What drew you to minimalism?
My interest in minimalism grew out of my foray into “healthy living.” As I learned more about habits for a healthy body and mind it was only time before I stumbled upon minimalism. It didn’t hurt that in addition to the concept of owning less, I also love the aesthetic of minimalism.
How did you start the de-cluttering process?
I started in late 2012 with a complete overhaul of my closet. I owned so many clothes. Some things fit, many didn’t, and often didn’t actually know what I owned. Getting ready, laundry, just dealing with my clothes was stressful, so over the course of a couple of days I sorted through hundreds of items. I discarded the old, donated the good, and consigned the rest. The process was surprisingly emotional but I don’t regret getting rid of over 200 items. In fact, it set off a whole chain of decluttering - beauty items, my digital life, books, bathroom and kitchen items. If I could sort and reduce, I did. I still do. It’s always a work in progress.
Have you ever counted all your things? If so, how many things do you own?
I have not. But I also don’t think that minimalism is about owning a specific amount of things. It’s much too personal for that. And while I am motivated by numbers, I’ve never found reducing minimalism to a number to be particularly helpful or inspiring. I consider it minimalist success when there is a sense of effortlessness, peace, and lightness – whether that’s achieved with 5 or 100 items.
What are your tips for dealing with the desire for more?
This is something I still struggle with. I found that it helps if I delay the purchase. I’m an impulse buyer so giving myself some time (a few days at least and up to a few months) to mull over the purchase helps me realize that I don’t want or need it. Getting rid of the temptation in the first place by unsubscribing to emails or “junk” blogs also helps. I still feel a sense of “missing out” and find some of these things creeping back into my inboxes, which is why minimalism is never an end put a process for me. I’ve also reduced or eliminated magazines (all ads) and don’t watch “regular” tv or cable (more ads).
How do you deal with non-minimalists in your life?
I’ve never had to “deal” with non-minimalists. I’m happy to talk about why I do what I do if people are interested or if someone asks for advice. Otherwise it’s not my place to judge. J I think finds it amusing. He already doesn’t own a lot of things so no tension there. I also think he is happy to reap the benefits of a (more) clutter-free home.
Do you have any guilty pleasures where minimalism doesn't apply?
Food. Admittedly, our pantry is stuffed. Organized but definitely very full. I love to cook so have ended up with one of every ingredient it seems. I love specialty items and gourmet foods as well, which has translated to eight kinds of rice, six kinds of flours, and ten kinds of oils, etc. While I wouldn’t quite “de-clutter” my pantry I am trying to be more thoughtful about what I buy and actually using up what I have.