Failures in Minimalism

I hope you all had a great weekend, and for those celebrating, wonderful Mother’s Day (in my neighborhood, I could tell it was Mother’s Day because of all the female joggers out)!

My weekend got caught up getting cleaning out our guest room to become our toddler’s future bedroom, which was an ordeal partially because the closets in that room are where we’ve traditionally stashed away all our clothes and items we’ve been loathe to give away but don’t really have much use for…you know, the sorts of things Marie Kondo would advise to dump into a garbage bag without a second thought. I finally went and bit the bullet, tossing out at least eight bags of items. “I’ve moved past being obsessed with material goods,” I told myself. “I buy for minimalist function.” Some of the contents:

  • Two bags of books, because I can’t stop buying paper books even though I love my Kindle
  • Several hideous “family heirlooms” which we have decided we will not inflict on our children
  • Airline amenity kits which we thought were really cool but have never used again

But by far the most plentiful items were clothes. My clothes, including at least seven failed attempts at the “perfect white t-shirt” and related sorts of items. Which is so disappointing, because I’ve read Tidying Up at least twice, have Kondo’d my entire house multiple times, moved to an entire new place which should have also been when I could have started anew…and there’s still more! I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that state where I only add pieces which are perfect, and where I never have to. But I’ll keep trying, because it just feels so good to throw out, and start anew. I just wish I was more efficient.

Have any of you done Kondo and not had to go back? What have been some of your tips? I’d love to hear your successes (and failures, so I don’t feel so lonely).

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  • Reply
    May 15, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Kondo-ing/Decluttering is not synonymous minimalism. One can throw out plenty of stuff but keep buying more stuff to fill the void. Decluttering can lead to minimalism perhaps or be a starting point ?

    Successes :
    1. I have decluttered in the past with a zealous mission. I don’t like the word ‘get rid’ because it equates things to valueless disposables. Which is the reason for mindless consumption in the first place? Also, the fate of stuff that goes to thrift stores is pretty horrid:
    Before a move to California, I had to let go half of my possessions. I publish everything I bought along with the prices on my blog. Since I am accountable, I have been buying much less than I used to. About one item a month. I let go about 5 items a year because there isn’t that much to give away. Blogging has helped me immensely.
    2. Because I buy less, I can afford some things that were not on my radar before. Last year, I bought a black wool coat from Celine that is the most incredible thing ever. A year before that, I got a mauve funnel coat cut by Stella McCartney. It was pricey at first but given the wears, I am getting, I am very happy about it. They are favorite enough that I can’t wait to wear them over and over again without wanting more.

    Now to my failures:
    1. Shoes. I keep shoes that I hardly wear. I always always have a wish list that I dont act on but they are on my mind. This year, pink is trending and I want pink shoes. How much ever I repel trends, they get to me after a point.
    2. I envy minimalists who once and for all get over things. They are calm, content and happy. They don’t seem to think of things all the time. I am not at all like that. I have to constantly work on myself to keep me in line. While I am not buying so much, stuff is always on my mind. This makes me feel like a failed minimalist. But perhaps in a few years, I will get better ?

    Given everything, I am no saint. I love my fashion. I set a limit to myself on 10 items this year. This means museum level curation and a lot of discipline, but so be it.

    Please dont be hard on yourself. Kids and life happens. Its a journey perhaps, not a destination ?

  • Reply
    christine brightside
    May 15, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    oh my, we have just returned from a trip to Seoul, and I had four amenity kits in my luggage…. of course brand new as we never use the content whilst on the plane. I have a shelf full of them and I don’t know what to do with them. This time I even told myself, don’t take them because we already have zillions of them … FAIL.

    • Reply
      May 16, 2017 at 9:27 am

      I accumulate in a big bag and then donate to shelters…do you have that option near you? They actually love them, they always asy they need more.

      • Reply
        christine brightside
        May 24, 2017 at 12:29 am

        what a great idea. I think I will hand them over to the women’s refuge…

  • Reply
    May 16, 2017 at 9:13 am

    As long as we purchase things, there will be a need to declutter. Actually, even without purchasing things, there will be a need to declutter (mail, school projects, gifts, etc…). You didn’t fail before, you were just peeling back a layer. I started decluttering my stuff in 2010, and I’ve come a very long way since then, but I still have a long way to go. Since starting that whole process I met my husband, got engaged, sold my house, moved in with him, got married and had a baby. Every time my life changed more stuff came into my life, so I had to declutter again. The book “Unfuck Your Habitat” touches on the subject briefly. When you clean your home, you don’t sit back at the end of the cleaning session thinking you’ll never have to clean again. Decluttering is much the same. It’s something we need to do continuously.

  • Reply
    May 16, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    This is too funny. I have been on the minimalist mission for a 1 year and half. On Mother’s Day, I took a bag full of items to this place called Clothes Mentor. I made about $170.00 bucks which wasn’t much; however, it feels good to only have the things that I really love. I have been doing repeats of my clothing. Wearing the same dress or skirt twice a week. Less things free up your time. It is so true.

  • Reply
    May 17, 2017 at 8:02 am

    I have tried to use the Kondo method and while I ddin’t de-clutter entirely, it has been very helpful. Her concept that our possessions should “spark joy” has been very helpful to me. If it doesn’t “spark joy”, I don’t keep it or buy it. Also Kondo’s idea that something can have served us well in the past, but no longer work in the present. It seems silly to “thank” our possessions, but it’s actually helped me let go of things that I no longer love, but was keeping because they are designer items. For example, I have an LV Speedy that I haven’t used in many years. I was holding onto it but now I’m going to consign it so that someone else can enjoy it while it’s still in good condition.

    I’ll never be minimalist — but it’s fun to be thoughtful about my possessions!

  • Reply
    sherry @ save. spend. splurge.
    May 23, 2017 at 8:01 am

    If you have the space, go for it. My trick is to have one-in, one-out. I am currently creating a box of clothes I want to sell and make space in my closet for newer, better pieces. It is just hard to let these things go because I know I bought them on impulse and now regret it, but.. hey.

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