I was talking recently with a friend about minimalism and the editing of the objects in your life. We commented that shedding possessions doesn’t happen all at once. It’s a layered process.
First, you get rid of the obvious junk. You clean out the unread, outgrown, forgotten.
Then you tackle the stuff the bears the weight of story: the gifts, the souvenirs, the pieces of your history.
After those layers are shed, you get down to just those things in life you use regularly or that you love. You’re done.
Or so you think.
Minimalism isn’t really about having fewer things as much as it’s about having just enough, and no more. Just enough to keep life humming along, without the extra clutter. Just enough beauty and style to feed your soul without the meaningless fads.
But no matter how hard you work at it, you’ll never be done.
You’ll never be done with minimalism, because you’ll never be done evolving. Your family, your work, your interests, your abilities… all of those things will change with time. And as they change, you’ll find objects slipping from “need” to “clutter” before you know it.
I’ve found this to be true as I moved twice last year. Before the first move, I reduced my library by half (more than 1500 books). I reduced my kitchen supplies by half as well. Clothes and shoes were down to 1/5 of what they had been. But now, two moves later, I find myself finally able (and eager) to get rid of items that just a few months ago I valued enough to pay somebody to move.
Partly, it’s because my new home is smaller than my old one. But, more than that, it’s because my life isn’t the same shape it was. I’m adding so many new ideas and experiences into my life that my old stuff just doesn’t fit as well. I want space and energy more than I want things. As I reshape my day to day life, I find I don’t need many of the things I used to.
And so the donation boxes are out again. Books, heavy winter clothes, rarely-used baking tools are all on their way out the door. In their absence is a spaciousness and lack of clutter that my new house had been lacking.
Another layer has been peeled off, leaving more room for what matters: travel, creativity, family and friends… and maybe a few new books.