I just finished watching the Netflix documentary: Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. Essentially the film is about two guys who had spent their twenties working their way up the corporate ladder; only when they reached what society deems as "success" they were met with a high level of discontentment. This inevitably led them to quit their jobs and thus began their journey of living a more minimalistic lifestyle. Now they teach people how to do the same through their website and book Everything That Remains.
You probably wondering why I'm sharing with you what I've been watching lately on Netflix. *quick shout out to my college best friend for not kicking me off her Netflix account. You're the real MVP* Funny enough, minimalism and scaling back has been something I've been wanting to try for a while now. I always had a bad habit of collecting "stuff" growing up, whether that was clothes, makeup, skincare, you name it. Of course, this isn't an uncommon habit here in the U.S. because we live in a consumer driven society which makes it hard to not get caught up in wanting the latest and greatest thing.
One thing they talked about in the film was the reasoning behind consumerism, though largely driven by advertising, it is more of a direct effect of a desire to fill a void in our lives. We've been tricked to think that in order to be happy we have to consume and keep up with the trends.
DECLUTTER THE NONSENSE
About two years ago, my family downsized. One of the main reasons was because we had so much extra space, we lived in a very stereotypical large home in suburbia (we used probably 60% of the space). Did we really need a dining room, living room, a study, and a finished basement? Probably not. But my dad had worked so hard and wanted to show that he was able to provide the best for his family.
To say that moving was an adjustment would be an understatement. As hard as it is to admit, we as a five person household had accumulated so much junk over the years it was overwhelming. It was stressful to go through all the junk but also extremely beneficial. Watching that documentary brought back memories of sorting through boxes upon boxes in the basement, trying to decide whether or not it was worth it to keep toddler toys and baby clothes. It was hard. On one hand, we had placed sentimental value on objects but it was a time to decide if these things were truly going to add value to our lives.
Learn to Let Go
I don't think I personally, have ever struggled with being able to let go of unnecessary goods but I won't deny I've been sucked into the materialistic culture. When I came home from school after college, I had boxes piled up in the basement of things I needed to sort through. It was eating up space in the new house that frankly wasn't there. At first, I was a stubborn (what's new) about going through it all. In my head I had already decided that I would be moving out at the end of the summer, so what was the point of unpacking it all? I was just going to go through the exact same process a few months later.
Well three months passed, then four, then six and I realized I had been avoiding that fact that it needed to be taken care. So I finally spent a day organizing literally everything. It was grueling process but FOUR trash bags later I had a eliminated so much clutter and it felt amazing!
LESS IS MORE
Currently, I have the tiniest little closest and one dresser full of clothes. I would have laughed at you if you would have told me that two years ago but honestly I love it. I had a friend scan through my closet one day and she told me she wished she could live on so little clothes. It struck me because I hadn't realized how much I had gotten rid of, to the extent that people gave me credit for the little amount of stuff that I had. Even though in my head I still think I own too much stuff.
When it comes to clothing I actually think there's a conflict of interest. I would love to live a more minimalistic lifestyle; I think I would honestly thrive off of it. But at the same time, I feel as though it is difficult to achieve as a woman. There's so much unnecessary pressure placed on one another in regards to our appearance, especially in the PR world. There's this need or desire rather to go out and buy an outfit for an event or special occasion. It's hard to not get caught up in it all. The idea that we all need to consume goods in order to be happy has been intrinsically drilled into our heads. But I think with a few tweaks we can reset the scale and balance this desire.
I think one's best bet would be to start by asking if what ever you are about to purchase is going to add value to your life. Do you really need that cute pair of shoes? Probably not (curse you Target). If you start to change the way you think about everyday purchases, it begins to slowly manifest on its own. As of right now, focus on the people rather than the material objects in your life.
Have you tried minimalism? I want to hear firsthand experiences!