Lately I’ve been thinking about getting rid of stuff. Not necessarily a spring-cleaning-type ritual, but more of a realization that I simply ‘do not know what my closet consists of’. So, you can say it’s a spring cleaning based on emotion.
Before moving to London, I had a massive clean out. I hadn’t realized there were so many things I had collected through traveling, studying and the gifts received from friends in my teen days. And while the clean up in the end felt great, I remember having a rough start. With no idea where to begin, what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to let go, I ended up procrastinating my clean out to the week before my move. And indeed, it was hectic.
A couple days before my clean out, an employer had lent me the book The life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo. Being the book-worm that I am, it didn’t take long for me to finish reading it. I gave the book a go and to my surprise, getting rid of stuff that did nothing but take up space and collect dust, became easier than I had expected. Donating and letting go of unnecessary stuff is a great feeling.
Revisiting that emotion of letting go gives me a sense of joy. It is so rewarding to take that mindset and apply the same algorithm to life. I now actively work towards maintaining a minimalistic lifestyle. Abandoning all of the extravagant, over-the-top and embracing everything simple, joyful and to the point. I can’t think of any cons to living minimalist, but below are five ways minimalism can change your life for the better.
1.You will know and value what you have
So, you may not be aware of everything in your closet even after getting rid of half the stuff you do not need. Me neither. And that is okay. What you will know is that everything in your closet is there because you want it to be there. The same concept can be applied to life. Not the easiest, but doable. The people you associate with are there because you choose to surround yourself with these people.
It’s okay to have twenty-five friends on Facebook and it’s just as fine to have five pairs of shoes, each for a specific purpose. I remember taking the full jump and deleting my Facebook last year. It was something extra that I did not deem useful for me. It felt as though a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. And by no means am I advocating for you to do the same, unless you want to. I kept putting it off because I felt the need to have it, even though I really didn’t need it. Realizing that the people I talk to are all in my contacts, I went and got rid of the page. I regret nothing.
Keeping note of what and who is in your life is gratifying at the very least. Similar to going through your summer clothes and seeing which shorts are good to keep and which tank top is best to get rid of, you’ll be able to decipher and eliminate drama in your life.
2. You will see things clearer
It’s true when they say it’s impossible to work productively in a cluttered atmosphere. Minimalism helps to eliminate the fog so that you can see clearer- physically, and also mentally.
Sometimes, my space is so cluttered that I have to ask myself: how can you move? Can you even think? Can you even breathe?! It’s the exact same feeling as when I’m juggling too many responsibilities or feel too many conflicting emotions.
Understand where you want to place your things, how you want to organize your space, and see how it is you want to express yourself through the use of your space.
For the past year, I (Fisayo) have had a clothing rack in my room instead of a wardrobe. The rest of my clothes which there aren’t plenty of are bagged up away in a storage cupboard. At first, it was a temporary solution just having moved into a new house and not knowing what cupboards I wanted in my room. However, I’m so used to it now that a year later, I don’t want cupboards. On my rack are the clothes that I actually wear. I can sit up in bed and see them all right infront of me. It is beautiful, and the clarity has been the best experience. I just can’t let go of this simplicity. Especially as when I moved out of my old house and was faced with the reality that I had spent the last four years accumulating clothes that I didn’t need or even want, and probably couldn’t afford, I felt physically sick. I don’t know how I ever lived comfortably like that. My clothes were everywhere, in every room! It was awful.
Allow yourself to move, think, work and feel at peace in your area. Don’t be afraid to let go of the things you don’t need.
Your space should be a place of comfort and familiarity for you. Enjoy that.
3. You will feel lighter
The less clutter, the better. Imagine feeling the way you feel after a spring clean, almost everyday of the year. The weightlessness is so empowering. Remember when I said I deleted my Facebook? Yeah, this is the feeling that followed right after. Literally.
You’ll begin to worry less and feel less restricted, more free. Freedom to just be. Situations become clearer and walking becomes swifter. Disposing of unnecessary baggage allows you to help other people and focus on your short and long term goals. The less weight you have to carry, the better. When I’m dealing with less issues in my own personal life, I am able to be a better friend, sister, daughter, you name it.
4. You will create better and maybe spend less money
I am at my most creative when I have less to worry about. I can put all my energy into dreaming, into building and into creating. To me, everyone is an artist. Your art is what you believe in, what you create.
You’ll be able to maneuver successfully, diligently and freely.
I also am now a lot more careful with my spending. I don’t want to be thirty and have only Louboutins to my name. Acquiring less things allows you to save up for more rewarding important and also have more to spend on life-changing experiences.
5. Your body and mind will be healthier
The less you have lying around and cluttering your space, the tidier, cleaner and more hygienic your space will be. But even above all this, is your mental. Minimalism gives me a peace of mind that I never realised I so badly needed.
After all is said and done, everyone’s minimalism is different. For some, it’s four pairs of shoes including trainers. For others, it’s forty. Know what yours is, and respect it. You don’t have to become an entirely different person. But, you do owe it to yourself not to acquire the world and fill every corner of your home with things, whilst simultaneously losing yourself.
The most interesting thing about this minimalism journey is just how much the physical affects our mental. We started off talking about minimalism by way of acquiring less physical stuff but this has morphed more into a discussion about emotional minimalism.
At the end of the day, what I crave the most is peace of mind and freedom. And discovering that acquiring less brings me said peace, has been a joyful experience. Change can be difficult but letting go is key. Life is about continuous change and at some point, we will be confronted with mandatory changes. It is better to let go before we have no choice.
It can be incredibly difficult but the more I let go of things that no longer serve me as they should, the easier it becomes for me to let go of the people, the mindsets, and the ideologies that no longer served me as they should. This is still very much a work in progress, and my main spiritual goal this year is to learn to let go- completely. To respect that things and people have expiration dates, and to stop holding on to them beyond those dates.
This article was written by Rae and edited by Fisayo. Rae is a Brooklynite currently residing in London and she blogs at Wandering Adventurer.
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