Thursday, December 26, 2019

My Introduction to Minimalism

If you had asked me five years ago if I ever thought I'd become a minimalist of any stripe, I'd have likely replied that I thought minimalism was a load of porpoise hork. Who would want to live a life of austerity and nothingness... on purpose?

My opinion rapidly changed after reading and being captivated by the charm of Marie Kondo's Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. Ironically, I'd acquired that book along with a box of junk I didn't really need at a rummage sale. After finishing the book in a few short sittings, I ended up getting rid of pretty much everything I'd acquired with it at the sale. Within a few months, I purged 8 bags just of my own clothes and shoes and 30-some-odd bags of other stuff from just a few small rooms I occupied.

As the next few years went by, I gradually got rid of more and more of my belongings until I had only the things that were useful day-to-day and things that made me happy to have. I've moved twice since reading about the KonMari method, and before each move I was empowered to get rid of more and more as I packed the items I wanted to keep. Instead of a 1,000 square foot apartment, I now own a 2,600 square foot house. Although my space has more than doubled in size, I have made it a point not to acquire more than I need.

When I first picked up the KonMari books, I had just started an internship that promised to turn into a salaried job, but I was a broke college student. My years in college, and low income from the university job, had me shopping secondhand often when I needed anything from clothes to housewares. It was all inexpensive, and shopping took away some of the dread of being broke. Needless to say that shopping turned into an addiction and I'd acquired far too many things. Like a fool, I'd brought a lot of it with me when I moved 2 hours away for the internship. Most of the stuff I had ended up in storage in a small studio building. When I came across it all years later, I sent most of it in for donations and a good chunk became food for the dumpster.

Minimalism isn't just for the privileged few who can choose to give up their belongings and not suffer from it. Minimalism is for anyone who isn't feeling fulfilled by their belongings, no matter their income or class status. After all, I got my start with minimalism while I was living with my mother-in-law during my internship. Minimalism is only as out of reach as you allow it to be.

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