A Malady From Which I Will Never Suffer

When the Gospel of Minimalism Collides With Daily Life:

She recalls how, inspired by the virtuously clean-looking homes she saw pictured in Dwell magazine, she thought: “This is it. I am a minimalist. This is how it’s going to be, everything calm from now on.” And within two weeks, she had gotten rid of almost everything she owned and painted the whole place Decorator’s White, a life reboot. She went full-on Dwell, even building a chicken coop, the de rigueur symbol of suburban simplicity, in the backyard. A year after what she calls “the incident,” she wrote her first post on her blog, The Art of Doing Stuff, about the day she realized that she just “hated every inch of her house” — and how she came to view white as “the Botox of paint colors”: She and her home “look younger and fresher for it.”

But fairly quickly, Ms. Bertelsen fell off the wagon, sneaking items here and there — a pair of flea market midcentury lamps, an Empire chandelier — back to her 1,200-square-foot home. Even more, her venture into minimalism made her realize how much she enjoyed viewing the physical manifestations of memories, reliving moments through concrete reminders. “I want to see the drumsticks from the last Ramones show I went to in 1994, or the rock I picked up climbing a mountain in Vancouver,” she said. “I want to see the titles of all the books I’ve read.”

Some people just have to try so many things out before finding what works with them, including self-renouncing behavior.

A woman I knew once said to me, after we met again after not having seen each other for something like a year and a half–apparently, a long time when one is in their early twenties–“You haven’t changed a bit!” “I got it right the first time,” I said.

My beautiful wife has these minimalist urges from time to time, but so far I’ve forestalled divesting ourselves of the personal relics I relish so. Including a VHS for an inflatable fitness ball that our unwatched videocassette and DVD cabinet regurgitated for some reason recently. I thought, “We’re never going to watch that,” so I set it aside to ask her whether I could dispose of it or not. Several days later, I did, and she assented, but then I said, “Maybe we should make the boys watch it,” as they play with the fitness ball as though it were a ball and not a piece of fitness equipment. Enamored with that idea, the videocassette is slowly migrating itself ten feet from the table beside the sofa where I put it down because that was the closest surface when the thought of showing it to the boys occurred to me as I was taking it to the trash.

No, I shall never know the collision of minimalism with anything.

UPDATE: I should note I saw this on Instapundit’s Facebook today. Yes, I am friends with Instapundit, and sometimes he likes my statuses.

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