Minimalism Won’t Solve This Problem

Minimalism is a wonderful tool for determining your true priorities in life.

But the problem is, decluttering alone will never address the deeper emotional issues in your life. If an object represents a difficult part of your past, discarding that object won’t solve your problems. In fact, it may actually do the opposite.


Minimalism can be a crutch

For many people, getting rid of things is hard. I think this is one reason why Marie Kondo’s concept of “sparking joy” is so important for many people. Having a simple, executable strategy for decluttering is a huge help for nearly everyone. Myself included. But it’s not foolproof.

One thing I really enjoyed about Fumio Sasaki’s book, Goodbye, Things, is that he addresses the mindset behind minimalism. By examining phenomenon like people who throw too much away, he reveals clutter is never our real problem. It’s an unhealthy relationship with things. In fact, at its heart, clutter is a psychological problem. Have you ever heard someone say that a messy desk/room/space reveals a cluttered mind? Well, they’re on to something.

But it’s not just about the clutter.

You can use minimalism to hide an even bigger “mess” than a cluttered home

As I discuss in the video, I have an easy time getting rid of things. If anything, it’s very hard to decide what to keep, since I don’t feel particularly attached to most things. But I have a bad habit of throwing away ANYTHING that makes me uncomfortable.

It’s not that you have to keep things that upset you. I definitely don’t regret having thrown of it away. But I have realized over time that throwing away things doesn’t eliminate feelings.

And often, that’s a great thing. Throwing away good things won’t destroy the feelings or the memories. But the opposite is also true. Difficult memories can’t be erased simply by tossing mementos. Perhaps I’m an oddity, but for a long time I thought I could avoid any difficulties in my life by disposing of things (and people) that made me uncomfortable. But it doesn’t really work. Not long term, anyway. Because even though the physical object might be gone, you still risk somehow being reminded of the memories.

It all sounds very touchy-feely, but unless you “process” – acknowledge and accept what happened – you don’t have much chance of living in peace with those memories.

Because the stuff is never your real problem.


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