A Minimalist Wannabe
Ah, Minimalist Interior Design and Lifestyle, I dig it. You know, the living rooms with sharp angled couches and reclaimed wood coffee tables with a succulent plant and a stack of Photography Art books resting on it? Or the bedroom where the mattress is basically resting on a slab of wood, accompanied by equally “slabby” furniture. I apologize to any interior designers and enthusiasts that I have offended with that statement. I genuinely think that kind of interior decorating is beautiful, but at the time being, it’s a bit of an unrealistic goal for me.
If you know me personally and have seen the state of my room(s) you would laugh at the thought of me even writing about Minimalist Design and Lifestyle. I am as far from Minimalist as it gets, a god damn hot mess.
Through years of general materialistic and sentimental “hoarding” I have accumulated a lot of stuff. They mostly fall into these three categories; Clothes, Makeup and Papers. And all of this stuff ends up on every available space, including the floor. It wasn’t dirty like the horrific trash mountains I’ve seen on TLC’s Hoarding: Buried Alive. It was cluttered and I told myself I had a system.
It really wasn’t a system and I was just lazy and lived with it. One of my many low moments in college was shoving unfolded clean laundry off my bed to the floor and then proceeding to fall asleep. I did that for weeks, when I could have just taken the 30–40 minutes to fold and put them away in my dresser and closet. I told myself this was okay because tons of college students did this.
By the time I moved back to my parents’ in Brooklyn, through parental nagging -cough- I mean parental guidance, I knew I had to do something about my clutter. But I didn’t know how to deal with it! I mean, I would make this huge effort to clean my room and 2 weeks later it’d go back to being messy and cluttered. So like any millennial, I turned to the Internet for guidance.
Already an avid Redditor/lurker, I found the subreddits /r/AmateurRoomPorn and /r/declutter. AmateurRoomPorn served as my inspiration because they were everyday people sharing their living spaces, serving as a reachable and realistic goal. Many users on these two subreddits suggest the KonMari method and Unfuck Your Habitat method.
I haven’t unfucked my habitat yet, so to speak, but I have KonMari’d a fair bit of my life. I received Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up as a secret Santa gift after requesting it on my Elfster wishlist. Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo shares her thoughts and methods on decluttering and tidying in a neat little book. Her two main points were to sort and tidy by category rather than area, and to determine which items in your home “spark joy”, getting rid of the ones that don’t.
After reading the book, I figured out what I was doing wrong. Here I was, organizing by desk, and then closet and then my bookcase, etc. When it came down to it, I just had too much crap that I was neatly tucking away. I needed to get rid of the crap and I had to do it category by category.
So what Marie Kondo is basically saying with her “joy sparking” idea is to get rid of the stuff that has no emotional or functional value to you anymore. Easier said than done, especially when you’re a bit of sap like me, not wanting to let go of that birthday card my high school friend wrote to me. I mean I can’t just be a stone-cold bitch and get rid of stuff like that. But I think of it this way, that birthday card or figurine someone gifted to me? It’s collecting dust somewhere in the corner of my room. And the person who gave it to me probably forgot about it. Also they gifted it to me, so it’s my right to do whatever the hell I want with it, including trashing it. Just acknowledge it was a nice gesture from a friend and then decide if it’s worth keeping.
With that kind of mindset I was able to get rid of a lot of neglected items and my room was finally tidied and it stayed that way. Because there was just less crap to worry about! And I spent hours organizing that closet, I owe it to myself and that closet to put away my clothes properly. And sometimes I screw up a little and I leave some shirts unfolded on my chair, but at least it’s more manageable now.
Now that I’ve sort of gotten that part of my life in order, I applied that Konmari mindset to other things. When I’m out shopping, I don’t just buy the next cute Fast Fashion item anymore. Because while it will spark some joy in me for looking cute, in the long run it has no functional value for my overall aesthetic. And then it’ll sit in my closet and take up much needed space for longer lasting items. If I’m hung up over a guy or a past relationship, I categorize those thoughts as emotional clutter and empty the trash. Even in my writing and art, I learned what content was worth keeping and what needed to go.
With these methods I think I can sooner reach my aspirational Minimalist slabby living space. Oh wait, I also need money. Laughs nervously