I've been following along the path of a minimalism for a couple of years now. Our home was once filled with items I thought would make me a “real” homemaker, but it was just clutter. Over the past 4 years I have whittled down the items in our home down by at least 50%.
I jumped into the minimalist world with everything I had. I never do anything by halves - it's all in or not at all and it became all I could think about. I devoured every book and every blog and every podcast on minimalism. I purged and decluttered and minimised and kept only things that “sparked joy.” I really thought I was on track, and that I had earned the title of “Minimalist.”
But then, while packing for a long weekend away last year, just Thursday to Sunday, and just the five of us, I had my first minimalist meltdown.
I was determined to pack only 1 suitcase for all 5 of us. After all we were only going away for 3 nights, to an apartment that had everything we could need aside from food, clothes and a board game or two. When I came to realise that no, I could not fit in everything for the five of us into one suitcase I lost it. Why on earth could I not pack 1 suitcase for us all, it is just three nights away. People travel around the world with just one backpack and we can't even make it three days.
I must not be a Minimalist after at all.
And then my husband stopped me. “You’re allowed to take a second bag, Kristin.” the ever wise and most dutiful man said.
And so I did.
And no Minimalist Police Officer came and took my Minimalist Badge away.
HEADLINE: Minimalism has no rules!
Do you often get stuck on one ideal and become so focused that anything else you deem is a failure? I did. That meltdown, combined with my husband’s gift for reason, changed all that for me.
What I have realised is this: minimalism has no rules. Minimalism is what we want it to be. Minimalism is what you want it to be.
• Minimalism is a a group of people who have similar values. One may travel with a small back pack and a family of 5 might travel with 2 suitcases.
• A minimalist makes intentional decisions. If they have two suitcases, everything in that suitcase has been well thought out and is there for a reason.
• A minimalist has figured out her priorities, and makes decisions to support them. Family connection is a priority, its why we travel, and if we bring 2 suitcases along, we do.
The moment I decided that I had enough of my home full of unnecessary things was the day I became a minimalist. There was never ever a destination to reach. The tools I used along the way didn’t make me more of a minimalist, they have just given me new ideas. And as a “good” minimalist I choose the ideas that work for me and discard those that don’t. I continue to actively review “stuff” that is trying to find its way into my house, and with three kids growing I am continuously decluttering. I have found peace and more time as a minimalist, and I am more committed than ever to continuing our minimalist lifestyle.