This week and the next…maybe few weeks I want to focus on the long overdue task of dusting up here. Now that my medical issues are at least under control if not behind me I can be a bit more active. I need to work up to where I was, within the extra limits of my age, and I’ve never been very good at knowing when to dust. Whether or not this contributes to my allergy issues in the Spring I’ll leave to experts.

So I wanted to find another motivational video, because dusting is a boring topic and so are the issues we’re having with the TV and phone provider, which is the only other topic I have to discuss. And I’d have to stretch to get that done. However, the video that grabbed my attention was called “The Dark Side Of Minimalism: ‘Decluttering Ruined My Life'”, which given the current obsessional with minimalism when it comes to decluttering intrigued me. Posted by A to Zen Life in January 2023, the host talks about her experiences discussing the minimalism movement.

It’s not a condemnation of minimalism but…you know the theme song from the 80s sitcom The Facts Of Life that opens with “you take the good, you take the bad”? Well, it’s hard to do that when all you hear is the good. Nobody talks about the downsides of going minimalist, though there have been nagging issues in the back of my mind over it. So watch as the host goes over things you should consider before doing the opposite extreme of hoarding and turn your decluttering experience from something beneficial to something toxic.

Here’s the article Marissa, the host, was reading from.

I’m not part of the decluttering community, if such a thing exists. I started The Clutter Reports to use my desire to commit to writing articles like I do for my other site to get myself to finally clean up, organize, and even get rid of things. I do get a sense sometimes though that minimalism seems to be about getting rid of everything that isn’t just basic living requirements and looking down on keeping what seems like crap to someone else for sentimental value. I have stuff I keep as memories to revisit or interesting articles I cut out for a reason, and of course any piece of prose, video, or music media I may want to hear, watch, play, or read again. If I don’t have a use for it I get rid of it. Just last week I finally sold off my Air Attack Optimus Primal to someone who will get more enjoyment out of it than I will or did, and I have a section of this site to get rid of other stuff.

However, I don’t think I should get rid of everything. Physical media is yours while digital media may or may not be yours depending on various factors, and sometimes the only way to keep digital media is to turn it into some kind of physical media. If I have a use for something, “recycle” could just mean repurposing it. Look at all the drawer dividers I made myself just using cardboard. One of those articles shows an old metal drawer chest that wasn’t useful to my father so I swapped him for one that was but wasn’t doing me any good. Why waste perfectly good material that can actually benefit decluttering and organizing?

Your living space does not need to look like a showroom or the staging on one of those home improvement shows. Once that house is remodeled and the new spaces shown off on TV it isn’t going to look like that for long. It’s going to look like a home of people who live their lives. Organization will make sense only to the people living there. Things will look strange until you know the history of it. Decluttering isn’t about getting rid of stuff, it’s getting rid of useless stuff you have no strong connection to. In the article she read from not having comfortable things around hurt the author during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020. We get stuff for a reason. It’s only hoarding when the stacks are too dangerous and serve no purpose other than existing. Keep the strongest memories but baby’s first toothbrush may not be all that necessary. Also it’s disgusting, somebody should have cleaned it.

Again, this isn’t trashing (pun intended) the idea of going minimalist. It’s about not going into the opposite extreme and sucking the life out of…well, life. Make your living space livable, which means don’t have too much stuff but don’t toss out everything important to you. We own stuff for a reason and you don’t want to finish this project with regrets.