Baby steps towards minimalism

Minimalism – I came across this word a few months back. I found the concept intriguing , so i started reading about it. I read all about Leo Babuata and all his wonderful posts. I read about Joshua and Ryan and many more minimalists. The more I read, the more fascinated I was. But though minimalism did appeal to me but at the same time, it appeared very intimidating!

What exactly is minimalism? According to Leo Babuata, “Minimalism says that what’s unnecessary is a luxury, and a waste. Why be wasteful when the unnecessary isn’t needed for happiness? When it just gets in the way of happiness, of peace? By eliminating the unnecessary, we make room for the essential, and give ourselves more breathing space.”

The less you have and do, the more you will feel free! So true but at the same time, so scary! All this time, we have been looking for happiness in our possessions and suddenly, we realise that we are looking in the wrong place. And then we are so attached with our possessions. After all, we spent our hard-earned money on buying them and then there are sentimental values attached to each of our things. And our possessions also give us that false sense of security.

So yes, minimalism did scare the hell out of me! I have always been fond of buying things. Whenever I am stressed, I shop! It’s another story though how Art of Living and Sudarshan Kriya has brought down my stress levels considerably and now I don’t need a reason to be happy. But still minimalism seemed difficult to me because :

  • I love shopping and buy lots of clothes. So I couldn’t imagine myself buying less.
  • I love reading but I like to buy books and then read. Used books don’t fascinate me.
  • I am not very disciplined in my food and exercise habits. At times, I am very good and regular in exercising and cutting junk out of my diet but then I again fall back into my old habits.
  • Getting up early is again something I am not very regular at. Till last month, I was getting up at 5 am and then doing yoga and meditation. And I must admit what a beautiful start of the day that used to be! But then again I became indisciplined.
  • I am addicted to internet and I can’t imagine my life without it.
  • Being an overly-emotional Cancerian,I have a great difficulty in letting go.

I know I want to become a minimalist and it would be a wonderful step towards a more meaningful, happier life but knowing myself, I also know that the change has to be slow and gradual.

So over the last few weeks, I have been making a few changes in my life. I have started decluttering process in my home and my workplace.Though a lot needs to be done but at least, I have started. I have been donating old clothes and toys to an orphanage from last few months.It’s better that someone needy uses the stuff that’s just lying as junk in my place.

I have been regular with my meditations and intend to do the same with exercising and my food habits.I don’t plan to hit the gym again but yoga and walks are back in my routine.

I have cut down on my internet usage drastically and plan to do away with internet connection at home.My son is horrified at the very idea of no internet at home! I have also reduced my telephone usage and I don’t spend so much time in idle chit-chatting over the phone that I used to do earlier.

I have subscribed to a public library so that I can cut down spending on books.But I must admit, I didn’t enjoy getting the books from library.Old and borrowed books just don’t appeal to me.So I am still exploring this area and being a bibliophile, giving away my books don’t appeal to me either. May be with time, I will learn to be a minimalist in this area.

Another interesting idea which I have implemented is ‘giving away a thing everyday.’This I read in one of the websites and it’s a very easy and quick way of cutting down on clutter.In this way, I will get rid of 365 things by the end of the year.

My main stumbling block lies in curbing shopping habits. I admit I have more than enough clothes and still, I am unable to resist the temptation of buying more. This is even having an adverse effect on my finances. But as they say, awareness is the key. Now that I am aware of my problem, I am sure I will find a way out of it too.

And I decided to share my intent of reducing the clutter in my life on this platform so that I don’t fall back into old patterns again. One is more likely to keep the promises made to oneself when one shares it with others. So by making my intention of a minimalist lifestyle public, I am making a commitment to myself that I will continue with my baby steps towards minimalism and a happier, meaningful life.