I did my time with excessive consumerism in the late 90's and early 2000's. It was right about that time when HGTV was getting popular and I was hooked. With a brand new house, four kids, and a love of diy's, my creative brain was constantly on overdrive.
And it kind of worked for me for a while. It was fun. I love creative things and enjoyed the never-ending quest for cultivating more joy and beauty.
Until my garage got so full of all the extra stuff I "might need someday" that we couldn't even park our cars in it. (Not to mention that it became the perfect hiding place for outside critters. Don't even get me started on how mean and destructive squirrels can be.)
I also got sick right about that time, so it got to the point where the stuff (even the creative brain activity) was just too much.
Eventually, I realized I was going to have to slow down my spending and creating.
My husband and I spent the next several years (not kidding...it took years) navigating the process of decluttering and downsizing.
I read several books and watched hours and hours of YouTube videos on the art of minimalism. I became hooked onto this new thing and got excited about the possibility of living with way less.
I cut way down on my spending and stopped nearly all creative projects.
And it really helped.
I think it was good for me to swing the pendulum to the other side so I could start over and reset.
It helped my mind and body to just slow everything way down.
But, eventually this way of living got boring to me and I began to feel a little lifeless.
I started to miss the life-giving joy of evolving creatively.
I kind of felt like I had nothing to look forward to.
So slowly, I began to put creative projects and things back into my life. This time, however, with much more intention.
I don't ever want to go back to the excessive consumerism I was living in before, but I also don't want to miss out on the joy that comes to me when I create, express, and evolve.
It's kind of like a very careful, ongoing dance for me now.
I try to keep the bulk of my basic needs (in the categories of wardrobe, interior design, home necessities, etc.) as neutral and timeless as possible and then add mindful pops of color, texture, and creativity in a much more intentional way.
Instead of having six different comforters taking up space in my linen closet, I just use a white one and then change out the accent pillows every now and then for variety.
Instead of having twenty five different pairs of pants in a variety of colors and styles, I now only have five that I love and then add "newness" with blouses and accessories. (The capsule wardrobe concept has been super helpful for me as a good base.)
Instead of having ten different colors of towels, I now only have one and then add pops of color to my bathroom with flowers and printable art.
Instead of having fifteen different styles of plates, I now only have white (which ends up making the food look like art).
I've also slowed my creative timing way down. (In musical terms, I would say it's been like going from vivace to moderato.)
Instead of doing a new diy every other day, I now do one maybe once a month.
Instead of buying three new wardrobe items a week, I now buy one every other week or so.
I also try to be more mindful about enjoying and rotating the things I already have a lot more.
When I was in the fast-paced hamster wheel of consuming and creating, I honestly didn't even have time to really sit back and enjoy the things I created and already owned.
Now, I try to pay more attention and take more time to bask in the beauty of what is beautiful in the moment.
There are so many ways to do minimalism and honestly, I think it's a scale that moves up and down for me at different times in my life, but I never want to go back to the stress and chaos of what happens to me when my consumption goes too far.
Moderate minimalism for the win!