Adventures in Minimalism
Moving is a great opportunity to purge – you never really realize how much you own until you try to put it all into boxes. And moving into a smaller space could end up being a blessing in disguise. In my case, moving from a large basement apartment to a much smaller condo forced me to seriously consider everything I owned and to question whether or not I truly needed it. And this led me down the rabbit hole of blogs and videos about minimalism.
Minimalism can mean a lot of different things to a lot of people. For me, it simply became a conscious decision to try to pare down how much I owned. A less cluttered living space, a simpler wardrobe and – hopefully – a less stressed life.
I went through a phase years ago where I felt the need to own physical copies of all my favourite movies. When going through my collection years later, I found so many DVDs I had completely forgotten about… and even some I’d watched on Netflix recently. I looked at every DVD or Blu Ray I owned and asked myself if I would ever re-watch it more than once – if not, I sold or donated it. It didn’t feel worth it letting something collect dust and take up space on a shelf that would only provide two hours of entertainment every few years. This left me with a collection of only movies that I loved and that meant something to me.
My old apartment was basically a library… every possible surface was covered in books, including a pile stacked high enough to reach my shoulders (that pile ended up being purely decorative, as it was basically impossible to take any book without re-stacking the entire pile). Obviously books are a huge part of my life so they were especially hard to purge. Like my movies, I had to ask myself if I would ever read that book again. Most that I had kept purely because I liked the design of the cover were tossed, as well as several duplicates (why did I ever need to own four copies of Lord of the Rings?). Again, this left me with a (relatively) smaller and more meaningful collection.
The area I tried to apply the “quality over quantity” mindset most was with my clothing. For every few pairs of poor quality (but stylish!) jeans that I probably bought for $20 each and will most likely wear out after a few months, I bought one pair of higher quality jeans that would take up less space and last far longer. And clothes that I found at the bottom of my dresser that I hadn’t worn within a year were donated. With these two guidelines, I probably got rid of over 70% of my wardrobe. Two pairs of flip-flops? Toss one. Two pairs of black pants? Keep the pair of Levi’s and toss the pair from H&M. Three nearly identical red flannel shirts? Keep only the one worn most recently. You’d be surprised at all the clothes hiding in your closet you didn’t even know you owned – and how much easier it is to get dressed in the morning without having to sort through twenty different shirts. It felt like a physical weight was lifted with each bag of clothes I donated and so far I haven’t missed anything I’ve gotten rid of.