drawing by moonassi
I want to share a dream I had a few nights ago, that really mad its impact on me. I won’t share all the details, just the important details related to minimalism. In my dream I smashed a glass-jar on the ground out of anger and short afterwards I was feeling somehow responsible and accountable for my action so I immediately started picking up the glass pieces on the ground. For some reason once I’ve smashed the object to pieces, I found some tranquillity and got the answers to my frustration but that is not the point. While delicately picking up the glass shards in my bare hands, I came across many other stuff on the ground. Stuff that never got my attention, nor was I aware of their existence. I was astonished by how much “valuable” stuff I could find there. With each piece, I wondered how it got there, who it was from, why was it there, did someone lose this or did they on purposely got rid of it. It was like I’ve never seen so much stuff on a floor: shiny objects, colourful shapes, things that caught my attention and my hands became too small to hold them all. I was somehow childishly happy by what I’ve ‘found’ but once I actually took a good look of what I was holding, I saw those objects for what they really were: garbage and not useful to me, clutter.
I remember waking up from that dream thinking to myself: ‘why do I even have to declutter my dream-landscapes?’ and sadly this is not the first dream I dreamt about clutter, it’s just one that somehow made sense to me and that I chose to share with you. I ensure you, the dreams become more bearable after a while. I am not afraid of the clutter any more. Right now I am learning to just accept the messy places I haven’t decluttered yet. Being stuffocated (=overwhelmed with stuff) is not productive and therefore shouldn’t prevent you from moving forward. Sometimes I purposely close a door from a room or so, just to block that sight from my focused eyes. One session at a time. One day at a time..
Fun fact: I used to argue with my former boyfriend about the amount of toilet paper use. I remember always being aware of my global waste and therefore also his waste. During showers I stopped the water from running and I encouraged showering together to waste less water and so on. He actually started to get annoyed by my obsessive behaviour. I argued that he needed to use less toilet paper while taking a dump and he used to argue back that I should let him poo as he pleases. It’s funny looking back at it now and although at that time it sounded quite funny when he said it, he actually wasn’t kidding and was really pissed about it. It really makes a lot of sense now that we’re not together any more. I believe that my values have shaped my lifestyle even more and they were always going to get in the middle of us.
Somewhere this week, I told my current boyfriend that I saw an interesting video where someone really gave great tips about not using toilet paper any more and only using reusable cloths. The girl in the video made it sound so practical and of course eco-friendly and budget-friendly as well. I never saw myself actually opting for this idea in the past, but seeing that video made it more accessible for me to consider. I was really pleased to notice how my boyfriend wasn’t grossed out by this idea and he even agreed with the beneficial points. Although I am not adapting this habit today yet, I am quite sure that once we will move in together that this routine shall be happening for us. For me change really starts in my head before executing physically, so I’m glad that I already am embracing the idea first. In the meanwhile I wanted to share the video I was talking about, because I really enjoyed it and it might inspire you as well!
And here is another video (from a different youtuber) that goes in depth as well some with very practical information. If you perhaps have found another useful video about this topic do not hesitate to share with us in a comment.
Also, fun fact #2: the chances of a golden drop are heavily increased by eating a plant-based or vegan diet.
I recently put a used shoulder-bag of mine online to sell for a reasonable low price (a price that to me seems respectable for a second-hand object and would be the price that I am willing to pay for today if I was in search of this item). I have this idea that some things should not be given away for free, because it somehow feels wrong; maybe you paid a lot for this and it’s still worth a great deal of money today or in my case: you believe that if you would give this specific thing away for free that a person might take it for granted. I somehow believe that when someone is willing to search for a specific item on-line and is willing to pay some money for it, then this person should be the kind of person to take good care of the item. It’s just a reassuring thought I give myself when letting go of stuff that was very much loved by me.
