Minimalism :: Part 001 by Justine Allread
I began my journey into minimalism late 2016. Around October, I wondered if I could live without one of my bedroom dressers: the IKEA Malm. The IKEA Malm three-drawer dresser is minimalist enough in its design and, despite IKEA recalling it after causing the death of at least three children, it served me well. I sorted through each of the three drawers psychoanalyzing every article of clothing I had decided to stuff into it. I was pretty sure I didn’t need this much space for my underwear. I forgot I owned that shirt. Then I looked outside the drawer. I don’t like my rug. I have too many makeup products. I always cleanse my space around autumn so I may as well do a more thorough cleansing this time. I made a list: Things to Get Rid Of. (…Things Of Which to Get Rid? Whatever, anyway—)
- large dresser
- papers (i.e. random sticky notes, and receipts)
- toys (yup, you read right)
- gifts (items I keep out of sentimental guilt)
Then I made a list of things I wanted to gain:
- an emergency kit (with extra pads, bandages; aspirin, ibuprofen; etc.)
- a carry-on bag
- a bullet journal
all of which, I hoped, would aid in my quest for Peace of Mind.
While I do not believe my personality can be perfectly evidenced in the appearance of my bedroom, I would be amiss if I denied outright how my clutter negatively affected me. For whatever reason, I pretended my clutter would reaffirm my complicated personality, but I realized I am already complicated enough without dusty floors and shelves.
Jenny and David Mustard are YouTubers I discovered who have helped me understand minimalism more. One of their videos debunks a few myths about minimalism, the biggest myth in particular “You can only own a limited number of things”. I don’t need a warehouse to store all my personal effects, but I like colors. I like taking the time to plan outfits. I want to have a library as big as Belle’s one day. But then Jenny says,
Things are not what make me complicated. I am complicated. Including the complicated feelings I have for my stuffed animals. I felt guilty not giving them attention so I decided it’s time to let someone else give them the attention they deserve. I am not a simple person, but I do have simple needs.
See, getting rid of stuff didn’t just declutter my floor space, but also my mind. With my mind cleared (at least partially), I realized all I need is comfort, and how to get that comfort is easier than I was led to believe. I used to think that comfort meant complacency, but if complacency is numbness then comfort is, yes, consciousness. Comfort like a fluffy bed- every corner anticipating my every move, prepared and eager to offer luxury. And who doesn’t like naps?
Practicing minimalism has shown me that comfort is within reach, though I may have to stretch. Sure, I struggle with anxiety, but I have anxiety, not the other way around. My things don’t have me, neither do my surroundings. I have me. I have them. It’s not quite “mind over matter”; it’s more like clearing the air.