I’m noticing more and more lately that I’m much harder on myself than I am on anyone else. I’ve been wrapped up in how not-enough life has been lately: not-enough as in Too Much, much Too Much everywhere. Which leads, then, to feeling like a hypocritical wretch when it comes to blogging about enough. I’ve made a poor choice in my reading material lately, also, which only leads to more frustration as I see all these people who clearly have got it all together and figured out how to minimize…um…everything and who are setting a fine, upstanding example of what a truly minimalist house looks like.
Well, first of all, maybe I’m not really a minimalist? Not by the true, popular definition, anyway. I like a clear counter as much as anyone (okay, probably more), but I like some stuff, too. Stuff that makes a house look cozy and not sterile. Stuff that makes a place look like home, look lived in, and not cold. So to number whatever-it-was in Simplify Your Life, I’m sorry, but I’m not getting rid of my houseplants.
As I struggled with all these feelings, I stumbled upon this post by Melissa Camara Wilkins on the No Sidebar website. Fact: sometimes this website is one of those “poor choices in reading material” mentioned earlier. Obviously they don’t mean to be; overall they’re a wonderful encouragement. But reading so many articles posted by people doing this “right” makes me a little nutty sometimes. Wilkins article was a huge blessing to me. There are people out there like me. (My favorite line: “My kids have Legos.”) It is possible to be a minimalist and still Have Stuff. It’s just a matter of focusing on what place that stuff has in your life, whether it serves you or whether you are in fact serving it. (I will admit that lately, I’ve occasionally felt like the Stuff was in control. We’re working on it.)
I still remember the winter our foster kids were here and I was straightening up in the laundry room/coat room and realized we had seven pairs of gloves. We didn’t have seven pairs because someone was “into” gloves and had started a collection. We had seven pairs because we had seven people living in this house. We needed seven pairs of gloves. Sometimes stuff really is necessary (though that doesn’t make it any easier–or less overwhelming–to take care of it all). How funny to look at seven pairs of gloves and still be able to say, “I am a minimalist: we have only what we need here.”
I also struggle frequently with writing this blog for another reason: there are a million people doing this better than I am. What on earth is the point of continuing writing? But the point, I think, is for me and my sanity, my brain. It’s a way to think through everything going on around me (which currently involves large tarps being taped up all over my living room to fix a hole in the ceiling due to a plumbing issue….have I mentioned how not-enough life has been?) and to process and reach a conclusion for myself, even if not for anyone else. Although if it helps someone else, so much the better.
I’m quite sure the No Sidebar article will help someone as much as it’s helped me.