This post has been ruminating in my head for so long that it actually feels silly to write about it now. It seems like old news.
As I’m prone to do, I caught on to the “new” trend towards minimalism a full five years after everyone else. OK, not quite, but basically.
A few things happened that made me move from “minimalism sounds sort of interesting” to “yes, I’m going to pursue this.”
- I started following blogs and watching Netflix documentaries on the topic. Turns out it’s fairly addictive. The irony is now that I have so many thoughts churning, it’s actually stressing me out, which I realize is HIGHLY ironic because the whole movement is supposed to make you feel more calm and peaceful.
- My makeup collection includes eyeshadow from ten years ago. Seriously. I don’t wear it (ew), but I hold onto it because hey, maybe my 6 months pregnant 30-something-year-old self WILL need bacterially questionable jet black eyeshadow for a night on the town one day soon. Also, it was expensive.
- I just keep thinking of a funny story about my mother-in-law. For a really long time she had this gigantic collection of cookie tins lining a wall in her dining room, stacked up to the ceiling. She took them all down a few years ago when the room was being repainted and she had every intention of putting them back up but never did. Once they were down she saw it looked way better without them.
I feel like I have a similar relationship with my “stuff” – it’s there now and I’m used to it, but if I could just bring myself to box it all up and see how the room looked without it, I know I’d like it better.
- Sometimes I get super jealous of my friends’ kids’ toy collections. I mean, some are truly staggering. Wall to wall bins of every imaginable plaything… kitchens with all the handcrafted wooden play food, bins upon bins of Barbies and action figures, train tracks and train tables and Legos, costume closets with adorable mini dresses and shoes, garages packed with scooters, basketball hoops, and Power Wheels, you name it. It makes my own collection feel truly inadequate.
But then I watch my kids playing. The other night they occupied themselves for several hours with some old birthday party decorations they found in a cabinet. Molly took a plain piece of string and invented a whole backstory and life of fun for her “snake” while Liam walked around gleefully with one of those colorful weights you use to hold down balloons. Meanwhile, I know for a fact that some of the friends who have mountains of toys have a hard time getting their kids to put down their iPads. So…
It all fits in nicely with some new research I’ve seen about preschools and kindergartens taking away toys for periods of time to force kids to use their imaginations again. Sure, it sounds extreme… but is it?
My kids definitely have toys and now that I’m reading all this stuff, apparently too many toys, but I think the point is that they play with what they have and the only person who sees what they have as inadequate is me. Then again, I might just be adopting this mentality because I’m too cheap/poor to compete with the mega toy moms. Minimalism is the trendier and cheaper option.
- One of my big holdups was always my husband, a collector. He likes to be surrounded by souvenirs and has a collection of graphic t-shirts large enough that he could avoid doing laundry for at least 3 months and never wear the same one twice. I knew he wouldn’t see the appeal of minimalizing with me, so I figured doing our house half-assed wasn’t worth doing at all.
But then one day this month without warning, he totally gutted his closet and made it into a minimalist’s dream. Space between hangers! Nothing extra at all! Oh AND he got his pile of crap off the dresser so now when I look with disdain at all the trinkets still left there, I only have myself to blame. Apparently, he is on board – at least for certain things. Who knew?
I grew up in a collector’s house. I won’t use the “H” word (ahem…hoarder), but let’s just say my parents don’t get rid of A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G and they buy A LOT of stuff.
This was really nice growing up because I was very spoiled and whenever you see those lists of toys that will make you nostalgic for your childhood, it’s guaranteed I will have owned 85-90% of them AND even better, could probably still find them with a few hours of digging in my parents’ basement.
True story: I wanted to take my old Dream Phone game on vacation last summer and wouldn’t you know, my mom totally found it in her basement. So you can see that the saving tendencies come in handy when a group of 30-somethings want to drink wine and relive their girlhood.
Despite genetics, I’ve always been more inclined to want less stuff/clutter and have been frantically picturing all the places where de-cluttering needs to happen in my house. I know what needs to get done – mentally, I’m there. But time wise I’m strapped. Besides working full-time during the day and being a mom from dinnertime to bedtime, the weekends are packed full and I never want to start a project I can’t finish or feel rushed doing it.
And I realize now that part of minimalism is actually finding more time in the day and clearing your calendar of all distractions… but it’s hard. All the things I’m doing are pretty fun and I’m sorry not sorry that I’ll never be willing to skip a birthday party so I can clean out my linen closet, no matter how badly I need to get rid of old towels.
As I’ve been cryptically hinting for months, I’m still working towards a solution that would give me more time to be at home and less time spent on the daily grind. Unfortunately, I’m no closer to solving that particular problem, though I know once I do I can fit more minimalist pursuits into my life.
I have tons more to say on the topic and I do want to document my “journey” once I finally get it the hell started, so who knows, maybe this will turn into a blog about going minimal. I’m sure that’s more riveting than long rambling posts about what my kids have been up to – or worse – not posting at all because I can’t figure out what to say.
I’ll never be that super awesome Insta photo with white walls and bare floors because, hello, this is real life. That level is beyond me. But I am working really hard on caring less about the stuff I don’t have and appreciating the stuff I do have. It all boils down to the fact that the stuff will never fill the void – only love can do that.
How about you? Are y’all a bunch of minimalists, or have I secretly-not-so-secretly envied your toy collections?