Throughout my life, the concept of minimalism would grasp my interest and I would, for lack of a better word, fantasize about what it would be like to live like an extreme minimalist. For example, when I was around 11, I read a book about Saint Therese and how she lived in a cloister. The idea of living in a very spare room, with only one pair of shoes and one nun's habit/uniform (but maybe two sets of undies), without noise, TV, or even music seemed ideal. Maybe it's because I lived in a very small house with four brothers, one sister, two parents and a dog; I can't be sure. There was very little peace in my house and nowhere to escape.
I was also fascinated when I read books that took place a hundred or more years ago because people just didn't have that much. I loved stories where the main character lived in a small apartment or a room in a boarding house and had few posessions.
I love period TV shows and am a big fan of Downton Abbey, and well, anything British that takes place before the 1970s. I am fascinated by the European way of life both decades ago and even now, but mostly in times past. As an aside: I have noticed that in Downton Abbey, the Crawley women repeat dresses/outfits, so props to the producers for keeping it real.
But I love that the servants live simply. They have the necessities and somehow make it work. Maybe it's not realistic, and maybe I am glamourizing it, but it appeals. Realistically, I could never live like a cloistered nun or a Downton Abbey servant -- at least not in the forseeable future -- but I can try to get as close to that as is comfortable for me and my family. I don't need a giant house in which to live; a three or even two-bedroom cottage would do nicely. In the meantime, I'll just keep going along, clearing the clutter one room at a time.