Written by Nicole Irvine
Minimalism is both a state of mind and a way of life. I have been told I live minimally. This is not really a choice that I actively contemplated before putting into action; it is just how I have always been.
Living minimally gives me a personal sense of calm. I am an individual who is sensitive to stimulation. I am by nature an introvert and have no problem spending hours analyzing (AKA: agonizing) with internal thought processes and memories. I do my best to avoid both external and internal clutter as it can be a source of unnecessary negative intellectual and emotional stimulation. In short, item abundance and clutter harsh my Zen, and my Zen is relatively hard to come by.
It’s hard for me to verbalize, but a clean or organized table/counter/shelf/flat surface is emotionally pleasing. This more than likely stems from my irrational need for unachievable order. Physical stuff increases the probability of disorder. Please do not get me wrong; I am in no way an enlightened Monk. I do own stuff, but I like my stuff to have its place. I am particular with what I own and where it belongs. I enjoy visual “cleanliness”.
I am also very selective with what I let into my space. It works for me, but it can drive those around me crazy. For example I had this idea of a style of head board that I wanted. I didn’t buy just anything to fill the void until I found what I was looking for. This particular item took me approximately 10 years to find. It wasn’t a necessity, it was a decorative style choice, and I still had a bed. Now I have the exact thing I wanted and I am happy every day that I look at it. I enjoy the feelings it brings to me, but I am very aware that it is still just a thing. I am still working on the appropriate night stands. Oh, believe me, I am well aware of my particular brand of crazy.
I do also like to consider myself a conservationist. Minimalism allows me feel to feel like I am living up to my personal planetary responsibility. REDUCE is my favourite of the 3 R’s, followed closely by RE-USE. I like to frequent thrift and second hand stores. I restore rather than renovate. Everything has worth and I do not like to see the unnecessary discarding of items. So I am particular with what I bring into my space because I plan on keeping it forever, or until it is entirely without use or value.
Second hand places are often less financially taxing on my bank account. Plus with the internet giving unlimited access to videos of other people’s expertise, I like to challenge myself with projects of renewal or restoration. Even if the project exceeds my talent level by an insurmountable chasm, then at the very least I have had some low expense personal entertainment. These experiences serve to enlighten me about the limitations of my abilities as well as provide fodder for my next friendly story-telling interaction.
For me, it is less about the physical or material stuff, and more about the experience or how it makes me feel. Clarity of my feelings is great for own my personal growth, but it also helps me when I choose to venture out of my own head, and personal space, and connect with others. It is honest sincere feelings and shared connections that I aim to collect. All the rest are really just dust collectors.