I say this not in a materialistic way.
I don’t believe that money or material objects are the key to happiness.
But I think they can bring you joy, little fleeting moments of happiness.
Once again, I want to stress the importance of not relying on things to bring you happiness.
But I don’t see the good in denying the delight you feel in finding the next perfect trinket to add to your collection.
The contagious smile that adorns your face as you hover over a strange, off-balance, hand-carved turtle figurine just begging to go home with you and be displayed with all the wonderful treasures you’ve found over the years.
Why belittle the excitement you feel when opening a gift only to lay eyes on the most perfect pair of green suede shoes you’ve ever imagined and that you know you will love and cherish until the soles start to disintegrate and tear away from the shoe from repeated wear?
Sure, minimalism may mean less clutter. Minimalists may be less likely to step on something surprisingly angular and wildly good at puncturing your foot first thing when you step out of bed in the morning.
But other than substantially less foot-related damages, what is to love about less?
What do you gain from losing an emotional attachment to things that marked a wonderful moment in your life? Treasures that make you feel a little something every time you look at them.
I’m not talking about “maximism” and hoarding. Though I was called a hoarder quite frequently growing up.
I prefer the term, collector.
Because really that’s what it is. Collecting.
Gathering the things that make you feel something. Curating a specific aesthetic and emotion.
It’s not about taking and having. It’s really about sharing.
It’s about being able to grace every person that uses your bathroom with 3 dozen tiny turtle ceramics or the pithiest sayings etched in driftwood.
It’s not about things. It’s about people.
I know that sounds incredibly wise and poetic, and therefore pretentious coming from a twenty year old, but it’s something that I’ve honestly noticed over time
Because growing up I would find myself unable to part with anything I came across. Physically pained when forced to discard, downsize, and instantaneously nauseous upon hearing the phrase “clean your room.”
At this point in time, my collection had expanded. And I was having difficulty parting with practically anything I came into physical contact with. Not your normal stuff, like clothes and shoes or stuffed animals and books. Oh no, that would frankly be far too unoriginal for me.
I would keep all my hip number stickers from when I ran track and tie all the hair ribbons from my volleyball matches onto my practice backpack. I would keep the little paper fortunes from take-out and tack them to my window screen. I would keep old scraps of paper, free merchandise, college mail advertisements, postcards, old journals, and costume jewelry.
For most of my tween and teen years, I collected pajama shorts from every place I visited. I have a lot of pajamas these days.
But I realized that in collecting my treasure and keeping random mementoes I was really just trying to freeze time.
I just wanted to have something to hold onto that would remind me of that moment.
My hip numbers and hair ribbons reminded me of being part of a team but also proof that I could do hard things.
College brochures were proof that I was able to make choices about my life and in some capacity determine my own future.
Years worth of journals showed just how much my life and the people in it had changed. I think the journals offer me insight into how far I’d come as a person. Maybe not my spelling abilities, but in most regards.
So yeah, I might be biased, but minimalism is for the unsentimental.
But me? I’m mushy. I’m one big old sap.
So all of you labeling freaks, professional organizers, and minimalist die-hards please leave me and my trinkets alone.