This may come as a surprise to you (or it may not) that I am in the middle of a complete lifestyle change. It has become my life goal to clear the clutter from my life (and house) and to downsize. I never thought I would live like this – and I certainly never thought I would like it – but here we are.
I find that the amount of physical clutter I have lying around directly corresponds to the amount of mental clutter filling up space in my mind.It’s just how it goes with me (and most people?). Getting in on the whole minimalist thing (or trying to, at least) has also changed the way I see things. And I mean things. Like, actual things. As in, I don’t really crave that much anymore, because when I look at something in a shop, I think about having to store that at home, and that stresses me out and I just don’t want to own it. I see it for what it is: a burden and a responsibility.
I don’t mean that in a bad way – since when is responsibility bad? However, I do think that owning things takes more of a toll on us then we realise. I am the first to admit that I am the worst perpetrator of this and it is something I am literally working on every day. It’s hard going from a hoarder to a… I don’t even know what I am anymore, but I sure am changing. Slowly, but it’s happening (I think).
So, what spurred all this on? Well, Gavin is obviously a big influence on my life and he also happens to be Mr Minmalist. Like, the sort of person that only takes a backpack for a 10-day holiday. I’m not quite there yet, but I am increasingly understanding that carrying less stuff – and owning less stuff – is an easier, lighter way to be.
I think of it like excess weight: there are all sorts of ramifications that we don’t necessarily see straightaway. If you are carrying a few extra pounds (and who isn’t?), it doesn’t just affect you aesthetically. There are all sorts of things going on under the surface (skin) that we can’t see, but they are definitely there. I feel the same about clutter: it’s not just about having too much stuff. It’s also about all the lost time, extra stress and general mess that slow us down mentally and physically.
If this is coming across all preachy, please know that I am still struggling with this and fighting the good fight every day to have less stuff in general. It’s really hard making a change like this! So I’m really trying to motivate myself, too. And honestly, I know what it’s like to have too much because my bedroom back home in Australia is full to the brim with old dresses and unread books and I cannot wait to get back there and clean it all out in December. I am hanging out for that! In the meantime, I’m trying to get a handle on my life in Korea, and yeah, it can be difficult. A few tips that I have found helpful for anyone interested in (or trying) decluttering:
- Do it one thing at a time. This may sound obvious (and it is) but I try not to focus on how much stuff I have to get through, and instead keep my eyes on how much I have finished. This is why I am now obsessed with empties and throwing things out. It feels so good and lets you know you’ve made progress.
- Stop shopping! This is another big change I’ve made and I’m still working on. The less stuff you bring into your house (or your space, whatever you may have), the less you need to look after, clean, tidy and find space for.
- Take your own shopping bags. This is a big one for me because in Korea, they are hardcore about their recycling and you can’t just useany old bag for trash. Having extra bags lying around isn’t helpful, because there are assigned bins for every type of material (glass, paper, plastic, etc) and you just need to empty your stuff into them. There is a bin for plastic bags, but I feel like it’s wasteful to just use one once and then recycle it. I try to get as many uses out of things as possible, because it takes a lot of energy to make anything and, you know, Earth.
- Keep unfinished things readily available. By this I mean, if you are trying to finish something in particular, keep it in sight so that you use a little bit every day. Again, slow and steady progress is often the best way, and if you keep using a little bit every day, eventually the whole thing is finished. To me this is moisturisers and cleansers, but it could be notebooks, pens, food, candles, whatever. Keep close and use it up, goshdarnit!
So what is my minimalist dream? Maybe a day where I don’t open my closet and feel a slight dread at the thought of tidying up the mess before me. That would be nice! No matter how much I seem to clean and tidy, the fact of the matter is that I just have too much stuff. Even after working away to finish up all of my product (not quite there yet…), it still sometimes seems like I’ve gotta climb Mt Everest and I’m not even wearing pants. Or something.
How about you? What are your thoughts on minimalism and decluttering? I could use some inspiration/support! ^^
Until next time,