The Three Questions & Decluttering as Buffering

Hi Brooke!

I was excited about the topic of October, but is that a bad thing? After all, if growth comes from discomfort, shouldn’t I be running towards the things I dread?

I have done the Konmari method before to great success and used to listen to The Minimalist’s Podcast – stopped listening as this perspective is now on autopilot for the most part. Life. Changed. Compared to “most people” I now seem to be able to let go of things easily and I only shop for things with a clear idea of what I need and what level of quality I want. However, sometimes I think my desire for minimal possessions goes too far and I use decluttering/ cleaning as a way to procrastinate/buffer. This is most easily seen in my urge to declutter when I go to my parents house that I almost always act upon – even if I wanted to get work done while there. At home, this problem is less because my house is pretty minimal. (Here I just procrastinate in other ways. Yay.)

Will I be decluttering when I do not need to? My thought is, I shouldn’t keep refining, I should reach acceptance that things are good enough and move on. This doesn’t seem the mindset I want regarding my thoughts (I want to keep growing), but feels like something I should strive for regarding my house. “How can I work on other areas of my life if I keep refining my possessions?” is a thought I have. Another thought is “I should keep getting better in all areas – including refining how minimal my house is – to reflect the growing organization of my current mind.”

An example of where I am indulging in confusion: Recently, I decided to inventory all of my makeup to try to start using them more, even if they’re not my “holy grail” products. I am not allowed to buy another item in a category (mascara, foundation, etc.) until I use up everything in that category. Often the minimalist mindset is to have a few things you love that are the “best” – but what do you do when pursuit of the “best” results in you wasting time researching and wasting money when decluttering things that are second-best but still get the job done well.
The 3 questions when considering a red lipstick:
1. Is it serving me? Sure, I use this and enjoy it.
2. Do I really want it? Not as much as my favorite red lipstick and I wouldn’t repurchase it, but I still feel great when wearing it and it helps me see how long it takes for me to get through a lipstick. With this new knowledge, my desire to purchase more makeup is now less.
Also, I am really excited about the thought of finishing this lipstick up and getting good use out of it.
3. Is it current or outdated? I still love it and feel good with it on, but maybe wouldn’t repurchase it.

It seems I should keep the lipstick, but am I simply doing mental gymnastics to convince myself I should keep things that aren’t really serving me/ are outdated? Does it even matter as long as I like my reason for keeping a thing? I have already decluttered a lot in my 21 years, so is doing more at this point crossing from organizing to perfectionism/overthinking/time-wasting?

Also, I know I “have” to keep nothing in my house, but maybe what I need to be working on is being okay with having some “extra” stuff around and not thinking thoughts that lead to these stray “things” causing anxiety? The thought of just leaving things be and not cleaning up is uncomfortable, so maybe this is what I should be trying to do? Decluttering almost seems a form of unconsciousness/escape in the moment, but it does truly lead to positive results in my life. Confused because I thought we were supposed to focus on changing our thoughts rather than circumstances (“extra” things).

Models with these thoughts all seem neither good nor bad, just different.

I’ll stop here and ignore my thought that this is too long to submit. Help!