Minimalism The Journey #6
Since starting this journey, I’ve tried to keep the focus on “my” stuff. The things that I either brought into our marriage (most of my books) or that my wife and kids generally don’t care about (some old and if I’m honest with myself obsolete electronics).
However, all communal items (i.e. kitchen wear, towels and linens, and furniture) have not even been on my radar. I don’t see this stuff as mine to minimize, but rather ours to share and utilize.
While I may have slipped once and made a joke comparing my newly minimized wardrobe to that of my wife’s, I have generally steered clear of trying to inflict my newly discovered minimalistic ideas on my family.
I have, however, shared my goals and a few of the more inspiring YouTube videos with my wife. And I’ve had to explain to my kids why dad is getting rid of so much stuff. Their responses have been great.
Responding to a Minimalist
My wife is an open-minded person and her core values line up with mine in most areas, so she immediately understood the appeal of minimalism. She even spent the weekend minimizing our kitchen wears. Although, I did notice that all of my favorite dishes were minimized, “for the sake of uniformity” of course. But hey, fewer dishes means less dirty dishes.
My youngest son, who is more attached to his things than his older brother, struggled to wrap his six-year-old mind around the idea of giving up your stuff. But as long as it wasn’t “his stuff”, he seemed more than content to have the extra square footage to play.
My oldest son got on board right away and immediately began to sort his Pokémon card collection into three piles. The first pile was the keep pile. The second pile was the I’m not sure pile. And the third pile was the minimize pile.
When he was done, he wanted to know who he was going to give his minimize pile away too. Given his impulsive nature and my ongoing battle to get him to spend some time thinking before he acts, we agreed that he would put his minimize pile someplace he wouldn’t see it.
This would give him time to determine if he would miss these cards or if his life would go on quite happily without them (I suspect the latter). If after a few weeks, he doesn’t miss them, then we’ll find a worthy home for them.
Maybe we’ll transform this into a lesson on the joys of giving and juxtapose the happiness he gets from giving his cards to those who may appreciate them more versus keeping cards he doesn’t really get much value from any more in his own collection.
I’ve Infected my Household
Despite not necessarily intending to create a minimalistic household, I may have inadvertently infected the rest of my family. While our house may never appear on the cover of Minimalist Monthly, it at very least will be a less cluttered home.
I’m glad my family is finding value in minimalism, not just because I think it will ultimately lead to living lives that are filled with more meaning and contentment. But also more selfishly, it is allowing me to experience more of the rewards of minimalism.
Having less personal belongs allows me to experience minimalism in a very theoretical way. But as long as the other 80% of the stuff in our house remained, I’d never enjoyed the full benefits of a clutter-free house.
But now I’m already feeling the benefits of having less household stuff and getting a glimpse at the freedom minimalism offers. It is an unexpected turn in this journey, which makes me wonder what will be next?