June 19 2021 Update: TLDR; I think the minimalism aesthetic is boring as fuck, but I enjoy the mentality of owning what you need. I don't need 10Million items, so I don't own that many. Tidying up is a joy of mine, and so is decluttering. I do touch on other topics in this, so keep on reading if you want!
I wrote this because this blog post isn't actually about minimalism, but my enjoyment of not owning excess, which is an ASPECT of minimalism. The aesthetic of minimalism drowns and submerges my importance of self expression, after all.
I guess when I say that I enjoy minimalism, it is not the aesthetic itself, rather the practice of less intake.
I used to have a huge problem with buying way too many items at a time, and no saving habits. With bits and pieces of minimalism, it helps guide me into a direction that I actually want to take. I enjoy aspects of digital minimalism, thinking through your purchases, and being content with what you have.
In some aspects of life, the world as we know it is starting to feel more and more of a technologically advanced sci-fi dystopian novel. However, due to the gradual change of the internet; we are like frogs slowly being heated, unable to know that we are being cooked until we are already dead. I know this is uncanny and ironic coming from someone with a web blog, but I hope you at least enjoy this section of my thoughts, even if you don't necessarily feel the same. I could write an entire essay on why I think aspects of technology are bad, but for reading's sake I will try to keep it shorter than that. Digital escapism is seen all around us, and possibly within every one of ourselves. Feeling anxious on the bus? Look at your phone so that others don't bother you and you don't have to pay attention to anything else. Everyone else seem to know someone at a gathering? Go onto your phone so that it at least seems as though you are social, even if not with anyone actually there. These behaviors seem natural, but I wanted to challenge myself, as I was one of the very many people spending too much time on their phone, unproductive. I enjoy technological features, such as being able to play games with my friends, being able to keep in touch with others, as well as taking photos of my surroundings and events, yet part of me wants to simplify things. For this reason, I have a flip phone and an iPod, as well as a laptop. The abundance of devices replacing what one smartphone can do may seem laughable; however, I feel it is necessary in order to "detox" myself from the bounds of not having anything in the real world that I can do. I find that incidents such as a woman being arrested by finding her shirt on Etsy, as well as the sheer amount of money Google makes on tracking your data genuinely sickening and is ultimately what pushed me over the edge in wanting privacy and security. This is why you will never see my name or tell-tale signs of my location posted on this site. Instead of using Google Calendar, I use a physical calendar that doesn't track where I go and if I make it to an event on time. Digital clouds being able to be acessed by any login on any device scares me, and being unable to access accounts without the use of more and more devices is an annoyance at best. As technology advances, things become more complicated. Being able to see my photos physically in my posession makes me feel safe, a physical scrapbook being more reliable than any cloud storage that could all be gone in seconds flat if it corrupted or got into other hands. The internet has never been and will never be a safe or private space. I wanted to lessen my digital use both for health, productivity, and my overall feelings of basic safety and privacy.
Spending less is important to me, because I only make so much money. Spending plenty of dollars at once is not what makes me happy, although it may disguise itself as such. Being able to have control over my expenses is of utmost importance in order to not feel a slave to my impulses. With this in mind, I have taken the opportunity to write down anything I may wish to buy, and if I already have a similar item (say, a metal water bottle so that I don't use as many plastic ones), then I can disregard the want to buy a new one until I use the old one up. Taking inspiration from minimalism while not banishing what is important to me is a way that I can feel less cluttered by the things around me. In the past I had kept items that were of no use to me just because I had created a sentimental attatchment to them. Not to say that I don't have sentimental items on my person, but keeping things of rediculous standard only make me feel suffocated in my own home. For inspiration I take Marie Kondo and Shelbizleee and this particular video as inspiration, as true "minimalists" seem slave to their impulses as well. In a culture disregarding trends and wanting to be sustainable, how do they buy into the trends of minimalism itself? This video in particular confused me a bit, as it seemed exactly what I did not want to be. I especially enjoy Shelbizleee's take on minimalism, as she has stated that "there are always other ways that you can fix up your unsustainable ways BEFORE you take out and ever compromise what you truly enjoy" (or something of the sort, this is a quote from memory, not an actual essay lol). Ironically, through mostly intaking her content and no other minimalist content, I have enjoyed content that is not actually minimalist! I enjoy the thought of getting items that will last you a lifetime, especially considering consumerist and mass-produced items have eventually halted our progress. I heard somewhere that in older times, bedding was much more expensive than the actual bed ever was itself, as it took so much time to make and weave; and that those items that used to last many lifetimes only last a quarter of one. (Soon enough I will find out where that is from, but for now, the sentiment will do). This is one of the things that made me decide that my interest lies in not buying and succumbing myself to the ever-changing trends, but instead buying good items that will last me a long time and I will be happy with for hopefully a long time. With this, I don't hope to sound preachy or "holier than thou", but just expressing a mentality that I have come to enjoy. Take everything with a grain of salt!
Ultimately, these two concepts add up to my desire to be content with what I have. Last year I would buy lipstick after lipstick, even when they were all mostly similar colors. This was a huge waste of money and always a reminder of what I don't want to do. There always has to be at least some inspiration for change, right? However, I am quite proud of my eyeshadow collection. In all ways of makeup except for lipstick (for some inexplicable reason), I was able to think "this is all I need, I don't need any more because I already have something of that which works for me". This mentality is a goal for me of different items. I don't need 3 metal waterbottles, I don't need several of many things. Just feeling content is the goal. However, with that desire, there are always other things that I will want more of. Whether it be allowing myself to collect as many records, books, perfumes, or art products as I wish, I will forever be content in what I allow myself to purchase because it is what makes ME happy. I don't feel excessive getting new records or books, because every one is different and will bring a new experience. Happiness is a fleeting feeling to chase after; comparable to an adrenaline rush of positive emotion. Happiness isn't sustainable, it isn't permenant. Chasing after something you will never have for long will leave you sore and tired. But, if you chase for contentment, you may be able to find it sooner than you think. Do what makes you happy, but also don't feel afraid of doing things the same if that is what brings you the ultimate pleasure. Some may think of doing similar things as boring, but you are the one living your life for yourself. Having well-rounded activities is important for any person, and looking within for what your heart is pleading for will make you understand what you need to bring to store.
Written June 8th, 2021.