Path to minimalism
Minimalism is an interesting philosophy trend. I have used minimalistic UI designs since the times when I worked on Windows Metro apps (I know they changed the name later, but metro was actually a good way to describe how the designs should be made) and I loved them from first sight. Actually, it has impacted me so much, that I have started using the designs in all other applications I was writing: desktop, android, web. And while this was just for the IT things… I started reading about minimalism as a whole, which literally changed some aspects of my life.
While I really liked the whole philosophy of Minimalism, I didn’t act in any way until I have read the book Goodbye, Things by mr. Fumio Sasaki. In the book, the author describes his journey to becoming a minimalist - how he got to the decision, how people reacted, how he was getting rid of things. The lecture was inspiring to a point, that I decided to change my lifestyle - stop wasting money on things I don’t really need and minimizing my collections I have gathered through the years.
Getting rid of things
The first steps seemed overwhelming - I was planning to stop having things, I have gathered over an extended period of time. The way the human brain works, it gets easily attached to items, even tho they don’t present any value in our lifes. When you turn on the TV, mobile platforms, radio or even walking around the city, you get bombarded with ads about products you must have. Your old phone (bought a year ago) is suddenly so bad, because this new, awesome, 4k phone is out. Your TV? Man, this old thing - you should change it for our new ergonomic one with 4-D sound and 3-D graphics. I could go on like that forever. Those advertisements make you feel worse - when you look at the things you have and the things you can get, you can never stop worrying, because there will always be new things to have. Because of this, we land with more and more objects around us, which was the case in myself as well.
When I started making decisions on - how to start with my minimalism journey - I took clothes as my first thing to remove. I was never attached that much to what I wear, so I thought this would make everything easier. While I was always saying I don’t have much clothes, I was overwhelmed by the actual ammount I have - I didn’t wear some of the Tshirts or pants for years! To my surprise, when I left only the things I’m actually wearing, I ended up with 4 big bags of clothes to give away (each a few kg in mass). Some of the things I found were bought by me and never even worn… and I knew that wouldn’t change.
The initial success with the clothes got me hyped up, removing things around yourself actually makes you happier. As we were thinking of moving places with my fiancée, I decided to do the same with books - they are horrible for transport - and since I’m a big fan of reading, I had a lot of books dusting the shelves. I sold the entire collection (without regrets) of my fantasy books by Pratchett, Pilipiuk, Sapkowski, Lem etc. and started buying books for Kindle. While I miss the smell of new books (I know, this sounds weird) the ease of reading books on a device like Kindle beats everything. This way, when I’m travelling I don’t need to carry additional weight, but just load selected books in ebook format and I’m ready to go. For this, I used a Polish online trading platform - OLX. Some of the books, which weren’t sellable I gave away to a local library.
Removing items that do not have any impact on your life is good, but it is hard to remove such objects from your life. Such realization came to me, when I was fighting to remove my Star Wars collection - a collection I was gathering for many years, containing rare books, toys, LEGOs etc. I knew that the collection doesn’t give me anything but bragging rights, yet the decision was really hard at first. I needed to grow into it and it took me 3 more months for the decision to actually happen. I started big, sold my LEGO collector models, plushies and other dusters first. I still have the comics (waiting to gather the whole collection before selling, to get more value out of it) and some collector books I still need to price correctly. The thing that I was worried the most about - that I will feel bad about selling it - never happened. I’m actually happy that I got that out of the way.
While I might not live in a minimalist environment like mr. Sasaki, these steps made me much happier in a relatively short time. My journey has really just began.
Don’t just trash it
One of the important aspects in removing your stuff is how you do it. Don’t just trash it - there are people that could need your stuff, even if you find it worthless. Here are some quick tips to help you handle the removal of your items when you can’t sell them:
- You can donate clothes to charity,
- You can give away your old electronic equipment to schools or universities,
- Libraries will be more than happy to take your books,
- Board or gaming consoles can be given to child care homes,
- Old blankets can go to animal shelters…
- … and so on!
For more ideas and really great blog posts generally on minimalism you can visit The Minimalists - the guys there really do a tremendous job when it comes to helping people have a more minimalistic life.
Have a great day!