Even before I knew what it was, I was striving for minimalism. As a very organized, anal retentive person, I hated clutter. I was always throwing things away, giving things away, and reducing the stuff I had. Every time I organized a shelf, cleared a corner, or straightened items, I felt like my mind had also been organized, cleared, and straightened. While that was helpful to my psyche, my minimalism didn’t have a purpose or a direction – until I realized, stuff is not good for me, my bank account, or the world.
I found that minimalism was never-ending. Rewarding, sure, but I would be continually striving against buying useless things and collecting stuff. I also could not reach what I considered ‘satisfaction,’ a state of being content with very few things. What was stopping me? What was in my way, and how did I keep ending up with even more things? Here I’ve outlined reasons that we are holding ourselves back from contentment.
- What If. This is likely what most people struggle with when it comes to getting rid of stuff. We keep things because we imagine a scenario where the item could be helpful in the future. Let’s be serious. Look at your junk drawer and ask yourself how long those items have been in there untouched. If it’s been more than two years, you can stop fearing the what-if.
- Just In Case. Similar to the what-if scenario, you keep things ‘just in case.’ Unless your just-in-case item is a first aid kit, think real hard about the importance of the item.
- But I Spent! This is the one I struggle with personally. I hang onto items I intend to sell or items that I spent money on. If I spent money on an item and I remember it, it’s very difficult for me to let the item go. I’m throwing money away, after all, and reminding myself how often I buy unnecessary items.
- Other’s Opinions. We are afraid of what will happen when we explain to house guests why we don’t have paper towels, aluminum foil, or napkins. We are scared they will judge us, be displeased, or inconvenienced. Guess what? All of these are true. People will be inconvenienced by your life style. Not everyone has become accustomed to living a non-disposable life – but we can meet this with our earth-friendly solution and show others that how we live isn’t really that inconvenient.
- Going Without. Sometimes being a minimalist means going without and every human knows that is hard, no matter what it is.