Kazimir Malevich, Black Square, 1915, Oil on Canvas. I hate this painting.
I mentioned on my 5 Things post that I've been reading a lot about minimalism lately, that I've been really interested in the concepts involved. Now, let's not labor under the delusion that "minimalism" will ever describe me; I love colors and patterns and knick-knacks and books and coffee mugs and things far too much. A black square on cream nothing is the epitome of boring to me.
I am not ever, ever, ever going to be minimalist.
For instance, I have too much jewelry - I have gobs and gobs of necklaces - and yet I am still eye-balling this gorgeous bird-and-leaf piece on etsy.
You should all stare at it, too. Because it's wonderful.
You should also stare at this sweater. I live in South Carolina and already own like four million sweaters, but... you know... this one is pretty, too...
One thing I've been trying to start focusing on more heavily is what they call "mindful thinking". I know that's sort of a hipster phrase now, but I mean it more in the sense of working harder to really think about purchases before I make them, trying to fit them in with an existing wardrobe instead of buying an awesome shirt on clearance at Target just because I like it, only to find out that it's kind of unwearable in my closet as-is.
... which, yes, totally happened. I ended up donating it, having only worn or two or three times in more than a year, because it... just didn't work.
I buy magazines, too, far more than I should; magazines and coffee and all kinds of things. This is all well and good, and it does make me happy in the moment, but in the long run it's basically just throwing money into the air and declaring I don't really want it anymore.
But I do. I do want that money.
Jo Baer, Primary Light Group: Red, Green, Blue. 1964 - 1965. I hate this, too.
So I've been reading some more minimalist-mindset blogs - both the Assembled Haphazardly posts (and the wardrobe inventory post is inspiring me to do the same thing (as well as Wardrobe Oxygen's post here), so I can really grasp how many different items I have) I mentioned in my 5 Things, as well as this post on minimalist ideas that I both agree and disagree with here, as well as a few others that catch my eye as well. There's a lot about minimalism that I will never like - I want my life to be full of color, I want to have little things on my shelves that remind me of people or places, I want my cupboard to be full to bursting of coffee mugs that don't match (Jason has a slightly different opinion about that), I don't buy that always buying something at full price is the way to go, etc...
But there are still things I can kind of take away from it.
Paring down my little-things purchases, especially magazines and coffee, is a huge thing I'm going to try to do. Fewer impulse-buys of clothing is another; just because something is a great price doesn't mean I need it, and it doesn't justify how many labor-rights abuses go on in the name of fast fashion.
Laying out carefully-written monthly budgets and to-do lists is something I'm going to try, but can't really guarantee since I know what my follow-through record is like. Recording purchases so I get a better look at exactly how much I'm spending and on what, that's something I think I really can do.
And there's another thing, inspired by Kaelah over at Little Chief Honeybee, one of my absolute all-time favorite blogs (I only came across her last year, but she rapidly went to the top of the list once I did).
Kaelah's been doing Weekly "Intentions Lists" - see her posts on the subject here, here, and here. They're not really purchase-related at all, just a kind of no-pressure to-do list, things she'd like to get done this week or that.
While they don't have much to do with minimalism (and I definitely wouldn't call Kaelah a minimalist - there's a reason I like her so much and it's not because she lacks color in her wardrobe, let me tell you Internet), they do line up nicely with what I'm about to try and do with "mindful thinking" and more thoughtful consumption.
Because if I can focus more on what I'm trying to do, I might be able to focus less on what I want, especially if it's things that don't really help me gain anything in particular, and are just items that either disappear without anything tangible coming from them - like coffee - or things like magazines, where I can only really keep for so long.
So, I thought I would make a list of intentions for myself for this week as well (and hopefully every other week after this, but... again, I know my own record on following-through with things.)
So here's my list:
Seems easy enough, right?
(The cleaning ones Jason and I will do together. So really it's even less than it looks!)
Plus, it gets me thinking about how I'm spending my time, which will hopefully help me ensure that I spend it doing or making something instead of buying something. Other than Christmas stuff, I'm hoping to pare my purchases down to the bare minimum in preparation for my New Year's Resolution - which is to go the entirety of January and February without buying a single non-essential item.
The library (and my French press) are going to be what saves my sanity, people.
Although 'sanity' is kind of a relative concept when it comes to me.