02 Nov MY JOURNEY TO LIVING MORE MINIMALLY
“If you make a habit of buying things you do not need, you will soon be selling things you do.” —Filipino Proverb
I used to think that things = happiness. And while some material items do “spark joy”, I’ve learned its a temporary high and less really is more. This phenomenon occurred for me after I went through brain surgery. I quickly learned that my health, my family and financial security are the most important things in my life. Those are the things that bring TRUE, deep, genuine happiness, everything else is material fluff.
Growing up in a more affluent area and going to private school, I was conditioned at a young at by consumerism. Seeing what others had, I always wanted the new cool clothes, the purses, the jewelry, the car etc. I felt like once I had those things I would belong and fit in. The thing is, there is always MORE. Once you get something you want, there is something even better and better. That mindset is never ending. It is this feeling of never having enough.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I like quality material items and I have “expensive taste” as my mother always told me. However, now I understand the balance of needs and wants. I understand the financial boundary I need to set in order to respect myself. I also understand that “things” do not bring happiness. Now every time I make a purchase, I ask myself these questions:
“Do I need this?”
“Do I want this?”
” Is buying this filling a void?”
“How and where was this created?”
“Who am I supporting by the purchase?”
Asking yourself these questions can help you reflect on motivation behind the purchase. It also remind us of the secondary effect spending money has on our world. A lot of clothing aka “fast fashion” is made in foreign countries where there is underage and under paid labor happening under poor working conditions.
Bringing mindfulness into purchases is very beneficial. It saves us from “buyers remorse” and “guilt” associated with decisions that come from the wrong intentions.
Now, how do we live more minimally? What does it mean to live more minimally? To me, living more minimally means to get rid of things that I do not use or need. It means to release attachment to “things” and to create an uncluttered, peaceful, zen environment. It means detaching from the ideas that we need “things” to feel enough or an obsession of needing and wanting more and more.
In 2016, my husband and I bought our first home. We went from living in a vey small space in NYC to a 4 bedroom home with a backyard (or “outdoor space” as NYer’s call it)! We had so much space we didn’t even know what to do with it. I bought ALL new furniture to furnish our home and to created an uncluttered intentional space. But when you have more space, you have more space to store things. I could buy buy buy and our home still did not look or feel cluttered. In 2019 we decided it was time to move back to NYC. I wasn’t happy in the suburbs. I thought buying a home and decorated it and having space would bring joy, and it did, temporarily. But my heart was in NYC and my passion was my health coaching business. We sold our house and 80% of everything in it. Beds, couches, tables, chairs, rugs, desks, clothes etc. Everything I bought brand new 3 years prior I was getting rid of. It felt so good – it was just STUFF. What brought me joy was on the other side – another small NYC apartment in a city I love with someone I love. That is what matters.
So I went from my own walk in closet to a shared closet with my husband. I went from over 70 pairs of shoes to 20. I went from 50 pairs of pants to 10. I sold a lot of expensive purses and shoes I accumulated over the years. I went from 2 cars to my feet and a metro pass. I went from a having a separate study, living room, dinging room, TV room to a kitchen/dining/living/study all in one! I had boxes of “memorabilia” form high school / grade school / college – I through it all in the dumpster with the except a FEW keep sakes. You know how your kitchen drawers get clogged with so much “junk”? I donated it all and went to NYC with NEEDS only (any my juicer, but that’s a need for sure;)). It felt so good. It felt freeing.
- Ask yourself those questions above whenever making a purchase
- When you buy something new, donate something
- Don’t have any “junk” drawers – Everything has a space or it doesn’t belong
When we have an uncluttered space, we are decluttering our mind as well. Sometimes holding on to “stuff” can bring emotional clutter. Carrying this around can prevent us from growing, changing and evolving. Release it physically and emotionally. Live more free!
To me, becoming a minimalist and living more minimally is all MINDSET. It is asking yourself the questions above. It is finding the balance for you. Embracing a minimalist mindset is one of the more powerful ways to rekindle your passions and rediscover your purpose in life. Life is not about what quantity, it is all about quality.