Have you been stuck at home, social distancing from people, when you come to realize that your space is crammed with stuff? Is there a lingering feeling that your surroundings are breaching your space? Are you overwhelmed with an abundance of thoughts that leads to a lack of focus? Perhaps you’ve never really paid attention to your living space until now because of time, energy or alternative priorities? Since a lot of us are confined to our homes for the next little while, you might have become more conscious of how many things you own. You might have also noticed how much money you are saving now that most shops are closed! Our self-isolation has a positive side: we have ample time to reconsider our daily lives and the actions that we might not have scrutinized before because of a distracting and consuming world we inhabit. Since life has slowed down considerably, and in perfect time for spring cleaning, now is a good time to explore why I became a minimalist and why you might want to flirt with the idea too.
Minimalism has a long history that entails art, philosophy, and religion, but for our sake, I’m referring to minimalism as the cultural practice of owning less. Minimalism has been in the zeitgeist for a couple of years now: the centripedal force that has drawn in most to this cultural explosion is cleaning guru Marie Kondo. Her best-selling books—that we have on Hoopla and Overdrive—as well as her Netflix show have solidified her presence in many people’s (cleaner) lives. I first started on my minimalist journey in the summer of 2017 when I read the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up after a patron called the library and ask me to put it on hold for them. I’ve been collecting video games (I had over 500) and books (I had 7 book shelves) for years. However, even in the fleeting ecstasy of obtaining a new game or book, I always had a nagging feeling that I’d never hit the end point of satisfaction: an event horizon that was always buried by the increasingly growing pile of unplayed games and unread books. Her methodology promotes keeping only things that “spark joy” in your life. I devoured her debut book in a day and then that weekend I went through my possessions, in “KonMari” style, and excised two giant bags of recycling (why was I keeping boxes for stuff that I bought?!) and one large bag of clothes for donation. I finally honed my “spark joy” radar! Continue reading