Do you find yourself in a rut? Do you find yourself caught up in unnecessary drama? Are you feeling unhappy? Confused? Feeling that there is more to life but you’re unsure of how to even start having a more meaningful life?
If you have read some of my previous articles, you may have already heard me refer to the concept of minimalism a number of times. I started to embark on my journey towards minimalism a couple months ago. It started when I got married. After receiving our wedding gifts, we noticed that we just did not have enough room to keep all our plates, silverware, etc. Luckily, my husband is a practical person and is okay with the idea of donating items. He always reminds me that it is nice to share our belongings since we’ve already experienced the joy from owning these items. As you can imagine, I went through a lot of the items in the kitchen and donated them to our nearest St. Vincent de Paul. Soon after, I started to clean my dresser. It was causing me stress to walk past my messy dresser and I wanted to change that. You can read about my experience here. This eventually led me to hearing more about minimalism and reading up on how others implement this lifestyle in their everyday life. I am not an expert in minimalism but I am constantly trying to simplify things on a daily basis. What I write is based off my own experiences. If you are curious about minimalism and may even consider implementing this idea into your life, this is a blurb on why I feel that you should give minimalism a chance.
What is minimalism?
Minimalism is the concept of lessening your material belongings/mental clutter/etc. and making room for more experiences. This can apply to many things such as having a capsule wardrobe, cleaning up some mental clutter for improved mental health, cleaner eating… the idea of minimizing can be shown in any way, shape, or form.
Does this mean that I need to get rid of everything?
No, but it could be worthwhile to reduce your belongings by maybe asking yourself if you need 10 pairs of jackets or 20 pairs of sandals, especially if you find that there are benefits of reducing your belongings (i.e. more space for creativity, donating your items for people in need, etc.). One tip that I have is looking at your belongings and asking yourself how frequently you use/wear a particular item. If you find that you only wear it twice a year or maybe you’re guilty of having it sit in your closet for 2-3 years, be gentle with yourself and acknowledge that it is okay to let go of these items.
Letting go of an item is really hard for me. I feel like there is an emotional attachment.
I understand. It is hard to let go of an item that you knew cost a lot of money. It is also hard when you feel an emotional attachment (i.e. feeling bad because someone gave this item as a gift, feeling hopeful that you will fit into a pair of jeans someday). In the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, she asks her readers to pick up an item and ask themselves if this item brings you joy. If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, toss it. When I first read her book, I tossed many things but there was one item in particular (a journal that I had kept from when I moved to Seattle from the Philippines) that was initially placed in my “toss” pile. I looked at the journal and immediately felt guilty because it felt like I was disregarding my experience and journey of moving here. I removed the journal from the toss pile and placed it back on the shelf. Until this day, it has never left. But aside from finding that one or two items that are hard to giveaway, most of the items are pretty doable. I usually switch my thoughts by recognizing that it is nice to share these items and maybe someone out there may find more joy in this item than I do.
Where and how do I begin this process?
My suggestion is to start small. Start with a small project. Maybe it can be as small as emptying a medicine cabinet and discarding expired medications. Or it could be as small as discarding expired make-up. Start small and work your way up. It doesn’t have to be in the form of items either. It could be lessening the amount of projects that you have and learning how to say “no”. The beauty is that you can begin anywhere and minimalism can be applied whenever and wherever.
What are the benefits of minimalism?
Based off my experience, I’ve noticed the following:
– I’m happier and I really can’t explain why…
– My impulse shopping has significantly decreased.
– I am not as stressed because most things are simplified around my home.
– My home actually feels relaxing and inviting.
– I have less things to worry about because I’m content with what I have.
– My mentality has changed and I recognize that you don’t need a bunch of things in order to survive. Keep it simple.
The key is to be patient and to start small. Maybe it could be with discarding or donating one item. Maybe it could be discarding pens that are laying around your house that no longer work. It shouldn’t be an overwhelming process but rather a liberating process.
If you are considering trying this idea, I would love to hear your thoughts and your experiences. I hope you will find this experience fulfilling to your life. Cheers to simplicity!