Becoming a Minimalist 3 Struggles That Lead Me to Minimalism

Ana Goldberg
by Ana Goldberg

Becoming a minimalist helped me find myself again. Minimalism, however, is not a universal cure or a solution to all of our problems. It’s not magic, it’s just a great tool for thoughtful prioritizing for getting things together outside and inside of ourselves.

I will share with you how and why I became a minimalist. My story is not about finding enlightenment. It’s about struggles that led me to becoming a minimalist.

I will talk about three of my struggles that taught me to feel contentment and fulfillment with less stuff.

1. Breakups and the end of an old life

When I was 25, I was in the process of getting a divorce. The breakup was catastrophic for me. I just remember the way I threw away or sold everything that was related to my old life. I felt the urge to clear the space and free myself. It felt amazing.

I repeated the process in my early 30s after another challenging breakup. Back then minimalism or decluttering weren’t a thing. I just followed my gut and did what felt right to do. Sometimes after traumatic events, a reset is needed.

There are situations when an old life can be transformed into new experiences, reworked, repurposed, but other times the old life needs to be shed, like a snake sheds its skin.


2. Overcoming ancestral scarcity mindset

I grew up in a very low-income family in late and post-Soviet reality. This fact shaped my shopping behavior a lot.

I began to realize I felt anxious wearing my "good” clothes because I feared I’d wear out the clothes and I wouldn’t be able to replace them.

I would often buy doubles of items and I ended up not wearing them when I realized I suddenly disliked the shape or color.

I’d buy more than I needed, whether it was food or self-care because I was afraid I wouldn’t have the chance to buy all of it again.

As a result, I wasted a lot of money. I cluttered my space. And I became anxious about not using the stuff I already had. I analyzed the situation and traced its roots back to my childhood when my parents would buy tons of something once it was available.

My mom would store dozens of soap bars and other things and after my parents passed away, I found an old suitcase filled with unused baby linens. My mom must have found baby linens in a store and bought a ton of them.

This mindset made me overbuy but under-consume at the same time, which is a crazy paradox of behavior. I decided to learn to buy only what I need at the moment. I did this by learning to make shopping lists and wish lists and I’m now not buying out of fear.

Full closet

3. Dealing with heightened sensitivity

I felt suffocated when I was surrounded by things and I thought something was wrong with me. But still, I used to buy clothes with disregard to my sensitivity issues.

I’d just buy something made from uncomfortable fabrics if my partner said it looked nice on me or it was trendy. So I had more and more things in my closet that I didn’t use or like and I didn’t even know why I disliked them.

When I learned about HSP (highly sensitive people), I finally realized why I didn’t like or wear those things.

I began to slowly change this. I changed my wardrobe and living space. Now I have a small wardrobe, looser, and softer items.

I do not live with a lot of excess things in my living space an dI love handmade decor that I surround myself with.

Becoming a minimalist

Exploring minimalism and high sensitivity helped me get my authentic senses back and own them instead of being overwhelmed by them.

I had more struggles that triggered my minimalist journey. Please remember this was my story and all of our stories are beautifully different.

I hope you found some food for thought or inspiration in my story.

Feel free to share in the comments your thoughts and stories, what’s your approach to prioritizing what truly matters, and how you arrived at where you are at the moment, whether you are becoming minimalist or thinking about it.

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