I have always envied minimalists. They are disciplined people who can do without or make do with very little, and in the process have space, avoid clutter, and save money. I go through minimalist stages, at times quite successfully, but inevitably I slip, and end up cluttering again. Somehow I ended up in a cluttered stage this time too, although I was quite certain that I had plastered the less-is-more mindset over my frontal cortex in the past couple of years.
My family of origin is the same way: we try and try to declutter, but end up buying more stuff or amassing more stuff somehow (if we don't buy, we are given gifts, or find stuff or somehow attract stuff like magnets), and the previously empty surfaces, spacious drawers and closets, and breathing room that we had is gone, filled once again to the point where I begin to get uncomfortable. I laugh at my dad when he says that his dream house is a small apartment in a chic building, with a minimalist decor where a beautiful long legged architect woman arranges two forks and two plates on a black granite countertop in the kitchen and that is all you can see around. I love his vision. It's so not him, but you can see how we all have a penchant towards what we are not, trying to balance ourselves somehow so that we continuously refine our tastes.
For me, I know that I get uncomfortable when I can no longer open a drawer and see everything at once with one glance. That typically requires objects to be arranged in a single layer, nothing over anything else. That goes for socks, underwear, bras, and definitely makeup. If I have too much stuff, I need to "pile it" over preexisting stuff, and that is not good for my mental sanity. With the recent pregnancy and having gone from 153lb before pregnancy to 220 lb at the height of the 39th week to 165 lb now, I went through a lot of sizes, each requiring clothing space in the closet. In addition, Emma goes through clothes like the wind, changing sizes every second week almost, and hence we have boxes and boxes of stuff to store. I hate that. My dream closet would have two pairs of Lululemon pants, two running/exercise bras, two fitted exercise T-shirts, four bras with eight matching pants (some thong, some boy short style), three layering tops with lacy patterns, a lovely skirt suit (Chanel would be just fine :), a leather skirt with some ruffles or detail, an A-line skirt, two pairs of dark denim jeans, one slim fit and one straight cut, two light coloured cashmere sweaters from Brunello Cucinelli or Loro Piana, one long elegant cardigan for layering, one black or brown turtleneck sweater, and one pair of trousers in brown or purple with a nice pattern to the fabric. Then for shoes, two ankle boots in funky colours that match the trousers, three long boots (white, black and brown), two pairs of elegant shoes with kitten heel or a mid heel (black and brown), one pair of elegant sandals, one pair of runners, and one pair of flip flops. And two fabulous bathing suits, one for the pool and one two-piece for the beach. As for coats, I think an elegant one (like fur, hm), a leather jacket, a camel coloured wool and cashmere blend, and a trench coat.
I have quite a bit more than that, and each time I try to streamline to exactly what I have described above, I get so bored after about one month that I go stir crazy and start buying or acquiring again. I need A LOT of discipline to stay within the confines of a narrow wardrobe, but I am starting to realize that it is the same principle as dieting: it is for a lifetime, so one has to allow splurges within limits, and one has to have a bit of fun and flexibility, but at the same time not forgetting the original goal. I did stray quite far, but will get back to the principles, and work on it again and again, until I create my own comfortable definition of minimalism. Then, eventually, hopefully I will learn to discipline myself enough to stray less and less each time.