“There’s a consequence for being over-prepared. ”
I remember reading this NY Times’ article awhile back on minimalism and feeling taken aback. I’ve always been good at throwing stuff away (the consequence of obsessively hoarding magazines as a teenager), but I had never taken time to consider the psychological aspects in regards to how I relate to my “stuff.”
I’m currently in the middle of moving my apartment around. And when I say moving around, I really mean that my roommate is moving out, and I find myself with a lot of space. Perhaps too much.
Moving/organizing is incredibly stressful. We think it’s about the work. For me, my home is my sanctuary from the outside world, a world that sometimes takes too much energy to venture into. If my home is out-of-sorts, I am out-of-sorts. On my better days, I realize this experience is an opportunity to grow. To learn to live with discomfort and uncertainty. I resolved to do it this time with grace and patience and to revel in the moment.
Suddenly my patio needs bistro lighting. My patio furniture isn’t super comfortable, come to think of it. I’m not sure my side table near my couch matches the rest of my furniture, and maybe I really should get that carpet in my roommate’s room replaced. My digital keyboard – once a promising toy for making music – collects dust, sitting in the corner as a reminder that I haven’t done anything with it. Nothing around me is good enough.
As I work toward living a more minimalistic life (which I will chronicle here), I find that materialism and the way we relate to our stuff is so much more than deciding to throw things away to feel “lighter.” For some people, it’s about giving up the past and facing an uncertain future and an uncomfortable present. For me, it’s giving up the idea that, if I put enough elbow grease and money and thought into this change, I can make everything so perfect in my home that I will never deal with any anxiety or problems again.
I’m finding that minimalism is really about facing ourselves at the end of the day. And it’s not just a mindset – it takes mindfulness and hard work. The maximizing mind can be a sneaky thing.
If you’re interested in learning more minimalism, these are some great resources: