My path to a minimalist lifestyle
A minimalist lifestyle no longer seems a distant goal to me.
Because I have been thinking about it and writing about it more often lately, I have been drawn to make decisions in alignment with this new way of living.
So, I am able to see some green shoots that suggests I have truly joined the journey of being a minimalist.
So, these days I am no longer a prisoner of the Idiot Box. In fact, I have not switched on the TV the last two days.
It is worth crowing about that I have managed to stop making my mind numb and frustrated with the lies spewed unendingly.
With a more calm and free mind, I invest time on reading and understanding more about life. The topics I broach these days relate to minimalism, essentialism, living in the moment etc. My life is beginning to be more fascinating.
What I read and do nowadays is more intentional and this has a telling effect on the clarity and calmness with which I approach life.
One can benefit immensely by letting in the fresh air of new and enabling ways of living.
But, to let in the new, we have to let go of the things from the past.
It is very important to make room in our minds by decluttering or discarding stuff that bring us stress.
Without doing this, there won’t be room for the new to appear.
I have been struggling for several years to chase my dreams and achieve things of significance.
But the fatal flaw was, while I tried hard, I also held fast to the old cluttered ways of living.
Recently I heard someone say that it is foolish to chase audacious dreams without changing our character.
It is fit to emphasise, decluttering makes room for order and calm, instead of chaos and stress.
The need for decluttering is so obvious. But, most of us do not go beyond making noise about it.
Why do we find it difficult to declutter?
- Lack of clarity about what is important. In my home cleaning business, I am convinced that customers will be better served by first decluttering their homes before going for cleaning. My post, Is cleaning before decluttereing like putting the cart before the horse deals with this issue.
A decluttered, organized home will stay clean without too much of effort.
But rarely do we take this course. We tend to treat the disease rather than the symptoms. So, we keep cleaning, organizing, arranging and dusting without focusing on treating the underlying cause that create an unclean home.
- Fear and Anxiety about embracing the unknown. We are comfortable living the way we have been used to. Pushing the boundaries to travel towards new horizons is beset with fears about the unknown. And the unknown paralises us and makes us feel uncomfortable. That’s why we have a hard time letting go of things.
- The lure of possessing the stuffs of life. At times we equate our happiness with possessing more stuff. So, we go on a shopping rampage and hoard as many things as possible to give us a sense of security. Consumerist behaviour is here to stay unless we consciously and intentionally steer clear of its pitfalls.
- Sunk cost bias. Most of us hate to discard expensive things we have bought. They represent possessions acquired through hard work. Discarding them – even when they do not serve any purpose – is a way of staying fixated on the efforts and money that have gone into acquiring them, in the past. It is similar to how we risk health issues rather than waste food and continue eating beyond satiation. Yes, it is important to pay attention to food minimalism as well.
- Stress leads to procrastination. It is no secret that cluttered places cause tremendous stress particularly on women. And, according to psychologists, stressed people tend to procrastinate a lot. They find it difficult to let go of the things of the past.
- To overcome decay, strong goals are needed . We are all energized and filled with hope when we are driven by strong goals. They give us power. On the other hand, when we allow our lives to drift into the shallows of despair and hopelessness, worthy pursuits like decluttering and organizing will seem pointless. Efforts which are weak seem like nectar in a sieve.
Letting go of things with gratitude
I am well and truly on the path of decluttering in some aspects of my life. Digital minimalism is slowly becoming a reality in my life. I do not need my mobile by my side all the time and I go several hours without looking for messages or news updates.
And, by cutting my TV time, I have relieved myself of the numb, vacant feeling. The world seems a substantially saner place now.
I have been planning to do some decluttering works of the extra stuff at my home for quite some time. But I too am afflicted by my infatuation with less important works getting in the way of mission decluttering.
Here is my agenda for the next 5 days. I am planning to start decluttering the kitchen first. The kitchen counter is full of too many things and working with my wife, we will create a kitchen we are proud of. A minimalist kitchen is very important because so many happy and delicious things have their source there.
Transforming my clothes storage area into a simple, minimalist wardrobe is another goal I will accomplish. In it, I have clothes I have not worn for years and some which I do not associate joy with. They need not be part of my life any more. They have served their purpose and it is time to bid them adieu with a grateful heart.
If decluttering can bring about gratitude into our lives it is a big accomplishment. Decluttering in the absence of a transformed lifestyle is perhaps just a show signifying nothing. In her short and sweet review of Robert Byrne’s very popular book, The Magic, Wilma D’Souza writes how gratitude transformed her life.
I am fully conscious that decluttering all aspects of my life alone will not bring about a 360 degrees transformation in different areas of my life.
What I am however convinced about is, decluttering and a minimalist lifestyle will take me to a space of quiet. It is going to be easier for me to inhabit the space of living in the moment.
For me, the gift of minimalism is, being immersed in the quiet richness of the present moment.
Decluttering will aid in removing the distractions that stand in the way of being in the NOW.
It also helps in bringing about a harmony between what is outside and inside.
Decluttering and minimalism is all about a state of mind. It is about living in the moment.