we usually use. I understand that this may not be the case with everyone but it is definitely the case for me.
I am not condemning you to a life with barely anything. If you want something and you can afford to purchase it, by all means go ahead and purchase it. If you want to own all of the eyeshadow palettes available today then that is your choice. What I am saying is that we should learn to stop defining ourselves and others by what someone does, or does not have.
I am extremely excited about this journey I am about to embark on. My aim is to make my thirties the best decade of my life and to experiment with all the concepts I felt uncertain about in my twenties. I want to streamline my life so that I have more time to enjoy the little things. I look forward to sharing my journey to minimalism with you all!
Is minimalism a concept you haven’t heard about before? I would love to hear your views on downsizing your possessions based on utility or if you like your lifestyle the way it currently is. Let me know in the comments below!
-The Uninspired Blogger