Decluttering: the Why is more important than the How

*my thoughts on Minimalism isn’t for everyone. I have always been attracted to a clean and organized home but was also addicted to impulsive consumerism, over worked schedule and plain old laziness to ever achieve the aesthetics of having my dream minimalist home. This is my journey of recovery from said impulsive consumerism and finding what truly makes me happy.*

I remember when Mari Kondo’s book “the life-changing magic of tidying up” was the talk of the town and everyone was asking themselves, “does this thing give me joy?”. I too am guilty of purchasing the book and going through every corner of my cluttered (yet so insanely well organized that it never felt cluttered) 550 square foot apartment looking for things that didn’t “bring me joy”. I gave away half of my closet and shoe “collection”, donated dozens of books and cleaned out my medicine cabinet full of skin care and make-up that I didn’t love.

And for a couple of months, it was great. I looked into my closet and did indeed find that I loved every article of clothing I owned and choosing what to wear wasn’t a time consuming or stressful issue. Doing my makeup still took as long, not because I was looking for THAT eyeliner brush I loved so much (I only kept the brushes that “brought me joy”), but because I had to choose the shade of nude pink lipstick among my 5 favorite shades of nude pink lipstick. You see, all of shades of nude pink brought me joy so I wasn’t going to keep just one!

Then the seasons began to change and the emails urgine me to take advantage of the end of the season sales started to arrive… It became the season of sweater weather, boot season, holiday parties,skin drying cold gusts of air, and I must make changes to my skin care routine to accommodate! And let me tell you. This was a time in my life when NEW THINGS brought me an immense amount of joy. I work hard and I deserve retail therapy, darn it! –was my motto. So, needless to say, within a year of reading Kondo’s book, my closet, bookshelf, makeup drawer, souvenirs added up (traveling brings me joy and I would buy little trinkets so that I can preserve that joyous feeling forever) were all filled with things that once brought me joy.

Then it was time for us to start a new chapter in our lives and we decided to move from Manhattan back to his hometown in Jersey. I did such an amazing job of organizing and putting things away in my tiny apartment that I didn’t know the sheer amount of STUFF I owned until I started packing things away. And It was a ridiculous amount of stuff but I didn’t worry about it because, Hello, suburbia. Hello, more space. But we quickly learned that more space meant more room to bring new things that brought us joy to. I love a clean, tidy organized space but this tidying up and stuff that brings joy just wasn’t working for me. I needed a new solution. I needed to find a way to minimize my life, declutter my home and really truly figure out WHY I was so infatuated by Kondo’s method of tidying-up to begin with!

And that’s when I came across The Minimalists on the Ted Talks channel on YouTube. This minimalism duo really spoke to us because they actually did the thing that we talked about doing for the last couple of years, which is…

Let’s give ALL THIS UP. Let’s find what we are truly passionate about, lets move to Hawai’i where we can grow our own vegetables in our backyard, eat our lunches at our favorite lookout and watch surfers dance in the waves  and give our doggies a day at the beach every weekend. If we can cut our living our expenses down to what is only absolutely necessary, we COULD live in paradise and live the life we always dream about before falling a sleep at night. Let’s sell off all of our belongings that we don’t need and f*ck what people think, who cares about keeping up with trends and having the newest and coolest gadgets, and a nice brand new car only brings us stress because if we get a scratch on it we’ll be mad and why should we invite that kind of negativity into our lives? The more we have, the more we have to clean, and my Grandfather once told me don’t have a statue of a Buddah in your home unless you are going to take the time to clean it and pay respects to it every single day, so what we should do is treat everything we bring into our home like a Buddah statue. (rant over)

But doing this is easier said and done. I chose a lifestyle early in my life where I chose to do something that will take me anywhere in the world and I can ALWAYS find a job. Simon, on the other hand, did not. So giving up that corporate life isn’t the best option for him right now, but we decided that outside of our jobs, we will practice minimalism to bring peace and contentment into our lives.

Through theminimalsits.com, I figured out WHY the minimalist life is so attractive to me and now that I know the WHY, the HOW makes so much more sense. The WHY also gives me the confidence to stay on this path and feels much more fulfilling and satisfying when I declutter my mind and space. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, The Minimalist lifestyle isn’t for everyone. I know people that aren’t at all bothered by clutter and has no desire to apply any part of this lifestyle to their lives and that’s okay. I just know that for me, less means more. Less choices mean less options. Less options mean faster decisions. Faster decisions mean having more time to focus on the things that really matter. Having less of anything means spending less time doing things that I don’t necessarily enjoy doing and having more time to do the things that bring me joy.

I really like Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus’ theMinimalists podcasts because they ALWAYS talk about the WHY as well as the HOW. The WHY will turn decluttering from a mere spring cleaning session into a lifestyle that will truly change your life. Their outlook on life aligns with the Buddhism teachings that I study and value . They talk about prioritizing what’s REALLY important, asking the right questions like, “does this add value to my life” and following up with “does this bring me joy” which is a much more practical than “does this bring me joy?” alone. They clear things up like “just in case” items and “for when I need it” items. Granted, a lot of the questions they answer are answers that you already know, but let’s face it. Sometimes we need to hear it out loud from others for us to really listen and apply to our lives.

The Ted Talks Videos by the Minimalists that inspired me

Links To Check Out


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