I have to get something off my chest.
I’m no longer a minimalist.
Phew, I said it.
For the last three years, I’ve committed to living life as a minimalist. I had a good run and learned a lot. If you don’t know, minimalism is essentially removing the excess clutter (mental & physical) to make room for what truly matters in life- experiences over things.
I discovered minimalism when I was searching for an escape from anxiety. Searching google, I read articles about people who were changing their lives by living with less and I wanted in.
Grabbing a huge box, I went straight into the closet and started finding clothes to donate. Anything that didn’t fit well or was uncomfortable had to go. An immediate rush of relief flooded through me, so I kept going, eventually donating 85% of my belongings.
It was going really well. Dom was incredibly supportive of the whole thing. We slept on a 4-inch mattress on the floor and didn’t own a couch or tv. Our walls were bare and cabinets were empty. But it still wasn’t enough.
So, in the spring of 2016, I purchased an Airstream travel trailer to renovate and live in. I watched countless videos of people moving into tiny homes and loving the financial freedom. It seemed like the next step, but the more we worked on the project, the more we realized it wasn’t what we wanted.
After a while, the rush of relief started to fade and anxiety crept back in. The only thing I could think of was to donate more. It became an addiction. Guilt followed almost every purchase; I started restricting. I took this lifestyle to an extreme I didn’t want.
The idea behind minimalism is that your belongings no longer consume you. Living with less, decluttering regularly, and only buying what I needed or loved was all I could think about. Stuff was on my mind more than it ever had been before.
One day, I was refinishing furniture in my parent’s garage. It was taking me forever to sand the piece by hand. My dad saw me struggling, walked over to his toolbox and handed me an electric sander. I finished in no time. He hadn’t used that tool in years, but because he didn’t donate it from non-use, it was at my disposal. It got me thinking:
Life happens. Weight fluctuates. Things break. Style changes. What I’m getting at is, sometimes it’s necessary to keep ‘just in case items’, backups, or have a box of clothes that vary in size. It’s truly a privilege to be able to go out and buy something whenever you need to. I’m not saying to keep everything by any means, but having less pressure to only keep what you love or use regularly has been a welcomed change in my life.
Before I considered myself a minimalist, I never thought about what I had. Labeling myself added unneeded pressure; I was trying to live up to an unrealistic standard of other people on the internet.
Minimalism can be an incredible tool, but isn’t for everyone. You can live an abundant life, full of joy and experiences, without being a minimalist.
So, a few months ago, I decided to let go of minimalism. I’m still living a simple life and more joyful than ever, having more experiences and hardly thinking about what I own. I’ve probably accumulated more items in the last six months than I have in in the last three years, but it’s okay. Our apartment feels warm and cozier; I’m loving it!
Thankful is a word I’d use to describe my journey of minimalism, and I’m excited to see what roads wait ahead. If you’ve been following my experience on YouTube, thank you for your constant support and encouragement. It means the world to me, and I’m excited to continue sharing my journey on this platform!