In art school, I was not a fan of minimalistic art- I didn’t “get” it. Give me the grandeur of the Hudson River School or the Baroque masterpieces. Don’t strip down a painting to a field of blue and tell me it’s art. Life imitated my tastes in art. After graduation, I had a succession of well paying jobs that let me feed my need for the latest in fashion and technology. Latest smartphone? Had it at launch. Newest Xbox? Pre ordered for the hubs. New car. New apartment, big screen tv, video games, Blue ray, MP3 players, iPods, computers, laptops, Bluetooth gadgets. I had it. Cosmetics? I could have opened my own store with the amount of fragrances and makeup I owned.
There was no end to buying. Money was of little concern. I had it and more than I needed. I did listen to the voice in my head telling me to save, and I paid attention. I had a savings account and 401k.
Then a layoff. Then separation. There was still a mortgage to pay, a car loan to make, a baby to be fed, an attorney who needed cash upfront. I was fortunate for the blessings of a severance package and my savings to tide me through 9 months of a $10 an hour job, which while not paying well, allowed me plenty of time off to cry and adjust to life as a single Mom.
I felt an incredible urge to purge everything in my sight. Boxes of electronics, clothes I couldn’t wear post baby. Photos of my life before. I ripped up flooring and walked on sub floor for weeks just to forget what life looked like a few months ago. I couldn’t figure out what had happened to me that the joy this stuff used to give me was now gone.
One sleepless night I found a website on Minimilism. Thinking back to art school, and large canavases filled with a single shade, I read up on it all. It wasn’t about art, but about how to fill a hole in myself by emptying out what I didn’t need.
Sometimes it’s physical things. Bags of makeup I never use. Sometimes it’s emotions I drag along, songs on repeat in my head that don’t let me forget.
My house is less full than before, but I still have more than I could ever need. It’s a journey, not necessarily an end I have found. If you want to learn more I highly suggest visiting The Minimilists and taking a look for yourselves. I relate to these guys because they came from a sales background (as do I) and found a peace that no gadget was able to bring them.
I have a long ways to go. For instance I find my medicine cabinet too cluttered. There are several tubes of toothpaste. Why? And that question can help you clear out so many things in your life too- why is “it” there? Does it help you or bring you down? Why do you keep it?