For a few years now I am fascinated by the concept of minimalism. I used to love watching minimalism videos and was amazed at how people can live with so less.
I’ve learnt that as a minimalist you need to
Reduce unnecessary purchase
Remove toxic things from your life
Easier said than done I guess. Although I was able to reduce considerably, decluttering was really a challenge.
For example, I look at my son’s old drawings, from when he was in kindergarten. I’m thinking should I throw it away because I want to be a minimalist? Would I be keeping clutter if I was not throwing away? I kept it with me because those drawings make me happy.
Same with many items around my house. A farewell gift from a colleague, birthday cards from college days and unused scented candles I picked up from my travels. Every one of these items gave me joy. They gave me fond memories of the time gone by. And of course, I ended up keeping all of them.
So does that make me someone who clutters?
Should I forgo sentimental items because I want to be a minimalist?
I reflective much on this and have finally decided to lead a simple happy life with many memories around me rather than fall for a trend to become minimalist. Let me rephrase that - I decided to follow minimalism but not become a minimalist.
Which means I will DECLUTTER - remove the unused but keep the sentimental
For example from my son’s room I gave away a lot of books, stationery items and old toys but I kept his drawings. I downsized my closet and reduced the clothes I purchased. This felt good.
Also, did you know you can declutter your phone? I didn't much of it before but when I deleted all unused apps and turning off all the notifications on my phone, background refresh and auto download, I not just felt good but also brought myself some peace of mind.
In order to REDUCE the purchases/materialism, I created this rule for myself that for every new item I buy, I give away an old item. This includes clothes, accessories and even makeup.
Same thing in my kitchen. I will not buy groceries unless I have a decent list of items. I stopped shopping in large stores like Big Bazaar or D’mart. Instead, I purchased exactly what I need in the local Kirana store.
If I end up somehow at a mall, I started asking myself these three questions -
Do I really need this?
How often will I use this?
Where will I store this?
To remove TOXIC things from life means to check on what is filling you up with negativity. It could be material things or it could be people. I decided to first remove toxic people from my life.. first by physically removing them from your contact list, Facebook friends etc and slowly cutting off the relationship
But there are few who you cannot remove them then I realise that I cannot expect them to change.. so I accepted the way they are and forgave them. It made me feel like I was the bigger person.
Similarly, when I get toxic thoughts I let them go by praying or meditating or I spend time with my son, he is a positive person, my go-to.
“People either inspire you, or they drain you. Pick them wisely.” I’ll say the same works with our thoughts as well. Having clean positive thoughts with a clean positive environment can help get started on creating a minimalist lifestyle" - Hans Hensen
So from my experiments I can only say this. Minimalism is a personal choice. Before you take on this journey ask yourself these questions
Why do you want to opt for minimalism?
What do I want to achieve by this?
I'm positive that the answers to these two questions will help you define what minimalism is for you and get started on your minimalistic journey. Good luck!