As I rearrange my closet, I slide my tenth, eleventh, and twelfth dresses onto their respective hangers and place them onto the rod. The reason for this reorganization is to make my clothing easier to find, quicker to grab; it’s a way for me to ultimately save time when I’m choosing an outfit for the day. I have a secret mission, though, too: I want a minimalist closet. And hanging up that twelfth dress feels like admitting failure.
I’m no stranger to minimalist YouTube videos, blogs, or Instagram accounts. At certain points in my life, these minimalist influencers consumed large chunks of my brain space (and that’s not very minimalist of me, is it?). I tell myself that staring at their perfectly organized closets and completely cleared counter tops is okay because I just like the aesthetic of minimalism. I find it visually pleasing. And while having this internal conversation, I attempt to find just one last surface in my room where I can shove yet another plant.
My problem with minimalism (and this is a personal problem, not necessarily built into the minimalist system) is that I raise all these expectations for myself–expectations that, if I were to really think about them, I would not even want to meet. And yet, those expectations are there in my brain, floating around, taking up precious mental capacity and telling me that I’m not as good as people who can live out of a single suitcase.
The weird thing is other types of “goodness” on social media don’t really affect me in the same way. I don’t follow models on Instagram and wish that I could have their bodies. I don’t read through the writings of fellow bloggers and beat myself up about not being as good of a writer as them. There’s just something about minimalism that makes my obsession with it unhealthy.
I think that the issue is that I’ve convinced myself that having fewer things makes you a better person internally. That living with less makes you less stressed, more mentally present, and gives you the ability to donate more of your time and money to worthy causes, rather than spending them on your stuff.
But having a nearly-empty bedroom does not inherently make you a good person. Nor does owning a lot of objects inherently make you a bad person.
I’ve found for me that there is a happy medium when it comes to owning objects that makes me the least stressed. It means having enough clothes to make a variety of outfits depending on my mood, but not so many clothes that I can’t contain them in my closet. It means having my plants and a few little sculptures on display, but not visually crowding every possible space in my room.
Minimalism is simply a lifestyle and aesthetic that works for some people, but, as of right now, it doesn’t work for me. The concept of owning only a few items stresses me out, and I own too many different things that I really value. I shouldn’t make myself feel bad about that.
That said, I am still interesting in owning fewer things and spending less time focused on consumerism, so I will have some more blog posts on the vein of minimalism in the future.