Why I Became a Minimalist?

Minimalism has suddenly taken the internet by storm. We have all spent more time at home this past year, than in our entire lives. This probably made many realize how much unnecessary stuff they have gathered around the house. The economic downturn also made people realize how to spend money on things that matter and not unnecessary items that only add to the clutter.

Younger generations are going to extremes by putting all they own into a van, while Baby Boomers are retiring, downsizing, and choosing to save money, time, and energy. If the 90s were the age of Consumerism, 2020 onwards is becoming the age of minimalism. More and more media outlets are covering the rise of minimalism. An online community has grown supporting the growth of minimalism.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

Honestly, I have always been a minimalist without knowing what it means. My parents maintained a frugal lifestyle. My father had a transferable job and we lived most of our lives in Government staff quarters or rented homes. As we shifted base frequently, my parents owned very less stuff. We hardly had any furniture. They were also economical about buying clothes. Whatever we possessed fitted in two big steel trunks and two VIP suitcases.

My parents started buying things only after they retired and purchased a home. However, things were very different with my in-laws. They have stayed in the same house for over 7 decades. Their house is stuffed with STUFF. My mother-in-law doesn’t like to throw away anything and the house has hardly any space left, even though it is a 5 bedroom duplex.

In the initial days of marriage, my home also started becoming a mini-storehouse. My mother-in-law used to visit often with suitcase full of stuff. She used to bring those stuff with so much love and blessings that I always felt guilty throwing them away or donating them. Husband and I also started gathering stuff from various places and gradually the home became full. I remember, I used to feel so overwhelmed those days. I used to keep cleaning the house from morning to night, yet my house used to be cluttered. When I think in retrospect, it was the excess possessions that were creating the clutter.

I suffer from ataxophobia, a certain kind of obsessive compulsive disorder. Clutter only triggers my disorder. One day, while googling something regarding ataxophobia, I came across Marie Kondo and her Kon Mari method. She made me realize that only organising my stuff was not enough. I need to de-clutter. Back in those days, I did not have a Netflix subscription but I took the subscription only to watch Kondo’s Netflix show “Tidying up with Marie Kondo“. Gradually, I got stuck by the de-cluttering movement. From de-cluttering, I graduated to minimalism, an entire philosophy that believes that happiness lies in owning less.

I am part of a beautiful minimalist community where we encourage each other to own less and declutter. In some countries minimalism and de-cluttering is part of the culture. For example, Japan is inspired by spartan aesthetics of zen Buddhism and they believe in possessing less. In Sweden also they believe in a concept called Swedish death cleaning where they de-clutter every possession as they grow old.

Possessions do not bring us happiness, relationships does.

There are numerous benefits that I have gained from minimalism. It is almost becoming my Ikigai.

Photo by Karina Zhukovskaya on Pexels.com
  1. Minimalism is all about mindfulness. It teaches you to buy things that really matters. Things that you NEED and not WANT.
  2. As you buy less things, it help you save money.
  3. Less things means you spend less time caring for the things that you have bought. So less time is spend dusting, organizing and tending to stuff. The time and energy that you save can help you spend more time with people who matter or do things that you love to do.
  4. It teaches you that LESS is MORE.
  5. It helps you to be happy with what you have.
  6. Minimalism taught me to disassociate emotions from possessions. My mother or grandmother live in my heart and not in the old and torn saree that they left behind. I suffered for years with not being able to throw away or donate things due to emotional reasons. Thankfully, now I can do it.
  7. Minimalism is not only restricted to books, furniture and clothes. It is related to every aspect of life. You can be happy with less friends, less social media followers, less food and less emotional baggage. It is quality over quantity.

Minimalism have made my life stress-free. However, minimalism is not a one time thing. It is a practice. The more you do the better you get at it. I am planning to downsize even more. I will keep you guys posted. Are you willing to adopt minimalism or do you think that this is just another fad trend that will go away with time. I would love to hear from you. Till then, take care, stay home, and stay safe.

31 thoughts on “Why I Became a Minimalist?

  1. Jas krish says:

    Yes, one got to undersrand the difference between needs and desires , the necessity of letting go…we get so attached to not just relationships but also materialt things..
    Even we have decluttered the house this year…we had accumulated so much due the transferrable job and carried it all over …certain things just lying packed for long..
    Stay blessed..
    🙏🌹🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shweta Suresh says:

    Minimalism is a beautiful concept indeed. We can declutter, prevent ourselves from shelling out money on things that we don’t want, and of course save our houses from being stuffed with stuff. Great post, dear. How have you been? It’s been a while since I’ve heard from you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lata Sunil says:

