All facts from Becoming Minimalist & respective sources. Photo from me 🙂
Recently I came across a blog post from Becoming Minimalism (who I love, so no harm is intended with this post!) that contained some very surprising numbers on clutter statistics. While some of these blew me away, some freaked me out (seriously, if we have kids there might be a strict no/few toys rule for presents), some of these facts and the way they were presented just kind of irked me. So today I’m here to do something that Andrew knows I can do very well: rant. I’m greatly interested in minimalism and we’ve been working on applying the principle to our life. I’ve come across some wonderful posts and talks on the subject while researching but there is sometimes a common thread of negativity towards those who will not start downsizing. Honestly, that thinking really jams my scantron. I don’t see the value in calling people who don’t follow this vein of thinking wrong or saying that they have to start downsizing or they’re contributing to “the problem”.
It’s kind of like one piece of the “feminism problem”. I am a feminist and so is Andrew. If you believe in equal rights, you’re also a feminist (sorry to be the one to break the news to you). But many people, feminists and otherwise, seem to have an issue with women who choose to stay at home (whether or not there are children involved). It’s total crap. Feminism is about being able to make the choice to stay at home, work, or do any other combination. That concept also applies to minimalism. Doing one or the other does not make you better in anyway – it simply means you’ve made a choice that works best for you in that time. To insult or insinuate that the other party is creating a problem is to say that you’re better for having made a different choice – and that’s not true. We all have different needs, wants, and privilege in our life.
There are plenty of people that live in the 2,000 sq ft + and have over 300,000 items in their home and feel great about what they own and how they live. They don’t look at their belongings and feel tied down or unhappy about what they have. Something that I’ve found in researching within the journey that is minimalism is from the KonMari Method (from the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up“): when you go through your belongings, each thing you keep should make you feel joy when you touch it. Obviously I’m not talking about taxes in this case (because we’d all be in trouble then) but the idea behind it works. Why should we fault people for keeping things that cause them joy?
Minimalism also shouldn’t be going through and getting rid of everything and anything that is extraneous and you don’t use everyday. More than likely in the long run that will not make you happy and that’s really what following a new path (in this case minimalism) should do. Sure, I don’t read the same book every single day of my life but there’s no way in you-know-where that getting rid of a hand-illustrated copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales that I found in my grandmother’s basement will make me happy. There are things we all keep in our life that really make no sense to. They’re little more than sentimental ornament (which I have many of, come Christmas time) that does nothing more than take up space. But to get rid of these items would surely cause me and all the plans that I have for them sadness. I’ve started going by this rule of thumb: would I be upset if it went up in a fire or would I not care? A bit of a depressing way to look at it but hey, it certainly weeds out the clutter! However it also makes me want to get a bigger fire safe and shove all my mementos in there, so it’s kind of a double-edged sword 😉
As usual my point is this: why can’t we just be happy for those that are happy (as long as it’s not hurting someone else)? We’re talking about keeping a record collection vs. not. Why would you penalize someone for doing that unless you’re the British, in which case you should give people back their artifacts. While I’m not really in opposition to minimalism as the post title would have you to believe (sorry for the clickbait), I’m not really opposed to the other side of it either. Whether you keep the collection or throw it out, doing so should make you happier in the long run. And if we’re making choices that support our overall wellbeing, we shouldn’t be insulting those that make different choices. At least in this semi-minimalist’s view. 🙂
Have you come across this mentality from others (or even yourself *coughshantellecough*)?
Wishing you to have your artifacts restored,
P.S. Long post being typed, I’m in full support of helping those in need when you can. Should you choose to declutter, try to find a local donation or charity center that accepts whatever you’re getting rid of. You’ll feel better for having less and someone will feel better for having more. 🙂