I cleaned out my closet today. Three trash bags full of clothes I never wear, or wore but didn’t actually like the way I looked in them. Just reading that might sound a bit ridiculous, yes I had clothes I wore but didn’t like how I looked in them. I simply wore them because it was something different than what I wore the day before. Today I decided to change that, and I got rid of everything that I don’t like wearing, and everything I never wear. For a long time now I think I’ve had this idea of wanting less, less stuff, fewer objects, less junk. Getting rid of my clothes started slowly. When I would go to buy new clothes I wouldn’t take the hangers. Anything that came home with me meant something already at home in the closet had to go. It wasn’t because I didn’t have space, it was a good place to start, but I still was left with a lot of clothes. Clothes I rarely wore, I was simply replacing clothes I never wore with new ones that I would wear.
Okay, so I cleaned out my closet, and now all the clothes I keep in it are only the clothes that I wear and enjoy wearing. Well, great, I downsized my closet, so what? What was the point? The whole reason behind doing it can be quite literally interpreted from what’s left after doing so. Less is more. Instead of having a whole closet full of clothes I don’t like wearing but do so anyway, now I have just the clothes I need and enjoy wearing. Minimalism is not about living with nothing, it’s not about ridding yourself of every single worldly possession you own. Minimalism is about being intentional with the things you do have and only keeping the things that bring you joy. I kept the clothes that brought me joy to wear, and the rest I got rid of. It’s really that simple.
I had everything I ever wanted, I had everything I was supposed to have, everyone around me said “you’re successful”, but really I was miserable. There was this gaping void in my life, so I tried to fill that void the same way many people do, with stuff. Lots of stuff.
– Ryan Nicodemus | The Minimilists
I think for a while I’ve been working towards this. I’ve had the concept of minimalism in my head, I liked the idea, I watched a bunch of videos about it, about people doing it, and about why they were doing it. In a lot of ways, I related to them. A lot of the minimalists you find on the internet used to be the complete opposite, they used to have everything, a good paying job, the big house, the fancy car, the latest technology, the trendiest clothes. One day they came to the realization that all of the material things they had weren’t making them happy. I think I finally had that realization myself. We grow up and are surrounded by the idea that we have to have more more more, everything in excess, and you aren’t successful until you have it all. Something I find deeply sobering, and something that crosses my mind more and more these days, is the notion that success is a facade. Having a big house, and a nice car doesn’t make you rich, it simply means you can make the payments on them. We’ve been brainwashed into thinking that owning a home is the American dream when really the bank owns the home, and we just own the debt. The American dream is now working your life away just to make the payments on all the junk we’re sold by social pressures and advertisements. What if there was an alternative? What if you could work less, have more time for yourself, your family, your passion?
At the end of the day, is it more absurd to throw your life away working tirelessly just to make payments for all the debt you’ve found yourself in? Or is it absurd to want to have less but live comfortably with only the things you need, and all the time in the world? When you ask our consumer society, the latter is the absurd ideology and I think that’s where we’ve become fundamentally broken as a society. There’s a big push to live debt free, and what that looks like is a bit different to each individual and their taste. I still don’t know what that looks like for me, but a step in the right direction is living with less noise, less clutter, less stuff. So I think that’s where I’ll start, for now.