“I can’t go out tonight, I am minimalizing”, I said to my officemates when they invited me to go out for a coffee session last Friday night.
“Really, minimalizing? Is that even a word?”, one of them asked.
So after Googling it, there was actually a term but I am not sure how new the word was except that it has been used several times by those simple living blogs, where I also learned about the word. It’s still on red underline as I write this.
To minimalize the term, “minimalizing” means cutting down the excess. I started practicing this concept a couple of years ago but I fall short every once in a while when my auto-pilot consumerist behavior and tempting advertisements overpower this principle. Some people would also discourage me and would often tell me that I cannot practice minimalism in the Philippines because we do not have enough. I would always think that minimalism is best to practice in a developing country where we need to challenge and question every capitalist-driven advertisements, products, and services. Where large companies where we hoard products are also the same companies which exploit the poor and abuse the resources of the country.
Recently, I realized that I have to be serious about this concept, which is already a movement in other countries. Aside from the fact that it would free up some digital and physical space, I would also save money in a Country where everything gets expensive every day. So here’s how I minimalized the past week which you can also try to apply:
- I started out with my gadgets. I currently have 2 phones. The Android Smart Phone was exclusively for work while the iPhone was for my social media accounts. So with my work phone, I hid all the apps which I do not use and only left the apps I use for messaging, contacts, calls, and settings. As much as I wanted to delete the apps, Android won’t allow me to remove their factory setting apps unlike iOS’s new option to delete Apple apps. Meanwhile, I deleted all the apps which I rarely use on my iPhone. I now sorted the remaining apps into 3 folders. I named the first folder “Always” meaning these are the apps which I always use like Call, Messaging, Settings, Note Taking App, Calendar, Camera, Alarm Clock and Web Browser app. The second folder contains my Social Media apps like Instagram, Facebook, Gallery, Email, and even the photo- editing app. The third folder was for non-deletable and useful Apple apps. I dragged them all to the home button including my music app, leaving an empty space on my screen. I was able to free up a lot of memory space and a lot of stress looking up for the important apps on a pile of the unimportant ones.
- After the gadgets, I proceeded to minimalizing a lot of things in my room. I left only 1/4 of my wardrobe, 1/4 of my stuff and 1/2 of my books. I found this really radical for a person like me. I now have plenty of empty spaces in my room, which is now easier to clean. The minimalizing process reminded me how impulsive I was with my purchases and consumption in the past years. It reminded me how I wanted these stuff so bad before which I find useless now. I realized that I have been keeping a lot of clothing when I can only wear one set at a time. For the record, letting go of things was actually therapeutic and ironically addictive.I have read this movement called Project 333 where people get to choose only 33 items of clothing, including accessories, which will be worn in 3 months. The rest of their clothing was stored in their warehouses. Surprisingly, many of them testified that they survived and nobody noticed that they are wearing the same clothes over and over again in the span of 3 months. I have yet to try this.
- And now the papers. Oh how I stored a lot of paper in years! Receipts, forms, test papers, letters, and movie tickets. I threw every useless paper away. I scanned the other important documents for backup using Evernote’s Scan option, which made things easier for me. After minimalizing, I got freed from the shackles of paper up to 80%. Yay to more space!
So far, things are working out well for me. I am not saying that you will also cut 80% of your stuff. Minimalizing is cutting the excess especially those things which do not add value to your life. Minimalizing is intentional and purposeful. Do not throw your collections away. If the collection adds value to you, keep them. The most important thing about minimalizing is that in your heart, you know what truly matters.
To end this post, I would like to share with you some of my favorite quotes on minimalism. This quotes can also be found in my Instagram Account @darbyraul. Enjoy and have a great day!