People love to ask me where I sleep, or what I sleep on. They also ask me how many possessions I own and if I ever buy anything.
Because when I’m at a party and I tell people I’ve been a minimalist for 3 years, I am no longer a human being. My name is not Katie. I am not a well adjusted adult.
Depending on who I just dropped that bomb on–– I could be seen as a malnourished stray who needs to be fed and fussed over right away. Or I could be threat to society and shoe collections everywhere. Consequently, these people will never invite me into their homes because they are afraid I will judge them and take away all their footwear.
I don’t know where these minimalist stereotypes came from but I’m here to bust the myths.
I sleep in a bed, on a regular mattress, in a bed frame, with pillows, and sheets like most other first world humans. I don’t count my possessions. I am not a nomadic adventure blogger who lives out of a backpack (well, not yet!). I still buy things; and I promise I won’t judge you for doing the same. I don’t sit in stark white rooms and stare at the walls. I do wear a lot of black so I can’t bust that one, but it is not a rule.
Minimalism is not defined by the color of our clothes or walls or the size of a home. There is no possession count prerequisite, and deprivation is not the goal. Minimalism is for adding more of the good stuff, and deducting anything that distracts from that. In Marie Kondo’s lingo it means editing your possessions until only things that “spark joy” remain. It’s important to exercise this muscle because when we can identify what adds value, or joy in our lives it empowers us to recognize the things that don’t. And it stretches way beyond possessions.
When Clay and I became minimalists this clarity liberated us as we sorted through our kitchen gadgets and sock drawers. But after dropping off our fourth carload of donations, the values of minimalism spread like wildfire and lit up every nook and cranny of our lives.
We started thinking more critically about the life we wanted and started working towards that. As a result, Clay lost 45 pounds, cured his plantar fasciitis, and reversed the majority of his asthma. Our savings account flourished and we are now 97% debt free (a tiny bit of student loan debt but after that we’ll be in the clear!). It sounds like all the cliche New Years Resolutions rolled into one because we read more, exercise more, travel more, donate more, sleep more, and have way more time in general.
No more autopilot. No more living for the weekend. No more talking about how busy we are. No more living a life that isn’t ours.
I hope that by the end of this mini-series you’ll see that minimalism is not a weird cult. It’s not hippie stuff, or amish, and it’s not just for weirdos who wear all black.
It’s life giving wisdom.
So don’t freak out. I’m not going to brainwash you or take away all your things. Converting you all to minimalists is not my goal. No one knows what’s best for you more than you, and I’m not here to disrupt that.
I do want to invite you into this world, my world, a little bit more. I want to reinforce that mindfulness matters and show you what that looks like for Clay and I. I want to get even more specific on how it has positively infiltrated our lives and maybe you can learn a few tricks along the way.
I’m also here for the inquisitive few. Because in the past few months I have gotten a handful of texts full of coy curiosity about how to get rid of things and where to start. So to those of you who reached out, this is my continued answer to you. And, I will absolutely tell you which books I read and show you pictures of what my closet looks like.
Also! Marie Kondo’s Netflix series “tidying up” just came out and my social feeds are flooded with your vows to minimize and de-clutter konmari style. So let’s keep this momentum going shall we?
Over the next month or so I’m going to walk through specific topics. I’ll start with clothes, and work my way through all the other ways that minimalism has influenced us–– possessions, health, finances, gifts, jobs, sustainability, relationships, etc.
We still have a lot to learn, and we certainly aren’t experts. We’ve made lots of mistakes along the way but we have years of konmari experience and lots of minimalism street cred now. I can’t wait to share with you, and I hope you get something out of all of this.
Though at the very least, this will be fun for me. ;)
See ya next week!
BTW- Instagram stories is the easiest way for me to show you what our closets, drawers and cupboards look like. So follow me over there if you want the full experience (@brinksykat).