Minimalism, or the “minimal” movement, started for me close to 6 years ago.
At the time, as most people who are minimalists would say, I didn’t realize being minimal was what I was pursuing. I primarily was just tired of moving my stuff all over and I had no where I could store it long-term(thanks mom and dad! But really. Not like, sarcastically-passive-agressively-thanks).
When I lived on the Island in 2009, I lived for a short time “on campus” at the local Bible College I was attending.
“On Campus” basically meant the school had about 6 condo’s they bought that were used for all the students. I shared a two bedroom condo with four other girls and the occasional cockroach; space was limited!
We were responsible to keep the condo clean for a weekly inspection and I learned real quick that more stuff meant more cleaning, which meant more work, which meant less time for studying and playing. Mostly playing, though.
Slowly, week by week, I started to let go. Did I really need six different swim suits? What about five pairs of jeans? I wasn’t sure I had even worn one pair my whole time there! But still, the thought of “what if” still crept into my mind.
“What if someone comes to visit and they don’t have a swimsuit?!” – realistically, what are the odds they would fly all the way to Maui, forget a swim suit, happen to be my size and not have any money to buy their own?
Come on. That’s ridiculous.
Sure, not every situation is that obvious, but you don’t have to go through all your memorabilia and toss out pictures of great-granny Mary and your second cousin Irene that you love but never pull out of the closet to look at. In fact, you should not go through all that right away! That’s a sure-fire way to depress you and cause you to feel hopeless.
Start with the simple, small things.
Like your wardrobe.
Clothes are seriously a dime a dozen. Most likely every item of clothing you own can be replaced. If you get rid of most of your jeans thinking you never wear them and then you feel regret because it turns out you do wear them, you can buy more.
But most likely you will rid yourself of unworn, unwanted clothes and you will feel a sense of freedom.
Many people hold on to clothes because:
1. They think they are cute or stylish. Maybe it’s not their style, and sure they never pull it out to wear it, but its so dang cute!
-If it’s not you, toss it. Don’t think about it. Let it go.
2. “This doesn’t fit me yet….”
-Let it go! Style isn’t about portraying who you want to be, but who you are. You love the clothes you do wear for a reason. They tell your story. Let the other clothes go to someone else whose story it will tell. And if the time comes where you ARE that size, treat yourself by trading old for new, you obviously worked hard for it!
3.They do wear it, just occasionally.
-If you haven’t worn it in the past month, toss it. SERIOUSLY. You wear what you love. Everything else is just taking up mental space. You don’t need eight tank tops or five pairs of jeans. (with the exception of seasonal items. I am not tossing my shorts every fall.*)
4. They feel guilty for giving it away.
-Even if it was a gift or an heirloom, let it go. You are allowing yourself to be burdened and bogged down by someone elses feelings. If you don’t wear it, don’t let guilt keep your closet and mental space cluttered. BE FREE! Those clothes would be so much better off being used rather than collecting dust. Show love for the giver by allowing yourself not to be held captive by guilt; you will open up your mind and the relationship by giving yourself permission to be yourself without fear of letting others down.
I know that list was long but it is all so true – minimalism is about letting go of things so that you can better hold on to relationships and your own identity. We were not created to be owned by our things but to own them. Not to be dominated by creation but to have dominion over it. To love, cherish and treat with care the things around us,and in doing so we are doing those things for ourselves. So take that step today. Love, cherish and treat with care the things in your wardrobe. If you rarely wear them, let them go to those that will. Learn the art of letting go.
Stay tuned for a good “How-To” for owning less clothes
*I do put seasonal items in a seasonal box. More on that later 😉