I watched this Netflix documentary on minimalism a few months ago. Other than the fact that the two central narrators were the kind of people who make being nice look like a bad thing (a story for another time), what resonated with me was the way adopting a minimalist lifestyle changed how people viewed the objects in their surroundings. For most of them, letting go of so much of their stuff enabled them to appreciate the beauty and/or functionality of the few items they did keep, to rely less on material objects to provide entertainment or distraction, and to be more conscious and deliberate consumers.
Enter, me. Lugging home a wicker chair that's "way too nice to be out on the neighbor's curb," graciously accepting a friend's offer of a coffee-stained dress cuz "the fabric might be useful for a project I'm working on," leaving the bank with three free pens, because, well, "you can never have too many pens!" In other words, my compulsive consumption habits and everyday attitude toward objects represents an affront to minimalists everywhere.
But I like the ideaaaaa of minimalism. I'm often fascinated by objects and the potential they hold--which is why I want to remove them from the dumpster and tape them to my wall (that's a normal thing people do, right?), but I'm aware that having so much stuff often impedes my ability to appreciate, organize, and consider the (in)significance of the items I own, While I love having so much material around me for inspiration, having a ton of stuff can actually become an obstacle to creativity when I'm overwhelmed with so many options that offer so little direction. I often refer to this feeling as sensory overload.
On the bright side, I have no trouble getting rid of things. My room is in a constant state of flux. I try to give away as much as I get and I have no sentimental attachment to most objects I own. But I find that kinda sad. Why fill my living space with these items in the first place if I don't value them, or if they don't contribute to the space in a way that I find significant? Things like minimalism documentaries and a room I've lived in since childhood that has borne the influence of so many places, times, and states of mind, bring questions like these to the forefront.
In all honesty, I don't think I could ever be a minimalist, because I don't really want to be one. Sure, having ample wall-space to rest your eyes is nice, but is it nicer than a collection of mildly humorous greeting cards you got in second grade that you might one day cut up and make into a brilliant art piece? I think not.
As is true for most dilemmas, I think the appropriate answer to the minimalist/maximalist struggle probably contains the word "moderation". I think it probably does not contain the phrase "constantly switch between each extreme, continuing to exhaust your own mental capacities until the only viable option is doing nothing." Yeah, I'm gonna go with "moderation."