Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Minimalism: A tool that will allow you to pursue what is meaningful in you life

It’s been a long while since I have written any blog posts. The reasons are that I have been rethinking what I want to write on this blog as I learn and grow everyday to become a better, kinder, more compassionate person, hopefully, and also have just been caught up in life, hence did not have much time to write.

In the past few months, I stumbled on a concept called “minimalism” on Youtube while searching for tips to organise my study space and wardrobe. After watching a few videos, I fell deep into the rabbit hole of more and more minimalist inspirations. Minimalism does not really have a fixed definition. It generally means that we reduce our possessions and live with only the essentials for us. Minimalism helps bring clarity into our lives, reduce stress associated with cleaning and tidying up if we have lots of things, and helps us focus on the important aspects of our lives.

I am currently studying psychology in Melbourne. And I have a confession to make: I rarely use my own study table to do my assignments, throughout my two years of university life in Melbourne. Instead I always do my assignments in the library. The reason I won’t or couldn’t use my study table to do my work was because it was always cluttered with other things! Without my conscious awareness, the clutter in my study environment made me feel annoyed, yet I have never really tidy up my table and my shelves. They would always be filled with papers and books I never touch or read again and other knick knacks. After reading The Joy of Less by Francine Jay and watching numerous Youtube videos, I decided to begin decluttering the things I owned and start my journey towards living with minimal things.

While I was back home in Malaysia, I sold about ten of my books to different people. I did not reallyread the books although I had purchased them several years back. Initially, it was difficult for me to let go of my books, but because I did not read those books since buying them, I thought it may be better for someone else to benefit from them. After I have sold those books to people, I felt quite happy, surprisingly. I was happy not because I had gotten some cash for those books, but knowing that these people may very well benefit from reading those books. Among the buyers, some of them are even school teacher /university lecturer wanting those books so that they can place in their institution’s library collection! How amazing is that? Knowing that my books can be read by others at a cheaper rate just makes me smile.

Since I have returned to Melbourne, I have decluttered my kitchen, pantry, book collection and also some stacks of paper and miscellaneous items. Even though the process of taking everything out, seeing them all in one place, then choosing things to keep, donate or throw away can be a long one and feel daunting, once I started the process, I gained some insight into what exactly I had in those piles of clutter. Turnsout, apart from University lecture notes, most of them were brochures, advertisements, flyers, freebies from events, other people’s namecards etc. I had a problem of taking what everyone promoting stuff on the street gave. I never threw anything out apart from weekly food scraps, and that over the years have created 10 bags of random things that I needed to look into.

Becoming minimalist is definitely a tool I want to use to simplify my life. These few weeks of exploring this concept has led me to truly realise that things do not and can never make us happy. Owning more does not mean that we become happier. I have seen people from the USA having 50 pairs of shoes to declutter, I only have 4 pairs, and I think that’s enough for me. Things that are excess are different for everyone. For me, I had minimal shoes and socks, and minimal number of bags, however I have lots of books and papers, and also lots of clothing. These things, unfortunately create the visual clutter around our living space.

I truly think that minimalism is a great tool to help us live more simply and find more time for meaningful pursuits in life. Personally, I would like to connect with friends and family more regularly, and able to take self care breaks exploring a nearby suburb or a local park or library. Of course, there are more to minimalism than what I shared here, and I will in time explore different aspects of minimalist lifestyle.

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