As I’ve mentioned before, over the last year, much of my time has been devoted to minimizing/creating space. I think different people have a different interpretation of what minimalism means. For me, it has nothing to do with living in a house completely devoid of furniture with nothing on the walls. I’m a design nerd, so I’m always going to want to have beautiful things. My definition of minimalism is the William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” This is the goal.
I made significant progress last year, but I still feel like I have a ways to go. I am always surprised when I hear about people completing the process in less than a month. I wonder if they are able to maintain that lifestyle. For me, the process has been like peeling back the layers of an onion. I began with the easy stuff: clothes I don’t wear and things that weren’t being used. Clearing out that first layer helped give me space to dig deeper. I did a few more passes through what was left, diving deeper and deeper into the stuff that I wasn’t using but was holding onto because I might. With each layer, I have been able to be more objective.
Now I’m mostly left with the hard stuff. I have to decide whether that stuff, in the words of Marie Kondo, “sparks joy” or is something my fantasy self (think Martha Stewart without the prison time) thinks she needs. I’ve been noticing a similar theme in a lot of minimalism & personal finance articles lately. This one by Trent Hamm is probably the best. If we spread ourselves too wide, we become shallow. I’m finally awakening to the fact that I can do anything, but I can’t (nor do I want to) do everything. Ultimately, I’m left with determining what I want from life and what’s just noise that’s getting in the way.
In Joshua Becker’s Uncluttered Course, the first step is to declare your “Why.” My why is Freedom: primarily freedom to create and freedom to travel. I think my biggest struggle is that I’m able to cram a lot into the “create” category. Sometimes buying great stuff (mostly clothes) can feel like creativity. In actuality, I am finding that creating cute outfits from a limited number of clothes makes me feel more creative than buying something pretty. And the materials I use to create things are encouraging creativity, while the ones that I’m not using are just an obstacle. I recently read this article which contained a passage that jumped out at me, “Objects should be used, or their energy becomes unnecessary weight on your energy.” It’s time to throw out the dead weight.
There are two rooms, my studio and a small bedroom where most of my craft supplies reside, that need the most attention. It’s time to get real and move on from all the unfinished projects my past self began, so I can make room for the things my current self wants to do. Over the course of this week, I commit to spending four hours (it might be a few minutes at a time) in each of those rooms. I’m not sure if that will be enough to finish the job, I’ll reevaluate when I’ve put in the time.
What will you do this week to make progress toward your goals?