Give me a few more weeks and I can proudly claim that I’ve become a minimalist. I actually didn’t know it’s been called that term, I always thought of minimalism in terms of photography. No I wasn’t unhappy or miserable, the level of clutter I have is not even alarming enough to that of a hoarder, but I guess it’s because I wanted to live within my means and enjoy life without the pressure of wanting more. I came across this documentary film about minimalism by Matt D’Avella and was inspired even more. Here’s what got me started.
It’s a long time coming, but last year we made the biggest decision we’ve ever made as a family, to have our house renovated. And if there’s a single takeaway from that project, well, aside from dealing with going over budget, it’s that we’ve accumulated a lot of stuff through the years that we have no choice but to declutter.
It’s now or never, that’s what we said when we signed up the contractor as the renovation started when the rainy season’s just about to kick in. It wasn’t exactly bad timing but the rainy days got most of our furniture wet, so my wife decided to just give them away. We were to move in to our fully renovated house without furniture, but we managed to buy the basics before the house blessing. It would have been a clean slate for us when we got settled, still, we were dealing with a lot of stuff that are mostly mine – my collection of toy cars, plastic boxes of magazines, books – mostly paperback I brought home from abroad, more boxes containing souvenirs and a variety of memorabilia, and shoes. And I can’t believe I accumulated more clothes than my wife. That’s when I decided I badly need to start decluttering.
I actually have been meaning to do a garage sale but I just couldn’t find the time. I was ready to sell everything that I no longer use, but my wife discouraged me and asked that I do it online instead, like her idol Maine Mendoza. So as painful as it may sound to a collector, I decided to give up my toy collection, so I revived my carousell account. I sold a lot since. It felt good actually especially since they’ve been converted to funds we can add to our savings. I’m eyeing this closet full of my clothes, mostly no longer worn as I have been in shirt and jeans daily, and these racks of sneakers. I might regret giving them up later, especially the limited edition Jordan shoes I spent a fortune, but I’ve decided these things I’ve come to enjoy, but that’s just about it. No material things can ever replace the joy of simplicity.
This practice doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll stop shopping, no. Even before I started decluttering though, I already taught myself to only buy what I need. And way before that, every time I get my paycheck, it goes straight to my savings account and I only keep a small amount of cash enough for my allowance for the day. This somehow forced me to focus on savings first, then settle my bills and expenses after. And if there’s extra money, that’s the only time me and my wife, sometimes with the kids, go out on a date or shopping. This really worked for me but aside from the savings, I really wanted more of less. I’ve come to realize the more money and things you have, there’s the tendency to want some more, the more distracted you become and lose focus on the more important aspects of your life.
So it was a natural inclination for me to declutter and only lately have I come across articles and videos referring to this practice as minimalism, and got even more inspired that while it seem to be a trend, it’s not exactly a radical lifestyle or new way of thinking, and that around the world there are people like me wanting to go back to basics. I’d like to think of it as a way of life, of not only giving up the excesses of life but to focus on what makes life more meaningful.
It’d be awkward if I invite you to our home and you still see a lot of my stuff. Don’t expect a picture-perfect minimalist setup, no, I don’t expect that either because that’s not exactly what this is all about. Give me a few more weeks and I’ll tell you about my minimalistic journey. In the meantime, check out the stuff I’m selling and help me turn them into extra funds.