    I have been on the journey to minimalism for few years now. It was about 3 years ago when I was shifting to a new flat. We had planned to interior it up as a big splurge. Thankfully, I discovered minimalistic living in the nick of time. We did away with not creating any furniture we do not need. The interior design guy was unhappy about it as we cancelled couple cupboards and wardrobes, stands, but life is so much less stressful. We were going to create new furniture. But we ended up reusing all our old ones by just changing the sunmica and a fresh set of knobs and polish. There are always alternatives. Another thing I cut down on is unnecessary appliances and utensils. So, microwave was removed once it stopped working. Downsized on clothes purchases. I have never been happier. Only thing i can’t give away are my books. Hope to get around it too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      This is such a beautiful comment. I am so happy to find someone on a similar journey. We did the same in our new flat. Reused old furniture. Actually we have bare minimum furniture. I have downsized my clothes by 70%. I am only clinging to my books. But recently gave away almost 20 books to a community library. I am honestly so happy to read your comment.

      Like

  4. arv! says:

    Minimalism is a difficult concept to digest for most Indians. The reason is cultural. We want to save for the “what if” scenario. But yes, the new generation is changing fast.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Yes, for us it is difficult but even within India there are cultures that promote minimalism. For example the Jains, even in Hinduism we are not supposed to.cling to objects and learn to give away. We do have a culture of “daan” where we should give away the excess. Unfortunately, we do not take religious institutions the way we are supposed to take it. We just distort it as per our own convenience.
      Thank you for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sunita Saldhana says:

    Have been trying to clutter clear for decades . This year my daughter decided to give my house a make over and she helped me decide what to keep and what to throw. She is an amazing organiser and showed me how to organise my stuff so that it was accessible, yet neat. We threw out/ donated/ recycled 20 to 30 big garbage bags of things.
    The only thing that hurt was giving away my books. I still have a lot left and I think that is never going to go away. But I have decided to think ten times before buying a paper back,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      I can understand that giving away books can be difficult. I also had difficulty in giving them away but finally donated them to the community library. I can now see them, read them without cluttering my home.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Tulika says:

    I read some pieces shared by Lata and I liked the idea of being minimalistic – the idea of large open uncluttered spaces, of freeing myself from ‘stuff’. But I also love this same stuff and am a bit of a hoarder. I love my yellow lamp and my pots of plants and shelves filled with books and large over-stuffed sofas to sink in. So it’s a bit of a conundrum for me. That said, in my own limited way I have started getting rid of things I may never use. Small start, I know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      I believe not everything is for everyone. One should do only what feels good. I often give the example of Satyajit Ray whose room is to be always a mess. Once some journalists asked him that Sir why do you keep your room so messy? Ray replied “a messy room helps me think”. We all are different, while some of us find peace in an empty room a genius finds happiness in a messy room. So do not beat yourself and just do what makes you happy.

      Like

  7. Corinne Rodrigues says:

    I think those of us who have moved several times learn to manage with a little. Having said that, our place is cluttered now with my parents’ stuff and some of ours. It’s taking time (and energy) to get rid of stuff. I started the process, but abandoned it simply because I’m so tired at the end of each day!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Balaka says:

      Yes Cory, shifting too many times teaches you to manage with little. If you feel overwhelmed then just do only 15 minutes of decluttering everyday. Use a stopwatch and finish within 15 minutes. That will help you declutter without stress. Let me know how it is going.

      Like

  8. Modern Gypsy says:

    Minimalism is a beautiful concept, and minimal homes do look quite nice, but it doesn’t work for me, personally. I like the look of a lived-in home – not necessarily stuffed to the gills, but not minimal either. Somewhere in between, maybe?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      The truth is that the concept of minimalism is often misinterpreted. Minimalism is not what we see on Instagram. It is not about empty homes only. It is a way of life where you declutter the things that do not add value to your life. Even I am not in favor of extreme minimalism and linger somewhere in between

      Like

  9. Vinitha says:

    I don’t like clutter either. Minimalism is definitely a way of life, a healthy way. My mom still has the gifts she got for her wedding with her. Mostly showcase pieces and vessels. I have questioned her many times. Why keep it when you hardly use it! But the sentimental attachment is something they can’t part with. We all have that issue. But the sooner we realize that “Possessions do not bring us happiness, relationships does” the clutter will disappear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      I guess the previous generation is hung up with items. My MIL is also fond of things in her showcase from God knows when. I guess their attachment is too deep. I have also given up explaining her. If she is happy then let her keep them.

      Like

  10. shilpagupte says:

    I too realised it a few years ago and last year we actually got rid of half our stuff, right from furniture to utensils to clothes….Almost everything we now have can fit within a one BHK apartment. it is such a relief living with less number of things that we need and not want. it creates that much more space in your mind, too. I love the concept of minimalism and am incorporating it in my digital life too. Getting rid of stuff that means really nothing. Unnecessary social media platforms that don’t give me anything except followers that don’t matter are all on their way out.
    I think we all need to make it a part of our life, for all the peace it brings along with it, right? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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