Since Big Brother (Alphabet) is always watching and my internet history isn’t varied, I’ve been getting a lot of recommendations for minimalism-themed articles and videos on social media. Titles like “The Best White Decor for Your Minimalist Apartment”, “12 Things for Decluttering Your Closet”, and “The Five Coffee Accessories Every Minimalist Needs”.
When I see these types of articles, it reminds me that the vast majority of people still view minimalism in one manner. And that would be what I refer to as phase 1.
Phase 1 is the part where you remove all of the physical items that have been cluttering up your life. You do a big declutter, then a couple months later you realize you don’t need some of the items that stuck around. So you do another big declutter. Than a couple months after that second, big declutter, you notice even more items, you’re not using. Then a couple months later, maybe you start to challenge yourself to get rid of more and more. And eventually, maybe years later, you get to the point where there is really nothing plausible to remove without getting into extreme, minimalist territory.
But you still have this urge, like something needs to go, like something is holding you back. And that’s when you realize…..you’re entering phase 2.
Phase 2 is when things really start to get messy. Because you’re no longer decluttering material items from your life. You’re waddling through all of the emotions, identities, responsibilities, memories, and other intangibles that reside in your mind. I equate phase 2 as similiar to the process of removing memories in the film “The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. If you haven’t seen this film, let me tell you, it is extraordinary. In this Michel Gondry classic, you witness the characters memories being plucked from their minds, and in some cases, the accompaning fight from the character to hold on to that memory. In phase 2 of minimalism, you recognize that it is time to let go of that responsibility or dream or fear, but you cling to it deeply, even more afraid of what awaits when it’s gone.
Good luck finding a listicle to guide you through this part of minimalism.