Minimalism – How to do it wrong
I saw this video on Youtube today and just HAD to write a post about it
I mean.. fair play to her for giving it a bash, but if she found that minimalism wasn’t for her, then she should look at her approach rather than her experience. She dived in, head first, not really understanding the ‘why’, barely understanding the ‘what’, and definitely going about the ‘how’ in a way that didn’t do her, or the ‘movement’ any favours. (Sorry, I have to roll my eyes at the term ‘movement’, I’m not a fan of people talking about things like minimalism or veganism or whatever like it’s some exclusive club or secret society).
I don’t have very much stuff. Even so, I still manage to live in chaos about 40% of the time, and I’m in the middle of a ‘declutter’ now. The approach the girl in this Youtube video took here would never have worked for me – it’s like shock-therapy – lets throw everything in a box except for a random, unplanned, uncurated collection of clothes and see how I get on for a week? No wonder she felt like an uncoordinated slob.
I’ve been in the process of becoming a minimalist for over a year now – I’m not there yet and I don’t expect to be there this time next year, and that’s ok! I’m not putting myself under any totally unnecessary pressure to ‘do it right’ or do it by a certain time, or get down to a certain number of items, or to be pinterest-perfect about it.
The act of becoming a minimalist is a huge process where you really learn a surprising amount about yourself. It’s a constant self-editing, and whittling down of lifestyle choices as well as material stuff, and the further you get into it the more you realise how little stuff you actually need, how many things you’re holding onto that don’t bring value, how much junk you have that you don’t use, and even how little you’ve been living in line with your values. You get better at determining what is actually important to you and adjusting your choices accordingly.
For anyone watching this being put off by the tiny number of clothes – check out project 333. I’m not at 33 items of clothing – I have around 50, and I’m not stressing about it or feeling like I’ve failed at being a minimalist. Right now, 33 items doesn’t work for me. I will arrive at the number of things that works best for me when I’m done with the whittling process of getting rid of things as I go along and become more attuned to the things I love and use. I may end up with 55 things, I may up with 22, I may end up with 33. Any of those may be right for me. Maybe none of those will be the right number for you – maybe 79 will be your number, and that’s ok.
There’s a misconception floating around the internet that you have to dress in black and only own a certain number of things to be a true minimalist which is rubbish. Minimalism is about balance. It’s about finding out what’s the right amount of stuff that works for you and eliminating all the mental, lifestyle and physical stuff you don’t need so you’re only left with the things that are important and useful TO YOU – not to anyone else. Anyone who preaches about you having to achieve a certain number of things in order to be a ‘real’ minimalist really needs to re-visit their ‘why’, because they’re missing the point.