Minimalism Life

The road to minimalism is often paved with trends, challenges, and catchphrases. Project 333 is the challenge to wear only 33 items for the next three months, to prove to yourself much is possible with a pared down wardrobe, and no one will notice your repeating outfits. The Minimalist’s Month implores you to purge one item on day one, two items on day two, three on day three, all the way through a month to rid your home of unnecessary clutter. No Checked Bags forces you to pack with intention and careful planning for long trips where you might otherwise nudge the scale into oversized luggage territory.

For me, after Marie Kondo came Swedish Death Cleaning. I’d already purged quite a bit of clutter thanks to Ms. Kondo, but Swedish Death Cleaning had me taking a closer look at my belongings and the mess I would leave for my family should I unexpectedly die. I am not on the brink of death, but I do have a chronic illness, so it’s more likely I would get very ill for a period rather than drop dead, the idea of leaving an organized and pared down collection of belongings for my family to deal with was practical and appealing.

Several years later, this pared-down lifestyle has prepared me for my divorce. Let’s be honest, no one is really prepared for divorce, especially one that includes surprise infidelity, but I knew I only owned what I needed, so purging wasn’t necessary. Packing my belongings took very little time. If there had been arguments over kitchen supplies, having only one of everything would have been a big issue, but since I was given ownership of anything I wanted from the home, that fight was avoided.

It seems a little too “on the nose” that the minimalist wife kept to only what she needed to survive
— minimal affection and attention while she ran the household and cared for her children — and her hoarder husband added a long-term girlfriend into the mix, but that is neither here nor there. My point is, when the tragedy struck, I could pack our things and relocate with my children because we had everything we needed and nothing more. It’s perhaps a tad bleak to look at a system of organization with catastrophe in mind, but I’m so grateful to all the minimalists who inspired me to get my life in order long before the end of my marriage. Imagine packing your entire home in just a few weeks and also having to address emotional attachments to every item you touch? Things are just that — things.

The divorce rate in Sweden is roughly the same as it is here in the US; our shameful 50%, but their marriage rate has declined, so perhaps this is the new phase of Scandinavian minimalism, where we don’t even bother with the paperwork and just stay together until the relationship has expired. Fresh from an ugly divorce that sounds rather appealing, but someday I may change my tune. I will not, however, be entering into a cohabitation with another hoarder. It’s the extras that get you in the end.