Minimalism is a trending style, I believe majorly in the world of design. Little did I consider it as a way of living though. In my mind, that corresponded to an extreme ascetic life. But not long ago, this concept captured my interest.
I moved across lot of geographies over the last few years and as a result, changed several apartments. This meant moving all my stuff around. I moved four times in just last two years. I finally got frustrated with all the packing and heavylifting. I realized something needed to change. All my life until then, I had been fond of collecting things and I had ample storage. So, it was never a problem. However, when I came to the US, space was less and rent was high. I started realizing that my belongings were weighing me down. I reached a point where I needed to think if I had enough space in my apartment before I could think of buying anything new! I don’t think my materialistic possessions grew enough to cause this problem. It was more from the fact that I didn’t discard enough AND I was not used to living in smaller spaces. When I reflected upon this, I found a valuable lesson for life – you can actually live more with less 🙂 Limited space forced me to think if I really needed all that I had. With an objective approach, I could find a lot of stuff – clothes, utensils, food, cosmetics, brochures, electronics and other scrap that I didn’t really need but I had not discarded; anticipating that someday I might use them or because I invested too much time/effort/money in them. When I discarded them (thankfully, there are several provisions to donate old belongings in US), I felt so much lighter and happier.
I had come across casual references around the concept of minimalism on social media but I largely disregarded them. However, minimalism started making more sense to me with the situation that I was in. I wanted to learn more about it, get creative ideas on how I could plan my wardrobe and kitchen better. I found some amazing resources that I’ll share in a bit. What I discovered was that minimalism was beyond the physical possessions; it also applied to our mind and daily habits. Decluttering the way we think and do activities everyday makes life much simpler. There was a time when multitasking was a superior capability, but nowadays it raises questions because it leaves no time to focus on one thing. It is true of many habits that we have adopted in the modern age – being hooked to multiple gadgets, multiple social media accounts, multiple connections, etc. Such habits suck up a lot of our mental energy. Minimizing our choices to the bare essentials creates an opportunity to focus more on few things we truly value. From another perspective, minimalism means getting rid of whatever bogs you down. “Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s important things—which actually aren’t things at all.”
Though there are multiple resources available online that have creative ideas on minimalism, I love the blog and email newsletters by Courtney Carver (https://bemorewithless.com/). The author shares great tips on how to make our life simpler step-by-step. She has also designed mini projects and challenges. Project 333 (https://bemorewithless.com/project-333/) is one such. It is a minimalist fashion challenge to use only 33 items (including clothes, accessories, foorwear, etc.) over 3 months. There was another idea that suggested packing bags for half the number of days that you’re traveling. Another discussed some morning habits for decluttering the mind. Some other popular websites are: https://www.theminimalists.com/, https://www.becomingminimalist.com/
I am personally finding this lifestyle quite satisfying. Of course, it is not easy to switch over and can’t be done overnight, but I am glad I am making gradual changes. I certainly feel lighter than ever before 🙂