This is going to be a new series. I realized that even though I have three core aspects to this blog (plant based eating, less waste and minimalism) I had yet to post anything about minimalism. So here is the first blog post, with many more coming.
I know it may seem strange saying that minimalism is addictive, but once you start decluttering your life, it’s really hard to stop. It is a very freeing feeling letting go of the things you don’t really need. At first I thought that this may only apply to myself but as I got into minimalism more I realized that a lot of people experience the same addiction to less stuff. And actually, if you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. Because, freeing up space shifts your focus back on the things you truly enjoy. It soothes the eye. It calms your brain. You are more focused and not that easily distracted. Cleaning takes less time. Your wallet will thank you.
These are just some advantages I have discovered being on this journey. Admittedly, I never hung on to material stuff. I always loved decluttering. But that doesn’t mean that I have never owned a lot of stuff. Because I have. Especially after I moved out of my parents home and started to live alone. I started to accumulate more and more stuff. I still decluttered regularly (it has always helped me to calm down) but I brought even more stuff into my appartment than what I was throwing out. That was neither good for my wallet, nor the environment, nor my mental peace. But that behaviour stayed the first 3,5 years that I lived alone. After a lot of personal turmoil and moving in yet another appartment I slowly started to realize what I was doing. I had so much stuff! And whenever I saw something I HAD TO have it. Immediately. Especially when it was cheap. That was why I had started to build a lot of – let’s say – “collections”. Be it DVDs, CDs, Books or even clothes. Finally, with my interest in living with less stuff growing I slowly started to get rid of those collections. Some were easier to part with than others. Starting with the easier stuff, prepared me for the harder stuff. It showed me what I wanted from my appartment: less clutter, more space. It’s when I am at my maximum focus. And I made myself promise to not impulsively fill the cleaned out space. After a while I enjoyed it so much, that I may or may not have started to annoy the people around me. Okay, I may have especially annoyed my parents. They don’t part with a lot of stuff. But here I was cleaning out my childhood bedroom. I had a lot of boxes going to charity (I tried to give as much as possible to charity, most things were in perfect condition so why not have somebody else enjoy them?). Sadly, I couldn’t bring them to charity myself and when I got back home several weeks later, my father had gone through all boxes and had kept half of the stuff I had decided to give away! I was so mad! But after a while it made me realize something. Just because I do not hang on to materialistic things, doesn’t automatically mean the people that surround me don’t hang on to them either. They didn’t have the same journey, so why should they? After that, I stopped being that drastic. However, that doesn’t mean I do not declutter anymore. I just do it more sensible. In our appartment I have to respect my boyfriends feelings and when I am at home I have to respect my families feelings. So I go through my stuff and take several pieces to charity. Not boxes full of things. And now my mom does ask me whether I could help her clean out her closet, the kitchen or the cloak room. And by strictly sticking to my things in our appartment I have inspired my boyfriend to start decluttering himself. Admittedly, I have a very progressive boyfriend, who had already started to let go of some stuff before he and I started dating but he himself has confessed that for example cleaning out his closet was because of me. Hearing these things makes me so grateful that I did notice in time to not simply steamroller the people I care about! That way you achieve so much more than to just keep your focus on yourself.
Stay tuned for part II next week!