Recently, I’ve been obsessed with minimalism. Like many people, I always thought minimalism was a type of Japanese decor style where you have almost no personal items in your home and you have minimal furniture and a very clean look.
That was until I stumbled upon a website called theminimalists.com. I was almost instantly hooked.
Minimalism is about more than home decor, it touches on every aspect of life – your health, relationships, personal growth, passions and contribution to society. The basic premise of minimalism is that by having less clutter in your life you make room to enjoy things more. It’s reassessing your whole life and just trying to live your best life!
My minimalism journey started simply, by organising cupboards. I’m a very sentimental person, which means that I hold on to plenty of items that brings back happy memories of events and people. But suddenly all these things, these objects, were crowding my space. The question was, what do I do with sentimental things? This led me to trusty old Google to search “how to get rid of sentimental items”, which yielded lots of interesting and useful results.
I was trying to find out the psychological reason behind why I want to keep these things and once I would understand that, then I thought that it would be easier for me to let go of items I never use.
I started reading the book Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus and it really opened my eyes to minimalism. Fields Millburn sums it up quite simply – to live a meaningful live with less. The theory goes that the less things you own or have in your life, the less stress you will have and more time to spend deliberately on what is important to you. Thus living a deliberate life.
Here’s how I went about starting my minimalism journey:
I started throwing stuff by first sorting everything in three piles:
1.) To throw away
2.) To give away
3.) To sell
1.) To throw away: Let’s face it, we all have those drawers filled with stuff that we never use and you think you don’t have the time to sort through or that it’s too much of a mission. It’s taken me a half hour at most to sort out a drawer, which I would’ve maybe spent doing something meaningless like watch my favourite series.
Some things went straight in the bin, while others went to the recycling pile. Honestly, it doesn’t always feel great to throw things away but sometimes there is just no other way. The reward is so worth it – just feeling so relieved afterwards!
2.) To give away: I also gave away a lot of clothes and the other day a friend gave me the best compliment after seeing my closet content, she said: “How do you have so little clothes, but you wear something different every time I see you?” The less clothes I have, the easier it is for me to decide what to wear each day. Her comment actually motivated me to start the 333 challenge where you wear 33 pieces of clothing for 3 months, something I would love to do try from April. Another item that I’ve been giving away is books that I’ve read, which was just gathering dust on a bookshelves. Imagine everyone could do that? There are children in South Africa that’s never even owned a book and there are millions of people with homes full of dusty books. Donating books is as simple as dropping it off at your local library, as they’re always happy to receive donations, and that way many people can enjoy them.
I also like donating things to the Hopsice and Salvation Army shops, who resell the things and use the funds to benefit those in need.
3.) To sell: I started putting items that I no longer want or need on Gumtree and sold about R4000’s (yay!) worth of stuff, which I will use to buy something we really need for our home or maybe put it towards a holiday. Minimalism is also about choosing experiences over things.
I still have a long exciting journey ahead of me and sometimes for motivation and inspiration I listen to the Minimalist podcast when I’m wrapping orders, illustrating new designs, washing dishes or tidying the house. I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist quite yet, but it’s a life goal and something I’m working towards every day.
It’s such an amazing feeling to get rid of your stuff. It feels like a weight are lifted from your shoulders and that keeps me going. I hope by sharing my experience I gave you some food for thought.
DISCLAIMER: It may seem counter-intuitive that I'm advocating for minimalism when my brand is all about products. But see, here's the thing: Minimalism isn't about not having anything at all. It's about having things that you really love, and having less of it (or only the amount that you use) and choosing quality over quantity. What I'm saying is that you rather want to have 8 beautiful Sugar & Vice coffee mugs that you really love and enjoy using, than 20 odd ones that you don't feel any particular affinity. It's simply about making better choices! :)