On Minimalism and living the ‘American Dream.’

Are you a hoarder?

If your answer is No then look around your house and think again.

Until mid-2022, my answer to this question was also a Big Fat No. The word almost made me feel offended. But now I think of it more as a contagious disorder that anyone can encounter than a deliberate crime. OG Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus call this disorder “Stuffititis.” The Urban Dictionary defines it as ‘A condition of human suffering, in owning way too much stuff, and realizing that one owns too much stuff.’

Things might have changed now but ‘The American Dream’ in the 1980s (probably before that too), consisted of a big house, a few cars, a few luxury items and a huge credit card debt. This show on Netflix will give you a better idea of how this American Dream changed the definition of Consumerism (that gave birth to hoarding) and how every parcel delivered to the doorstep brought discontent and guilt into people’s lives.

So, what exactly is Minimalism? If you give a quick Google search, a dozen of definitions will come up based on individual perspectives and experiences. There are a couple of myths and misinformation too.

To me, Minimalism is about living an intentional, organised, clutter-free Life.

Here are few tips that helped me start my Minimalistic journey.

Give everything in your house its own place.

Ever since I was a little girl, my mother always insisted that I put the things I use back in ‘their place’ when I am done. Minimalism was unheard of back then but staying organised was considered a useful life trait. What my mother really meant was everything in our home should have its own place. That way we save time looking for it the next time we need to use it and the house looks neat.

This does not mean you look for bigger storage when the number of things you own increases and run out of space. This will not only worsen your ‘Stuffitits’ but also unnecessarily increase your expenditure on buying and maintaining a bigger house.

2. Discard Duplicates.

Do you really need five sets of watches, nine pairs of shoes and innumerable pieces of clothing most of which you have not used for over a year?

When I took inventory of my life [Read closet], I realised in spite of owning a crazy number of shirts, pants and dresses, I only wore a handful of comfortable pieces repeatedly every time I left my house. The rest were just lying there, occupying precious closet space and making it harder for me to find the comfortable ones.

Donating more than half of my barely used clothes not only helped me clear the clutter and save time, it made me feel lighter, relaxed and happier too.

3. Digitize whatever you can.

This was a particularly hard tip for me to follow. Coming from a family of book lovers, digitizing books and giving away the hard copies was really, really hard. It also took a long time for me to get accustomed to reading on a Kindle device. But once I got a hang of it there was no going back. I still have a good number of hard bounds and paperbacks at home, but by donating the majority of the collection to local libraries and schools, the value of the handful that now sit on my bookshelf has increased tenfold. Sceptical? Try this yourself and let me know.

This applies to family photographs and videos as well. When you have hundreds of photographs in your drawer, the sentiment attached to them is not the same as that one perfect family photo you frame and keep by your bedside. Less is More?.

4. Live an Experienced based life

Try investing in experiences than in things. Take your partner on a lovely weekend trip on their birthday instead of an expensive gift (This is what we did for our Anniversary last year!). Go to the concert that you always wanted to and save up for it by not indulging in ‘retail therapy‘ when you feel low. Take that dance class that you have been dying for and save up for it by selling some of the stuff that is not really adding value to your life. When you set your mind to it, the choices are innumerable.

What Minimalism does not need to be?

Your house does not have to look like this for you to embrace Minimalism.

3 Modern Minimalist Homes with Chinese Design Elements
Photo Courtesy

Neutral colours and monochromes are great if you’re a fan. To me, personally, colours symbolize life. Bright walls, colourful sheets, a few mismatched paintings, a splash of colour here, a little colour there is an essential part of our home. Minimalism does not mean your house or you should look a certain way. A black t-shirt and blue jeans are not the Minimalist dress code.

You can wear a Sunny yellow shirt, red pants and pink shoes, and still be a minimalist as long as you are living an intentional life, getting rid of clutter periodically and creating space- Physically, mentally and emotionally – for what really adds value to your life.

Are you a minimalist? Or aspire to be one? Tell me about your journey in the comments below.

Some cool products you can invest in to start your Minimalism journey (Click on the words to know more)

Carry all your favourite books wherever you go with a Kindle E-Reader

Keep all your cables, pen drives, hard disk and earphones in one place. Give them a home with this Portable Organiser.

Keep you Work/Study desk tidy at all time with this chic Desk Organiser.

You can connect with me on:

  1. Instagram: ashwinishenoym
  2. Facebook: AuthorAshwiniShenoy

Click to checkĀ my Novels and Short Stories

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