My family of origin took pleasure in throwing things out. (Unfortunately in the process, they accidentally tossed family heirlooms, vital documents, plane tickets.) My mom’s closet was sparse, each item of clothing meticulously chosen. My dad wore too-short jeans from K-Mart which mom tried to throw out but somehow lived to see another day. If you left a swimsuit under the bed after visiting their Florida home, you would not expect to see it again. They were Minimalists before it was fashionable.
My parents certainly accumulated stuff, but they only kept what gave them joy. At Christmastime if you presented my mother with anything but a book, she was angry. “We don’t need ANYthing!” Even your book would be given away the minute it was finished.
So where do you fall on the continuum with Minimalism on the one end and reality show Hoarder-ism on the other?
The Netflix documentary, Minimalism, warns about being consumed by our stuff and touts the joy to be found with a simpler lifestyle and fewer belongings. One woman on the show pared down her wardrobe to 33 items to be worn over three months. That is not a typo. 33 – including scarves, jewelry, shoes. Why did she need six pairs of jeans when she only wore her two favorites? Each item had to be a “favorite” – otherwise it went to Goodwill. She also adopted the one-in — two-out rule for purchasing.
Well I’m not sure we’re ready for the 33 challenge. (And some of us are married to folks on the Hoarding side of the continuum.) But we Baby Boomers should not be spending our Third Act (Jane Fonda descriptor) organizing, dusting, and arranging stuff.
In Everything that Remains, Minimalist Joshua Fields Millburn writes, “The things you own end up owning you.”
He goes on,
“Now before I spend money I ask myself one question: Is this worth my freedom? Like: Is this coffee worth two dollars of my freedom? Is this shirt worth thirty dollars of my freedom? Is this car worth thirty thousand dollars of my freedom? In other words, am I going to get more value from the thing I’m about to purchase, or am I going to get more value from my freedom?”
So personally I’m working my way toward the Minimalist side of the continuum.
But full disclosure – I did just buy five tank tops at Target. I mean, they were only $5.00 each!! Can you blame me???
Today’s Takeaway –
– Peggy, my mom, was right yet again…it’s time to toss the stuff that needs daily dusting and does not spark a lick of joy.
– But watch out that your tax return is not hiding in the Goodwill bag!
Enjoy the ride!
xox Barclay and Joy