By Kellie Wachter
I feel a personal paradigm shift inching closer and closer and it makes me a little nervous. The need for a simpler, less encumbered life is calling to me and it means I will finally have to make some tough decisions. It all started with fantasies of my dream home. I did not dream of gold plated bathroom fittings or hand painted silk wallpaper, no what I dreamed of was ample storage. I wanted shelves and drawers and for everything to have its own place. I have recently moved into my forever home and my storage space is no longer a variable but a fixed and more or less unchanging factor. I know that living in my dream home hinges on my ability to let go of the things that are not earning space in my world.
This has caused me to take stock of what I own and why I own it. I would not describe myself as a hoarder, not by a long shot, but I do love my stuff. I keep things and can remember in exquisite detail how they came to be mine. My husband tries to stump me now and then by pointing to a random object and asking me when and where we got it. 9 times out of 10 I win and can recall. This makes it easy to be sentimental about stuff, and consequently it makes it harder to cull things out. But that is only half the story. Guilt causes me to hold on to way more stuff than sentimentality ever did. The guilt of having bought something with great intentions and then never using it, like the ice shaver I bought in Hawaii and used once… or worse; the things I have bought on impulse with no thought at all now gumming up the works throughout my house because it’s easier to ignore than acknowledge the bad judgment from which it all sprang.
Lately my desire for a more minimal lifestyle has started to outweigh my desire to ignore the unwanted and unnecessary things that fill my home. I began lightening the load years ago and have already made all the easy cuts; now that it has gotten harder I have been forced to reckon with my belongings. I found the way forward by deciding to reject the tyranny of stuff and offer myself amnesty from the guilt of having wasted time and money… that means goodbye ice shaver, your days are numbered.
Other belongings will be shown the door in the weeks and months ahead. Unlike Band-Aids, I find that going slow is easier when it comes to down deep de-cluttering. It gives me time to make thoughtful decisions about what can stay and what must go. My only goals are to end each week with fewer things than I began it with, and to make ZERO impulse purchases.
So is this minimalism? No, not in the traditional sense, but it is likely as close as I will ever get. I am a nest-featherer and a lily guilder and proudly so. I need my treasures and mementos around me, but the bar has definitely been raised. I will continue to trim the fat and refuse to harbor clutter. I will follow the words of William Morris and only allow, “That which I know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” and afford no quarter to anything else. If it happens to be both beautiful and useful all the better!