The phrase Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, common in ecological minded people and communities is a great phrase. It’s a distinct and helpful reminder, even a goal that some try to live up to, I have tried for sure. I wanted to go deeper. I wanted to look at minimalism with in a similar structure, so here we go.
Form an idea about the value of, to assess again.
As minimalists and I believe as humans, we need to constantly reassess and reevaluate those items we own as to their use, value, and benefit. I feel we need to always be willing to take an objective view of our items, to try to view them with distance and attempt to hold all the things we own with loose open palms, even relationships (maybe especially relationships).
This takes action. Conscious action on our part. We must sit with our things, think about them from time to time and ask the hard questions; Is this useful? Do I need this? Have I used this recently? Do I plan to use this in the next few months (ie is it a seasonal item)? Does it make me happy? Or does it just take up space? Is it clutter? Am I getting value from this/that item?
I believe this is a practice.
A practice like exercising, or meditating or starting a new habit.
It requires energy and the conscious choice to engage.
Once more to find something/someone unexpected or in the course of a search. This idea to me could be a double-edged sword. I don’t necessarily think this is a good practice in regards to your donation bags/boxes. However, I think it is good to look at the items you have and once you re-evaluate an item to keep, actively place the item in your environment that makes the thing useful again. This may mean moving an item from storage to your home environment. I would encourage that if you do this be very objective, maybe give yourself a time limit and test it. If you do not use this item you reintroduce into your environment in a week (or two or a month) get rid of it for good and let someone else use it. Free Markets are good for items like this, items in good repair, useful, but no longer useful to you.
To recreate or redesign something.
Take that old quilt with holes and cut it into rags, patch it with old worn out clothes, turn it into a smaller blanket…reuse. Take an old lamp and get a new shade, go to a thrift store to do this, re-gift an item to a friend or family member. Be creative, repaint something, rearrange a room and add back an item you just cant let go. Be thoughtful, be mindful.
There is no special number of items you need to “get down to”, to be a minimalist. Being a minimalist can be about a number of ideas, design, simplicity, austerity. But you make your own minimalism, just like snowflakes, minimalism is individual and how you do it reflects your personal tastes, and tendencies. The only rules you need are the ones you make up or find value in using.
Have a lovely week,
The Slow Minimalist