The ‘Stuff Cycle’

the word minimalism tends to garner a specific image of sterile, stark, white rooms with minimal furnishings, art, personality everything. About 2 1/2 years ago I started an unexpected shift towards minimalism and find myself moving further and further in that direction. It started in decluttering and minimizing one specific aspect in my life and has slowly bled out. I know some people just wake up one day and suddenly get inspired to do a big purge of all their belongings but for me I’m glad this has been a slow process over time. While I have purged a LOT over the last year, I’ve also never regretted getting rid of an item. To me something that is just as important as the discarding itself.

The problem I’ve found with a lot of minimalistic blogs is that they focus too much on the number e.g. 100 items, 33 items etc. to me the number isn’t as important as how the items make me feel, it almost makes minimalism seem like a competition – who can have the fewest amount of things. I want to be surrounded by things that I love, my goal is just to get rid of the excess. Its funny how overtime it becomes easier to purge and get rid of possessions that 6 months or a year ago I would have been making excuses for why I needed to keep that item in my life.

Have I been perfect throughout my minimalism journey so far? No, but I have been getting better at letting go of regrettable purchases as soon as possible. I actually have a small paper shopping bag that has become a staple on my bedroom floor. It sits right beside my bookshelf and whenever I have an item I’m ready to toss (or am thinking about tossing) in it goes. Its easy to have on hand for a friend or family member to rummage through and its nice to have a designated ‘out’ box instead of leaving things scattered around until the next time I decide to do a purge.

At the end of the day its all a cycle. Buying stuff – displaying stuff – maintaining stuff – storing stuff – getting rid of stuff – working to pay for new stuff. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not going to swear off consumerism entirely however I do want to drastically reduce that cycle for myself. While at a certain point I was focused on a rigid one in, one out policy, I now want to be  more mindful of what I’m bringing into my home and resist those impulse wants. The less I let the stuff- cycle take over my life, the more time I have for what’s important to me.