I have always been a collector of key chains, bookmarks, books, CDs, DVDs etc. I like collecting so my house and my room in my parents’ house had turned into a museum. I did not use more than 50% of the items I owned and they were just there because I did not want to throw them. I also buy small knick-knacks, souvenirs which accumulate over time. I read some books on minimalism and they gave me a new perspective towards life.
I read the book “The Life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo” back in 2015 and then I read “Spark Joy by Marie Kondo” and these books changed my life. I had never once given a thought towards minimalism and owning less stuff. Marie Kondo’s books convinced me to become a minimalist. I am far from being a minimalist but it helped me clear out at least 25% of the junk I owned. I gave away nearly 100+ books I owned. All the good books were given to my cousin and the ones I did not enjoy went to a used book store. I am also periodically getting rid of books that I don’t read by donating them to my local library. I also realized how much “Monika-like” I was since I followed many steps given in this book already. The best tip that was given in this book was to sort by category, instead of room. So have a heap of every single book you own and then decide which ones you want to keep, instead of sorting through books room-wise. Also holding a book in hand before deciding whether you want to keep it.
Then, I read “The Joy of less by Francine Jay”. I did not agree with everything written in this book as the author seems to go overboard sometimes with her tips. But there were plenty of good tips in this book that I still follow. One of the good tips was about making sure you maintain the count of items e.g: if you have 5 shirts, make sure the number does not increase. If you buy a new shirt, make sure you discard one of the 5 you already own. This really helped me since I tend to accumulate a lot of stuff over time so this count tip can make sure I don’t own too many items of the same type. In a similar way, if you buy something to replace something which has broken, you don’t need to keep the broken item with you anymore. I read this book just before changing houses so it helped me clear lot of clutter that I had accumulated over time.
This year, I read “The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking” and even though this book is not exactly about minimalism, it still resonates with those who are trying to minimize. It is a book about happiness and finding things to do which make one happy. Denmark is considered to be the happiest country in the world and the author tries to explore what really makes people in this country happy. The essence that I got from this book was that you do not need material things or 100s of friends to make you happy. All you need is a close knit family or few close friends with whom you can spend some time and enjoy life. The photography in this book is to die for. This has become a favorite book of mine now.
Along the same lines, I read another book called “Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living by Linnea Dunne“. This is about Swedish way of living and how they find happiness in simple everyday life. This wasn’t as good as the book on Hygge but again this book emphasizes on simple living and finding happiness with nature and close knit family/friends. I find these books which talk about lifestyles where people are not running in a rat race fascinating.
I read another book which is now my most favorite book on minimalism that I have read so far. If you want to read just one book on this topic, you should pick this – “Goodbye, things by Fumio Sasaki”. This book talks about author’s own journey from maximalism to minimalism and why he chose to become a minimalist. He gives reasons for becoming a minimalist and they all make sense. It’s possible to lead a happy life when you don’t have to worry about your possessions or money to buy more possessions. The best advice I found in this book is that you need to stop comparing with others in order to live a happy life and for that to happen, you need to stop buying things just because someone else has or for show. Also about how you stop worrying about how much money you are making, the minute you start buying what you need, instead of what you want. I am definitely going to try to implement the steps he has given. At the end of the book, there is a neat cheat sheet that you can stick to your wall to make sure you follow these steps.
These days, I buy only books that I would like to own and reread. Those which I just want to read once, I get them from library. I have also reduced buying DVDs by getting a Netflix DVD subscription. I am trying to get rid of materials that I have accumulated from various hobbies that I started but never continued. I am also planning to stick to one or two hobbies only like photography and reading books. The more hobbies I start, the more items I accumulate related to those hobbies and they just pile up. I am also donating books that I either did not like or do not want to read anymore. I think twice or thrice before buying something. Most of the impulse purchases that I do on Amazon are cancelled after rethinking in an hour or so. I also want to stop collecting anything other than books. I am planning to borrow books for my kid from the library, instead of buying as he loses interest in a book very soon. Unless absolutely needed, I must reduce buying items. I was planning to go for a new car but now I feel the one I already own is enough for my use. There is no reason for me to change my car other than for aesthetic purpose so I will keep the one I own for now. These days people invest money in items only because they want to boast about it on social media. I don’t think I want to do that. I will only buy what I want.