Baby Steps towards Minimalism

The simplicity of the minimalism movement appeals to me. It’s not just about having less stuff, though that is part of it. Rather, the real focus is on making space for what’s of true importance in life.

I’ll be living in NYC this summer before moving to Spain for four months. I can’t pack much for either trip presenting a perfect opportunity to identify what I need.

In preparation for my travels, I’ve begun reducing the number of my possessions. Inspired by Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I’ve gone through every single item of clothing and asked myself if it brings me joy.

I “thanked” the pieces I no longer use or need for bringing joy into my life and serving their purpose. I then sold on eBay what I could and gave away the rest, filling my trunk twice in the process. (I drive a Mini Cooper so this is less impressive than it sounds.)

I haven’t given a second thought to anything I’ve gotten rid of.

I’ve thankfully never been in debt, but I am guilty of shopping too much. My habit of chronic returning helps balance this out. More often than not, I arrive home only to realize I don’t even like what I purchased. While returning allows me to get my money back, it still eats away at my time.

Enter Minimalism. It allows for the distancing of oneself from blind consumerism and consumption. By identifying what we actually need, we no longer make impulsive purchases. When I went through my closet, I felt ashamed by how many items I found with the tags still on! They served only to make me feel guilty every time I saw them.

To further streamline what I wear, I’m planning to experiment with a capsule wardrobe this summer. Post coming soon, I’m still deciding on the exact breakdown!

After going through everything, my space is much less cluttered. I can find the things I need with ease and I’ve been sleeping better. Maybe dealing with the chaos of physical stuff has helped me to declutter mentally as well.

Joshua Fields Milburn of The Minimalists put it best in Everything that Remains, a thought provoking book which I recommend to anyone looking to add value to their life. I finished it in less than 24 hours!

For the first time in a long time, things are clear – clearer than they’ve ever been. I’d been running in one direction as fast as I could, chasing this abstract thing called happiness, but I’d been running the wrong way. I was sprinting east looking for a sunset, when all I really had to do was turn around and walk – not run, just walk – in the other direction.

I don’t consider myself a minimalist, but it’s something I’d like to work towards. Call me a minimalist grasshopper? I’m not ready to take off the metaphorical training wheels, but I am beginning to apply the principles to my life.

4 Comments

  1. I just found your blog (!) — love this post on minimalism. We are about to move to NYC (from Australia) and I am shedding stuff like a demon. Gosh it feels so damn good!

    • Congratulations on your move! Wow – Australia to NYC, that will be quite a change. I spent some time in Sydney and absolutely loved it, but he Big Apple has plenty to offer too.

      If you’re interested in minimalism, I highly recommend these podcasts by The Minimalists. They’ve been adding a lot of value to my life lately. Plus, you might need something to listen to on your long flight to the States!

      Best of luck with the move. I’ll be sure to check your blog for updates!

  2. This post is everything! Thank you for sharing, I went through my closet recently and was just blown away by the amount of clothes I had (I was also in a sorority at that time so I blame the excessive t-shirts on that). After reducing my clothing I was amazed at how easy it was to pick out an outfit each day. I, too, would like to try out capsuling but I am not quite sure if I can commit to that yet!

    • The nice thing about capsuling is that you don’t have to get rid of everything! A few dresses I’m not using in this summers capsule are in storage downstairs. Then at the end of the 3 months, I can revisit them! It makes the process of letting go of items a little more manageable.

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