Our Relationship With Things
A week before Christmas, I found myself doing some unusual. I was going through kitchen drawers, the hallway closet, the shoe rack. I was putting dusty, used and unused items in boxes and bags. I was purging.
I thought to myself, what a strange time to want to spring clean. But there was meaning behind the madness. I knew new “things” were coming in to my house. Like a new mother preparing the house for a baby, I felt the need to make some room for something new.
I’m one of those that tends to get this sudden urge to purge several times througout the year. I get overwhelmed about making decisions or mind feels clutteres, so my first instinct is to put unwanted things into bags. It’s a way to calm me down; make me feel better. It’s like I buy things throughout the year (and apparently get some pleasure from it) that eventually I get a hangover from buying things.
A couple days after Christmas, my boyfriend and I packed our car after leaving my mom’s house, and then made four trips up and down the stairs to get all the things out of my car and into our condo.
It took us an hour to get everything out of its packaging and put away. We were exhausted. And although a few things we brought into our condo were necessities — a humidifier, a living room rug — there were still things we brought into this house that just made us feel … overwhelmed? icky? disappointed? I don’t know exactly what the feeling was, but it didn’t feel good.
We were spending our time putting away things that we had no intention to use.
In my experience …
If the thought of living a minimalist life intrigues you, here’s what I’ve learned so far.
There’s a correlation between words like minimalism, simplicity, practical, and focus. At first, it’s not so obvious how much these words have in common, but there is a correlation.
We get so wrapped up in our desire for things that we lose focus on what’s important.
I’m a goal-oriented person. When I think through my goals, there’s been time when money felt like it held me back. I want to achieve Goal A, but I need to buy this things to do it. Then I look at my Mint.com account and realize that if I didn’t spend money on this one thing, I could have used that money to help me work towards my goal.
I’ve learned that living a life with less is not only an action but more so a state of mind.
It’s also customizable. I once thought minimalism was about living with the bare minimimum. And yes, that is the basic notion of it all, but it’s really about living with only what you need and with what brings you happiness (I avoided using the word “joy” as I feel it’s been overused).
Many things have a function. A lime squeezer helps me squeeze a ton of limes when cooking tacos and fajitas. A Kitchen Aid mixer helps me knead pasta dough so I don’t have to knead the dough with my hands for 10 minutes. But cooking, as you may have picked up on, is something I love to do, so cooking tools are an essential to me.
It’s hard to strike a balance between what I love and need and what I like the thought of having. I noticed this a lot with my relationship clothing. I’m one of those that has a ton of clothes and shoes in my closet, yet I “never” have anything to wear.
I have a pair of light blue pumps in my closet that I’ve worn a couple times. But do I need them? No, but the thought that one day I’ll want to jazz up my outfit for this major event that may or may not happen in my life keeps those pumps on the shoe rack. I can’t seem to let go. The capsule wardrobe approach is something I’m still trying to figure out.
The point is …
This shit is hard. But I think it’s something we could all be more intentional about in 2020. We don’t need things, per se, but we need things that have a function. They need to live up to our personal values of how we want to live our lives and what we want to achieve in life.