A little (forced) minimalism.

October 20, 2021


Photo: Mirto Kon via Pexels.

Recently, my husband and I woke up to the sound of dripping water—not in our bathroom, but in the bedroom. Water was dripping from the ceiling there, and when I went into another room to get towels from the linen closet, water was streaming from the light fixture. And seeping under the stairs, from the baseboards in the living room, dripping in the kitchen…

We had leaks. A lot of them.

We’ve always had a leaky apartment, but repair work done by the roofers opened the floodgates. When the repair work finally began, much of the home office was off limits—including the closet where I have most of my clothes.

This was about the same time the subject of minimalism came up in my world. Through various newsletters and links, I fell down an internet rabbit hole and found the Becoming Minimalist website by Joshua Becker, a Lutheran pastor who preaches about minimalism.

Joshua clarifies that the difference between organizing, a la Marie Kondo, and minimizing is that you’re not buying a bunch of plastic boxes to hold all your stuff; you’re paring down all that stuff so you won’t need extra storage, or a bigger house to hold all your things, or to park in your driveway because your garage is full of…stuff.

Before we moved the contents of our home office from the dining room, where it all sits now, and back into the newly-repaired room, I started looking at all. the. things. We had a lot of stuff in that room. I’m still going through it, and I’ll share that process with you, but for the moment, I’m trying out the minimalist capsule wardrobe—and not by choice.

As I mentioned, the office room is closed off during the intensive repairs. My clothes closet is in that office. I can’t get to about, oh, 70-ish percent of my wardrobe. This leaves a little more than the number of garments recommended by Courtney Carver, founder of Project 333.

Simply put: I have access to one pair of jeans, some yoga pants, some shirts and sweaters, and that’s it. (Yes, socks and underwear too; those aren’t part of the minimalist deal.)

While I felt a little cut off at first, I went back to what I wrote in Yoga Mind about Aparigraha, Day 12 in the 30-day Yoga Mind program. Specifically, I looked at one question that my teachers asked us: What is enough? 

How many pairs of jeans is enough—one, ten, 15? How many do I actually wear? How many pairs of jeans in my closet didn’t fit anymore, or are worn out? As for what to do with them, I found a great solution.

This is an ongoing process for me. I don’t know how much I’ll let go of as we go through our things. There’s the yarn stash… I can’t even go there yet. The important part of minimizing, I’m learning, is to ask that question in the first place: How much is enough?

More From Suzan: