I have a recurring fantasy of achieving the perfect state of minimalist lifestyle for me. It's a cross between the empty white room of A. S. Byatt's novel Possession and a Marie Kondo'd perfect Craftsman-style house with Shaker style furniture, or maybe a fabulous apartment in a big city. And, of course, minimal emotional labor. I've had these fantasies since grad school, when I actually did come a lot closer to reaching the minimalist ideal than I do now. In reality, I live in a McMansion and Joe and I have way too much stuff. Sometimes I get a bee in my bonnet and get rid of some of my stuff, or encourage Joe to pare down the duplicates and the stuff we really don't need. He's definitely not a minimalist, but I can't really blame him for my minimalist dreams, since I've been having them for many years before I met him.
The minimalist dream extends beyond my house. I daydream about having a cute capsule wardrobe consisting of cute drapey outfits from JJill and Eileen Fisher and a few perfectly matched workout outfits. There wouldn't be any clothes that seemed great in the store but fit weirdly when I gain or lost 5 lbs or my weight shifted with impending menopause, underwear that falls down, or shoes that end up bugging my knees. Naturally I would also have a perfect palette of makeup with no extraneous products or colors, one or two perfumes that I actually wear, and a skincare routine that works for me so well that I never buy any other products just to try them out. I would use up all my products and replace them when empty. There would never be more than two types of shampoo and conditioner in my shower. Or maybe three....
In my minimalist kitchen, I would cook perfectly healthy meals only when I wanted to, and eat out the rest of the time. Somehow I would know my preferences in advance so I'd always have just the right amount of stuff in the fridge, which would always be nice and clean.
I'm a 50 year old woman who is financially comfortable and likes to shop. In reality I'm a mix of conspicuous consumption and residual frugality. My minimalist dreams are unfortunately very influenced by consumer culture. I'm not fantasizing about moving to a cabin in the woods, eating rice and beans every day, and having a not so carefully curated wardrobe of three pairs of jeans, two bras, ten pairs of underwear and seven shirts yet. Maybe I'll do it when I retire.
Ironically, my residual frugality is keeping me from achieving the perfect minimalist wardrobe. I don't like paying high prices for the 'perfect' clothes, when I know that my tastes and predictive ability varies. I make my best guesses, but there are beautiful higher price items in my closet that I don't wear often because they just don't work the way I hope they will, and random $15 sweaters and pants from Costco or the Columbia outlet that get worn every week for years on end, and vice versa. If I gain or lose 10 lbs, my favorites shift as well. Attempting to pare it down to a capsule wardrobe or even to give away stuff that I haven't worn 1 year would end up being more expensive.
Nonetheless, the minimalist daydream lives on. As I get older and lazier, I buy less stuff, so that may be the one thing that ultimately helps me.