Friday, 29 December 2017

My Path to Minimalism

My path to Minimalism started a little over six years ago when I stumbled upon Leo Babauta's website zen habits (https://zenhabits.net) during a google search on 'how to be happier'. I remember paying the donation and downloading one of his ebooks, which I printed out (yeah not very Minimalist of me but I needed something I could carry with me to read on the go and had no iPad or smart phone at the time). I read through it in a flash as it was the most interesting concept I had ever stumbled upon. Interesting, yes, and yet too extreme for me at the time. However, despite that I was not yet ready to embark on such a serious and austere journey, it led me to more research on the topic and slowly, with the help of less extremist websites, I started my path to what at the time I called Simple Living instead.

I always loved simplicity deep down, so re-wording what I was doing to fit my idea was all I needed to start detoxifying my life whilst not feeling guilty of not going all the way. Some people might find it easier to just go from one extreme to another but I found that baby steps was what I needed to get on board with the idea of living with less stuff and commitments, yet a more meaningful life at the end of it. However, despite hacking away slowly at my hoarded clutter, I never seemed to be satisfied with the result and always felt like I was failing as a Minimalist. I even tried Courtney Carver's Project 333 on my wardrobe (https://bemorewithless.com/project-333/) and hated it for limiting me to 33 items when my wardrobe actually held more pieces that I wanted to wear. Maybe I wasn't cut out for the lifestyle after all.

Still, intent on trying to find the peace in my life that I was craving, I kept looking up more and more articles that would help me out and I came across an advertorial for Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, which the ad convinced me to buy. I have to admit, the book lived up to its title for it truly changed my life. The author, Marie Kondo, never mentions Minimalism at all yet explains very thoroughly how to go through one's entire mountain of material possessions and decide what to keep or give/throw away based on something that resonated greatly with me - feelings. Her question for each item is the now internationally famous "Does this item spark joy?" Her method dictates that clutter should be tackled by type not location, in a particular order (clothes, books, then the rest in a specific order) and each item in turn is to be picked up (yes, even all those books on the shelves must be taken out for closer inspection) so that we may decide on whether to keep it depending on whether it 'Sparks Joy'. It might sound like a crazy system before you try it out but believe me, it works, and all her criteria (sort by type, in order, etc) are the result of her self-study in the subject and she clearly explains the reasons for these ideas in her book, ideas which make a lot of sense once reasoned out.

Once I had KonMari'd my house (that is an actual term now!) I still wanted to learn on how to live a more Minimalist life and went on to read Francine Jay's The Joy of Less. It is more extreme than KonMari and specifically targeted at a Minimalist lifestyle yet not an unattainable or too idealistic idea. This author goes by the name of miss minimalist over at http://www.missminimalist.com/about/.

After reading both Marie Kondo's and Francine Jay's books at least two or three times each, I am currently reading goodbye, things by Fumio Sasaki. Whilst his book might be inspirational and full of good tips for anyone starting out on the journey, I am finding myself at that point where I have little to gain from his book. I bought it with the intention of being inspired by the man who owns only three shirts and four pairs of socks yet his book is about getting there rather than his current life, using the same old ideas for most of the time. So whilst I am enjoying the read, I think I can finally conclude that I am well-enough into my Minimalism journey that buying more books would just be counterproductive to my motto less is more.


2 comments:

  1. You bring up a good point. Have you stumbled across any books that talk more about the author's current life as a minimalist, vs the journey getting there?

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    1. I think in a way, all authors talk of their current life and how it is changed due to Minimalism. However I think all the books I have read up to now were focused on the journey and how to go through it really. Marie Kondo specifically mentions her clients multiple times and how at the end of the journey they were able to better their life. I find that Leo Babauta's website, mentioned in my post, tends to sometimes focus on his 'now' as does miss minimalist (also linked above).

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