Minimalism and Environmentalism

Well, it happened. I’ve had my first case of purging regret.

Here’s what went down:

Last week, my work gave me a new laptop. I haven’t owned a laptop in about five years, so when I first began my declutter mission, my old laptop bag was one of the first things to go. This wasn’t a cheap laptop bag, but a nice professional bag, more like a briefcase. Now with my new laptop in hand, I wish I still had my old laptop bag. For the time being, I’ve been using a tote bag, but this is not practical nor safe for the laptop. I will have to breakdown and buy a new laptop bag.

This whole situation got me thinking about minimalism versus environmentalism. Long before I heard about a minimalism, I considered myself an environmentalist. I hate throwing away things that have only been used once and are still in like-new condition. For example, even with my minimalist purge, I still have a large stash of gifts bags and tissue paper. As an environmentalist, I cannot throw out a paper gift bag that has only been used once. There will always be a need for a birthday, baby shower, or Christmas gift bag. I also reuse tissue paper if it isn’t too wrinkly.

It’s not environmentally-friendly to purchase something new every time I need it, throwing out something that’s still usable just because I don’t want clutter, and then purchasing the same item again the next time I need it.

But the minimalist in me doesn’t want any clutter in the house. A stock pile of 20+ gift bags could be considered clutter.

So what will I do moving forward, now that I’ve experienced my first case of purging regret?

I still want a clutter-free house, so I will continue on my mission to have a home that only contains useful objects or items that spark joy. I will continue to clean out closets, donate unworn clothes, and clear off surfaces. And I will just have to accept that every blue moon, there will come a time when I need something that I’ve decluttered and ultimately have to replace.

One thought on “Minimalism and Environmentalism

  1. That’s a great query, one that comes up for me often as well – what’s the fine line between storing things “just encase” and being clutter-free? I’ve accepted the fact that yes, 1 year from now, I COULD use that sunglasses case when I move to California – but while I was in gloomy Portland, never did I touch it. But I’m happy that I didn’t keep it for those years that I didn’t need the item. Maybe hold onto one version of an item (if you have the space) for awhile, and if you experience purge-regret, ease your mind by knowing that it went to a good home? In the meantime, maybe someone will pass down a laptop case that they can no longer use that might be even better than your last one 🙂


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