Wednesday, February 12, 2014

An Evening with The Minimalists

Have you heard of these guys?

The Minimalists (stolen from their website

I forgot how I came upon their blog ( but the minute I did I was hooked. I've loved getting rid of things for as long as I can remember and after moving so many times in so few years I keep culling and culling the pile. But there is still SO much. And it's so hard to get rid of. Most of the time I feel like my stuff is a gigantic anvil tied to my ankle hampering my creativity and my productivity. There is always crap to move and clean and dust and fret over. And so much of it is sentimental in nature - gifts from family - great grandparents or grand parents or great-great grandparents or my mom with a sentimental note - lovely things that were given to me with great love -but nonetheless still things.

As fate would have it  (definitely taking this one as a message from The Universe) a week after I discovered The Minimalists I realized they were speaking in Birmingham. And what a great discussion!

They have all sorts of ideas about how to minimalize: shitty relationships, junk, the stuff that you need just in case. But their overwhelming motto is: Love People. Use Things.

While I'll never be able to get as minimal as this:

their message is very inspiring to get down to what you truly need, what you truly love and to be yourself.

Since I've embarked on my get-rid-of-crap quest - the easiest part has been books. I realized that I was hanging on to a lot of books not because I needed or wanted to read them again but instead to prove to any guests (and maybe myself?) how smart I was, how well-read I was, or to showcase all my interests. Owning a Kindle has made this easier because I know that if I truly need to reread something it's only an Amazon One-Click away and I've made much better use of the library. How many more things am I clinging to to prove to someone out there who I truly am?

This will be a slow process for me. For example, I still have so many books to let go of. But taking my time to get rid of things has been invaluable for me. It allows me to let go of who I'm trying to be and to work through why I need to own all this stuff. This idea was echoed throughout The Minimalist talk. Using possessions to fill a gap, to prove to yourself who you are, to prove how successful or eclectic or whatever it is you want to project, to grant validity, to hang on to things for comfort like a turtle shell.

But the talk gave me a positive boost to keep going. Keep paring down. Keep digging out and digging deep. It also made me feel so much calmer about not owning a home at the ripe age of 34. After all, a home is still a "thing." A thing that requires energy and effort. Putting home ownership into perspective was a deep breath that I really needed to squash the jealousy dragon that has been building up inside of me.

Eventually I'll have to do this - because many of the sentimental things I have don't bring me joy. Actually they bring me the exact opposite. I worry constantly about losing them (since I'm prone to losing things) or ruining them (also good at this). They bring a lot of stress into my life.

But that's a story for another day. I'm sure I'll keep posting about my adventures in minimalism.

Meanwhile I'm reading their book:

And as they suggested when I'm finished I'll pass it on to someone else to spread the message.

Love People. Use Things.


Katherine said...

i'm kind of hooked on getting rid of things. though i am shocked (shocked!) when i recall that our last space was half the size of where we are now... and had two closets, total... and now we've filled up this big(ger) house and seven closets?

even though i think i am a ruthless purger, i still have a lot of stuff. i haven't heard of this book, but always pick up "the joy of less" or "organized simplicity" when i need a little push to get some stuff out of my house.

Daisy said...

I gotta be honest. Their blog posts are much more enjoyable than the book. If I hadn't seen them in person I wouldn't know the tone of this book - it's a lot more sarcastic funny than it comes across. But I still like the story of how they came into their lifestyle.