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Minimalism lifestyle: getting my feet wet with minimalism

Tell me how your house looks like.

Is it nice, clean and tidy, with everything is in order and you know exactly where each item is?

Or is it messy and dirty, with so many things that you can’t even remember if you have them? If this is a case, let me guess one more thing. Does it feel like when you need something, it is nowhere to be seen, but after you buy something else to replace it, it just suddenly appears in front of you?

For me, it is case number two.

But I never paid attention to it. For me, it was something totally normal.

Until I went to the USA and stayed at my mother-in-law’s house for couple weeks.

And oh my.. I am a keeper, my mom is a keeper, and my mother-in-law is a keeper too!

Combination of a vintage store and a junk shop

The porch was filled with several unmatching chairs, a table and several pieces of woods laying here and there on the floor. The house was full of unused items, more than two hundred of tiny statues of angels, stuff animals, cups and other cute decorating items. Unused clothes with size ranging from infants to grown-up. You name it, she has it all.

If that picture is familiar to you, you might be a keeper as well.

Sometimes I felt like I walked into a secondhand store, few vintage items here and some junks there.

I was overwhelming with all the items she had.

Then something strange happened to me.

I couldn’t write.

A part of being a blogger is to write. And I love writing. I write every early morning and I love putting my thoughts on a piece of paper. It brings me joy, calm and happiness.

Although the house was quiet, I was the first one who woke up and I was all alone with my thoughts, I couldn’t write there, in a room that was full of stuff.

And then it hit me.

The more stuff I have, the more chaotic I feel.

My possession gives me chaos

When I went out for shopping, even for groceries, foods or clothes, I always ended up buying more stuff than I needed.

Have you ever gone to a grocery store with the intention to buy a few things, then something caught your eyes. You said to yourself: “wow this is nice. I can use this when [x]”, or “hey I read online about this dish, I might want to eat it in some special occasions. I should go ahead and buy now before I forget.”

Many times I had to throw away rotten fruits, expired stuff that I bought but never used.

But that’s something you must do with food. Because it goes bad, and it smells.

But with clothes and other items, they don’t go bad, they don’t smell and nothing reminds you that they are just laying there being untouched. Before I even notice, I have a wardrobe that is filled with clothes I never wear, few drawers that are too stuffed to open and close smoothly.

I mindlessly purchase more and more stuff, and I thought they make my life easier. But they don’t.

In fact, here are the things that I finally aware of.

I cannot feel calm and peaceful

I remember the hotel room I stayed in Japan while waiting one day for my next flight. Japanese people get used to tiny things, so we had a tiny hotel room. Everything was so small, from the bathtub to the refrigerator. 

But there was something else that greeted me when I first opened the door.

The peace, calm feeling when there was nothing else in the room. No big piles of papers, books, snacks..

Just a small bed, a small refrigerator, a small table and a tiny chair.

It was clean, neat and it was perfect that way.

Until we entered the room and started putting our luggage inside it.

I’ve never realized that I needed to carry so many things while traveling. And the moment we got done with putting out suitcases in the room, the peace and calm feeling disappeared.

And I noticed.

The clutter I see creates the chaos I feel inside.

I think about what I didn’t own, what I need to buy next

Tell me if you are anything like me.

Whenever I cannot find something that I know I have, the first thing that comes to my mind is to buy a new one.

Whenever I find something inconvenient in my house, I think of buying something else to make my life easier.

Whenever I need to go out for some special occasions, I open my full wardrobe and think “I don’t have anything to wear!”.

I constantly thought of the things I didn’t own, the things that I want to buy next instead of utilizing my present items or altering my behavior.

I focused on the things I didn’t have and forgot to appreciate other things in my life. I even extended it to people. I forgot to appreciate all the people in my life.

​I was held back by my possessions

Do you have an ancient box where you put all of your dearest things that represent your memories in it? 

Because I do. Or at least, I did.

I kept many items. Even the old ones. For memories. To remind me of the good times and the bad times I had.

Every time I looked at the box, I dwelled on the past. I spent my time living in my happy memories, my fantasies rather than staying in the present.

​I spend time trying to organize my mess instead of letting it go

I possessed a lot of things. And it was very hard to keep the house neat and tidy. Instead of throwing away items that I never use, I always try to organize them to make more room for new items.

And I’ve realized...

How I spend time in my physical life is how I spend time with my inner-self and my emotions. 

I was held back by my past. Sometimes thing in life gets messy. Instead of letting it go, I focus on it. Even when it hurts me, and I got lost in pain.

Getting my feet wet with minimalism

The first thing I did when I got back to my place is to free up my wardrobe. I had so many “just in case” items that I barely used. And they got to go.

It wasn’t easy to select which one to keep, and which one to give away.

I thought I would feel empty or at least miss some of my stuff. But I didn’t.

it felt great seeing a nice, tidy wardrobe. Better, I know exactly what I am going to wear today without overthinking it. And my life just becomes a little simpler.

“I am not my possessions. I am not attached to any objects and I am willing to let go.”

Spread the word!
Mai Pham
 

Mai Pham is the founder of Live a Worthy Life. She believes we can recreate our lives. Her mission is to help you to ditch your stress, anxiety, and worries to enjoy life again.

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