Today is 16 February 2018. And it has been more than a month since I decided that;
"Screw shopping. Screw stuff. Screw having so little money. I'm going full on minimalism starting 2018."
It was an idea that struck accord to me after reading so many articles detailing about the new 'minimalism' movement, how people having so little or next to nothing in their life. Living to the bare minimum puzzles me at first, though I didn't really chastises anyone who choose to do it. That's one thing I always try to remind myself - never judge people before getting to know them. So, I did a little more digging, watch more videos, read a couple more articles and books just to be sure that before making any comment - at least I am knowledgeable of the subject. As a result, I found out a couple of things. I realize that aside from having so little in their possession with theme color most constantly being white; most of minimalist also seems have one thing in common...
Most of them seems to be happier than they were before.
I was skeptical at first. Yeah, you get rid of stuff and you're happy about it? Throwing, giving, reselling... a hundreds dollar of money spent, now all gone. Where's the logic in that? If it was me, I would be angry of the lack of profit return. But, that doesn't seems to be the case with these minimalist. For some reason, they're pretty content and more than willing to let go of their stuff even if it pays next to nothing. That part phases me somehow so I did a little experiment to test out if I can do the same thing and not feel mad or cheated about it. So what did I do? I start off really small, of course.
I get rid all of my anime and movie posters. Yes, I did.
|Left pic: Before; Right pic: After|
Look at my smug face. At the time, I had just finished decorating
my wall and was so proud about it. But, fast forward four months later...
So, I clean up my wall and left nothing there. Now, what? Can I be happy TOO (just like those minimalist)? Please tell me how can I become happy like them. I look at my now almost barren wall and felt nothing. Is this already a failure, I thought to myself. Perhaps minimalism wasn't for me. I was ready to let this thing go but then I decide to give it a few days. Which is exactly what I needed.
I'm sure a lot of minimalist can tell you about the same thing - but it does take some adjusting when you just start to de-cluttering.
After waiting for a couple of days more, I look at the wall again and began to see its true worth. Sure, anime and movie posters might look nice at first; but a barren wall have more calming effects to me. I think it have something to do with instead of looking at the wall and thinking about the anime on the poster; debating whether I should re-watch it again or not - I can imagine whatever it's I wanted in this barren wall. I don't know quite how to explain it, but it was a good feeling to have and I began to look minimalism in a different light.
The thing with me and trend is that we never seem to arrive at the same time. I would either be too late to the party or... yeah, too late to the party. The minimalism trend had started a couple of years back and I'm just finding it out now. But, when I look at minimalism I didn't see it as a trend. It's more than that. Minimalism is actually a lifestyle that we committed ourselves into. For me, minimalism is something that come at the right moment and help me deal with some issues in life. Over the years of living in my house, I had grown too comfortable to accumulate so much stuff to the point that I'm beginning to feel suffocated by it. Can you imagine that? I feel invisibly choked at the sight of my own belongings! I began to long at minimalist home, seeing how cosy and simple it was and thought to myself - yes, I want that too.
But, wait... Isn't becoming a minimalist means that I need to get rid of stuff? But, I still need a lot of those things I have. Some I just brought last month. Does it means I have to get rid of that too? Again, I was feeling defeated before even fully started with anything.
Well, this is where these two books comes in handy...
|A tidying guide by Marie Kondo (KonMari).|
Truly a masterpiece for anyone who want to
get rid of their stuff but didn't know where to start.
(pic credit: Google images)
Only keep things that sparks joy in your life - that is one of the main teaching that KonMari preach inside of this book. Sounds legit. This books exactly what I needed to validate the need for me to hold on to some of my stuff (when I said 'some', I mean it loosely as 'more'). So, without so much of a feeling - I hold on to things such as my extra lipstick, eyeliner, and books tightly. There's no way I can get rid of these when I can still use it. But, later I realize that I'm just being stupid. Truth is, even though I could lie inside of my head and maybe coax my heart a little - I still can't fooled my own eyes. My eyes recognize a mess when it sees one and slowly, it starts to make sense into my head and undo the lies inside of my heart. Unable to turn a blind eye anymore, I start to choose things that sparks joy to me and began discarding my belongings...
