Seventeen years of Treehouse talk

Seventeen years of Treehouse talk

Monday, May 27, 2019

Impatience with minimalism...or is it just the books?

In the midst of other things I should have been doing, two minimalism books  I'd had on hold popped up on my online library reader. I read them both in one evening. That's all the time I had; but that's all it took.

It might be that I've followed this topic too long for there to be any surprises. Or it might be the current trend toward books that sound like they were lifted from a blog. Decluttering at the Speed of Life was one pleasant exception; Goodbye Things was another. But most of what's being written now is a repeat of what has already been said. The short version: a) don't try to dress, cook, and decorate like you're on camera, or for an image of the outgrown past or the uncertain future; b) think harder about what you acquire and what you keep, no matter what the source, so that c) you can focus on who you are and what you have right now. That doesn't rule out personal treasures, history and nostalgia: it makes room for the elements you've chosen (even a velvet Elvis) by eliminating other forgettable or forgotten things. It doesn't rule out three pairs of scissors in the house, if you use three pairs of scissors; or ten turtleneck sweaters, if turtleneck sweaters are your thing. (But maybe you give away all the crewnecks you never wear.)  If you love and use your George Foreman grill, then keep it without shame. But if it's collecting dust, donate it.

A useful word I've picked up lately from Joshua Becker is "optimalism." (I think that's the way he spelled it.) Minimal implies less, restriction, doing without, dull. Optimal points in another direction: choosing well, and then being grateful and satisfied with those choices.

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