It seems as if every few months the stores are stocking their shelves with aisles of decorations for the next holiday. There is something for for everyone: Valentine's Day, Saint Patrick's Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and, of course, Christmas. The amount of stuff that is manufactured, and which presumably some people buy, is astounding. Flags, doormats, pillows, blankets, tablecloths, mantle decor, towels, dishes, cookie jars, candles, candle holders, wreaths, outdoor lights, indoor lights, soap...the list goes on and on. Billions of dollars are spent on this stuff each year.
|This right here? Gives me hives.|
I'm not trying to spoil anyone's fun here; by all means if you enjoy decorating for the various holidays, then don't let me stop you. I enjoy decorating for Christmas and having all the pretty lights to look at for a month, but that's where the urge ends for me.
I remember decorating my first apartment. I had fun making it pretty and adding my own touches to create a comfortable home that I enjoyed spending time in. But then came the holidays, and suddenly it appeared that my job wasn't done. I began to wonder, with all the neighbors decorating not just for Christmas, but for Halloween, Easter and Thanksgiving, shouldn't I join in to? So I began to collect a black bat here, and some pumpkins there, but I really didn't enjoy it. Finding these things, putting them out, then storing them just felt like yet another chore to me. It wasn't until I started decluttering a few years ago that I finally gave myself permission to get rid of my paltry collection of Halloween decor and to admit that I didn't like it, nor need to keep or display it.
Even after giving up on the manufactured stuff, I still clung to the idea of natural decorations. I bought pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn and the like, but I didn't really enjoy that either. So this year I bought nothing and didn't miss it at all.
That's what minimalism is to me, in a nutshell. Re-examining the way we live, the things we do and the stuff we buy and keep, to make sure it's still working for us. Not for society, not to impress your neighbors, just for us and our families. Letting go of the stuff that isn't working? Totally worth it, I promise.