Here's a list of things I decides to get rid of on my first couple of weeks of Jan 2018;
1.) Around 30 books I had finished reading (most of them are around 10-12 years old and still in a good condition. I donated all of it to the Public State library).
2.) My Anime & Movie posters. (I put them inside my graduation scroll. It's so thick and heavy. In case of life-threatening event, I plan to beat robbers with it.)
3.) Ugly physical photo of me when I was a teenager. (I tear it to pieces and burn it right then and there. I don't need this kind of reminder for the rest of my life)
4.) Expired make up products and toiletries (Instant trash can)
5.) Old clothes and bags (Donation box for course)
6.) Old TV, broken DVD player, some other stuff that is recyclable (I brought it to the recycling centre to be sold and receive some money in return).
7.) Useless apps that take a lot of space inside of my phone (Delete them without hesitation)
8.) Old letters and envelopes (tear it to pieces and then burn them).
9.) Chipped cups and mugs (can be dangerous, so yeah - trash can.)
10.) Knick knacks for art project (also, trash can).
The list might seem short but the work that goes behind it was endless. Everyday I woke up with the same thought; "What should I get rid of today? I don't want it to be anything radical. It must be something I haven't touch or care for in a while..." Once I have decided on what to discard, I began to put my plan into work. Planing and structuring can be fun if you know what your goals are. And so, it goes. My morning starts to unfold.
When I was growing up, my family didn't have much. For a few early years of my life, we didn't even live in our own house. I still remember those days, scraping for bits and pieces of clay so I have something to play with and rejoice the moment I have playing with my cousins. But, I like reading so my dad would brought me a couple of comics and storybook. I would reread them again and again, but never feel tired of them. Fast forward twenty years later, we now lived in our own home and I have about 80 books in my possession; most I only read once (no matter how much I like them) and never bother to give them a second look after I finished. That's how much time had changed. I feel bad as I was writing this because I know that my books deserves better. Thus, I'm planning to reread all of those books again and once I'm finished - I'll be donating it to the library and let someone else benefited from it.
To say that I had truly embrace a minimalist lifestyle - I wouldn't dare to call it that just yet. A lot of adjustment needs to takes place. One thing for sure - when I decide to let go things; I'll either make sure that I really, really don't need it (thrash can) or it's going of to a better place (donation box, library, etc.). I never throw away things if I wasn't sure. To me, de-cluttering must not only look easy on the eyes, but also soothes my mind and heart.
There's another book that I read yesterday that also resonates well with me. It's a book written by a man name Fumio Sasaki, titled; Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism. I pick up the book, knowing it had something to do with minimalism but with a slight concern that it wouldn't be good as KonMari method. However, the advice I had received through this book was awesome and better than I expected. Mr. Sasaki is clearly a well-read man, as evident through his references of other authors (KonMari herself included), social and minimalism in Japan, his observation and opinion on what can be define as minimalism, and his very own advice of 55 things you can get rid of today and I couldn't be more grateful and found myself agreeing to everything he said inside the book.
Honestly, if KonMari book had taught me to choose things that only sparks joy, Mr. Sasaki's shows me that there's another world out there once you start to embarks into minimalism lifestyle. I could go on and on of how much I love Mr. Sasaki book more than KonMari, but at the end of the day - it wouldn't matter coz I already obtain a very useful lessons from both. I also found both authors books compliments each other very well. I love how they talks enthusiastically about downsizing and selecting their stuff, how it had changed their life, and found happiness and joy within a clear space and their tidy houses. Their enthusiasm somehow inspires me my own minimalism journey and I look forward the day I stopped missing my belongings and focusing on my own personal growth instead.
|This is how the book looks like.|
The content is great and I rated it 5 stars.
I do enjoy the simplistic cover art.
(pic credit: Google images)
Even though I had read all of these books and pro-actively dealing with my stuff, I know there's a lot more to learn. My real focus right now is to use whatever STUFF that I still had left behind, and reconsider if I ever going to repurchase them again in the future. Such decision doesn't takes just a couple of hours. It's a decision that will change my life today, and hopefully stayed for a lifetime.
Thank you for joining me today and take a peak inside my minimalism journey. I'm looking forward to make more progress in the future. See you soon.