So when someone contacted me to buy this shoulder-bag, I suddenly experienced an instant panic. It was the fear of letting go. There were two reasons I couldn’t part with this item easily:
- I got it as a gift from my mum while we were on vacation in Turkey (that doesn’t happen often, a.k.a it’s a very rare memory)
- It got some repair stitches on it that my mum hand-sewed for me because she does it better than I do. (this makes the item particularly personal)
First reaction was an emotional panic, it struck me: I will have to let go of this now. Secondly, I wasn’t sure if I could do this. I needed more time somehow. So I didn’t reply instantly to the potential buyer. I took some time breathing, checking with myself if I was ready for this. The answer was: yes. I was going to let go of this item eventually. I just wasn’t aware of the sentimental value of it, until it was time to let this one go. I knew I wasn’t using this bag any more and I know that it’s only picking up dust now. I know someone would benefit from this more than I can. And I am happy that someone else loves this bag already and that this person would be glad to own this item now. My mind was completely ready to say goodbye, but my heart wasn’t. My head understood ‘you will never use this again’, but my heart feared ‘I will never be able to use this again’. Fear itself is irrational, but still I couldn’t wrap my mind about what has caused this fear. Is it the anxiety of throwing something away that holds a precious memory? or the fear of regretting your choice afterwards?? In times of desperation I gravitate towards inspiration, for me it’s; books, certain blogs, youtubers or podcasts with valuable messages. So I reread this blog from the minimalists(dot)com about sentimental stuff and listened to a podcast of theirs. I re-established my inner peace in the meanwhile and regained my confidence. I acknowledged that it is time now, time to say goodbye and let go because I was ready after all. I reminded myself of my goals and why it is important for me to do this eventually: I want to be able to do this. Letting go is much more rewarding than holding on.
The transaction was made. And I took one last photograph of the bag before sending it away. It was a close-up of the stitching, the detail that meant so much for me. I think this photograph reminds me to hold on to the appreciation for my mum’s expression of love and care in these overlooked details. I used to take such things very much for granted. Now I’m glad to be aware of these precious gestures. I’ll try to be more attentive from now on and enjoy such moments mindfully and above all be thankful they (still) exist(ed).
it’s not a good deal if you don’t need it
I had a mental breakdown today. And I really think we need to talk about these things. Minimalism is something that somehow is mostly portrayed as a result, a goal, an achievement of the perfect life, the stress-free effective life that is focused upon beauty, relaxation, richness, oneness.. Well, for me minimalism was a goal that in my mind looked like ‘getting rid of everything that I don’t use and go live the life you want for yourself, with as little as possible’. Right now I’m still in the decluttering process and no-where near the minimal lifestyle that I crave so much. It’s a long battlefield, a hard struggle within myself and with everyone around me. A while back I was even contemplating discarding my boyfriend, just because it seemed the easiest solution to everything. But it ain’t like that. Getting rid is not the same as overcoming. And I know now that I need to redefine my idea of minimalism. Maybe my goal of getting rid of 70% of my stuff by the end of this year is quite impossible to achieve in such a time-frame and I shouldn’t beat myself up to this. Maybe I should concentrate on my learned lessons, be grateful for who I’ve become instead of ‘measuring my success’ by how little I own now. Minimalism shouldn’t give you more headaches and stress. Yes it will be stressful at times and today was one of those days.. I found myself surrounded by so much stuff that I actually dreamed of setting everything on fire just to free myself from my responsibilities. There is no easy way out of decluttering, it is a real confrontation with everything you accumulated all those years, unknowingly, even due to the way you were raised. Because I still live at my mother’s place, she comes across my decluttering projects from time to time. And whenever she catches me giving away or selling something that to her seems sentimental, I get even more trouble from her and that isn’t helping either. Somehow people will notice your change and they will find it odd, it might even terrify them. That is at least how my mother sees me, as a cold bitch who gets rid of sentimental stuff that is related to family or my cherished youth. Trying to explain to others my minimalist journey isn’t working, people are busy with other stuff. And my mum is simply not aware of suffocation yet. Anyway, I don’t know where I was going with this all, maybe this is helpful to some of you. For me, writing about these things things is mostly a way to calm myself, let go of my expectations, be real with myself and forgive my imperfections.
photograph by Florent Tanet