Minimalism and Me

I know I’m late to the party (which tends to happen quite a bit) to discuss minimalism, but I have always been a big fan of it.

Even though we live in a house, believe me, it’s pretty bare. We have one, yes just one, piece of artwork on the main floor and two picture frames hanging on the wall in the basement. That’s it. With the exception of my dried wedding bouquet flowers, there are no centerpieces on the tables, no trinkets, balls that look like tumbleweed or any of that random stuff you see in home decor .

My apartment was pretty bare. I kept on telling guests that eventually I would have more decor, but to be honest, I preferred the apartment the way it was.

I’m pretty organized when it comes to keeping track of things having to do with my day job, blog or fitness class schedule (which consists of different times, days, gyms and types of classes) . When it comes to actual, physical stuff, I can’t be bothered. It just seems that the more stuff you have, the more effort it is to organize it. And I can be pretty lazy.

When it comes to stuff, I will gladly accept stuff that I can consume and will only temporarily take up space. So bring on the free food, alcohol and essentials such as toilet paper and laundry detergent.

I’m no stranger to stuff though. Growing up I had a lot of stuff such as Barbie dolls and books. I remember also have a LOT of stuffed animals. They were everywhere in my room. On the bed, on the bookshelf. Big ones on the floor. I had so many that they could fit into a garbage bag, which was exactly what ended up happening to them. However at the same time, I was very fortunate that my parents gave my sister and I experiences as well. We had dance lessons (loved), piano lessons (hated), swimming lessons (loved) and advanced math lessons (hated). We traveled to the US, the Philippines and Quebec.

As someone who loves to travel, I am definitely on team experience. However, I used to buy a lot of souvenirs before the end of my trip. When I backpacked through Europe, I had to be more mindful of what stuff I bought because I could only fit so much in a backpack and I didn’t want to spend additional money to ship items back home.

Nowadays when I travel, I don’t buy as many souvenirs. It’s usually just postcards, which I have a lot of, but they barely take up any space. If I do buy souvenirs I try to purchase things that can be consumed such as food or wine or things that are useful. When I was in Peru, I purchased a couple of blankets woven by hand by the indigenous people there.

Both sides of the family like to give us stuff. I am more than grateful for their generosity and kindness. But at the same time, I’m wondering if they’re trying to get rid of their stuff because they have a lot and they know we don’t have a lot of stuff?

I also wonder too, if the idea of consumption and having a lot of things is a generational thing? Grandparents are the ones who lived through the great depression. Those were tough financial times and perhaps they didn’t want things to go to waste because they spent what little money they had on to it. Perhaps they thought they should hang on to it if they needed it in the future? Or maybe they would try to sell it in the future? Maybe a lot of Baby Boomers have a similar mindset. They worked hard so they can purchase certain things. To throw it away, would be like throwing away money?

On the other hand it seems the majority of millennials and probably some Gen Xers too, really embrace minimalism. Perhaps the recession played a part in this minimalist movement? I think I adopted minimalism when I went away to school because I didn’t have a lot of living space. Having room for a bed and a desk to study was all that mattered. I was also participated in my program’s work-study option so that involved a LOT of moving. Pretty much every four months. Move from school to home to work, then repeat. I should note that I did have a couple of work terms that were close to home so I lived at home during that time.

These days I’m more about learning new things. Knowledge is my kind of stuff. I refuse to be a minimalist when it comes to learning new skills and gaining more knowledge.

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