decluttering + minimalism
I missed the opportunity to chat with you all last month about spring cleaning and my favourite pastime: decluttering. This is because I was actually doing some massive decluttering myself and it totally consumed me. I couldn't believe how much damn stuff I had. I mean, I knew I had a lot of stuff - don't let my blog title fool you. I am obsessed with the idea of minimalism, however I am simply too maximalist at this time in my life to actually achieve the minimalism badge of honour.
Decluttering has always been a favourite pastime of mine because it really helps de-stressing me. Keeping my mind busy coupled with the reduction of stuff and actually being able to see surfaces and extra room in drawers and cupboards is quite pleasing for me. A friend of mine recently described this is cathartic and you know what? She got it spot on.
challenges with decluttering
I realized what was making it so hard for me to declutter on a larger scale. Marie Kondo tells us to keep things that spark joy and the issue with that for me is that all of my things do spark joy for me. Many of my trinkets, clothes, old paperwork - I realized I was holding onto these things because they gave me a sense of self. They were pieces of my past that I was holding onto, reminding myself that at one time in my life I played basketball, and at another time in my life I was a carefree gypsy woman, and at another I was a very witchy woman. All of these things (and more) contributed to my sense of identity and I was holding onto them for dear life in the fear that I may lose them and thus, lose myself.
I think holding onto our possessions looks different for everyone. Some people are more logical and want to keep things in the fear that they one day may need that very large serving bowl for a dinner party. Or maybe those very festive-looking heels that will be good for a holiday party, and you don't want to have to go out and buy a new pair of heels just for a holiday party! I get it. I totally get it.
tips for decluttering
Yes, yes, if you're like me you've read allll the blogs that tell you about which questions to ask when you're decluttering. I've been there, I've read them, I've applied the learning, and I still ended up here. I think the real question we need to ask ourselves when decluttering is why do I need this? And in order to prevent further pile-up, I think we need to start asking ourselves pre-purchase why do I want to own this?
Having minimal spaces is so calming and relaxing. Too many things on surfaces = too many things in the way, too much overcrowding physically and mentally.
I am reminded of something I've seen as I write this blog post. It is a quote, and it is not super correlated but it is kind of, so I'm just gonna go for it (it's my blog post anyway, I guess I can jump from idea to idea as I see fit):
“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up.
Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love.
So if you love a flower, let it be.
Love is not about possession.
Love is about appreciation.”
I guess what my sleepy brain is trying to say is that we do not need to possess everything we like, love, admire, desire - we do not need to own every beautiful black dress we see. We do not need to own every lipstick shade. We do not need to own every book (hello library card, my old friend).
Things are things are things. It is all just stuff. Ah, I am reminded of another quote, one more impactful and on theme in light of this blog post:
"This isn't life, it's just stuff. And it's become more important to you than living. Well honey, that's just nuts."
-American Beauty (1999)
And honey, it is nuts. We have become so consumed with acquiring things, myself included! This pandemic has went one of two ways for you: one, you learned that you can live with less... or two, you distracted yourself by shopping online even more than you used to in order to pass the time. I have been guilty of both throughout this stay-at-home journey, but the last few weeks of massive decluttering (and essentially detaching) has been very eye-opening for me.
I challenge you, my friends, to look through your things with a critical eye. Do you really love those old ball shoes? Do you really think you'll need them? Now dig deep, and tell yourself why you think you've been holding onto them this whole time.