“I changed my thinking – It changed my life”
min·i·mal·ism /ˈminəməˌlizəm/ noun a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by [extreme] spareness and simplicity
Let’s talk about Minimalism. Minimalism has quite a bad reputation. Many people think of some kind of hardcore lifestyle with many rules. Minimalism is often thought of that you can only own x amount of things, hardly any furniture, and you sleep on a mattress on the floor. This is such a misleading image!
Yes, there are people who have a lifestyle as described above, but this is not the definition of a minimalist.
Minimalism is a way to get to the essentials of your life; you will start to appreciate the things you do keep in your life and their function. Whether it is there to bring you joy, or to fulfill a function. It’s a new way of thinking about everything in your life.
Through minimalism, you can get a feeling of freedom, order, and peace. It looks different for everyone, and you have to find your own way.
My own story
I will start by sharing my own story, including some embarrassing moments.
As a child, I was always collecting stuff. The collection changed as I got older, but it was Barbie, Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Paddington Bear, Disney videos and everything related to The Backstreet Boys. There was also a short Peter Andre and Jeremy Jackson moment. Yes, I told you there were some embarrassing stops along the way.
Luckily, my room was never a mess. I was always cleaning up, organizing and rearranging my bedroom. My Barbie dolls were living in their own apartment building made in a shelf unit, the posters of The Backstreet Boys were neatly covering my wallpaper and doors and their interviews I kept in books, organized by date. Mickey & Minnie Mouse had their own shelf and all my sketching tools were together in my desk drawers. In other words, there was no clutter, not really. Well, it was an organized clutter.
In my childhood, I had a friend who was a few years younger than me. Sometimes she was still in her midday nap when I came to pick her up for playing. So I stayed with her mom in the living room.
My friend had a little desk in the living room with some toys and some clay and pencils and things to play with. So, what I often did (if not every time), was to take everything out of the cupboard in the desk and to clean the shelves in the cupboard. And when that was dry (because you never put the stuff back when the shelves are wet…), I categorized everything and put it back accordingly. The crayons should be together with the clay, markers, and paper, etc.
On the bottom shelf, I put the puzzles together with other toys.
I never talked about it with her mom, but when I think about those moments – she must have thought her things about this. Yes, looking back on it, I’m a little bit embarrassed about this now.
It’s kind of a Monica from Friends moment…
When my mom was not home, I often cleaned up the fridge. First, I took all the ingredients out, and then I cleaned all the shelves and drawers in the fridge. While the fridge was drying, I time to categorize all the vegetables, drinks, sauces, leftovers and then put everything back in the fridge accordingly. The vegetables in the drawers at the bottom, some fruits in the other drawers. I put the drinks together – the cardboard ones at the top shelf of the fridge, the sodas in the door, etc.
What I just couldn’t believe, is that it wasn’t already organized like that. I was sure this improved my mother’s life at that time.
My current ‘minimalist’ lifestyle is not a big surprise
I’m sharing this to show that I have collected things since I was little, but I have also had a bit of an obsession with keeping things organized–whether it was my own stuff or other people’s. So, I guess my current ‘minimalist’ lifestyle is not a big surprise and came quite naturally. But I know that is not the case for everyone, which is how this blog started. I’ll share some guidelines and tools that can help you create your own minimalist life. Hopefully, you can try some things out and find some inspiration in the process… and don’t be afraid to make mistakes – that is how we learn!
You don’t become a minimalist overnight
Minimalism is a process. I think for many, if not for most people – you don’t become a minimalist overnight. You don’t even have to call yourself a minimalist.
I often say that I live a ‘minimalist lifestyle’ and by that, I mean that I get rid of excess and really focus on the essentials, on what I really need or what makes me happy.
Now there is nothing wrong with having ‘things’, but it’s important that it doesn’t become ‘stuff’ and it will never become ‘clutter’.
Minimalism – what it means to me.
Almost a year ago I moved abroad. This definitely helped the process of owning fewer things. Now everything had to fit in a couple of (big) suitcases. I thought I owned very little, but once you need to fit your life in suitcases, you’ll still find that you own quite a lot. I was living in a small studio apartment in Amsterdam without extra storage outside the apartment, but it just didn’t fit. There were too many clothes and too many shoes.
I sold many clothes on a website like eBay or Craigslist and gave away many things to my friends.
When I arrived in my new home abroad, I found out that many things (mostly clothes) were not what I needed any more. It’s strange how a change of scenery totally changes the way you look at things. I think I got rid of 65% of the clothes I brought with me.
Minimalism has helped me to…
Be less controlled
Make decisions more consciously
Appreciate the things I love
To differentiate the feelings of Like and Love
Feel free from guilt
Live in the momentFocus on my health
Get rid of excess stuff
Feel what is really important
Live with less and feel more enriched
Appreciate the things I own and treat it with more care and love
Change my thinking
Be less attached to things, I don’t feel I ‘own’ things
Realize what I really need
Minimalism changed my thinking and it changed my life.
Are you excited to start minimizing your home? Do you have a friend or a family member in need? Comment, like, and share!
Thank you for reading. We’re in this together.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Biek (pronounced: Beak). I’m Dutch and I grew up in Holland, but I’ve been living abroad for three years now and am currently settling down in Singapore.
While my passions extend into a lot of different creative outlets – from interior design to visual arts – my first love was fashion. I’ve worked in the fashion industry for twenty years now, both retail and design, from fast-fashion chains to high-end labels. Follow Biek on IG @biekaleidoscope