I am writing this piece sitting in a room that feels like its shed 50 kgs over the past few days. It feels lighter. I feel lighter. You see up until earlier last week, this room was filled with a lot of stuff. The cupboard was always ready to throw up as soon as it found an opening, there were shoes I haven’t worn for over a year, books I’ve already read and have no use for and so on. I am the person who for some reason requires two speakers, 3 headphones, 3 mobile cases (none of which I use), like a zillion chargers, 3 bags and you see where this is going.
Finally, it was in the middle of a 3-hour spree of finding the perfect Smart TV for my room when I realized I was turning into a compulsive consumer. Brands had started dictating not just what I needed to buy, but also when I needed to buy it. Have you ever been to the mall to buy a pair of jeans and decided to buy 3 instead because the store had an offer running? Buy 2 Get 1 Free they said, it saves you a lot of money they said. Guess what, buying the one pair you needed would have saved you a heck of a lot more.
I wanted to get a Smart TV because I knew streaming Netflix on a large screen would make me happy. All the expensive gadgets, clothes, furniture, everything was bought with the same purpose. Making me happy. Can’t-miss right?
Turns out that none of them were doing the job they were hired to do. Sure, for the first couple of weeks, it was a thrill to ogle at my new acquisitions, but a few weeks later I didn’t even notice them anymore. I was still the same guy after every new purchase. Why hadn’t I changed?
I discovered an entire community of people (God bless the internet) who define their lifestyle with this one word. Their ideology being this – we surround ourselves with so much stuff which takes up so much of our time and energy that we tend to have little left for the things that really matter.
On one of my favourite blogs on the subject: theminimalists.com I discovered something called the 30 Day Minimalism Game, designed to help you get rid of the excess stuff. The idea is that you get rid of one thing on day one, two on day two and so on. Even though I got started with it, I quickly realized that 30 days seemed like just slowing the process. So I decided to pick a day when I was going to get rid of everything that didn’t add value to me.
Cut to this fine Monday morning. I am writing this piece sitting in a room that feels like its shed 50 kgs over the past few days. It feels lighter. I feel lighter. You see I spent this weekend getting rid of everything that didn’t add value. Trashed, donated or sold to someone who might find more value in those things. Some things were harder to get rid of, so they are currently sitting in a sealed box, a just in case. I’ve promised myself that if I don’t feel the need to use any of those things in the next month they’ll be gone as well.
Although I’ve gotten rid of most of my pacifiers I am beginning to understand that this was only the first step. Just getting rid of a lot of things isn’t going to magically make my life better. It was never meant to do that. The entire idea was just to cut down on the excess that consumes a lot of energy to focus on the more important things. It’s time to get started on that.
I’ve also decided to come back to this post in a month’s time and write about how I feel about minimalism then. If it sounds like something you’d want to read do subscribe to my blog. We’ll perhaps talk about this in more detail over email.