I was reading today’s discussion topic at Retro Renovation and felt inspired to write a bit about my on-again, off-again love of minimalism.

On-again, off-again, because I’m not a minimalist, but, gosh darn it, I would like to be.

Here’s my story.

I have always been a creative.

Creatives, my friends, are, by their very nature, messy.

Growing up, apparently, my room was always a mess.

I, of course, never saw it that way.

I had my desk, full of papers, but those papers? They were stories I had illustrated, photos I had cut up to display in a fun way, pages splattered with ink to use as a background for a scrapbooking page. Stacks of discontinued wallpaper sample books I scored from True Valu to “redecorate” the walls of my Barbie doll house (I’ve always been into houses).

My mom was completely exasperated at trying to get me to clean it, and, of course, I didn’t (at least not to the same standard that it was supposed to be), and so, I was punished. I was home, instead of at sleepovers, the phone in my bedroom was taken away. (I still had to go to pep band. Ugh.) But honestly? The problem was the mess was that I couldn’t see it.

Sure, if I dug through the desk, I might find something I had forgotten about, but, for the most part? I saw projects. Things I had been working on and were in-progress.

My mom is about finishing things and being done. I’ve never minded the process.

Anyway. I’ve always been this way and continued to be a creative all through college. Until, I needed to share a bedroom. It was an absolutely miserable semester, but the girl I shared a room with and I were in there a lot and so it helped to keep the “stuff” to a minimum. I found it really helped when I was trying to study, so from there on, I’ve tried to keep that sort of outlook.

But, it’s more like a pendulum.

I buy more in a way to self-soothe. I shop when I feel a bit less worthy, if that makes sense. I have always been calmed by taking a stroll down a super organized store and window shopping. Most trips, I’m okay with just looking and appreciating, but if I’m feeling bad about myself, well, then, watch out, because something’s coming home.

And I probably won’t like it very long.

Most of the time, I’m disciplined enough to keep my receipts and return things that aren’t a great fit. But sometimes? I’m not so quick and keeping things I’m less than thrilled with? So not cool.

On the other end of the spectrum, I am a ruthless purger. While I was single, I would go through my things and sort every few months – or at least once a season – donating quite a bit. Mostly, because I was in a one-bedroom apartment and didn’t really have the space to keep so much. Now, in a three bedroom house, I don’t purge nearly as often as I probably should, and it’s starting to show.

I told my husband that this weekend, I’m tackling the closet. The one that we just shove things into? I’m not really sure what’s in there. I kind of don’t want to find out, but it’s time. Like the big box of things that was sitting in our garage from the time we moved in, I’ll probably find when I actually go through it, that most of it can be thrown out, anyway.

Originally written 2/15/13, published in March 2016.
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