Goodbye, Things: On Minimalism
Since Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is shown in Netlix, I’ve been seeing many Instagram stories of people who’ve been following Marie Kondo’s advice. I personally have been trying to follow the minimalist lifestyle since 2017, I even wrote minimalism as one of my 2018’s theme to live. I was first introduced to the concept of minimalism not through Marie Kondo, but through a documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary About Important Things by Matt D’Avella. This show was also shown in Netlix but I’m not sure why it’s not as hyped up as Marie Kondo’s. The different between Minimalism: A Documentary About Important Things from Tidying Up With Marie Kondo is that this show is shown from the American perspective of life where capitalism is embedded in everyone’s daily life. People has this idea that the more we have, the more we’ll feel satisfied. But, it’s actually quite the opposite. We’re constantly being fed advertisement of a lot of things that we don’t need to buy but we feel the urge to buy it just because it was the current trend or just because it was discounted. We constantly fill our house with things we ‘want’ and don’t exactly ‘need’.
What struck me the most from this documentary was one of the very first scenes where Ryan Nicodemus, one half of the Minimalists, packed his bag for their book tour. He only brought one weekender bag filled with less than five clothes for almost a month road trip. This scene struck me because it’s relatable to me. I hate having to wait for my luggage at the airport and I hate luggage in general because it’s bulky and not efficient. I always only bring cabin unless I’ve to travel abroad (but maybe I could push my limit). Upon seeing this, I started to declutter and that’s when I stumbled upon Marie Kondo’s book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I followed Marie Kondo’s method, known as Konmari. Though I was successful in cleaning up my wardrobe, I still have a lot of clutter in my room, mostly memorabilia like tickets, postcards, photos, etc.
My life-changing moment was when I eventually discover Fumio Sasaki’s book: Goodbye, Things. Fumio Sasaki’s minimalism can be seen as extreme by a lot of people. If you want to know how extreme, watch this video below about him.
When I read Fumio Sasaki’s book, I was at one of the lowest point of my life. I was deeply unhappy and stuck in a rut, I need to clear up not only my mind, but also my life. I think I relate more with Fumio’s approach and book because Fumio used to be like me. He was stuck in a rut and feeling unhappy, he had so many collections of things that he considered his ‘hobby’ and yet he was unable to use it. In his own words he said this:
One of the thing that Fumio emphasized was the part that we became so obsessed with our possesion that it’s no longer a tool that serves it purpose. We determine our worth by what we have and we began to pile things up. We collect memorabilias, books, action figures, records, etc just to show people that this is our identity even though we don’t really need it. I also learned that we are in fact began as a minimalist with no possesion but the the constant advertisement of things and the constant need to look at what other people have and the urge to judge people by what they have makes us susceptible to think that our worth is the sum of our belongings.
How I Declutter More Than 90% of My Stuff
- Define my fashion theme and simplify my clothing. I think about my fashion theme, and I got rid of all my clothes that aren’t from my brand of choice: Uniqlo. I also got rid of all pattern/printed shirts and stick to only plain-colored shirts. One movement that can also help in decluttering your clothes is a movement called Capsule Wardrobe. As for accessories, since I also set a resolution to buy more local brand in 2018, I stick to Taylor Fine Goods. Taylor Fine Goods plain and simple style goes really well with Uniqlo as my brand of choice for clothing.
Tips: Minimalism doesn’t mean only wearing black and white clothes. Just like Marie Kondo said, it means only using items and clothes that truly sparks joy. Think of an object or clothing that’s been sitting in your closet for months. Get rid of things that you haven’t wear at least once a month. Try a one in, one out policy. If you buy one clothing, throw one out. Decluttering also means more chance to donate things to those who need it and even earn extra money.
- Digitized my memorabilia. As I mentioned before, I like to keep tickets of places I’ve visited, postcards, Instax pictures, etc. I piled it up and sometimes decorated my room with it. However, Fumio Sasaki mentioned in his book on how that we live in a digital era now and essentially no matter how we stored our memorabilia, what matter is not the ‘thing’ itself, but the memory. I used a combination of iCloud and an app called Shoebox to digitized and store my memorabilia.
- Declutter more than just my clothes. I went further with the help of Fumio Sasaki. After I decluttered my clothes and my memorabilia. I started to declutter my laptop too. I unsubscribe from any unwanted emails and got rid of all the files that I no longer need in my laptop. This was a lot easier to do than decluttering my clothes because I originally never like having a lot of folder and files in my desktop and I hate it when my folders aren’t organized even in naming and labeling.
How Decluttering and Minimalism Makes my Life Easier
I moved to Boston last year in August 2018. When I departed, people are shocked by just how little I brought with me on my luggage. I only carried one 27″ luggage, a backpack, and a weekender bag. That’s it. I can manage to travel like this because I no longer have stuff that I don’t need. When I settled in my house in Boston. My room has so little stuff that it’s so easy to clean it up.
Minimalism also helps me a lot when I travel. Since I came back to Indonesia for Winter Break, I’ve traveled quite extensively and visited several cities. During my travel time, I only brought with me one weekender bag and a backpack. There’s joy in light traveling, knowing that I don’t have to wait for my luggage to come or to cause a ruckus when I’ve to queue for security check.
In 2018, I felt like I’ve been quite successful in trying to live as a minimalist. I’m no longer intrigued to go ballistic when there’s a discount in stores, I’m no longer interested in buying stuff just because it’s the latest trend. Obviously, there’s still a lot more to learn on my way to truly live as a minimalist. Even with fewer stuff and more organized storage, I always forget my things from time to time (Yesterday, I left my pouch with my passport inside when I got out of the car to buy cigarette). This one of the thing that I still need to improve, I’m a very clumsy and forgetful person, and I need to organize my stuff very carefully or else I lost it. And, if I have a pile of things, I won’t even notice what I’ve lost.
I think what I love most in following minimalism as a way of life is the feeling of not having to succumb to consumerism by buying things I don’t need with money that I don’t have. I feel less interested in shopping and only shop when I really need things or if I broke something and can’t repair it anymore. Hopefully, in this 2019, I can still adhere to this principle.