What I learned from The Minimalists
The Minimalists got me thinking about how to live a happier life with less. Less clutter, less unnecessary space taken up by impulse purchases. Cupboards filled with items on sale that I don’t love and most definitely don’t need. It’s so much more rewarding to own less overall but more of the stuff that makes me feel good and serves the person that I am today, not the person I was when I made a purchase decision in the past.
It’s a wonderful experience to be able to gift items to people who can make use of them for free
One person’s rubbish is another person’s treasure. So I regularly review my possessions and donate everything that is no longer serving its purpose. I have free-cycled plant pots, toiletries, clothes, even cardboard boxes to folks who were moving house and needed packing material.
Sometimes people send me photos of the items that were given this second life, for example a framed picture that did not suit my room but looked great on someone else’s living room wall. Sometimes the takers leave little gifts in exchange, like the person who gave me a packet of chocolate-covered raisins which they like and wanted me to try — cute! Not everything is always going smoothly and I have been ghosted a couple of times, but overall it’s a fantastic experience. I highly encourage you to find your local free-cycle group and engage! Mine is on Facebook, called Zero Waste Freecycle Ireland. I also sometimes post to Adverts.ie which has the option to give stuff away for free.
Being selective about what I bring into my life gives me more freedom.
I am now more careful with what I am buying and saying yes to, and this includes subscriptions to apps or online content. I am prone to thinking that I constantly have to improve myself in some way: wear better clothes, do more intense workouts, be more productive with my day. It’s easy to get sold on the promise that if I buy new trainers or redecorate the kitchen, I will be happier.
The Minimalists refer to this by the term “Object A” — it’s this next thing that you think will make you happy once you obtain it. Maybe it’s a new phone, maybe a house, or maybe a skill that you believe will magically transform your life and make everything OK. But as soon as you have your Object A, the initial excitement wanes and something else becomes the next Object A.
So I’m making a conscious effort to recognise when this is happening and reconsider. As my yoga teacher once said: if you can’t do this asana, don’t worry — you are no less happy for it than the people who can. So don’t try to learn the asana as a cure-all. Learn it just because it feels good.