I wish I could say that I just woke up one day and miraculously decided that I didn’t want to live this way anymore. Back in December, I watched Minimalism, a documentary I came across on Netflix one day. I was only five minutes into it when I realized just how much I was able to relate. Seriously, it hit home.
I’ve always kind of collected stuff. I (used to) hoard stationary. Trips to Office Depot or Target? Count me in. I’ll go out and buy a couple posterboards, some black pens (even though I already have too many), a thousand index cards, stacks of sticky notes, and a hundred paperclips. Even as a kid, I loved collecting office supplies. I’d hoard stashes of printer paper, pens, and tape. My parents had to actually hide the tape from me. Even my family held on to [unused] junk for a long time: glassware, coffee cups, gardening tools, untouched sentimental items, boxes and boxes of clothes, and random cords that go with—what exactly?
I used to spend a lot of time doing the things you might be guilty of too: I wanted to keep up with the Joneses (or, rather, the Kardashians). I’d spend months lounging around watching shows about the daily lives of celebrities and shows about multi-million dollar homes, and I’d be trying to figure out what I could do in my life to get closer to this “American Dream” version of happiness; expensive trips, fancy purses, and the ability to attract people based on things. I was absolutely convinced that happiness was just a couple steps away.
We grow up in a society of billboards and facades. We read magazines that make us want to own luxury watches, have the body of a Victoria’s Secret model, and live in Los Angeles or NYC. We want to be successful and beautiful, and have a bank account balance that looks like a phone number. We know that we want more, but maybe we’re just not sure what it is that we want more of.
I know that I don’t want to fill my life with things. Like everyone, I don’t want to be in debt. I don’t want to be spending my money faster than I can make it. I want a life full of strong relationships and spontaneous adventures—spending less time stressing and more time with people who genuinely add value to my life.
Here’s an important thing that I took from this documentary (that I think a lot of people might have missed): You don’t have to have a six-figure income or a mansion to be able to downsize/minimize. Every house has a junk drawer or two that needs to be cleaned out. Let me tell you, it feels awesome to get rid of things that you’ve been holding onto for too long. Everyone is guilty of buying things that they don’t really need. Minimalism, to me at least, isn’t just about getting rid of clutter or excess items, it’s a certain mindset. It’s quality > quantity. Minimalism is about genuinely wanting less material items and more freedom, time, and healthy relationships with people. It’s about finding your own version of the American Dream.
In the coming weeks, I’ll start a short series of posts about my journey to minimalism; how I’ve been getting rid of the junk in my house, how to decide what adds value to your life and what doesn’t, and how I’ve minimized my debt by getting rid of my excess things!