My Strides Towards Minimalism
written by: Shawntelle Moncy
Recently, I watched another documentary (I’m a big fan of documentaries) called Minimalism. I would say that it was this documentary that changed my outlook on life, but it hit me like a load of useless junk laying around in my house! I just needed that extra push, I needed that extra knowledge.
I have never been a hoarder, collector or shopaholic; but I did buy things for the simple reason that it is cute, I guess you can call that being a woman, or simply being a human in modern society.
The very next day, my boyfriend and I started clearing out our house and ridding all the things collecting dust, we found things we forgot we even had and the things that served no purpose, but sat there looking pretty, just because.
The beginning of the process can be difficult, you want to justify the things that you think you’ll use or think you’ll wear, but the truth is, you quite simply do not use that object, and someone else will appreciate it much more than you do.
To this day, we are still ridding our home of the things we do not need, going through them every day as we come across them and realizing we haven’t used that in a month, and it has been a breath of fresh air.
We have sold, thrown away and donated so many things, and yet I feel as if I am missing nothing. All the art work on the walls that I thought made this house look homey, clearly have served no purpose towards that fact. The truth is, the less things we have, the less worry we seem to have as well.
When we have all these things that linger around our home it just results in clutter. It results in an overabundance in “cute” things that you don’t use that you once thought would fill a void inside of you, but then you forgot about it a few weeks after you purchased it and moved onto the next thing. We keep moving onto the next thing and the next thing. When one object has made us feel happy for a week, we go off to find the next thing that will.
I’m starting to realize that there is no end to this process, there will always be something new, something cuter, something better. This is a hunt that never ends, resulting in a void of unhappiness that never ceases, because we’ve been filling it with all the wrong things, all the wrong stuff.
The thing is, it’s not about stuff at all. It’s about the things you fill your time with without all the stuff around to distract you from the things that really matter in life. You see, when you have all these electronics, all this TV, all these decorations, clothes, makeup, jewelry, shoes, movies, dirty dishes, perfumes, too many purses, a junk drawer that’s always full, so many decorative rugs to vacuum, you end up with all this clutter to pick up, all these distractions to preoccupy your brain because they’re there!
I have found that without all the distractions, with all the simpler space around me, I have found peace of mind and a stronger devotion to write more, paint more, do yoga more, meditate more, read more and learn more. I stress less about how dirty our house is because we don’t have much things to create a mess in the first place. And it feels wonderful.
Modern society tells us to buy, buy, buy. We are taught by trends, that this season you need lace up shirts, contour, thigh-high boots and false eyelashes and next season, you’ll get rid of all that old season stuff and move onto the next. We are taught to buy this perfume or cologne because it’ll make you sexy, buy this watch because it’ll make you popular, this mascara because it’ll make you beautiful, this car because it’ll make you superior, or this necklace because it’ll make you happy.
People always hear that you can’t buy your way to happiness, but no one every pays attention to this phrase, they think it’s overrated and we’ll never know this until we’re rich enough to test it out. But we test this theory every day, with every dollar we spend, no matter how small, it is a matter of priorities.
When people are unhappy and too scared to truly find happiness within themselves and no one and nothing else, they tend to fill the empty space with things. Things to make them seem lavish, things to distract them from the bigger issue.
I am not one to judge, I used to do the same thing. I think most people that have ever been a position to do such a thing, probably have. It has become a habit of society; it is how we are told to live.
The humbler you become, the more you appreciate the smaller things, you will realize that you actually need very little and that we are very fortunate to have a comfy home to live in, with heating, blankets, bedrooms, pillows, food and a thousand things many people are not fortunate to have. I believe that people may hear this often, but rarely take it to heart.
Therefore, I challenge you this week, to take the first steps towards a simpler life. The first thing I did to minimize the things that I have was to empty my closet of the clothes and shoes I haven’t worn in several months; start with this. Put them in a few large bags and bring them to Plato’s Closet or sell them on an online local selling app, the point is to get rid of it before you have the chance to second guess your decision.
With each step, the process will become easier, the next thing that is relatively easy and useful is to pay attention to the things that you use in your everyday life. If you find yourself not using something for that entire month, get rid of it!
Let me know of any questions you have, recommendations or comments about how this challenge has worked for you.
I promise you that with less things, you will create more abundance within the soul.