I am in a few minimalism groups on Facebook and also regularly talk to other people about minimalism, other mothers, family members or friends. I often hear the phrase ‘I want to be a minimalist’. There is no doubt that there is a prevalent view on what minimalism is, and it is heavily associated with the ‘I own 100 things’ type minimalists, but not all minimalists live out of a backpack.
Many feel that they are not minimalist enough, or don’t know what would make them a minimalist, how can they identify with the label. The thing is, it is just a label, it is a term used by many to describe a practice of intentional living, living with less than what the majority of society says you need, challenging accepted cultural norms such as buying a bigger house or having a new car. Needing a loan to upgrade your home? A minimalist doesn’t accept these views on face value.
However, even those of us who identify with the term minimalism, do fail to live up to the hype. I made fantastic progress in getting rid of items and lived with a capsule wardrobe through my pregnancy and it felt fantastic. However, fast forward a few years (wow, where did time go!) and now I feel lost and overwhelmed by stuff, obligations and feelings. No doubt my grief and trauma from Ripley’s birth and ongoing chronic illnesses affect my feelings and sense of overwhelm, but there is absolutely no argument that we have accumulated more things.
If you want to live with less, don’t judge yourself too harshly if you don’t quite get to where you want to be, keep looking reflectively at your situation and your goals and try to minimise the stress that comes with working towards a goal. It is not worthwhile if you feel so stressed trying to get rid of a few items. And if you are starting from the beginning, set yourself small goals.
For me, it is about clearing the time to tackle some of the areas of my life that are cluttered and overwhelmed. My pain points at the moment are toys, paperwork and sentimental items. I am actually not sentimental but I’ve been given a number of things lately and I need to do something with them.
Remember, the tortoise wins the race!