Goldilocks came upon the home of the three bears in the woods. We all know the story. She tried their porridge – Papa bear’s was too hot, Mama bear’s was too cool, but Baby bear’s was just right. She sat in their chairs and slept in their beds to the same effect. Papa and Mama were at two opposite ends of her comfort zone but Baby bear’s belongings were just right for her to use.
This post isn’t about a blonde chick rifling through your house, however; it’s about compromise.
Take, for example, cups. As a single minimalist, I had four mugs and four juice glasses and that was plenty. I drank hot things out of the mugs and cold things out of the glasses and life was good. When company was over, I had enough glasses. I wasn’t a one-cup minimalist, though I did usually wash a cup throughout the day to re-use it.
But…I am no longer a single minimalist.
I live with another human now. And a bunch of cups. There’s literally a whole cabinet just full of cups and mugs and drinking vessels of all sorts (the goblets and chalices are kept separately, of course, we’re not savages). As the household minimalist, I feel strongly that there are too many cups. But as someone who wants to be a fair and just companion, I can’t justify packing away each cup I feel to be extraneous. How would I feel if someone filled my cabinet to the brim with cups because they felt I didn’t have enough? (I’d feel like I was being slowly suffocated by jeering, taunting cups, but that may just be a little sprinkle of crazy). I can’t execute a maximum cup decree without input from other affected cup-using parties.
I am confident that a compromise can be reached between my drinking glass minimalism and the cabinet of cup comfort that sustains my co-human.
How many cups is enough? How many is too many?
There are a lot of types of cups, and surely many of them will require a place of honor in the cabinet.
- Mugs for tea, coffee, hot cocoa, etc.
- Travel mugs, for hot beverages on the go
- Drinking glasses
- Plastic tumblers
- Tumblers with lids and straws
I think what affects me most negatively about the cup surplus (slurp-lus?) is that the cups do not have a designated home in the cabinet. It ends up an unruly mess of cups no matter what, because there always seems to be one too many to make an orderly pattern on the shelves. Even if the quantity is more than I think is strictly necessary, everything must have its own place for me to feel at peace with “stuff.”
Minimalism isn’t having the least amount possible, it is having just the right amount, like Goldilocks found in the bears’ home. “Just right” can change, as it has changed for me going from living alone to living with another person. My just right was eight total cups. Our just right is something new. It might be eight cups. It might be sixteen, or twenty. But it will be just right, and it will be our just right.
Sometimes love means you have a lot of cups.