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Friday, April 25, 2014

8 things I learned from minimalism

Today I want to share with you what I learned from my journey into minimalism.

1) It is much easier to write and read about it than actually doing it!

When I started reading about minimalism, I was like "well that sounds really easy, just get stuff out the door".  "I just need time to do it."  Now when I first started to actually try and get rid of stuff, it wasn't THAT easy.   Excuses, feelings, what if, but... these are all works I used over and over again!  For example:
- this was really expensive (excuse)
- but it reminds me of...(feeling)
- what if I need it in 6 months when I might have people over for x...
- but it looks good with this

Sounds familiar??? Trust me, being expensive is not a reason to keep anything you no longer like or use - it only brings guilt! As for memories, they won't go away with the object!  They are forever engraved in your hearth!

When I started writing about minimalism in January 2011 on this blog, I was thinking "OK, now I know what I am doing, I should share"... but I had no clue!  OK, I knew more then when I actually started the process in June 2007 but I had a lot to learn still.... and if you read my past posts on minimalism, you'll see that it was a roller coaster!

For all I know, I am getting closer and closer to my objective but I am not quite there yet... so I still have stuff to learn... and therefore I will keep writing! :-)

2) It will most likely not work the first or second or even third time around

You give, you wait and you buy something... once, twice or even more....  it looks like for every few items you give, there is always a few less, but still, a few, finding their way back into your home.  My thinking on that is that emptiness is scary.  It takes time to be comfortable in an empty room, or with an empty closet... or an empty space of any type.  Empty spaces makes you feel like you are missing something... like something needs to be filled.  However, once you get use to it, you love empty space of any kind...  you breathe easier and in the end it seems like nothing is ever empty enough!

Give it time.  And if you fill the space back, that's OK... eventually, it'll be empty again when you are ready.

3) It takes time

It won't happen overnight! Our spaces, agenda, social life are filled to the last shelf space and last time slot!  Unless you move across the planet and are forced not to bring anything or anyone with you, it won't happen by tomorrow...  It's a slow process that requires work on yourself because...

4) The psychological dimension is much bigger than anything else

Anyone can physically empty a closet, get rid of an extra couch, clear items in their calendar...  but when you come to think of it, #1) comes back really fast.  We accumulated stuff over time for a reason... gifts, souvenirs, memorabilia first of all but also because we are expected to do it.  It is normal to finish school, find a job, get a car, then a house and fill it up!  This is what people do! (until they retire and then sell the house, get rid of the extra stuff and move into a smaller place while still paying debt most likely - do you see the irony?)  When you start doing the reverse process (getting rid of stuff well before your retirement when you are actually expected to still accumulate) it raises all kind of questions and emotions within yourself and around you too!

And don't even get me started with clearing up week ends so you have time to do nothing... clearing up friends list because they no longer agree with who you've become... These are very difficult to do.  Even painful sometimes. Actually all the times.

It makes you wonder:
- am I normal?
-am I depress?
-why do I no longer want this?
- why do I no longer get along with... ?
-why do I like having all this free time?

It makes you wonder because you feel different!

You get to know another side of yourself... a good side but nonetheless it needs to be tame. 
It takes time and you can't do all of it at once. You'll need to work on yourself...  find WHO you truly are... who is behind all that busyness? who were you before they told you who you should be?

5) You really do not need all the stuff

How much stuff do you have and never use?  Do you actually know everything you own?  If you open a closet or go to the garage or the attic can you list everything that is in there without forgetting anything?  Honestly?  Do you have unpack boxes form you last move 6 months ago? How much stuff have you not use in over a year? 2 years? 5 years?

Do you have a storage unit?  When was the last time you went there? How far is it from your home?  How much does it cost you?  Does that make sense?

6) You really do not miss the stuff you let go off

In due time, you'll come to the conclusion that all that stuff you gave away, you no longer even think about it.  If you were to make a list of it a few months down the line, you'd probably forget most of it! You'll also realise that you enjoy much more the items you actually kept because you end up using them. And they are the items you actually really truly love!

Your home will be "cleaner" in all sense of the words - the energy will flow through it and you'll feel better.

7) You do not get bored on an empty agenda

When I started cleaning my agenda, I was afraid I would get bored. I actually did not!  And quite the opposite....  I panic now if there's a week where I have 2 or more appointments..  or if I have something important to do on Saturday AND Sunday!  I like to have evenings at home with no plans and one day of the week end to just walk around, read, and do nothing!  I need those moments - I need those to recharge my battery!  How can you recharge if you're always taking up some juice?  How do you have time for yourself, for doing stuff that you really care about if you are busy 12h a day? What added value does it have to run from A to B then C...  never endlessly? Are you really doing this for yourself? Does it serve another purpose then "looking good"?

Try it, for the month of May, empty one day of the week end and only "plan" for stuff you really like and actually serves no other purpose but to make you feel good about yourself.

8) Really important people  in your life can be counted on the fingers of one hand at any one point in time

When you enter minimalism, or change your lifestyle in any significant way, you'll see who really does matter to you... and who you matter to! Not every one will understand and be supportive but that's OK!  It actually helps cleaning your agenda and contact list! And by creating room around yourself, you'll attract new people that are more in line with your new values/principles and won't expect so much time from you!

People, like money, like stuff, are energy: they are meant to move around us.  We should not be attached to them anymore then to a couch or a pair or pants (I am not saying here that stuff is more important then people, people will bring us experience, lessons and memories, but what I want you to understand is that we tend to get attach to people more than we should - no one will be in our life for ever - except our self)! People should go in and out of our lives... they are there for us for a while like we are there for them for a while... and then we move on and so do they!  We learned and we build, hopefully, good memories and a stronger self.

I hope this will help you in your journey! I know I would have loved to know that a few years ago...

I do not know precisely where each one of you stand on minimalism but I find that those 8 points, are very useful for myself - I still remind myself of them quite regularly as this is a life process not a project!  It will never end therefore it's good to be reminded!

Is there anything else that this process helped you discover about yourself?  About life?

thanks for reading!  and sharing!


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