Minimalism: The Art of Letting Go

For the past few weeks I have been downsizing. I don’t just mean letting a few old and broken things go, I mean I’ve taken a head first dive into minimalism. I’ve taken a 6 month job abroad to get some travel bug dreams actualized and some teaching under my belt. This new leap means however, that all my possessions and belongings that I have oh-so cherished and moved from now 3 homes (uni & 2 apartments) will very suddenly not have a home. As such, I’ve become quite a friend to pinterest, searching up minimalism ‘hacks’.

Let me tell you world, there are a lot of fabulous ideas out there on how to declutter your life, all of which terrified me. Of course I’m not letting go of everything. Some boxes and treasured pieces will find homes with some of my willing friends and family. However, the thought of throwing out that Billibong dress I bought 3 years ago for Easter dinner and never wore again-well it just makes my heart hurt a little.

Its got me thinking- what makes us so attached to these things? I started to build up categories of my attachment- and began to find that it helped me to let go. Looking at thing and knowing why I was attached to it, which category of my life it fit into, helped me figure out if it should be let go of or saved. This started to help me more than some of the pinterest hacks I had tried so I thought I would share!

1.The ‘Me’ Museum 

One of my biggest categories was for why I couldn’t let go was the ‘memory’ aspect. I have boxes of memory artifacts- movie tickets from 7 years ago, student cards, airplane tickets…you name it, I kept it. I even have double bubble gum wrappers (the jokes on them are hilarious, okay?). What stops me from letting go is this one though “what if I want to look back on this when I’m 80?”. First of all, who wants to look at gum wrappers when they’re 80? Second, I would hate to grow old and have my belongings become a museum of my life. I’d rather they show I lived, rather than show that I simply held on to everything. I’ve started letting some things go- its been a hard process but, if I keep my journals, who needs the artifacts, right?

Method of Minimizing: Is there a way I can combine all these artifacts into one artifact so I don’t lose out on the memory but I save the space? 

2. Moving Around The Furniture

Furniture has been another hard thing to minimizer. Why? Because of the cost. It has nothing to do with sentimentality. I’ve been taught from a young age that you use something until it has completed its purpose- you don’t throw away things that still function. Well, I have bookshelves and side tables and coffee carts that have not fulfilled their entire purpose and yet, I can’t just carry em’ across the pond with me.  The problem with furniture is that its not so easy to give away! Especially when you don’t own a car! I’ve been fighting to make peace with the fact that these perfectly useful (not matching in any sort of way) pieces of  furniture will be garbage. Reduced to firewood basically. What helps? Knowing that I will feel SO MUCH lighter when its all said and done. AND that when I come back, I will be able to start fresh. Most of my belongings are pre-used by my family members, which is why its all a bit mismatched. When I come back, I will have a clean starting ground!

Method of Minimizing: How good will starting fresh without this piece of furniture feel? ( the answer is gooooood)

3. Clothing, Books and Art- Oh My! 

This was the overwhelming part. I have so. much. stuff. So many articles of clothing. So many books. To let go of pieces in this category,  I had to move fast. I envisioned the black garbage bag to be something like a black hole- what goes in DOES NOT come back out. If there was even 0.001% of me that thought I could live without the object- in the bag it went. And this went on for.days. In fact- its still going on. I’ve filled countless bags with clothing and books and my old paintings that are of absolutely no monetary worth. I’ve donated some clothes, pawned some movies and given away some books to family & friends, but the stuff is still piling up. It is a constant checking in and letting go.

Method of Minimizing: As soon as there is the tiniest voice in your mind saying “I don’t use that” or “I haven’t touched/ worn that in ages” you must tackle the letting go of it. There is no doing it later- put it in the bag and watch it slip into a vortex that is not your own. 

 

“Its not that you should own nothing – its that nothing should own you” Its been a wonderful practice, this letting go of things. I’ve found that I’m okay with owning nothing and I’m okay with owning abundance- but there is a place in between where I am better than okay, I am happy!

xx

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