Why did I decide to become a minimalist?
I’ll tell you.
First, make a cup of coffee (no instant coffee please) and sit down with it and enjoy.
My journey into minimalism was a lot like other people that I had read and seen in movies or through video content on YouTube and through podcasts. Except I had a unique twist to my story. They had an excess amount of ‘stuff’ in their lives and it was causing them stress. Keeping all of this crap clean and organized in an appealing manner was a lot to handle and most of the crap was random stuff that none of us ever use.
In fact, I can still remember the day when I found myself coming to the sudden realization that I had to much stuff and that I barely used any of it.
As a kid, I would bring home cool rocks that I found playing outside or at the park and would think: “These rocks are cool and I’m going to keep them forever so that when I’m older I can look at these rocks and remember the fun times I had when I picked them up.”
I’m standing in my room now, looking at a pile of these rocks that (up until now) have been in a plastic bag at the bottom of my closet. I couldn’t remember anything about what any of those rocks symbolized. I couldn’t even recall how old I was when I collected them.
So outside they went, into the garden. They’re probably still there.
I was at home this weekend, when it finally clicked in my head that all of this excess crap was holding me back. The next day, when I went back to school, I made a list of numbers from 0 up to 31. I had discovered the ‘Minimalism Challenge’ online, getting rid of consecutive items each day for one month. It’s approaching March 1st in a few days now and I know that there would be no better time to take advantage of this new enlightenment.
I started consuming all the content I could about minimalism. I watched the documentary, listened to podcasts, YouTube videos, excerpts of books online, blog posts, Pinterest pins…the stream of inspiration and acceptance of minimalism was vastly overwhelming.
When March 1st came around, I got rid of one thing. On March 2nd, I got rid of two things. It quickly became game-like and I found myself waking up in the morning, excited to see what possession’s I had that I knew I could get rid of. Up until now, I didn’t realize how much stupid shit I held onto, merely because I thought I had a sentimental attachment to it.
Near towards the end of the month, as I started to accustom too throwing out twenty or more items each day, I began to come to another realization. This being that minimalism wasn’t about how little things you owned, it was about the quality and intentionality of those items that you did possess.
Minimalism showed me a responsibility to myself that I didn’t know I had before. I had a responsibility for my life and how I was going to live. I knew one thing, that I didn’t want to live in clutter. I was tired of having to constantly clean my desk each day or pushing aside boxes of random stuff just to get to the one thing that I wanted. I know there was something wrong, I could just never figure out what it was.
Ultimately, accepting minimalism into my life allowed me to practice the art of letting go and implementing it on a regular, daily basis. It quickly became a part of my lifestyle. I noticed something else about myself as March neared its end and the ‘Minimalism Challenge’ was starting to wrap up: that I was happier. Overall, I was happier, less stressed and felt excited about what I was doing. This thing, this ‘minimalism’ was driving me to make a change in my life and have control when I didn’t think I ever had control before.
As my dorm room slowly began to empty of inanimate, meaningless crap I began to think of my life as deciding what to keep, rather than what to throw away. That made things a hell of a lot easier as I realized that most of the things I had, I didn’t want to keep at all.
Out they went.
By owning less, I found I had more freedom, less stress and less worry.
I’m not here to tell you that you should become a minimalist or throw all your shit out, I’m just here to make you think about it.