I’ve just finished watching The Minimalists documentary on Netflix and feel like I too want to put pen to paper (or more realistically fingers to keyboard) and write about how and why I came to like minimalism. If you haven’t watched it then you must. I’ve been listening to their podcast for about a year and they are two likeable guys who speak honestly and openly. Minimalism is not just something that I searched for one day and thought ‘yeah that’d be a great post’. No, it’s something that I’ve become a lot more accustomed to over say the last four years. Here’s my journey exploring this wonderfully simple concept.
So growing up my parents didn’t own their home but it’s something they both aspired and wanted to do so much. I grew up wanting to do the same thing. When I was 22 I was lucky enough to be able to buy my first house with my then-boyfriend. I remember that feeling of ‘wow I’ve actually done it’. I burst into tears the first time I walked into the house as a new homeowner and remember saying ‘we’re home’.
We were lucky at the time to be gifted items for the house and a lot of things were found and sourced second hand as I was brought up to believe you build your way up and you can’t have the expectations of what your parents have. I put everything into my home. I handmade the wainscoting in the hallway, painted every square inch of the house. Yet even after all that I wasn’t satisfied. I spent so much of my own money each month changing this or upgrading that. Although some really small changes I thought it would bring that satisfaction of finally being able to say ‘it’s finished’. Eventually I had been round every room and still didn’t feel satisfied.
To give a little back story to all this I had just landed my dream job in designing and was earning incredible money whilst also studying for my Masters degree. Something in me during that period of about six months changed. My family and boyfriend had noticed it. I became materialistic. I was buying more clothes and wasting money on so much stuff that I didn’t need before.
I had to read Gaston Bachelard’s book The Poetics of Space for my studies and it changed my life. The book made me consider interior design as so much more than a pretty scheme. The need to keep up to date with the most common trends also faltered. A space was more than this now. It was a place which began from within your headspace. I realised all this stuff wasn’t helping me to nest or to settle as I thought it would. And so there the opposite happened.
Now I had never read about minimalism in detail at this point. One day I just felt the urgent need to start purging. I again went room by room and got rid of so much of the extra stuff I/we had accumulated I just 3 years. I regret that I did this on my own without any input from my then-boyfriend but I just felt like I needed to get rid of all this stuff. What happened next? Well, my house looked bare and didn’t feel like home. Now unless someone has gone through something like this, I don’t think a lot of people will understand it. Not long after this I split with my boyfriend as I needed some time alone and to travel. The house felt like chain around my neck. Now the strange thing about it is that my mum and family didn’t know anything about my relationship breakdown until after the event. My mum had said to my sister that when I was purging the excess stuff that I was mentally moving out of the house. It makes complete sense in hindsight. It felt so good getting rid of all this stuff at the time but the bigger picture wasn’t just the house, it was my own headspace.
The truth is that even now I don’t miss all that stuff. When I went travelling I lived out of just a backpack and never felt freer. I feel that minimalism has taught me to appreciate the things I do have and to put each possession into perspective. I have approximately 4 plastic boxes of possessions and a suitcase load of clothes. And it’s completely and absolutely enough for me.
So this isn’t a minimalism how-to guide or anything, just an impulsive need to write it down.
On another little note I submitted my fifth module of my Masters degree today, so I only have one more module to complete to finish it! Yay!