The Urge to Purge

Lately, when I’m feeling overwhelmed or discontent, I want to get rid of stuff. I have the urge to purge. And although it sounds like it almost makes sense within the parameters of minimalism, I don’t actually think it’s the right response.

Minimalism claims that more stuff does not equal more happiness, contentment, status, fulfillment, fill-in-the-blank-goodness. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the opposite — that less stuff equals more happiness, contentment, etc — is quite true.

Stuff is just stuff. Finding the separation between and happy balance with stuff and contentment is the holy grail. And when I’m feeling dissatisfied or stressed, it is easy to think that jettisoning some stuff will automatically make me more at ease. And it might… for the moment.

Minimalism promotes less stuff because it helps clear the space and your mind to find what really matters — to find the things and ways that bring contentedness to you individually. The landscape becomes more clear when the cluttery fog is lifted. But it is still not a sure thing. Even though you can see the landscape better, you still need to survey the paths and decide the route that’s best for you. Definitely easier without a cover of fog, but still no small feat.

It’s been 3 years since I first discovered minimalism. I can’t believe it’s been that long — it still seems so new to me. (I suppose 3 years versus 26 years is still a pretty big ratio spread.) And although I’ve cleared a lot of clutter, I still have a ways to go. I haven’t gotten to that “after decluttering” part yet.

So maybe the urge to purge, as it is, will still benefit me in some way. As long as I can recognize when I’ve purged enough and kept enough (I doubt I’ll not keep enough). The trick will be how to recognize that, eh? I’ll let you know what I find out about that when I get there.

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