I decided to get a head start on spring cleaning this year and started going through all of my stuff. All of it. I’ve been hitting different corners of the apartment each day, taking out everything and only putting the things I actually want to keep back into it. I’ve been finding so many old clothes, mugs, towels, and other things that I never use but kept since college, and it’s been kind of freeing. But also depressing. How in the world have I accumulated so much stuff?
I didn’t expect it, but this year has so far been one of deep, personal reflection. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking through who I am and where I fit in this world, and what I’m called to do. I have a deep longing to quiet my mind from outside noise—from the chaos of social media and constant news, and to take more time with reflection. To sit in the silence and to just savor the moment.
But when I actually sit in the silence, I’m confronted with restlessness. I’ve always been a busy body kind of person, filling my time with tasks and projects so my days feel full and I go to bed feeling accomplished and satisfied. If I actually take a day of rest (that isn’t a planned vacation), I’m usually left dissatisfied with myself. Disappointed, even.
So I fill my time, and I fill my space. My restless nature has also brought me to accumulate more things. “If I just buy X, I’ll feel happy.” I know deep down that just isn’t true, but I keep doing it. I fill my closets and waste my money on things I just don’t need. And lately, as I cull through all of my possessions, I have felt a deep sadness about it.
I’ve been listening to a bit to the wisdom of the Minimalists. Mind you, I don’t exactly want to be a minimalist. The idea of only keeping what I need sort of frightens me. I like having supplies for a mini food photography studio in my home. I like having options for my style. I like being able to choose a different perfume or lipstick color each day.
But as I count the 30 purses I’ve accumulated since moving to New York (you read that right, thirty), I realized that I just don’t need that many. I should keep what I really want and be mindful of what I consume from now on. I should find ways to repair my shoes instead of just buying new ones—especially if I absolutely love them.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from the Minimalists is that it’s okay to sit in the restlessness. Life is going to be uncomfortable sometimes. I’ll never have everything figured out or have some kind of grand plan for my life. Sometimes, it’s just a sweet silence I’m meant to sit in. To savor an afternoon with a cup of tea or a good book. To enjoy the beautiful home that I currently have instead of desiring to want more, and more, and more.
I know this will always be a challenge for me, to not consume more stuff. But I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far, excited to finish up the project in my apartment, and I look forward to a future where I can focus more on loving people and using things. Because as the Minimalists say, it shouldn’t be the other way around.