A few days ago I came across this Freshly Pressed post on Karim Osman’s blog. It’s about our materialist, consumerist culture and our ‘need’ to have lots of possessions. Karim writes: ‘Inner happiness is within us, not caused by the things we have.’ I bookmarked the post straight away, mainly because I was impressed at how he’d reduced his shoe collection from 50 pairs to 6, but also as a reminder to have a bit of a clear-out in my flat.
I’d been feeling a bit down recently – I’m quite a neat freak and since we moved flat I’ve been trying to organise everything I own and actually put it all somewhere. Now let’s get one thing straight: I have a lot of stuff. I didn’t really realise this until the Boyf and I moved out of our bedsit and into this flat. Yes, the bedsit was already crammed full of my things, but I also had a considerable amount of stuff in my auntie’s garage.
Lots of stuff in the new flat. Mostly mine, incidentally.
Well now it’s all here and I just don’t know what to do with it. The Boyf thought something was wrong with me one evening when I was just standing in the front room staring into space, looking, I can imagine, dazed and gormless. I wanted to go through boxes that I hadn’t yet unpacked, but I didn’t know where to start or where to put anything. I was fed up.
So Karim’s post was a bit of a reminder of what was already going through my head. But when I clicked the link at the bottom of his post, things changed. The link was to this blog post, describing a book called ‘The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life.’
The blurb reads: ‘Do you ever feel overwhelmed, instead of overjoyed, by all your possessions? Do you secretly wish a gale force wind would blow the clutter from your home? If so, it’s time to simplify your life!’ I felt like the book had been written for me – that was exactly how I was feeling.
The book that's likely to change my life.
The book is written by the author of the blog it was on, a blog called ‘Miss Minimalist’. I soon read a majority of the blog, learning about what minimalism is, what the philosophy is behind it, and how to become a minimalist.
Minimalism isn’t just about having less stuff. It’s about not holding an attachment to possessions or buying into what the media makes us think we ‘need’. Instead, it’s placing value on more important things in life – people, memories and experiences. I think this post from Miss Minimalist, which talks about a Zen Buddhism concept called ‘mujo’ describes the philosophy behind it really well.
In my second year of uni, the house I was living in with three other girls got burgled during the Easter holidays. It was a massive shock and one of the scariest experiences of my life, as I was the one who – on my own – had found it in its burgled state. But after getting over the initial shock, I realised that I couldn’t really put a finger on everything they’d stolen. In fact, me and my housemates were still realising things had been stolen even months after it had happened. It just goes to show how little we miss or even notice our possessions when they’re gone.
So I’ve decided to start my journey to becoming a minimalist. Or kind of a minimalist. I’m not 100% sure about some things – I like having art and photos on my walls and don’t know how I feel about getting rid of them, for example. But I know that as I clear away more stuff that I don’t actually need, I’ll start to re-evaluate what’s left, so we’ll see how it goes.
I know this is going to be difficult as I do like to hoard things, and I associate objects with memories and people, making them so hard to throw away. It’s also my birthday soon, which may be a bit of a problem. I like being spoilt and having a special day, even though I’m not really a fan of attention. But now I face the issue of receiving gifts while only trying to keep things that I really need and not getting attached to objects. How do I do it? I know that people enjoy giving gifts and I don’t want to seem ungrateful. I guess some delicate conversations with my nearest and dearest may be in order.
Despite my slight apprehension and nerves about what is to come, I now feel happier and freer than I have in a long time. Knowing that I’ll soon be getting rid of the burden of my possessions feels like such a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I’m so excited for the future.
Like I said, I know it’ll be tough, but it’ll be so worth it.
On another note, it’s one year since I started blogging for real – how crazy is that?! It all started with my one-a-day challenge, so check it out if you want to see what I was writing this time last year.