What Crisis Teaches Us About Minimalism

We often get caught up in the rat race and get stuck in a rut. I dream of and yearn for minimalism but when you are working hard and use most of your free time to recover from that hard work, thinking about hauling away large quantities of your belongings feels overwhelming. We also crave convenience. When we are tired it's so much easier if everything is readily available, thus we stock up more and more.

Normally my downsizing happens when I move. That's when I really feel the weight of all the crap I've accumulated. Things I haven't used in years somehow manage to stick around and I convince myself that one day I'll get back to that hobby and use them. It's a sense of attachment, something that held meaning for a past me. I have loads of things that I keep coming up with reasons as for why I should keep them, silly reasons I'm sure but to me they make sense.


March of the bed bugs


Regardless of how tired, overworked or overwhelmed you are crisis does not care. Crisis will find you and it will test you. My crisis was bed bugs. All of a sudden every item I owned was a possible carrier, everything had to be properly treated. We had to launder and/or dry everything that we could and put it in garbage bags. I lived out of garbage bags for over 2 weeks and had such a hard time to find what I wanted because well, I had so much stuff! We didn't dare move much around or take it out of the house, but we also had to clear our closets and move it all out into the middle of the rooms on the day of treatment. Our box spring was infested and we decided that since we couldn't get it off the floor, we will destroy it and get a new bed instead. I can't tell you how many times I broke down crying, how hurt I got from smashing into things, dropping stuff, carrying LOADS of bottles with alcohol in them as that couldn't stay in the house for treatment. I never want to have to go through that again.

When I was a kid I got head lice. It was gross and itchy. I then promised myself that if I ever got lice again, I would shave my hair off. This is that, at a bigger scale. IF and it's a big IF because I really don't want it to happen again, but IF we get bed bugs again, I don't want to have to deal with the overwhelming amount of stuff that I did this time. Instead it has given me a new spurr to get rid of all those things that I for so long held on to for no reason. As a benefit this will simplify other parts of life, make it easier to keep the house clean and when we move, we might be able to get away with one moving truck.

When we are stuck in a rut we consider all of our stuff convenient, but once it's actually been cleared out life becomes simpler and it supports us in our busy lives. There is less to worry about, less to clean and more freedom to do what you want. In some ways we can be greatful for a crisis because it gets us unstuck, it gives us a reason to act and a reason to improve our lives. I sincerely wish that no one ever has to go through having bed bugs, but it will keep happening and all we can do is make it as simple as possible for ourselves.  


What have past times of crisis taught you?