Want to hear a not-so-secret secret? I've always been a "shopper." From going to Hobby Lobby with my friends, to antiquing with my mom, to using my "professional" day time job as an excuse to splurge on that new pair of heels... I've always been a shopper.
A few years ago, something inside me clicked. And I realized that heels weren't exactly the best shoe of choice for someone who stands all day and has a lifetime of knee injuries. I rooted through my walk-in closet at my parent's house, lined wall to wall with shoes, and realized I had well over 100 pairs. Feeling a little sick, I created an Ebay account, and I posted my first pair. It sold a few minutes later and that sick feeling faded away- just a little bit. I listed another, and another, and quickly cut my stash drastically (all while increasing my bank account - bonus!)
Having tackled my shoe mountain, I felt pretty proud of myself. I cuddled up to the warm fuzzy feeling of "owning less" and skipped off to the mall.
Fast forward to a few months ago. As most of you know, my boyfriend recently moved to another country, so I've had a lot of free time on my hand to read and create and learn. I was reading random articles online, and stumbled across one on Becoming Minimalist. The more I read, the more that pesky little voice in the back of my conscience whispered "Pay attention, kid!". I couldn't believe what I was reading... statistics like:
"There are 300,000 items in the average American home."
"The United States has upward of 50,000 storage facilities, more than five times the number of Starbucks. Currently, there is 7.3 square feet of self storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation. Thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand—all at the same time—under the total canopy of self storage roofing."
Seriously?! 300,000 THINGS?! Five times the number of Starbucks? There are two different Starbucks within walking distance of my house! I started looking around, and quickly realized just how much crap I was actually surrounded by. Couple that with some reading I had previously done on Capsule Wardrobes and I was all in. I poured a glass of wine, grabbed two trash bags and a rough-tote. I went through the house room by room, going through absolutely everything I owned and separating them into "keep", "throw away", and "donate" piles.
Now, a few months in, I still try to clear out one or two things a week, but I've completed the majority of the decluttering. You know what I've realized? I'm happier. I'm calmer and less anxious. I clean less, because there's less for dust to settle on. It takes less time to get ready in the morning, because I'm not staring at my closet or sifting through my make up collection. I can snuggle into the couch with my dogs and feel at home, because I'm not surrounded by things I didn't even really want in the first place.
My whole mentality has changed. The more I read, the more I learn that minimalism is about so much more than what you do (or don't) own. It's about learning to slow down. To take time for yourself. To accept life as it comes. To have a weekend filled with nothing to do. To sit down with a cup of tea and actually taste it. To love more, and to use less. Now, instead of skipping off to a local shop to spend my time, I surround myself with those activities and people that matter to me. While I'm certainly no expert and I certainly don't have all the answers, I'm learning. I'm growing. And that, I can live with.