“There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”
― G.K. Chesterton
It may seem counterintuitive that in order to become more minimalist, I created a list of everything I want to buy. But I’ve always had a problem with wanting lots of things and, therefore, buying lots of things, and in general, most of the things I bought didn’t fit the bill for the thing I was wanting (ain’t that a mouth-full!).
An example to illustrate: I needed a white tank top. I found one on sale for $4 so I bought it, even though it was a little too tight. It was on super sale and I couldn’t pass that deal, and it was certainly almost good enough! As you can imagine, I rarely wore it because it really only worked as an undershirt. So I bought one that was a better fit, but more of a cream color. So then I bought a white, loose-fitting tank, but it wasn’t great quality and I needed a new one shortly thereafter. And so on this trend went for every single thing I bought.
When I started paring down my closet and realized that I had five white tank tops, none of which I really actually liked, I vowed to change my ways. I would never buy a thing because it was on sale. I would not buy a thing that did not meet my new guidelines for living a minimalist lifestyle. I would put careful time and thought into every purchase. This new line of thinking didn’t stop at clothing, either. Every time I considered buying something, I would assess the following:
- Do I need it?
- Do I love this? Not just like it, not just good enough, but love it?
- Is it high-quality?
- Does it fit in with the overarching aesthetic I am working toward?
Admittedly, I pouted like a two-year-old each time I asked myself if I needed this super-soft scarf or very-hip t-shirt and the answer was no. But eventually, answering “no” became strangely gratifying. I don’t need it. I actually don’t need very much at all. I have so much already. And I found that at some point, my want for more had shifted into gratitude for what I have.
So when I found that there was actually something that I did need, I wrote it down. At first, I wrote a list of items to complete my capsule wardrobe. It was fall, so I needed a skirt, a pair of short boots, and a pair of pants. As I shopped online for these items, my written list became a Pinterest board. Here, I could visualize how the items fit into my overall style. Since then, I have continued to use the Pinterest board to track additional wants, from a new lunch bag to a hamper for the bedroom.
Sometimes, I’ll add an item to the board and instantly realize that it doesn’t fit. I have learned from many awkwardly decorated apartments and mismatched outfits in my past that I have an overly eclectic style. My living room could quickly develop a retro bohemian Moroccan avocado-green kind of vibe if I’m not careful. Collecting everything on Pinterest before making a purchase lets me see the bigger picture, no pun intended.
To be fair, there are times when I simply want something. There’s no explaining or excusing it – like this Groot guy – I just gotta have it. And maybe someday I will refine my minimalism and acquire the strength of will to deny this urge. But for now, I am Groot.