An Ode to Minimalism

cabinet-minimalism-lost-in-transitions.JPGThis is my medicine cabinet. I’ve had many medicine cabinets, but I’ve NEVER had a medicine cabinet this devoid of junk, one so spare and clean and lacking in duplicates (I have two tubes of toothpaste only because my daughter went on a trip and used just a small amount of one, and there is a two-pack of deodorant because that’s what was available). Notice that there are no rubber duckies, no hair bands, no brushes, no safety pins, no shelf completely dedicated to drugs, rubs, ointments or remedies.


This medicine cabinet represents my new mantra of simplify, simplify, simplify. When I open it I feel empowered to keep my life simple, to buy only what I need and nothing extra. Nothing for five months from now when I might need that 500-count of antacid or enough cotton balls to remove polish from 300 nails.

This feeling is similar to the concept behind Marie Kondo‘s tidying up phenomenon: I’m trying to make my entire life easier, clutter-free but comfortable without throwing away everything I own. I don’t want to take the time to determine whether every item I own gives me joy, but I do love to see an organized closet and spice rack. I heave a sigh of pleasure when I see my tiny but tidy linen closet (bye-bye blue towels and ancient pillowcases). This is another of my “release moments” and it feels so good.

I think my whole life, there’s been a minimalist curled up inside me, but there was always a need for more diapers, more paint remover, more tubs of hand cream and endless amounts of school supplies like No. 2 pencils, binders and reams of loose leaf filler paper.

As my new heroes, minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, say, getting rid of junk gives me “freedom from overwhelm.” It’s lovely and because of my move this year, I’m committed to being more deliberate in other areas of my life. I cleaned out closets and bins, storage rooms and garage eaves. I gave away nearly half of what we once owned, and I’m proud of two things:

  • I gave items we didn’t need to others who did need them
  • I can live without all of those things that I once thought were essential

I think living to excess with tons of stuff crammed into our homes is especially an American trait. But that’s a topic for another blog.

Now, if I could just get my children to subscribe to my newfound dedication to freedom from stuff, we might have even more decluttered rooms. And then I can tackle this crazy messy desk where I work …




  1. I really think there’s a minimalist curled up in ALL of us, and we just learn to ignore it because the ads on TV tell us to. When we hear “more, more more!” all the time, it’s hard to ignore. I’m glad you’re enjoying paring down! Good luck and may you continue to make progress!



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