Minimalism

I am a big fan of home renovation and decorating programs. One of the trends I find particularly intriguing is that of minimalism. In its simplest terms it is where you get rid of your junk. Now I like the concept but the reality is untenable, at least for me. I like my stuff.

I recently had a friend over to my place and we were talking about decorating and I was explaining the history behind, well, everything. Perhaps it is my nature but everything I own seems to have a story. There are the very heavy bookends that my father bought before I was born. They are horse heads and I’ve always loved them. Or the China horses I collected when I was small child. Of the many I did have only a few have survived the 50 odd years they’ve been around.

Then there are my paintings. I have a lot of them. I actually change them seasonally because I get bored easily. There are the chairs that used to belong to my grandmother or the one chair at my front door that I used for my first attempt at camping. It is a beautiful, hand carved wooden chair that I put a blanket over top of and pretended I was camping. That’s my history.

Of course, the other problem is, I like things. I like pretty things. I like wooden bowls and metal bowls and handmade . . . bowls? Oh my good heavens! I collect bowls! See, pretty creeps up on me. Most of these bowls are bought from a company that engages in Fair Trade. They’re not out to make a big profit for themselves. The artisan that makes the item is paid a portion upfront and then when the item is sold, they get more. I feel good about shopping there. I feel less guilty about buying a unique item that is handmade and, well, pretty.

Would my life be better if I had less stuff? The proponents of minimalism believe so. I’m afraid I don’t. Yes, there is the concept of having too much stuff. Look at any program on hoarding and you will understand. I’m not a hoarder. But I do keep my stuff. I put things into boxes and now and then I pulled them out to exchange them with what is on display now. I like being reminded of my past, of the people that were important to me and that helped to mold me into the person I am today. And, I like my stuff.

38 thoughts on “Minimalism

  1. Murphy's Law

    We all love our “stuff”. That’s why we collect it and buy it because it makes us happy. Everything has a memory attached to it. I began quite some time ago “letting go” of my treasures, passing them on to my girls, my granddaughter and friends. It was much easier than I thought.

    I’m not a minimalist, far from it!! I could do a lot more purging and still have lots of “stuff”! Lol. But as I approach 80 (😱 Good grief!!) it makes sense to me to simplify my life, my routines. It makes me very happy to know that “my stuff” is now “someone else’s stuff” and they now enjoy it and cherish it. Win/win for me….might not be for everyone,

    Having said all this, I do love that bookend on the last shelf in your bookcase!! 😄
    🐾Ginger 🐾

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    1. quiall Post author

      I am just like you. If I give some of my stuff to someone who needs it, I feel like I am finding it a new home. The bookend? That’s my gargoyle! I like gargoyles . . .

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  2. pensitivity101

    Some people call it downsizing. We had plans when we sold the cottage to buy something smaller, got rid of a lot of stuff and kept what was necessary to furnish a small two bedroom property. Not having anywhere to go, our possessions and my Peugeot 206 fitted nicely into a 20 foot shipping container for storage.
    Yeah. Good plan, and we should know that any plans we make always go belly up. There is downsizing, minimalizing, and let’s have nothing at all. We opted for the latter by buying a boat. 99% of what was in storage had to go and what was left fitted into my car and Hubby’s. We still couldn’t fit what we had left in the boat so 99% of what we had left had to go. The charity shops loved us (we provided them with over 350 DVDs and videos on sort out No 1). Hubby’s car was a Man Cave for what we couldn’t get in.
    Don’t get me wrong, we loved our life on the boat, once I’d got over the initial shock. Our shopping mantra changed from Do I want it? Do I need it? Will my life end if I don’t have it? to Can I eat it? Can I wear it? Where will I put it? Saved us a fortune.
    We had nothing when we bought the house. Over the past 16 months, we’ve got a home together again and we’re comfortable. Funny thing is, I wish the house was a little bigger…..

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    1. quiall Post author

      Wow! Living on a boat is the ultimate in understanding spacial requirements! My parents had a 30′ cabin cruise for many years: weekends and a week or two. I loved it, short term. But you’re right we don’t NEED most of out stuff. I’ll bet you had fun buying for the new place! I’ll also bet you have less stuff in it.

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      1. pensitivity101

        We loved the boating life, and lived aboard a 41 foot narrow boat for three years. It had everything we needed, which taught us a lot. We didn’t have a lot of money when we bought the house so made do with second hand and donations from friends apart from a new bed and mattress. We have less stuff, but it’s surprising how you sort of creep into the available space!!

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  3. Sue Vincent

    I was surprised how easy it was to dramatically downsize when I moved into the small flat from a family home… I ditched so much stuff! But…. there are things I would not want to be parted from, and they all have stories.

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  4. oldmainer

    We are not hoarders either, but it has always been so easy to move something to the basement instead of dealing with it. When I retired and we were going to move back to Maine, we had 25 boxes of various shapes and sizes that were just Christmas stuff.

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  5. Mark Lanesbury

    Your ‘stuff’ is unique to you and your journey Pam. Like all things in life some people are at one end of the scale and hoard till they drop, and the minimalists are at the other end. Most of us are in the middle somewhere. All are how we are brought up, the events in our lives and our coping strategies to suit.
    I like purple, walks by the lake and trifle…but I can’t find someone to share my dereliction of leaning of very tall buildings/cliff faces and enjoying the thrill of ‘flying’ 😀
    I dear lady accept you for exactly as you are, a very unique part of this spiritual world of finding yourself by poking, prodding, tripping over occasionally and buying beautiful things to make your heart cry. Enjoy them all, they are you ❤

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  6. artsygenius

    You could always take pictures of your stuff and admire then that way. It’s one of the big recommendations of minimalists. But really, if you don’t want to get rid of stuff you never will. There is from in having less. Less expense, less space needed, easier to pack up and move to another corner of the world. But if your idea of heaven is staying in one place, surrounded by your stuff, then keep on keeping on.

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  7. Eve Crabapple

    Minimalism is going to be a “phase” for most people. I say that because decluttering is not the answer to all of your internal problems that created the clutter in the first place. Clutter isn’t the problem and focusing on just the clutter makes it easy to ignore the real issues. But clutter isn’t necessarily a problem to begin with! I consider myself a minimalist but don’t believe that everyone needs to be one or that there’s a strict definition of what a minimalist is. I just wrote a post about this very topic since everyone seems to be giving minimalism a go.

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