By this time of year, I’ve probably broken most, if not all of my new year’s resolutions. I vaguely remembered something about having better work and life balance (ha!) and exercising more (ha ha!) But for me, adopting and keeping new habits is hard, hard work. I decided this time around, instead of feeling guilty about the resolutions I didn’t keep, I’ll try to take smaller, more realistic steps, or shifts, if you will. For me, the concept of a shift still implies change, but they seem to be more gradual. One of the habit shifts that I hope to make is to have more control over my surroundings. I’ve moved houses quite a few times over the past few years, and I thought I had whittled my possessions down to a bare minimum. But lately, I’ve noticed that my space seems to feel cluttered and chaotic. So one area in my life that I really want to work on is clearing out my living spaces and making better use of what I have. It’s definitely a work in progress, and I thought it would be helpful to document the process here.
I recently read Goodbye Things: On Minimalist Living, by Fumio Sasaki. The book chronicles the author’s journey to a more minimalist lifestyle. He eliminated most of his possessions, and now lives with just the barest of necessities. He reduced his wardrobe down to three shirts, four pairs of trousers and four pairs of socks. In the process of saying goodbye to his possessions, he gained clarity of mind, and control over his living environment.
Admittedly, this is not my first attempt de-cluttering. Just like the rest of the world, I also got caught in the Marie Kondo- does this spark joy? fever. However, I find that I tend to get distracted by the different techniques. For example, instead of actually clearing the clutter from my closet, I spent an hour looking up “Marie Kondo’s Folding Technique for Jeans” (Here it is, so you don’t have to tumble down the same Google rabbit hole that I did!)
I found Sasaki’s approach to be more relate-able and straightforward. He presents a list of tasks and instructions and connects them with examples from his own experiences. Most of his list is pretty easy to follow, and you can start doing something right away. During the first couple of hours of this project, I accomplished numbers 9-11 on his list, which are: 9) Start with things that are clearly junk, 10) Minimize anything you have in multiples and 11) Get rid of it if you haven’t used it in a year. For example, I have a bunch of these terrible wire hangers from the dry-cleaners lurking around the back of closet. I can’t really explain why I hung onto them for so long, but out they went, without a backward glance.
Probably the hardest items for me to get rid of anything in print. Magazines, catalogs, books. I always save them for inspiration and ideas. I even moved this stack from my previous apartment to my new one. Where they sat on the bookshelf gathering dust for a year. Out! The same with books that I haven’t read in a year. (I saved those to take to the secondhand bookstore this weekend).
Other items that left my house this time around were cushions… I no longer have use for them… but I thought I would save them in case guests came over and wanted to sit on the floor. In reality, not one person who has been here has wanted to sit on the floor!
During the process, I’ve decided to not go into the extremes that Fumio Sasaki does~ I don’t think I could live with just three shirts, or feel at home in a bare, stark environment. But I’ve taken his (and Marie Kondo’s) advice to heart and set three goals for myself for the next 6 months or so:
- Reduce visual clutter
- Streamline my routines
- Waste less money/ curb unnecessary spending.
In the following weeks, I’ll be tackling my health and beauty products, clothes, stationery and kitchen items. I hope you will follow along in this process! Check back here for updates on my progress to a more streamlined and efficient lifestyle.
This was not a sponsored post. I paid for all items, and all opinions expressed are based on my experiences.