This post is a continuation of my previous post, I would encourage you to read that one first if you have not. In my last post, I shared three objections to minimalism and I will be sharing three more today.
4) My ________ doesn’t feel the same way about minimalism that I do. You fill in the blank: husband, wife, mother, etc. If you live with other people the likelihood is that either they won’t embrace minimalism at all or that you will have differing opinions of what minimalism means. You cannot force your viewpoint on another. Trying to do so will likely bring resentment from defensive posturing. Understand that although you can’t get rid of someone else’s things, you are still in control of your own belongings. Start there. There are things that are strictly yours: clothes, shoes, papers, books, etc. Begin there. Talk to your family about your thoughts, but don’t nag. Nagging never brings about positive change. Often what happens is when you begin to purge and visible change is seen, this inspires others to join you on the journey. Understand too, if your family does embrace minimalism, it may not be with the same passion that you do. Some charge ahead and do a massive overhaul all at once; others get rid of one thing a day. It’s a journey and we should look at both extremes as a success. Just keep moving toward your goal without being judgmental.
5) I love shopping. It makes me happy. What will I do now? The first time I went out for some “me” time after deciding to go the minimalism route I found myself saying, “Now what do I do?” Yes, that’s an embarrassingly true story. I was very much into the benefits of retail therapy. I wasn’t in the habit of buying things that were expensive; we have been debt free for years. But, buying that little something – a trinket here, a knick knack there – gave me a happy feeling. But, happiness is not found in a pill, bottle or a department store. It is found in loving God, loving others and loving yourself. So, what did I do? I took my Bible, found a secluded spot and read. I went out to get a salad and spent time planning. And when I came home, I felt so much better than I ever did when I went for a retail therapy run. There was soul contentment. My “me time” was quiet and allowed me to recharge. It wasn’t crowded with images and consumerism. It didn’t send me the message that my wardrobe was outdated, or that my house wasn’t a poster child for a decorating magazine. So what can you do instead of shopping? Here are just a few ideas. Go to a park or lake, and pray, read, or eat a picnic lunch. Go out and treat yourself to your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant and plan and dream about what you want to do the next week, month or year. If you recharge better with friends, take them along and really engage in their lives. Turn off the electronic devices and put others first. Go ice skating, swimming, hiking or running. Pick up a pen or pencil and start writing. Take an art or music class. I think you get the idea. Do something to enrich your life and then the lives of others. The things we buy get old and we need the next “fix” to feel better. Investing in people never gets old.
6) I don’t even know where to begin. It’s all just too overwhelming. This one was the hardest one for me. Being in recovery still from my type A personality, it was hard to see a way out. We perfectionists have a problem with long range projects like this because sometimes decluttering can be a downer if you look at the piles instead of keeping yourself focused on the end state. Pulling things out, trying to decide what to keep, throw away or donate means that initially all it looks like for a while is chaos. Our family has moved often, so having all those piles reminds me of the disarray my house gets in during a move. I will share with you later the baby steps I am taking in this journey, but for now, the best advice I can give you is just start somewhere, even if it’s one junk drawer. Starting is the beginning of your success toward minimalism. So even though the piles may seem insurmountable – don’t tackle them all at once. Wars are won one battle at a time. Pick a small battle. Find one area that bothers you the most and begin there. Remember baby steps are better than no steps. Minimalism begins by getting rid of that first item. And you may just be surprised how exhilarating it is.