Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details.
Today, I’m happy to introduce you to Kayla, who’s discovering the joys of minimalism at quite a young age. What a wonderful way to start out in life!
My name is Kayla, and I’m a junior in high school.
Just three years ago, I couldn’t see the bottom of the floor in my closet. I had a dresser full of clothes, and a separate dresser for my other things, along with a school desk full of stuff, a loft bed, and things piling up on shelves and behind the t.v, and posters and doodles taped all over the walls. Since then, I’ve gotten rid of the clothes that I don’t wear, gotten rid of all the trinkets and toys, doodles and charms, along with my t.v, loft bed, my extra dresser and everything in it, my school desk, and countless other things. I have a mattress on the floor, a dresser, a radio, a fan, a mirror, the clothes in my closet, my CD’s and records, and my portfolio and art supplies.
I couldn’t stand the sight of anything I had. I couldn’t focus on anything unless everything was clean and orderly. But even with everything in it’s place, it still looked cluttered. Instead of doing schoolwork, I cleaned and organized things, or would get distracted by the t.v. I frequently purged my things in short, small sessions, getting rid of school papers and a couple shirts, but it was never anything on a large scale. I felt satisfied momentarily.
I had a problem, and still do, with looking for things to want. I’d frequent garage sales and thrift stores, the mall and art shows, looking for something that I could get with whatever amount of money that I had. Most of those things strayed from things that I needed, I looked for what was appealing over everything else. My parents have only contributed to the habit, as they’ve recently been creating recycled art projects. My mom will bring home garbage bags full of cigar boxes or a couple old t.v’s, old records, anything she finds. It piles up everywhere with all the art supplies. And my sister (13) is no better. She has hundreds of items of clothing all over her floor (most of which she hasn’t worn in ages or even at all) which sometimes accompanies unopened food or drinks, toiletries, pictures, dolls, school supplies and countless papers. Her floor is sticky, and her room is still messy even when she cleans it. The rest of my family is far from being at all minimalist. We have four couches in the ~200 square foot basement, two in the 10 x 10 living room, and triple the amount of dishes and silverware that we should have as a family of four.
I have an obsession with cleaning and organizing spaces, and have on a couple occasions, cleaned other people’s houses without their asking while I was staying there. I like to clean, because it’s satisfying to see the end result, it feels good. But I’d rather have time to do more fulfilling things, like focusing on creating art.
In an ironic way, I was shopping online for clothes, and came across a piece called “Minimalist Jacket” and decided to look into minimalism. It seemed so much more fulfilling than what I had. I love modern design, and the clean-ness of it. That’s when I came across “Miss Minimalist,” and read about your lifestyle. I was mad that I hadn’t thought of minimalism before. Inspired, I decided to get rid of the mess entirely. One by one, I got rid of everything I didn’t need. Even some things that were sentimental. It was surprisingly easy to get rid of I feel so much better having made such a difference- at least in my room.
I’m definitely not an extremist. I certainly have things that I could live without, like the 70 something CDs that I own, the records, nail polish, incense, jewelry, antique Alice In Wonderland playing cards, and probably a lot of my clothes. But these are things that that make me somewhat happy. Music inspires emotion and creativity in me, but the other things don’t seem as justified, as far as priority and requirement.
I’ve only begun the process, and I hope to spread it to everyone living around me. It’s so much easier to focus, I can keep myself where I need to be going.
I’ve become more efficient with my money, and healthier mentally. I know my priorities, and I can relax. I feel that I’ve improved myself, and I’m excited to see what I can do with it.