I’ve been a minimalist all my life, it seems. It just took me 28 years to finally start acting like one.
When I was little, my father used to say that every object has a purpose and you shouldn’t use it for anything else. In fact, that you should opt for having ALL the objects, especially if possibly, some day, in one of all the alternative universes, you might need that object. It was the philosophy of his generation, I guess: the philosophy of scarcity. He had grown up in a hard, uncertain world, where nothing was a given and every day surprised you. Understandably, he felt the need to be prepared for every possible turn of events. At first, I liked having so many different things to play with. Later, I started blaming him for being such a hoarder. Ultimately I gave up, moved out and swore never to become like him. Don’t we all?
You can say minimalism found me. When I first encountered the concept some years ago, it felt like home. They say that the philosophy of one generation is the common sense of the next. Minimalism felt like common sense to me from the very start. It was such an intuitive way to view the world and one’s possessions. And yet… I was still not ready to give up my stuff.
You see, I had just become a grown-up. I wanted to have a home of my own, to be the master of my life, to feel in control. Stuff gives you that power. Owning stuff distracts you from your lack of purpose in life, or from obsessing over your non-existent social life. It comforts you at the end of a long workday. It keeps you company and doesn’t expect anything from you.
Until you find yourself on Sunday morning, dreading getting out of bed, because you have to clean all your stuff that’s been covered in dust for a month now. And you just. can’t. bring yourself to care. It’s just all over the place! You cannot just hoover and get done with it. You first have to put all the things away at their places…. But half of them don’t even have a place. So you just shove them in a drawer or a box and forget they ever existed. Or, if you are like me, you are stubborn and you try to find them homes, only to end up exhausted and lacking any motivation to actually clean up afterwards. This whole scenario played out one too many times this year.
And then my casual lover left me for someone who he wanted to be exclusive with. I was jealous at first… but that is a topic for a whole another blog post. Suffice it to say, I no longer had a place to go have fun at night. So I was left to my own devices. And I remembered how much I liked organizing things as a child. The time was ripe for a serious transformation.
After a week of YouTubing anything and everything minimalism (turns out veganism is very minimalist!) I found Marie Kondo’s book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I listened to it one day and it felt familiar – I had already been introduced to most concepts. I disliked some of her ideas, due to practical reasons more than anything else – I am very good at folding, but I won’t have drawers and I don’t plan on buying new furniture, just so I can organize my stuff. However, I did like the sequence she suggests and tried to follow it as much as possible. Clothes, Books, Papers, Komono (miscellaneous), Sentimental items. It took me 4 days and by the end of it my neck was killing me, there wasn’t an unused garbage back in the house and YouTube felt like my new best friend.
Seeing the result… I couldn’t help but laugh. My room has never been so uncluttered, so fancy and so me. I like having everything in boxes, neatly tucked away. For the first time I can afford having my candles out in the open, because now they are the only thing there. And most importantly: I can imagine myself hoovering the hell out of this place!
This is just the beginning for me. I plan on reducing my possessions even more and de-cluttering my digital space as well. First, however, I need to learn to live the simple life and get used to not buying stuff. I have 2 garbage bags of things to sell, another 10 to give away and a whole lot of books to donate. Just the thought makes me happy, though. Minimalism is one of the most rewarding paths I have ever treaded upon, and I don’t think I will abandon it soon.
Tell me, what was your experience of minimalism like? How did it begin? Where has it lead you? I really want to know!