My experimentation with minimalism began two years ago. January 2015 to be exact. During this time, I was I open to & experiencing huge shifts to my perspectives due a complete collapse of life as I knew it. 2014 was one of the most challenging years of my life. You know that saying, “the cracks is how the light gets in.” Well in 2014 the universe decided to shatter me. At the age of 29 it felt like all the pillars of adulthood that I had worked so hard to build in my twenties came crashing down. I was failing on the personal, relationship, financial, family fronts so the dawn of 2015 marked a time of rebirth and rebuilding for me.
In true alignment with my vibration at that time, instead of welcoming the new year with fortune & fun, I ushered in the new year with a broken washing machine & a soggy carpet. I was met with the daunting task of cleaning up the mess and clearing out the clutter-filled closet that housed the washing machine. Being a true Type A personality, I couldn’t simply just clean up the mess, I had to do it in the most optimal & Pinterest worthy way. Naturally the first step was to scour the internet to look for organizational ideas and cleaning tips & tricks. During my googling, I stumbled across mention of Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’m not sure if it was procrastination or intuition guiding me but I made the decision that it was a better us of my time that day to read the book rather than clean the mess. The first day of 2015 I spent the day curled up on my couch learning Miss Kondo’s principles of tidying
Upon completion of the book I was hooked on the idea clearing the clutter. Further googling a led me to blogs like The Minimalist, Un-fancy, & Zero Waste Home which spurred activities such as packing parties, capsule wardrobing, & giving up plastic. I became obsessed with the idea of less. The first week of the new year I literally brought 5 SUV loads of “things” to Goodwill. Inspired by Caroline Rector’s simplified wardrobe I brought down closet which once produce 80 pounds of laundry down to a mere 30 items (shoes included 😉). I slashed my weekly shopping habit from once or twice week to only shopping once a season. For lent that year I decided to give up the use of or purchase of items that use plastic which basically meant I couldn’t consume anything for 40 days. (Side note: You don’t realize how laden our world is with plastic until try to avoid it). Come April, I finally felt like I had space to breathe. The lack of clutter which resulted in less time cleaning & organizing allowed me more time to focus on me. I used the extra time to for self-study & began practicing yoga. This new clarity led me to two major life decisions. I enrolled in Yoga Teacher Training & decided to leave my current boyfriend and move out on my own. I was still craving less so I used the move as time shed even more material things. I tackled the kitchen bringing the item countdown to only 50 items & decided to forgo a T.V. & internet in my new apartment. The only decorating that happen in my new space was by my mom who insisted on setting up my daughter’s new room. The rest of the house was sparse housing just the bare necessities.
I lived like this for a year. I was hyper-conscious of what I allowed into my space even going as far as requesting that no gifts be giving to me or my daughter for any holidays, including Christmas. I feel like my material detox was necessary but this minimalist way of living was ultimately not joyous nor sustainable for me. In all honesty, I began to miss some stuff. The lack of decorations and extra comforts made my home feel… well not like my home. It felt cold & impersonal like a hotel & I lacked a sense of rootedness. For my wardrobe to be minimal it had to be very utilitarian and basic, which made me feel less feminine. To be completely honest, I sell clothing for a living so wearing items that were not current was not good for business. When I started traveling to destinations with different climates, 30 items were not quite cutting it. Sometimes I felt that I was putting just as much focus and time around having less as I had around acquiring more. After a year of strict minimalism, I slowly began to give myself some wiggle room. Like all things I find moderation is the key to balance.
Today, rather than minimalism, I try to focus on enoughishm. The teachings of yoga call this concept Santosha. Santosha is one of the five Niyamas or ethical practices of yoga. The Sanskrit word Santosha translates to contentment or satisfaction. For me santosha shows up as a realization that the feeling of joy and love are not dependent on the number of material objects I possess, whether that be few or many. Material objects just like the physical practices of yoga are just tools that we can use to bring more harmony & balance into our lives. I enjoy a new pair of shoes or yoga tights as much as the next gal, but the problem arises when we begin to focus on acquiring and holding on to things that no longer serve us to fill a void we have in ourselves. The misuse or overindulgence in the material world can cause disharmony in our life. This was the case for before my material detox. Now I focus on filling my space and my closet with just enough of the items that bring balance & a sense of joy into my life
Living this way & having a little discipline around what I acquire allows me more time and resources to focus on what really matters to me, spending time with family & having new experiences. Do I occasionally fall back in to unconscious emotional l driven consumption? Yep you bet I do. Living mindfully & practicing yoga has strengthened my ability to recognize and release this pattern when it does come up.
So, what does enoughism look like for me today:
I still capsule wardrobe but just with less restrictions
Seasonally I do a deep clean & purge to ensure all that remains serves a purpose or sparks joy
I have internet but no T.V. & have set some limits for both my daughter and I around tech time
I check in with myself to find the deeper “why” behind each desire to purchase & do my best to purchase from only high vibrational environmentally conscious companies
As I evolve and change I’m sure these practices will evolve and change but I think the key is to remain mindful.