My newfound knowledge of minimalism has changed my perspective in some subtle and some not-so-subtle ways. Instead of looking at my stuff and asking “What can I get rid of?”, I’m asking myself “What do I have to keep?” It might seem like two ways of asking the same question but it’s not – the answers are worlds apart. This has been proven to me a few times in the past few weeks. Some random “minimalist moments”:
We’re pretty casual dressers around here, and I only ever iron a couple of my shirts and a skirt or two. My iron has been acting up lately. I called around to see if anyone would repair it – nope. “Buy a new one” is the only advice I got. So then I hit Google to see if I could fix it myself, thinking maybe it was just a loose connection somewhere. I took it apart and it appears that the wires encased in insulation are broken; fixing them is beyond my pay grade. So the iron is toast (no pun intended), and a potential electrocution hazard, as a friend pointed out. The same friend asked me, “Do you really need an iron?” Hmmm… good question. But doesn’t every (properly run :)) household have an iron? What to do with my wrinkled tops and skirts? The same friend who worried that I would electrocute myself mentioned that she doesn’t iron, ever. She puts wrinkle-prone items in the dryer for a minute or two to get wrinkles out; she hangs items carefully to dry to avoid wrinkles altogether; and she avoids buying fabrics she knows will wrinkle in the first place. Good tips! A few weeks ago I would have ditched the malfunctioning iron and bought a new one without even thinking about it. Now I’ve tossed it AND the ironing board to boot.
One of the benefits of minimalism is that having less stuff means having less to clean, and I am all over that. This weekend I pulled out a mirror that has been in the basement since our move and leaned it on Hubby’s tall dresser, purely for looks: it’s hung too high to be of any use, and we have mirrored closet doors in our bedroom anyhow. Later on when I was dusting I realized that if I left it there, it would be serving no purpose except to collect dust. One more item to clean. So I put it up for sale on Kijiji. Sure, the wall above the dresser might look a little bare. But who’s going to notice? I haven’t had anything there in the five months since we moved, and it hasn’t bothered me. I only considered putting the mirror there because I had to put it somewhere, right? Not anymore…
About a week ago I ran out of mouthwash. Hubby likes strong mouthwash and I prefer a gentler version, so we’ve always had two large bottles in our medicine cabinet. Normally when I run out, I put it on the list of things to buy and mindlessly pick up another bottle when I’m at the drugstore. Not this time. Now my mininalist brain asked, “Do I really need mouthwash?” Not to worry, I am concerned about dental hygiene and I wouldn’t stop brushing my teeth or flossing. But mouthwash… is it just another marketing gimmick? Does it actually do anything besides make me feel like I have better breath? I decided to research the topic. Now mind you I’m not a dentist, but I found that some dentists think mouthwash might improve your breath for a few hours; most seem to think that any mouthwash that has alcohol has a drying effect which might actually lead to worse breath. (I checked – both brands that Hubby and I use contain alcohol.) So even if mouthwash does improve breath in the short term, the effect only lasts a few hours. I’m sure the apple I eat after my morning coffee does more for my breath than the moutwash I gargled with at 6 am. Although mouthwash might improve breath in the short term, it’s certainly not a must for me. I haven’t replaced my bottle, and so far Hubby hasn’t commented on my breath. 🙂