My journey with minimalism started by accident, three years ago. I moved to a new apartment during a busy, tumultuous time and didn’t make unpacking a priority – I simply would take out what I needed from each box as it was required.
During this time, it occurred to me how few possessions I needed to live and be happy. I didn’t consciously feel the energetic weight of all my belongings – yet.
That period welcomed a lot of changes in my life – I ended a 10-year battle with painkillers, a 6-year relationship and moved out on my own for the very first time.
Like most, I had accumulated decades worth of stuff. Thousands of books, hundreds of pairs of shoes, a stupid amount of clothes, useless furniture and knickknacks. Ugh, the knickknacks.
I told myself this was normal, I mean I wasn’t like a hoarder or anything, my house was always neat, clean and everything had its place.
But… Hidden in cupboards across multiple spare bedrooms (like really, who needs more than one spare bedroom?) were cardboard boxes overflowing with things that hadn’t seen the light of day in years. Boxes that had been moved from house to house, thrown in the back of a wardrobe or cupboard, never opened let alone unpacked. One such box started its journey in 2009 when I moved from my mother’s house and was never looked inside again, until 2015. Insanity.
I don’t know about you, but I found that weekly dusting of knickknacks that I had collected over the years that were full of superficial sentiment was a total drainer.
The energetic weight made itself known for the first time when I saw my shoes packed up and ready to go to my new home. I don’t want to be dramatic but it was a metric fuckton. Like seriously, who needs that many pairs of shoes? Ridiculous.
My new (albeit large) one bedroom apartment in Bayside seemed tiny compared to the three bed, three living area house I had lived in previously. There weren’t as many places to hide THE STUFF.
Very quickly the sheer amount of boxes to unpack became overwhelming. My shoes alone took up half the living room. The large walk-in-robe was overflowing rather quickly.
It felt easier to leave everything stashed away.
The second time I felt the energetic weight was after a few months of living in my new apartment. Unpacking was still not a priority and many boxes were left untouched, hidden away in secret shame. I was taking items out when required and more often than not, I found they were not required. Do I really need all this stuff? How many times was I going to move these boxes from apartment to apartment?
Several months later the weight showed up for the third time. I was moving, again, for the second time that year into a bigger (!!!), shared apartment. I paid almost $1,000 AUD for two handsome men with a van to move all THE STUFF to my new apartment.
It hadn’t yet occurred to me that I could just get rid of it all and be free.
And the settling in, not unpacking merry-go-round started again.
However, the first conscious effort to minimise began soon after, in mid-2015, several months after the second move. I hadn’t read any blogs, watched any movies or podcasts about minimalism to teach me how. It was a natural process which happened as a result of cutting away that which no longer served me – food, substances, relationships.
I sold furniture, electronics, Lego collections, clothes and donated about a thousand books to the Salvation Army.
The more I let go, the easier it became. It became my way of life. Purge, repeat, purge. Some things were harder to get rid of than others – over time, I became ruthless.
The second conscious effort happened when my holiday in Poland became permanent. I made the decision to stay and create my life here.
I did not go back to sort out my life. (That is a whole other blog post). Everything was either sold, given away or thrown out. A large box of winter clothing and some of my favourite items was shipped to me across the ocean.
I came to Poland in June 2016 with two suitcases and a Prada handbag.
In my time here I haven’t accumulated many new things. Sure, I purchased some items to fit out my kitchen (chopping boards, bowls and crockery), and some basic things to make life comfortable such as bedding, a table to eat at, a mirror and a small couch for guests. I even bought some new clothes.
- I went from owning 15 handbags to just one.
- 150 pairs of shoes whittled down to about 8.
- Hundreds of books reduced down to approximately 20.
- 30 mugs turned into 5.
- 8 sets of bedding became 2.
- 20 towels shrunk down to 3.
Each purchase is considered. Do I need it? Do I have something similar? Is it going to make my life more beautiful? Is it going to make my life easier? Will I use/wear it and if so how often?
The answer must always be yes.