For the past couple of years I’ve been transitioning into a more minimal lifestyle.
I’m no extreme Zen minimalist, but I’m quite happy now that I’ve been on this path for some time. It’s enough for me to look back and feel proud of my progress. By putting material things away I’ve been able to pick up a lot on myself in the same stride. An equivalent exchange it sometimes feels like.
I’ve woken up in some ways, taken the break I needed and overall feel at peace. I quit my job two months ago but now I feel like I can breathe. I have better formed habits. I’m tugging on old, stagnant strings of thought and feeling like I’m seeing them in better light.
The two years saw me donate many clothes and books that I knew I didn’t want or need. I’m at this point where I look hack and go, “I had ALL of that? I still have so much more now!” But that’s kind of a joke because I know I have much less than before. It took some time to get used to, but many of the things I discarded are mostly forgotten, therefore not necessary.
I respect all of those who decide to live a comfortable life and come from hoarding mentalities. It’s hard to walk away from when it’s all you’ve known your whole life. I think this especially affects children of refugees and immigrants the most because they move to a land they believe is richer and bigger than their own. I don’t peg that at all, but when you have a manual for a calculator you don’t have anymore then I’m going to say you’ll need to do some tidying.
Much of my tidying skeleton comes from Marie Kondo if it doesn’t come from my own formed idea of minimalism. I first started on my clothes the way she suggests, and now I fold my tops the way she does instead of hang them. This benefits me in three ways
- Breathing space
- Less hangers
- Clothes donated
Breathing space goes in many different directions so let me start by saying that my parents’ Massachusetts home is probably a century old and so the closets are quite small and tight. My clothes are always stuffy and there’s a strange closet odor that doesn’t help. I also fight with hangers more often than not because they don’t fit that front to back length very well. I didn’t realize it then but I learned that overall I became grumpy about ever opening my closet and associated going out with it. So, I started folding all the t-shirts and tees, the way Kondo suggests, and put them snugged in a basket. The basket itself gets pushed under my bed next to my pants basket and underwear and socks basket so it’s out of the way but easily accessible. I wasn’t sure how quickly the habit would kick in, but I saw the result right away that I took to it like breathing. By doing it I was able to get rid of excess hangers and my dresses and hung clothes could breathe meaning I could breathe because I wasn’t fighting to make space or using all my energy to push or pull at something tangled or stretched. It also made me look at the clothes I haven’t worn all year. It made it clear what I needed to get rid of because if I truly need it again I can buy another some other time.
By doing that it made me think of the present more. It made me think of what’s making me happy now? I know what made me happy and I’m going to beg what make me happy now will most likely make me happy later so I started applying that to other parts of my life. For example, the reading challenge I never completed because I made other things a priority. I’m actually going to finish that!
All in all, I’m still working on it. I did a major overhaul of my bookshelf, but there’s still much more to organize. I have quite a collection of language books and with them notebooks and stationary. I have so many half filled notebooks.
Admittedly, I used to think of my friends who had all these stationary tools and never used them and shudder. I used them as a basis of what I didn’t want to be, but part of me found that tiring, almost sick of myself for being so negative and hierarchal. I’ve since changed my perspective to be positive, to put me at my center in a balanced manner. I will fill up my notebooks. I will recycle them when I’m finished. I will buy new cute notebooks when I’m ready for them. No comparison, no negativity.
I think even this post has been one of my satisfactory ones. I’m actually content writing until the finish, and on my phone too. I think this is where I’ll end it.