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How I Became a Minimalist

Living with less intrigued me

I must say I’m not much of a materialistic person. Yet, it doesn’t totally mean that I’m not into any kind of fancy little things. Nice things make me look nice. A new pair of Converse would make me happy all day long, and of course, I’d feel more confident when I wear a lovely dress (and I know I’m not the only one). I love wandering around souvenir shops and what I want to do at those times is bring all of those tiny little cute things home. You’d never know, they are so adorable I can’t take my eyes off of.

Anyway, clothing is a different story, though. I hate shopping for clothing. It sounds ridiculous but it’s true. I usually wear my sister’s clothes or even my mom’s. Occasionally, they give me these weird confused eyes as if I were an alien coming from some star very, very far away. How come a person can wear someone else’ clothes and feel nothing at all? They may question.

Okay, you may think I’m such a lazy person who is too lazy to go shopping. Yeah… Partly true but another thing is that I don’t like (and am never willing) to spend my money on such clothing. Other than that, I share my wardrobe with my sister, which means there is of course not much room for another pile of clothes. Isn’t that better if I wear my sister’s clothes? (Sometimes I wonder).

So when I first heard of the minimalism thing, I was very intrigued because the term did sound cool. I knew from the first place that I could follow this lifestyle, and then, people would stop asking me why I’m like that. Because I have had a very good answer – “I’m a minimalist, you know”…etc

But you know what is cool about this lifestyle? I’ll produce way less trash into the environment. More importantly, though, I’m a nomad (not now but I’d like to call myself that). I always dream of wanderlust and such. Living minimalist will be a good idea because I will have to learn how to downsize my stuff and traveling light is such a fantasy!

One of my favorite quotes: Buy experiences, not things. And that’s how I started to become a minimalist.

How I became a minimalist
Buy experiences, not things

My story of decluttering books and sentimental items

The first thing that comes to your mind when you hear of the minimalist lifestyle is that you can do it. The next thing that comes to your mind when you hear of the minimalist lifestyle is that it’s damn a challenge! I’m a book lover (not a bookworm by the way). I love books (rather than reading books). If you come to my house, you’ll see a book self with quite a lot of books, many of which have been left untouched for years. This means so far they haven’t served any purposes other than to make the house look nice. Even my favorite books take up so much room (we live in a fairly tiny house) and they are indeed very expensive. On my first days practicing this lifestyle, dealing with those books was like a nightmare, which was why I decided to leave them behind and focus on other stuff.

(Until recently, I have just found out a great way to deal with them – Thank God! I bought a Kindle and it was one of my best decisions ever. I’ll share with you more about this Kindle thing on another post. Stay tuned!)

Okay, so that is the book story. There are of course thousands of difficulties I had in the beginning. I love keeping things (you can call me a keeper if you want to). I’ll keep back things that people throw out and give them the chances to live a second life. If you open my secret box, you’ll see many little old things that I’ve kept for such a long long time. You’ll see a notebook, an old stack of letters and photos, a keychain, a bracelet and so on… They’ve been there for so long. I never want to get rid of them because these things are part of my life, memories of good times and bad. And that’s my first and biggest obstacle when it comes to simplifying my life just the way people often define- live your life with the essential things. Anyway, essentialism is a different story, isn’t it? And it surely has nothing to do with being a minimalist. Moreover, minimalism is not merely a definition. It’s a lifestyle, and how can we define one’s lifestyle in several sentences? I suppose we have our own opinions about how minimalism is, and there is no right or wrong of it at all.

Decluttering sentimental items
Holding on to those sentimental items imprisons you; holding on to the past stops you from living in the present.

I know that becoming a minimalist doesn’t happen overnight. It is the small steps you take each day that will move you along into your journey of living a minimalist lifestyle. Some may need a few months to feel comfortable living with less. The others may need a good long while. But no matter how long it may take, the only thing you have to keep in mind is that minimalist lifestyle comes in many different approaches, different shapes and sizes, and you should find one that’s right for you (and everything takes time).

How my first 30 days into minimalism changed my life…

I spent time on what matters most

When I started to lead this lifestyle, I didn’t waste time on meaningless things. Instead, I had more time for what was truly important to my life. Every morning before going to work, I didn’t have to struggle with what I should wear anymore. When I went to the supermarket, I would only buy what I really needed (Grocery list is just very useful) other than spending time and money on things that I wanted. And as time goes by, I’ve learned to focus on improving myself and spending time with my family.

Minimalist living gives me more time to spend on what is truly important.
Minimalist living gives me more time to spend on what is truly important.

I had more breathing space

Literally and figuratively. As Tyler Durden said, “Things you own will end up owning you”. This is so true. Once you have tons of things, you will be more likely to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Because you have so many things to worry about. If you’re like me, being obsessed with keeping emotional items, you’ll never want to let them go. Because you always think that “what if I need them someday? Or what if I will forget all of those beautiful memories after I throw them out?”. But we are more than our stuff, our memories are within us, not within our things. Holding on to those sentimental items imprisons you; holding on to the past stops you from living in the present. So yeah… the day I decided to let them go (of course I didn’t put all of them in the trash. I gave those items to some people who found them useful), I felt relieved and free. 

I saved up more money

Of course, I did! I no longer wander around shops and bring home a bunch of cute little things. I no longer purchase books without considering carefully. I started to read ebooks and borrow books from my friends or the city library. I think if you buy things unintentionally whether they are clothes or any things, you’re wasting your time and money. I still remember back then when I was a university student, one day I went to a used book sale event nearby my place and spent the whole afternoon looking for some nice books. I had no clue what kind of books I should buy and then ended up buying a very old version of Jane Eyre. It would be just fine unless it was the book that I’d read before (once or twice). If I could travel back in time, I’d have definitely never bought it. The money I paid for the book should have been spent on my travel.

I have saved up more money since I started to live the minimalist lifestyle
I have saved up more money since I started to live the minimalist lifestyle

Anyway, that’s the story of my old days when I first followed this lifestyle. Changing your way of living is never an easy process, but if you really want to change it for a better you, then do it now. What do you think is the hardest part when it comes to living minimalist? And how has minimalism changed you? Thanks for reading.

 

Just be,

Autumn

Published in Lifestyle Minimalism

2 Comments

  1. Dianna Dianna

    This is really helpful, thanks.

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