The Tasty Travels of the Swanky Budgeteer.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Minimalism: An Op-Ed

Why the lifestyle trend à la mode may not work for everyone-including me.


Minimalism is in vogue, thanks to societal trends, such as binge-worthy documentaries dedicated to clutter-free living; hodgepodge handling, and indubitably, the widely-celebrated matron of organization, Marie Kondo. Kondo’s fan favorite book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is tantamount to a sacred, self-help doctrine for her cult-ish congregation. According to the Kondo gospel, intentionally existing with less is living more. 

Marie Kondo loves mess almost as much as JoAnne the Scammer. 
Contrary to the now-trending, “look at me, purposely dwindling my shoe collection down to two pairs,  impulsively posting it on social media for likes” gaucheness, I thrive in my own organized chaos. I’m being totally honest here-the idea of minimalism seems boring. Swapping my style stockpile and other prized possessions for clean lines and scanty space means fewer options when it comes to styling my daily looks, and would lead to bare-bones beauty routines for selfie-ready skin and *gasp*  lackluster blogger photo-ops.

Happiness=(+ time x space x experiences)-less stuff 

Much like many other Xennials (let’s hear it for the early 80’s babies living on the cusp) and Millennials, I am attached to my belongings. Contrary to antiquated Baby-Boomer beliefs, I do not feel the need to dedicate my Saturday mornings to ritualistic cleaning, organizing and frantically minimizing. Saturday mornings are reserved for artisanal coffee, avocado toast, Pilates classes and perusing social media for insta-worthy foodie spots.


All of my things have sentimental value. You know-the more the merrier! I’m not a hoarder, nor am I (in my mother’s words) a pack rat. I am a collector. A sentimental individual. A faithful fashionista, who just so happens to love and accumulate apparel and accessories to the point of paying for additional storage space to house my extensive collection. Yes, I’m that girl and so are many others, and that’s okay. Clutter of any kind is chaotic and sparse spaces are good. To me, clutter sparks creativity and sparse spaces are cold, uninviting and give the expectation of perfection-or am I just projecting?

 My children’s drawings? Joy! My expansive denim collection? Damn delightful!
The abundance of bric-a-brac amassed from our travels? Euphoria!
 My abounding collection of stemless wine glasses and novelty mugs plastered with of-the-moment sayings like, '#NamaSLAY,' 'Wife of the party' 'Wine Not' 'Let’s be MER-mazing' all provoke a healthy dose of maximalist-fueled happiness. 

credit: Artem Bali, Pexels

According to statistical data reported by the LA Times, “The average U.S. household has 300,000 things, from paper clips to ironing boards.” *Blinks, guiltily.* But wait, there’s more! In a jaw-dropping article, The Wall Street Journal quotes, “Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods-in other words, items they don’t need. Again, guilty. Do these staggering stats inspire me to adorn my denim jacket (the one I’ve kept since high school) with an enamel pin and join the #TeamMinimalism tribe? Not at all.

Thankfully, there are actual studies that justify minimalism’s often misunderstood step-sister, maximalism; citing successful, non-minimalist creatives, from Mark Twain to Mark Zuckerburg. According to scientific research, messy, disorganized people are more creative, out-of the-box thinkers, and are more productive. Jennifer McCartney, author of the less-perfect paradoxical book, The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place, encourages readers to embrace their messy, disorganized lives by writing, "When you are messy, everything else in your life will fall into place." *Raises hand in agreeance.* While I can admit that for some, the concept of minimalism may be beneficial to a degree, I’m not completely sold on the ideology. Why? This newly-standardized way of life is somewhat problematic in my opinion, as it perpetuates perfectionism, which for many-me included, is impracticable. I don’t think I’ll ever be a card-carrying member of the minimalism tribe. In short, a minimalist existence is not enough me-period. (Literally)

#FreeJT, btw!


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