Anyone who knows me know that, at my core, I am anything but a minimalist. Historically, I keep everything — I have clothes, jewelry, notebooks, diaries, and trinkets dating as far back as elementary school. I love stuff — I have stockpiles of unopened journals, stacks of books I’ve never read, and storage boxes full of trinkets, decorative items and pillow covers for seasonally swapping out. I love to shop, I love presents, I love information, and I love options. Needless to say, embracing minimalism does not come naturally to me.
But as I’ve gotten older (or, shall we say, more mature), and more tuned deeper into the wants and needs of my soul, I’ve begun to realize that not only does more stuff not lead to more happiness, but quite to the contrary, it leads to more anxiety, more distraction, and more physical and mental clutter.
Those of us with kids know that parenthood only exacerbates this phenomena. Having children seems to mean an endless accumulation of clutter — physical, mental, emotional. I felt this keenly shortly after little M was born, and I slowly began the process of KonMari-ing my life (for the uninitiated, that is the Japanese art of decluttering your life and paring down your possessions to simply things that bring you joy.. It’s the best thing ever. Even GOOP says so). I’ve donated and sold mountains of clothes, books and jewelry that didn’t bring me joy; I’ve thrown away stacks of old papers and notebooks; I’ve allowed my (super minimalist) husband to throw away long-kept household items that were broken, old, or otherwise no longer useful. It has felt great. Liberating. Clarifying.
But then the holidays roll around. Between the shopping, wish list creating, decorating, cooking, and celebrating, it’s so easy to forget why less stuff equals more happiness, more calm, and a happier family. So I am pausing my perusal of 12 Days of Deals on Amazon to remind myself (and hopefully inspire one or two of you!) of why I’m embracing minimalism, especially at this time of year.