Live simply, and simply live
This series has been a long time coming, and it has been sitting on the back burner, mostly because of how much time I’ve been spending actually digging my head into this apparent way of life most commonly called ‘minimalism’. I had this post sitting there for a while to serve as some kind of introduction but my list of planned posts for this series isn’t going to go anywhere if I don’t start.
I was encouraged by Michelle and Bhairavee to write blog posts on this topic. Both of them really wanted to hear about my decluttering experiences.
First things first, though…
Nick told me to stop calling myself a minimalist, stop saying I’m trying to be a minimalist, and stop referring to it as such – and, of course – stop getting brainwashed. And I think that that is the place to start. Labelling things can make you lose sight of the real point or real meaning. Labelling something does not give more credibility to what is actually involved.
The way it has always manifested in my mind, though, even as a young girl, was to ‘live simply’. As I write this, I continue to see it as my ‘Decluttering Adventures’, but over time, all of these names encompass a certain way of thinking.
What is ‘minimalism’?
Let me put it this way: Minimalism is whatever you want.
Kenneth, who I have only known for a short period of time, mentioned that it was surprising that a girl could be this way. I absolutely didn’t take offence to that, as he explained it was because most girls seemed to love collecting trinkets, toys, cute stuff, and general ‘junk’, and find it difficult to have less stuff.
For me, this isn’t specifically about having less stuff. I’m not telling you to get rid of your stuff. Heck, I’m not telling you to do anything. However, the general misconception is that a ‘minimalist’ gets rid of everything material that they own. It can be very extreme/full-on/just plain weird for some people.
My personal definition is loose, but over the past six months I have tried to declutter and remove physical items in my life that I don’t use and therefore don’t need, so that I feel more free to:
- do what I love,
- spend valuable time experiencing new things, and
- make memories.
I’m not just removing physical items, but I am making better decisions with my spending, focusing on things in life that should matter more, and overall identifying and doing what makes me happy.
I was inspired partly by The Minimalists, but more inspired by Jon Jandai’s TED talk, ‘Life is easy. Why do we make it so hard?’ As a poor farmer from Thailand, Jon’s view on his carefree life was confused by the successful and wealthy, who introduced him to the world of eight-hour jobs, tertiary study and expensive houses – until he realised that society and its expectations were affecting people’s happiness.
I recommend watching the video or just listening to it, just fifteen minutes of your time – it’ll also give you a laugh.
Why are you writing this?
I am writing this just to share my journey. I am not encouraging anyone to follow me or do the same. I’m going to talk real talk here, and share my thoughts and experiences related in this series called Live simply.
I’m also trying to embrace a more minimal lifestyle, but I think it is key to define what ‘minimal’ means to you. For me it doesn’t it means buying less stuff, and therefore having less clutter and more money to spend on experiences rather than physical goods.
I realised about a year ago that I all I really want to invest in was experiences, and that’s exactly what I’ve tried to do. I’m even trying to go minimal with my wardrobe. I don’t think I could live with a capsule wardrobe because having a set number of pieces is too limiting for me, but I am trying to buy clothing that is simpler and more versatile.
I was actually planning on writing a blog post reflecting my experience so far of living a more minimal life too (I may still do). I’m looking forward to reading the rest of your series.
It is definitely different for everyone, and I have had to explain my thoughts to some people who immediately think that it just means getting rid of stuff. I have put more value into experiences so my parents find it a bit puzzling that I can so effortlessly let go of clothes I don’t wear anymore (the bad sign is the “just in case” mindset, which I think they still have), and that I’m okay with being spoiled with a large supply of tea rather than receiving a nice physical gift on my birthday.
I think we probably found what we wanted at around the same time. :) It was through my previous relationships and old friendships that I noticed I had a bit of a hoarding problem that I tried to fix. I can say that with some changes in my life this year, I have been more active in going minimal.
I remember you sharing Un-fancy.com but having a number doesn’t work for me either. I’m definitely trying to buy simpler and more versatile pieces as well! Makes it easier to mix and match. I have been paring down, and it helps me spend less time picking out clothes in the morning.
I’ve got a watchful eye on your blog, so if you do write about your experiences I will be excited!
Thanks for starting this series, Georgie. I actually want to know how to lead a simpler life. I tend to spend a lot on very much unnecessary items and then wonder why I bought them in the first place!
This also applies to doing many things that I don’t really have to do and then I sit and complain that my time was wasted! I actually want to do things that I really would enjoy and not do it just for the sake of it!
So, I am looking forward to more posts on this!
You’re welcome Bhairavee! It’s interesting that you also feel like you have wasted time – I think time management is another thing I have a problem with. I think it might be the fact that I don’t prioritise what I want to do, so I feel like I have wasted time doing other less important or enjoyable things. Maybe I will visit that topic in a future post. :)