Over the last few weeks I have noticed a trend on my Facebook feed. Everyone has been talking about the Netflix documentary Minimalism, and raving about how it had impacted their lives. So naturally I needed to watch this amazing and impactful film.
Last week while Michael was studying for an exam I decided it was a good time to delve into this potential rabbit hole. It documents the authors of “Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life” Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus on a book tour and features others who prescribe to this way of living; and I have to say it has definitely changed the way I think about the things in my life.Since university I have been the type to hate clutter. Those tiny dorm rooms and shady apartments really help you get rid of a lot, because they are not only where you sleep but where you socialize. It brought on good habits like always making my bed before leaving the house (even if its just a quick pull the comforter over the messy sheets, sorry Mum), hating random paper clutter, and twice a year purging those things that out in the open that you really don’t like because you don’t want to pack them up or they don’t fit in the back of your tiny coup. But one skill I did not master moving from Halifax to Moncton and back for4 years was the art of letting go of the things that I hold some value but not enough for me to keep and those things that may not be in your face on a daily basis, like those jeans I bought because I had a wicked stomach flu in 2006 and finally fit into a 4, and lets face it, this Mama is not going to be a 4 again, and if she does should she really wear those jeans??? Probably not.
Moving across the country did not help at all either. I have boxes of things I packed when I moved out here 5 years ago that I have never openned. They have moved from Moncton to Wainwright to Red Deer Condo to Red Deer House #1 to Red Deer House #2. Boxes of things i have no idea what is in them, but I continue to put them in the back of a truck and carry them with me. Why? First off, full disclosure I’m too lazy to go through them to see if they have any value and sadly this continues for many areas of the house and doesn’t help that we doubled our square footage from House #1 to House #2 so the sense of urgency to actually purge through my past is definitely not there. Secondly, I don’t want to get rid of all my stuff. I like the idea of opening a box of memories and reminiscing about the time I wore that sweater, experiencing the way that a particular book smells and feels in my hands can transport me back to my favourite parts and characters. But what this documentary taught me is that minimalism is not all or nothing.
There was one particular moment in movie where Ryan is talking about how he is often approached by people who will say they can appreciate what they are trying to achieve with minimalist living but that they just love their books. They have hundreds of books and just cannot bear to get rid of any of them because they live the smell, feel, and sound of their books and being around them give them so much joy, to which Ryan advised to keep them. Their take on this movement is not about getting rid of everything, only having one plate, bowl, cup per person in your home and live on as little as humanly possible but to live only with the things that add value to your life. If your books enhance your life and and give it meaning keep them, if they don’t then get rid of the because they are adding stress and taking the focus away from the things that matter in your life. This particular statement resonated with me, I am that person with boxes of books in my home, at my parents, and randomly lent across the country. I don’t own a e-reader because reading off a screen just doesn’t do it for me in the same way a book does, I love a book that has weight, pages are hopefully yellowed, and its old enough to have that musky library smell. That alone gives the book the perfect setting for my imagination to live for a very long time. I dream of the day that we have a home with a library nook with a huge oversized chair, warm blankets, a side table for my tea and built in bookshelves that go floor to ceiling where I can escape to alone or with my children to worlds unknown. So getting rid of my books is out of the question, and being told that, that’s ok made me reseptive to the over all message they were sending.
Sorting through the physical clutter according to Joshua and Ryan, will help you sort through the metal clutter and allow you to live a more meaningful life. This aligns perfectly with what I hope to accomplish now in life. I don’t want to worry about the fluff, I want to care about the important things like my family. I am a hard core quality time person and would give anything to spend more time with the people I care about in a meaningful way, so if organizing my things and donating the things of less value to me to those who can use it will give me that I’m down.
Because I will be heading back to work soon and I probably fit in very little of my work clothes I think I will start with sorting out my closet and dresser. Keep what I love, donate what I can’t use and throw away what is useless to anyone. I would love to start a capsule wardrobe for my work clothes in March so this would be a great way to purge through the fluff and know what staples I already have. Maybe if I’m not sorting through my clothes for 20 minutes every morning I will get a few extra minutes with Monkey before heading out the door. One could only hope.
I challenge you, my readers to come along with me, take the plunge and watch the documentary. You know know your Facebook feed is begging you to right? And then tell me in the comments bellow what is something you could declutter in your life? What would you do with that extra space in your mind? And don’t forget to follow me Instagram (@the_mcgills2015) to watch the purging unfold.
Mommy Moment is a weekly post that covers my thoughts, feelings and experiences as a mom. Come by every Monday to read about what it’s like to be a once career focused mom of a premature baby, who sometimes solo parents, loves cloth diapering and often bites of more than she can chew.