In the last decade or so minimalism has taken different dimensions. There are people that are generally not interested in acquiring stuff, but they do not necessarily consider themselves minimalists.
What is Minimalism?
If you’re referring to the definition of the visual arts, it is an art movement that began after the Second World War. more specifically it includes the American visual arts of the ’60s and ’70s.
But it also refers to a lifestyle, one that involves living with less material things.
How do you know if you should become one?
Although Marie Kondo will try to convince you otherwise, minimalism is not for everybody. Yes, most of us like the idea of owning fewer things. But in reality, we don’t all succeed in cutting down to a drastic extent. And you don’t necessarily have to.
Just to avoid any confusion, I’m mostly referring to the capsule wardrobe here. I mean, I like variety, and I would get bored wearing only white or light grey t-shirts, for example.
This is an absurd example that most of us cannot go by. You can choose to add color and patterns to your wardrobe. Don’t be afraid to stay true to your personal style, and play around with textures and fabrics.
What does being a minimalist imply?
Being a minimalist mostly implies that you live with only what you need. For example, you can have two sets of bed sheets per bed, max three. You really don’t need to have more, unless you’re planning to start your own Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
The same principle applies to your closet. Do you really need twelve turtlenecks, in similar shades of beige? Or the same trouser in multiple pairs, just different colors?
The idea of a capsule wardrobe is to simplify things. We all tend to, subconsciously, gravitate towards the same outfit day in and day out. We usually wear what feels most comfortable, and what flatters us.
So, again, I ask? Why clutter your space with things you may or may not ever use?
If you’ve lost a couple of pounds, get rid of clothes that hang weirdly on you.
The reverse is also true. If you’ve gained weight, dress according to your current body weight.
As I will mention in a little while, if you’re like me and go up and down by roughly five pounds between seasons, I’m not suggesting you toss everything and start over.
I’m referring to purposely changing your lifestyle. If you’ve lost ten pounds or more in the last year, with no intention of eating the same way again, you can probably do with a wardrobe update.
Quality over Quantity
When it comes to buying stuff, I have personally stopped buying things in multiples simply because they’re cheap or they’re on sale. Whether it’s clothing or household items, I do not buy like the world is coming to an end anymore, but I used to at some point in my life.
Do any of you remember the beginning of this pandemic and the madness people buying toilet paper in bulk caused?
I grew up during the socialist era in Romania when resources were scarce. My mother and aunt still have the mentality to buy multiple items, because you don’t know if you’ll find them again when you need them. So, whenever I go back home and visit my mom, I do some shopping in her closet!
The stuff she acquired throughout the years boggles my mind. She can open a consignment shop. I’ve tried to explain to her that she cannot possibly need thirty pairs of socks.
I hope I convinced her to slowly change her ways and declutter her house, but I still have a long way to go.
One thing she never compromises on is good quality footwear. She’s always told me to spend a little more on shoes because my feet need to be comfortable. She’s right about that. I haven’t bought cheap shoes in years. They do last me longer and make a real difference in the way my feet feel.
The face of minimalism is changing
I guess after the whole Marie Kondo and the revolution she started a few years before the pandemic hit, we are starting to look at minimalism differently.
Yes, this life-altering event changed the way we see things. and we (hopefully) learned to value what’s most important in life. But do we need to go to extremes and toss absolutely everything that we haven’t touched in 6-18 months?
I personally don’t think that’s necessary. For example, I own a crockpot that’s a little on the large side and I only use it once every couple of years. I’m supposed to get rid of it? Yes, it takes up some space, but it comes in handy when I will host family dinners again. Unless I hand it down to my daughter, I’m not ready to part with it yet.
Or my beloved bread-making machine. Before last year, it was starting to get really comfy at the back of my closet. But I’m still using it now.
Let’s not get into some wardrobe items. My weight fluctuates by a few pounds depending on the time of year. I’m not buying new pants every single time I lose or gain five pounds, that’s bonkers. Yes, eventually I do a major haul and get rid of stuff I tend to outgrow. But that’s because my style evolves. I usually buy pretty basic things that rarely go out of style, so I’m good for many years at the time.
This is my first post on the topic, so bear with me. I am by no means a stylist or in any way qualified to preach about what you should or should not do.
But I do want to inform and guide, if necessary. I mostly just wish to start conversations about different topics that interest me. If that’s your cup of tea great, if not, maybe something else I will write about in the future will catch your eye.
Until then, take care of yourselves.