Friday, August 3, 2012

Minimalism

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The first time I really even heard the idea of being a "minimalist" was an online quiz by Cover Girl make-up in the 6th grade that deemed me a "make-up minimalist".  I never gave the idea much thought after that.  In college, I know I read an article here and there about some guy living with nothing but his laptop and a skateboard.

During a discussion about cleaning and purging at work, a co-worker looked right at me and said, "Are you a minimalist?"  I thought about it, told her maybe.  And continued explaining about how it stressed me out to find so much stuff in my house and how I enjoyed living in small spaces with some of my stuff still at my parents because it made me realize what I really needed or wanted.

While perusing Amazon for new books, shortly after that conversation, Amazon suggested a Kindle book for me called Miss Minimalist: Inspiration to downsize, declutter, and simplify.  Thus began my foray into the world of minimalism.

A lot of what Francine Jay wrote about seemed to resonate with me--the idea that there were a lot of things in my house I didn't need.  I began to understand that I had been heading this way for awhile by carefully considering whether I wanted to allow something to enter my house and discouraging gifts just for the sake of exchanging gifts.  I tend to really want to get something for a person they will really use, rather than just something kitschy they may think looks cool and put on a shelf.

One thing that made Jay's minimalism really take flight was her move overseas with her husband.  I just so happened to be preparing for a similar move when I began reading this Kindle book (it's more like a collection of blog posts).  While we weren't so good as to get our belongings down to only two duffels to take with us, the move and the reading really got me thinking.  Knowing what it is that I really use here in Germany and what is back in storage in the States makes me itchy to get back and really consider a lot of what is there.

I honestly don't see myself becoming as extreme as Jay--I enjoy some of my clothes and a decorated space too much.  I also feel that most of what my husband and I have been moving around for the last three years (through four different self-moves) is all important to me.  Even though all of this do-it-ourselves moving has been a lot of work and stressful, it has forced us to be more honest about whether we really need to keep certain things, rather than allowing us the luxury to close our eyes and just let some guys come in and box it all up.

I really hope to continue to examine my possessions for the rest of my life and really consider if the items I have are useful or something I really, really, really like.  For instance, I want to stop buying clothes I'm not really excited about wearing.  I don't want to dust around anything in my house that isn't something that holds a special memory or really makes me happy to see.

Have you ever looked into minimalism?  Do you, like me, find that the principles are a good place to start, even if you don't want to embrace minimalism in its fullest sense?

You can check out Francine Jay's blog here or any other time on my blogroll at right.

*If you do decide to check out Miss Minimalist: Inspiration to downsize, declutter, and simplify, it is an easy 99-cent read on your Kindle.  I do not, however, recommend her other book, Frugillionaire.  Anyone who knows anything about saving money knows these tips, or if not, could find them on Pinterest :-)

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