My Path to Minimalism

About a year ago, I started my path to minimalism. One contributing factor to reducing my stuff is because of my work with the dying. I know what is important in life and what is not. I know that I cannot take anything with me after I die. One of my hospice patients said to me, “Start now.” If I have less stuff right now, the less stuff I will need to get rid of later in life. Also, I need to think about what I want to leave behind after I die. I don’t want my family to sort through tons of stuff.

What does minimalism look like to me? I have seen several YouTube vlogs about owning only 25 things. I am not that extreme. I don’t want a bare house, so I have furniture, clothes (hopefully!), and knick-knacks. I do not consider myself a minimalist yet. I am on a path to minimalism.

A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming. – Marie Kondo

The most significant change in my environment is less clutter. It was a slow process that continues today. To de-clutter, you must get rid of stuff (donate, recycle, sell, or toss). Marie Kondo says in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, that “effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first.” My house is mostly clutter-free, and it feels great!

When I was in India in 2015, I visited the memorial museum of Gandhi, and I could see all of Gandhi’s belongs were encased in plexiglass. I could see he was a minimalist because he had so few things. His lifestyle is a reminder to only keep what we love and need.

Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard the rest. – Marie Kondo

Gandhi’s belongings displayed at the Gandhi Memorial Museum in New Delhi, India
Display of Gandhi’s bedroom at the Gandhi Memorial Museum in New Delhi, India

Where do I want to go with my minimalism? I want to slowly have fewer possessions. It is easy to become attached to my belongings. Marie Kondo says, “But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” If I want to live in the present moment, I need to have possessions that serve me now.

I have one more hurdle. My husband does not embrace the minimalist movement. He has too much fishing stuff that clutters our basement, but if his stuff makes him happy, then so be it. Maybe my minimalism will rub off on him eventually.

Things I own do end up owning me. I have to clean, repair, and store all of my belongings. Having less stuff gives me more freedom. Soon I will be packing for my trip to Thailand, and everything that I need will be in a backpack. To travel light, we must live light.

By not being anchored down by worldly possessions, his mind was able to achieve true freedom. – Shoukei Matsumoto

Namaste, world.