I’ve spent a lot of time looking for anyone critiquing minimalism as part of OCD. I see a lot of analysis of hoarding as a mental illness online and how it’s an extreme form of not decluttering or the opposite of minimalism, but only one mention has ever been made of whether decluttering to extremes (a problem, I admit, it seems very few people and fewer bloggers have) is also a symptom of mental illness.
I love to declutter because it makes me feel like I’m doing something, exerting control over my life and body, and being proactive about my environment—living up to all of simplicity’s promises. Yet, it also seems to be a coping mechanism, something I do to make me feel better about other things, like the anxiety I have from my work. No one looking at my apartment would say that we need to declutter. Most people think we need more decorations or tables. We don’t have a TV, a living room table, or a bookcase. Despite this, I’m always looking for more to declutter, more to get rid of, more to sell, more ways to be a perfectly functioning, fully energetic person.
I drive my partner nuts sometimes. He isn’t anywhere close to being a hoarder, but when I run out of things to declutter, I turn to his stuff. Stuff he’s perfectly happy keeping. I’m in therapy and on medication for my anxiety and OCD, but in our current world, being less materialistic and having less stuff doesn’t seem like a bad thing. However, I feel like at times I am close to pushing it (and my partner too far). That maybe it’s a symptom like counting pills over and over again to make sure I didn’t accidentally overdose or checking the front door is locked a few times before finally being able to sleep. Unlike hoarding, it is a popular and lauded symptom.
I don’t shop a lot to replace the things, I just have fewer and fewer things. Sometimes, I do need to replace things, but I put rules in place for this. Only get rid of the old swimsuit if it honestly doesn’t fit anymore, or the shirt shrunk in the dryer. I work hard to stay on the right side of the line (as I am defining it). I would love to know if anyone else feels like this—they read the minimalism blogs, hope for the promised results, but know that they aren’t the ones who need the blogs. They have already long ago gotten rid of their extra appliances, unread magazines, unread books, expired medications and toiletries, and clothes they haven’t worn in a year.
But we still have the gifted waffle maker. My partner loves waffles. We bring it out twice a year and the rest of the time it sits in a lower cabinet out of sight. So I feel like I’m doing okay.