Friday, November 16, 2012

Minimalism, week whatever this is

Huh, I guess it's been a while since I've mentioned anything on the minimalism front.  That's mainly because there hasn't been anything new to mention.  Still decluttering*, still fighting the girls' natural tendency to bring crap home, still finding the balance between too little and too much.  Yadda, yadda, yadda, let's just skip to the part where the hard work is done and we're just pure awesome, shall we?

If only it were that easy.

Anyway, though, I read an interesting article recently about how minimalism is essentially just lifestyle porn.   Meaning it's a fun place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there. (Now that I've linked it up I notice the article is over a year and a half old.  So much for being cutting edge of research.)

It got me thinking: What the hell am I doing?  It's a valid question (even though I shrugged my shoulders as I typed that it's a valid question).

Do you see a list coming?  Oh, good.

1. Creating peace.
2."Attempting to," I mean.

Actually, I guess I don't need a list.  That's what I'm doing in a nutshell.  The more I shed, the happier I feel, whether it's paper clutter or unfinished projects or items we do not use.  It brings me peace.

But are we truly minimalists?  We are never going to live in a clean white box, I know this, and I don't actually want a clean white box anyway.  We are never going to have just four bowls in the kitchen or three outfits apiece or no furniture.  That may mean automatic fail, I have no idea.  Also, I'm finding consumerism is a train you cannot just hop off of.  We need food (duh) and a certain amount of clothing (Abby's gunning for new basketball shoes) and the stuff that makes life worth living, like books** and coffee and hair dye (and gum if you're Johanna).  We go places in our car and have a pantry that's overflowing and hold onto certain things that we may or may not ever use (looking at you, tart pan). We've got kids.

So I don't know the answer to that.

Labeling myself a minimalist helps me focus, though.  I tend to be a big picture kind of girl, and details stress me out.  Being able to say "I am a minimalist" sorts out of some of the confusion in my brain and helps me make better choices with my time and energy and resources. Sometimes that's dead easy.  Sometimes it is really, really hard.  Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes it seems kind of stupid, and sometimes pure genius.

Words suck sometimes.  Labels, too.

So that's the State of the Union, in case you were curious: Striving for more than lifestyle porn, defining what minimalism looks like for our family, wondering if this is really minimalism or more like mindful consumerism or even just attempting not to be so overwhelmed.

Does it matter?  When I open my cabinets and see empty space, "minimalism" isn't even remotely what I'm thinking about.  I'm just happy.  Maybe I'll just concentrate on that.

*My newest decluttering project is my retreat, which was supposed to be a cute little reading area but is really just a small space off the master bedroom that we throw all our crap into. Going over one piece at a time, making some hard decisions, not sure what to do about all the photos I've unearthed.  Gah. Makes me long for the glory days when I was cleaning out the kitchen.

** eBooks for me, that's minimalist, right?  Oh, wait, I forgot I'm trying to get past the label.  Man, this is hard...

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