I hadn't realized how much minimalism had changed my life until Christmas season came rolling around. This year, I successfully relinquished my attachment to things. When I really want something, I delight in being able to buy those things myself. In fact, I asked my family not to buy me anything for Christmas this year (especially not things that I didn't specifically ask for).
In November I started participating in Project 333. During the project I am allowed to have 33 items in my closet (there are a few exceptions, like underwear) for three months. Everything else goes in a big hefty bag in the back of the closet. For three months, if I decide to buy a new shirt then something else has to go in the bag.
It's been almost two months since I started. When it began, I realized that I hated every pair of pants that I owned, so I went shopping and spent more than I normally would on a perfect pair jeans.
Rather than owning five pairs of pants, I now own ONE pair of pants that I love and wear at least three times per week. (I do my laundry once or twice per week).
In the past two months I've realized how nice it is not to have so many clothing items. If my clothing ends up piled on the floor (which, it inevitably does because that's how I roll), the pile can't get very large. It's not overwhelming to have to wash, fold, and put clothes away anymore-- a task that used to take up way too much time and energy.
I once read that President Obama only wears grey and blue suits. He does this to minimize the amount of decisions that he has to make in a day and maximize the energy and time that he has to make important decisions. This seems like a good idea to me and I assume many busy people use minimalism in this way.
Not only do I have a small wardrobe, but everything in my closet also falls into a color pattern: black, brown, navy blue, and white. I didn't do this to be boring or restrict myself. I find those colors classic, natural, and visually pleasing. Obviously, I like other colors too (as you can see from my website). I'm all about pops of color!
What I've learned from years of reading blogs like Zen Habits, The Minimalists, Be More With Less, is that lifestyle choices like minimalism and vegetarianism (or veganism) are less about restrictions and more about making the space for what's important to you. These lifestyle choices that encourage quality over quantity. They're lifestyle choices that make you feel light, mindful, and courageous-- exactly what being a Rule Breaker is all about!
So this Christmas, I didn't feel pressured to buy a slew of gifts for everyone on my "list". I LOVE giving to my friends and family, but I choose to do so in non-material ways. I choose to give them my time, undivided attention (though now that I have an iPhone I understand why everyone is so distracted all of the time) and good conversation.
When I do give gifts, I have a rule that the gift can't be anything that could end up in the back of a closet. Instead, I give gifts that provide experiences: tickets, gift certificates to a local restaurant, cook books for foodies, etc..
I'm excited for Christmas not because I expect to open a bunch of gifts, but because I get to cook (one of my favorite things), eat delicious food, spend time with my family, and read a few good books (I hope).
When I look back on past holidays, I don't remember everything I got (though I can't lie, I do remember a few stellar gifts). What I remember most is how I felt-- like anything was possible with the dawn of a new year and so very happy to be around the people who love me most.
Anything IS possible for you this year. May your holidays be blessed with inspiration, love, and good cheer :)
Happy Holidays. Happy Giving. Lots of love!