Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thoughts on Minimalism

I'm a minimalist at heart. I like things clean and neat. The things that I do have I like to be compartmentalized and orderly. I live with four other people who don't have these goals. I don't collect knick knacks. I truly have no use for them in my life. I think it comes from growing up in a house filled with knick knacks and expensive figurines (Hummels, LLadros and silk Japanese dolls) and being the one who had to dust them all the time. Every week without fail, each item had to be taken off the shelves. They had to be dusted. The shelves had to be dusted and polished. The figurines had to be put back on the shelves in the right place and angle. So I don't care too much for things that just sit there collecting dust. I'm an adult now. I can choose to dust or not. I choose not to very often.

While I have a lovely stash of yarn, I can't say that it is as large as other knitters. In fact I try not to purchase yarns just because they are on sale or because they are pretty. I have enough pretty sale yarn that I've yet to knit. As I said yesterday I have enough yarn that I can knit for several years without fear of running out, but I would eventually run out before I die. Actually long before I die. I don't, however, have a large stash of needles. I have Knit Picks' interchangeable set all in metal and with a few of the wood needles as well. I have a good collection of DPN's for sock, hat and mitten making. I have yet, though, found a need to purchase other needles just because they are "very cool" or "exotic." I don't need very cool or exotic needles. I just need solid dependable functional ones.

My kitchen is the same. I really don't have every gadget under the sun. Why? Many tools are multifunctional. For some reason I have a citrus press. I use quite a bit of citrus (I mean, come on, I live in the Sunshine State so citrus is fairly inexpensive). However, I mostly end up not using the citrus press. I just roll the lemon or orange around for a bit and then slice it in half and squeeze the juice out with my hand. Sure some seeds get in, but they are easily removed and I usually already have a cutting board and knife out so there is less work to do afterwards. I also got a new stove (remember the new stove that's flat top and shiny cobalt blue on the inside?) When I emptied out the old stove drawer I put all the things that were down there in a box. I've only removed three things from that box. I'm wondering why I have the rest of the items. In fact I think there are several lids to pots I no longer own.

I think the reason that I am drawn to Project 333 is not because my wardrobe is out of control, but for other reasons. In fact I had to purchase a few items to get to 33. Yes; I did box up quite a few things, but they are all things that have just been living in my closet for the past decade not being worn. I think that donating them when the weather warms will be much easier seeing as I have proven that I don't need them. What attracts me to this project is that I have some control over my wardrobe. I dress intentionally each day. I've created a wardrobe that lends itself to mixing and matching. I do believe that I can wear any two or three tops together without looking aesthetically offensive. It will also keep me from purchasing things just because I found them on the Beal's 70% off rack and it happened to fit with no regard as to whether it matches anything except my jeans.

I think that while I strive for minimalism in my life in some areas, there are other areas that will always be somewhat overfull. Books come to mind. I have shelves and shelves of books and boxes and boxes that don't fit on the shelves. I love my books. They are an indulgence. I also refuse to have minimalism in cuisine. I don't want to ever eat simply. I love flavour and colour and texture and aroma in my kitchen. I love filling my kitchen with beautiful and delicious food. I will never be able to eat simply to live. It's why I failed so badly at Weight Watchers. I would get into a rut with food and become bored and there were places where I just won't compromise when it comes to food. I will not give up real butter or homemade bread or honey.

Perhaps I am only a quasi-minimalist. I'm good with that. I like the things I like and limit the things I don't. I like finding new ways of simplifying my life, but at the same time I will always have boundaries of what is too stark and too missing in my life. One has to be happy with their level of minimalism and that is what is important. I believe in a reduction in consumption, but hold strongly that you should embrace the things you love. I will continue to embrace even while I reduce.

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