Minimalism, moving, mental health, and marriage – these past couple months have been nothing short of hectic.
Months ago, I realized that a source of anxiety for me was my possessions. While I know that I still have a ways to go, I’ve successfully donated 3 large garbage bags of clothes and gotten rid of 2 medium bags of trash/recycling. I had been listening to the Minimalists Podcast and never thought that maybe I actually liked moving, but hated having so many things interfering with my life. Possessions – when not being utilized for a purpose – not only clutter your limited physical space, but also occupy your mind, becoming mental clutter.
So I set out to clear items from my life that hadn’t been used in a year and would probably not be used in the next. I found that the 90/90 rule (wasn’t used in the past 90 days, won’t use in the next 90) wasn’t feasible for someone who has so many art supplies, crafting gear, and digital clutter. I made one pass through my office and got rid of a healthy chunk of things I hadn’t noticed moving multiple times. Afterwards, I hit my closet with full force (and am nowhere near finished). For someone who lost all sense of identity through depression, I had a shit ton of clothing ranging through three completely different styles and spanning a decade.
These things that we keep to be “used later” with “a specific project in mind” end up weighing us down more than helping us achieve something. We think organizing and cleaning will help make sense of it all, when really we just have too much shit that we move around and dust off every once in a while. If we were just more intentional when we purchased something and paired that with a mindset of achieving certain goals, then maybe we would never need to move things around to feel accomplished.
So a couple months before my move in July, I started breaking all of my things down into categories and clearing out what wasn’t effectively helping me live an intentional life. I would highly recommend trying this out for yourself. The Minimalists have started me on a path to better understanding myself through my belongings. I’ve only just begun though – it will probably take another 6 months before everything is whittled down to what’s truly necessary and important in my life, but starting was the most difficult part.
Moving was a large part of why this worked for me. With a wavering devotion to my things, I questioned keeping every single item and it was heart-wrenching to think of getting rid of anything. The packing party saved me. This concept isn’t new, but is explained in this short video. You pack your belongings (as if to move, if you aren’t already moving) and only unpack the items you truly use as you need them. This way you’re not tempted to keep things just to keep them. I’ve done this almost every one of the six times I’ve now moved in my adult life. Every time I’ve moved, I’ve dumped about a third of my belongings, yet I always seem to accumulate more.
Keeping the clutter down is going to be the feat now that my moving boxes are still unpacked and waiting to be donated or trashed, but the idea that I don't need to unpack everything to feel at home. I just need the necessities.
Stopping myself from unpacking has been rough, so I started sifting through my studio. I am making a concerted attempt at re-categorizing everything as I put it away. Whilst packing up, I trashed and donated a healthy chunk, but there is much more to be done.
I am in a different mental space than I was before moving. I've gotten married, had multiple panic attacks, went to Summer Set Music Festival, moved all of my belongings to a new space, and am starting fresh in the studio.
Summer was a long and defining one. Now that I've decluttered my studio, my laptop, and my mind, I have loads of ideas and inspiration. The task at hand now is getting these things down on paper and starting.