Minimalist Luxuries

Less is more…sometimes. Photo by Norwood Themes (Unsplash)

Since the initial COVID-19 lockdown began — March 13, 2020 for me — many of us have had to spend a lot more time with our personal belongings. I don’t know if it was an anxiety thing, or a I-was-living-in-too-small-of-a-space thing, but my many days surrounded by stuff in our tiny apartment made me very motivated to want to let go of some of it. Let’s be honest — all of it. I had this burning desire to get rid of all of my stuff, escape the city, and find some place to make my home deep in the woods.

My beautiful, logical mind decided that no matter how great the urge, running away was not a wise choice. So, I found minimalism instead. I had been curious about the zero waste movement with No Impact Man by Colin Beavan being one of the most interesting books I read on the topic. Similarly to the personal narrative Colin shares in the book, I also was really drawn to this idea of minimizing my footprint on the earth, and was already actively engaged in the process of paring down some of my consumables to minimize waste. For example, I simplified a lot of my hair and body care items and now take advantage of a refill service in my local community.

I loved the feeling of depending on less — less items to make me feel good and at home in my body. I loved the feeling of minimizing my impact by choosing lower-waste options. I was ready to take a good critical look at my belongings and create more space in my life. I wanted to continue on this path of (mostly) liberating myself from the consumer-driven world we live in where we are raised to exploit the earth at all costs in our pursuit of bigger and better stuff.

I started to read more about this little thing called “minimalism”. Ironically, I then proceeded to consume way too many books and videos on the topic. Two books that really stood out to me were Greg McKeown’s Essentialism and Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki. I was also influenced by the Minimalism documentary on Netflix by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. It was not long before I was packing away tons of my stuff, letting go of pretty much anything that did not add value to my life anymore.

And then I reached a funny bit. Perhaps if you’ve ended up on the minimalism path, you’ve reached it too. It’s the part where you have given away most of your stuff and you ask yourself — what’s next?

I started reading about barefoot running and the benefits of furniture-free living. Raw food diets. Juicing — was it that I needed to drink more smoothies? I learned more about the slow-fashion movement and sustainable textiles. I fell deep into the rabbit hole. Mostly I was left scratching my head, thinking what stuff was actually going to work for me and what wasn’t. Did I need to sleep on the floor? Only own one pair of shoes?

Well, I came to the conclusion that I wanted some comfort and ease in my life. I wanted to create a bit of a buffer of the quantity of my things so for example, I didn’t have to wait for my bedding to finish laundering to be able to make the bed again — with only one set of sheets. I didn’t want to just own two plates because even though it’s just my husband and I (for now), I can’t wait until I can have a few people over for dinner again. I wanted to sleep on an actual bed because even though furniture creates a more sedentary lifestyle, I want to lie down somewhere soft and cozy at the end of the day.

So as a budding minimalist, I’ve come up with a list of things I consider my “luxuries”. Items in my life that I think are worth maxing out on.

There was certainly more to this list that I ruminated over while trying to fall asleep last night, but it’ll do for now. A fancy bed, good walking shoes, and delicious food. For everything else in my life — less is more. How fancy do my tea towels really need to be? Or dishcloths? I’m okay with the fact that they’re all mismatched and made from cut up clothing I wanted to give another life.

What are your minimalist luxuries?

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Daughter of the earth, living in Wendat, Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Mississauga territory.

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Terra Filha

Daughter of the earth, living in Wendat, Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Mississauga territory.