I’m not your typical minimalist. I have had a very long journey to minimalism. The beginning having its roots in Buddhism and my ideas to become a Buddhist nun. Though at the time, I think that idea was born more out of living with a person who was a maximalist for several years.
I dreamed of the day when I might travel and have only a bag or backpack full of belongings, wandering like a nomad across Europe or hiking the Andes.
Though the fantasy has morphed some, it has basically the same features though now born out of the background of Dungeons and Dragons with me becoming a modern day adventurer/Hero. I think we all want to become the hero of our own story. I know I do.
The longer I am a minimalist though, I’m beginning to understand that we are all like snowflakes, terribly individual in our collective journeys, to minimalism. Which is great, but also for me personally kind of tough trying to find what works for me…I have read a lot of Minimalist writings, decluttering skills, podcasts, books, blogs, vlogs etc…and ultimately the thing that really jump started my decluttering recently was a post The Minimalists wrote about decluttering one surface. This one spoke to me. This! Was something I could do…and I wanted to do it immediately! right then! So I cleaned off the top of my bookcase in my room right then. And that was it. That one thing was enough to jump start my decluttering again.
I will say, it’s a constant struggle for me to keep a surface clutter free. Daily, I have to revisit this. Daily, I have to clean off the surface again. Partly, I think this is due to me not having a place for everything I own and partly, because I still need to minimize my belongings more. I’m working on this. My minimalism, is very much a work in progress and I’ve mostly come to terms with this.
But what I have realized over the past few weeks, is that decluttering and minimalizing what I own, is really just the vehicle for living an intentional life. Owning less allows my mind the space to focus on creating, writing and other things I value and want to devote my time too. Literally, my stuff takes up space in my physical room and also takes up space in my brain. Seems like I only have room for so much in my brain before its full. But as I pare my physical belongings down, it creates an opening for me to create. Because, creation takes room. Kind of like the Feng Shui principle that without making room by getting rid of stuff, you cannot have room for new things to come in to your life. I think this holds true with creativity as well.
Its like being pregnant (ok I dont really know if it is but it FEELS like that to me), I know hold on and go with it, its not really as big a jump as you may think… When a couple/woman finds out she/they are pregnant, they prepare the space, whatever that means to them, they clean up, clean out a room, maybe buy a crib and some clothing. Well creativity is like a baby, I feel like you need to make room for it, prep a space for it, clean some stuff out of the way. You wouldn’t put a baby on a stack of old magazines in a cluttered room, that’s no place for a baby. Creativity is like that for me, it needs air to breath, space to flow into and fill, move in. If all the space is filled, where does creativity have to go? See, not so awful, (I hope) and it makes those dreams of giving birth make just a little bit more sense, doesn’t it?
So then where does that leave us now? I think it comes down to this…where in your life can you make room? Is it one bedside table you work on keeping clutter free, it can start there? Just start with one place and keep it clutter free daily if need be. Minimalism is a bit like a muscle and it requires practice and work to build it up. This is where the intentionality comes in. As you work to keep one small space clean, it grows the muscle of intentionality. This in turn, can become a stepping stone of growth for another area of clutter and then another and so on.
Remember, start small, and manageable cultivating a practice of daily decluttering, slowly growing your clutter free area as you build the muscle of intentionality.