The More of Having Less

Lately I’ve been reading some books and articles about a particular concept of living, where the point is you can focus on the important things, if you minimize your physical possession. It’s called minimalism. Well, it’s unlikely of me to read a ‘self-improvement-slash-personal development’ kind of books but it intrigued me. So, really, how minimizing our physical possessions can affect our way of living?

I bet some of us have ever felt like so lazy to do anything just because our room is messy. For me, if my room is in total mess, I can’t focus on doing my assignments and work. I can’t place my laptop properly ’cause there are stuff on the desk, and this trivial thing distracts me. Usually, I just started cleaning up and continued on what I worked. Okay. Cool. My room is clean. Let’s do the work. But it didn’t last long. In the long run I wondered; why every time I’m done tidying up, sooner or later it gets messy again? And that was when I figured out; I own too many stuff. And most of them I barely even used. I read articles on the Internet about how visible mess could contribute to our mood in doing activities, and how eliminating our stuff could help. I mean, does it really work that way?

So, I was doing major cleaning up in my room and I ended up having a big box full of stuff I didn’t even realize I had; unopened markers, last semester’s handouts, crumpled papers, cute notebooks I never write on, some “I might read it later” books, some “I might wear it sometime” clothes, broken watches, no-cap pens, dusty boxes of shoes, and so on. Those things unconsciously took many space in my room.

I started to get rid of ’em all. The most significant change was my wardrobe. I used to own a lot of clothes, which some of them are just folded nicely in the wardrobe, untouched. Often times I bought them just because “oh so cute” or “hey look 30% off”, even though I don’t know if I would wear it long-term. When I had to go out, it took me a long time to pick which ones I should wear and how to mix-and-match them. That “I think I don’t have enough clothes” moment every girl can relate.

So I started curating my clothes. I get rid of those which didn’t fit anymore and which I’m not sure I would wear it sometime. I keep the versatile ones that make me comfortable wearing them, the ones that I really like. Now that I have less option, getting ready becomes quicker and more efficient. Well, every day we have to decide on many important things, and I think it’s such a waste of time to spend half an hour only to decide what to wear. (except for first date of course! lol)

After I decluttered my stuff, I can feel the difference. Now that I have less stuff, my room looks more spacious and airy. I think it works. This new change makes me feel more mindful and fresh. It helps me focus on what I’m working on and I don’t get distracted by a pile of books I never read or other trivial things like empty mineral bottles on the desk. And when I need something, it takes me less time to find that particular stuff cause everything has its own place. I don’t even have to tidy up so often ’cause I no longer kept those random knick-knacks that used to be lying on the floor or bed.

So, if you’re feeling unmotivated, uneasy, and stressful that anything won’t even help, try look around you and start decluttering stuff you don’t need. Unnecessary things take up not only physical space but unconsciously also the space in our mind and our attention. The analogy is like when you have a 16gb-storage phone (yay, me) and the “storage is full” notification keeps popping out. The first thing to do is deleting the app, screenshots, and other data you don’t need, right? You sort what’s important and what’s not, so you can make room for the app and things you frequently access. You don’t get distracted from unwanted notifications.

The point of minimalism is you’re aware of what’s essential to you, and give room for it by eliminating the elements that don’t add value to your life. If you can let go of your possession, in the future you will be able to level-up and let go of other ‘things’ that’s been holding you on.

Oh, and one quote:

“Use things, love people. The opposite never works.” — Joshua Fields Millburn

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The books I read:

  1. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
  2. Minimalism: Living a Meaningful Life by Joshua Fields Millburn
  3. Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki