On the Jana Says Facebook page, I recently asked what 10 beauty/makeup items would you keep if you could only have 10 items for the next 10 years (there were some great answers and I'd love to hear yours so please hop on over there and leave a comment). My list included:
- One of those chunky eyeliner/eye shadow combo things
- Tinted lip balm
- Bath and Body Works paraffin hand lotion
- My flat iron
- Ponytail holders
- Nail polish colors I'm Not Really a Waitress (OPI) and Chocolate Kisses (Essie)
- An emery board
I didn't include items like soap, shampoo, razors, etc, because I put those in a different category. And borrowing of other items is permitted for special occasions.
(Note: Another exercise I do in my own head is figuring out what I would pack if I had to move in two hours and could only take with me what would fit in the trunk of my car. We can talk about that another day if you'd like.)
The reason I asked the question is because I am becoming increasingly interested in the concept of minimalism. I am intrigued by things like the 40 hanger closet. The idea of having a small amount of items that are meaningful, purchased consciously, used regularly and are of good quality rather than spontaneously purchased junk thrills me. The thought of having one main product–like my iPad–which is multifunctional and portable is lovely.
And while I dwelled on the idea of minimalism, I started thinking about the reasons why I love the idea. And I came up with these main reasons:
I have learned that one of the best ways to manage my anxiety–which is a trigger for my depression–is to keep my house clean and organized. When I can look at a room, see everything put away, and items that belong in that room are, in fact, the only items in that room, it eases my mind. It makes me feel at peace. Which is extremely important.
Staying organized is hard. There are so many systems and ideas and methods to follow that it can be overwhelming. Overwhelming picking out which one to follow, where to start, and how to maintain. While the simplest advice is “pick what works for you”, I figure that for me, the method that works the best is to not have too much stuff. Beause the less items we have, the easier it is to stay organized as there's less to attend to and less clutter to keep in check.
I have tremendous difficulty making decisions. Not big, major ones, but small ones like which nail polish color should I use this week or what socks should I wear or water or iced tea. It's annoying, actually, to get paralyzed by small mundane choices. I've realized, though, that part of the reason I get dumbfounded by the choices is I just have too much stuff to choose from. It's like walking into a supermarket and deciding what cereal to buy and you have no coupon to help push you in a direction. There are so many options you just know that you'll make a choice and then immediately doubt yourself.
Only having a few items to choose from helps eliminate that self doubt. You know that everything you have was intentionally purchased and you love it, so there is no regret. Each decision is a good one. And it doesn't take 20 minutes to make, which saves time. That's good, too.
I don't even know how many thousands of dollars I have wasted over the last few years buying stuff that I liked in the store or at the counter, used once, and then never touched again because it either fell apart, was sheer crap, washed poorly, or dozens of other reasons. Or they were given away, donated, or thrown out because I purchased many of these items on a whim and never got around to using them.
It's actually quite sad.
Which is why it makes no sense to me anymore to purchase something just to purchase it. It's foolish. Embracing the concept of buying things intentionally forces you to think about where your dollars really are going and it forces you to think about the value of the item in your life. It eliminates shopping as a hobby, which saves money and reduces clutter. And when you are spending money on the unimportant, it doesn't leave much left for the important.
The fourth aspect of minimalism that I like is that it just saves time. Time not spent cleaning and putting things away. Time not spent shopping for crap. Time not spent deciding what to wear so people you don't care about are impressed with how you look. Not spending time on that gives more time for the hobbies, work, people, and anything else you truly love. Time is something that's hard to get back. Why waste it?
I'm not sure that I can ever become a complete minimalist. I live with two other people who don't seem to completely share my ideas. However, I can work on the areas in my control. And I figure that's a start.
How about you? How do you feel about minimalism?