Decades of print and TV media have attempted to convince us as to what we “must buy to improve our lives”. In this day in age, however, we’re more aware of the trappings of consumerism. Minimalism is the latest trend. Perhaps there’s a middle ground between the two.
As a professional home organizer, I have witnessed how EVERYBODY hoards things. After all, our physical possessions strongly inform our self-definition. DVDs, records, tapes… and of course the now outdated tech that played it – Walkman’s, Discman, record players, stereos… Clothing, shoes, ornaments, specific dishes, or books/magazines/letters, magnets, keyrings, dish cloths, earrings, purses, scarves, furniture, condiments. The list continues … They tell a story of our experiences, tastes, desires and what we value.
But let’s admit it, we’ve all succumbed to the sales pitches over the years. After all, it’s “because you’re worth it”. According to L’oreal, of course you are. So, pay it off in monthly instalments, buy one get one free, and so forth. And then you’ll be a part of our exclusive club of the privileged and worthy. As if having all those high-end products entirely defines us. Surely, we’re more than what we store.
Minimalism tells us that less is more; that we need to simplify. To be free and happy, we can’t be chained down by our things. If we have less, then there’s less to worry about, find, clean, and tidy. PDiddy lays it all out when he raps about “mo money, mo problems”. My favorite one is: “Don’t let your possessions end up possessing you” – frequently (and ironically) quoted by one of the greatest shoe hoarders of all time, my brother Allon.
The last few decades have seen dozens of books and methods on how to get organized, clutter –free and stress- free. Undoubtedly the revolutionary has been Marie Kondo from Japan – who promotes a form of: Sparking joy in tidying.
My approach takes this one step further. Everything you keep should be justified by its purpose. The art is being truthful about what that purpose is, and if it is being truly served. It could be anything, even “I like it”, “it’s sentimental” … By being mindful of this, we’re better equipped to review the excesses that clutter our everyday spaces. This doesn’t strictly advocate minimalism, and certainly not consumerism. It does however propose that we raise awareness as to what sufficiently benefits us to warrant occupying a place in our home.
Good luck balancing the two.