It helped me — it might help you, too.
According to The Minimalists:
‘minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom’
And that’s exactly what it has done for me. I feel Lighter, I feel more organised and I feel like I concentrate on the things most important in my life. Which is no longer material possessions, instead, I spend my money on hobbies, days out and building lasting memories.
I haven’t taken Minimalism to what could be classed by some as ‘the extreme’. I still own a television — because you know, what about Netflix? But I have truly embraced a lighter lifestyle. It can also get quite addictive — ‘what else can I live without?’ is the question I constantly ask myself.
After I read ‘Everything That Remains’ by one of the guys who created theminimalists.com, it inspired me to take my idea of becoming more minimalist further — to start acting on my thoughts. I looked into this at the beginning of the year after watching a documentary, low and behold, on Netflix! Gotta love Netflix. And after I watched it, it made me want to learn more — hence the book purchase.
I completely agree with the fundamental foundations of minimalism. I, like most of western civilisation, spent money on material objects. For me and for others. I never felt happier — well, maybe for a little glimmer, but overall, these purchases didn’t positively impact my life. I just had more Stuff to fit into cupboards, of which I had to buy more of because where am I going to store all this new stuff?
After reading up on this lifestyle, it was always in the back of my mind to truly embrace it and start ridding my closets, cupboard and drawers of unnecessary stuff, but I never did.
But then me and my boyfriend of six years split up, we owned a house together and decided he would move out and I would live in it until we sold it. I was suddenly presented with the perfect opportunity to ‘minimalise’ my life. I became less attached to the stuff we shared and owned together, and it was almost cathartic to rid myself of stuff I no longer needed.
I took up Project 333. A clothing project that challenges participants to live with just 33 items of clothes for 3 months. Highlighting the unnecessary amount of excess clothing most of us acquire in our lives. I took this to the extreme, throwing everything I hadn’t worn for a few months into bin bags.
I found a capsule wardrobe guide online and decided to follow it. I took all my clothes — and I mean pretty much everything I owned — to charity shops. Bag after bag, until my wardrobe was empty. I even got rid of the wardrobe. To those around me, they were pretty sure I was having a mental breakdown, but I felt better and lighter and I wanted to see what else I could get rid of.
I got rid of my cupboards — all they housed were random cables and batteries and other nondescript stuff. I cleared all my kitchen cupboards out and my freezer. Basically, if it wasn’t nailed down, or what I deemed integral to my life, out of the house it went.
Have I bought any of it again? No. And I don’t feel the need to because it’s so nice to have space and less stuff.
The saying ‘tidy house, tidy mind’ really rings true. Having a home without unnecessary items has truly made me feel happier and less stressed.
If you’d like to learn more about minimalism, check out the links below for further reading.
Can minimalism help you de-stress? was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.