I’m Not a Minimalist, Although I Have Some of Their Tendencies

I’ve watched quite a few YouTube videos on minimalism and admit that I’m not one. However, I do have some tendencies or life habits that some of them have incorporated.

It started a few years ago when I was cleaning out my mother’s apartment. It was emotionally and physically draining. She had a lot of things she considered to be sentimental, but to most others they weren’t worth keeping. I began wondering how someone would feel cleaning out my place. I started re-evaluating what was important and meaningful in my life. I realized I had a lot of things that were neglected, duplicated, or over the years had become boring.

I began a pattern of clearing out my closets, bookcases, kitchen cabinets, coat closet, makeup collection, knickknacks, etc. It felt good getting rid of things whether given to Goodwill, a homeless shelter, or someone I knew who had need of what I was donating every five or six months. There’d be times when I’d have a lot of items. Sometimes, I only had a few items.

The minimalist tendencies I have are getting rid of an item if:

  • I haven’t worn it in two seasons,
  • I no longer have use for it i.e. large purses I used when I was working, that’d hold my laptop and files,
  • I can no longer wear it i.e. high-heeled shoes or boots,
  • It’s been tucked away, I see it, and don’t remember when I’ve last used it, and
  • If I purchase a new item, I get rid of at least two similar items already in my closet i.e. I purchased two 650 goose down jackets and one 850 goose down hooded jacket, so I gave away three vests, and four coats.

Minimalism approaches I’ve adopted to shopping, specifically for makeup:

  • I think about if I have similar colors in my current collection,
  • I don’t purchase face or blush palettes because I know over half of it will not be suitable for my complexion, and thus wasted,
  • I very rarely purchase something just because it’s on sale,
  • If I have an item on my wish list, I wait until it’s on sale or the store is having a sale and purchase it then,
  • I only purchase eye shadow palettes if I know each shade will show up nicely on my skin tone,
  • If I purchase something and find I don’t love it, I return it, and
  • Currently things I’ve had that were new and unused, I gave them away or will have a giveaway for them on my YouTube channel.

What I’ve found is that:

  • I feel emotionally lighter not having things around that weren’t being used. It’s easier getting dressed and doing my makeup because I have fewer options. AND, I really love all the options I have. My belongings are a part of a regular rotation, nothing is simply taking up space.
  • My happiness is enhanced when I give others things they need or wanted and couldn’t afford. I really enjoy giving items a happy home where they’ll be used and appreciated, and
  • I feel better about what I spend my money on because I know I’ll use it.

I’ve always disliked wasting things. However, I never really thought about how much waste I was creating by purchasing items that ended up in the trash. I’ve found joy in being an “intentional shopper,” a phrase a close friend recently called me. Minimalists call it “intentional living.” It feels good to have items in my home that I actually enjoy using, that will be regularly used, and not spending money on things that end up expiring and in the garbage.

The responsibility of cleaning out my mother’s apartment changed me in ways I hadn’t imagined it would. It was a hard experience, though one that has helped me better manage the possessions in my own life.

What are your thoughts and experiences on minimalism? Is it something you think you could become? If not, are there some minimalist tendencies you feel you should try? Do you know someone who’s a minimalist? If so, what’re your thoughts on their lifestyle? I look forward to reading your comments.

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I journeyed from GED to a PhD in Psychology. I decided to focus on my writing once I retired from the clinical field. I write in various genres and have several WIPs for publication once edited. I post articles on this website for intellectual and entertainment purposes.

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