The Minimalism Experiment W2 : Clearing the Clutter
This week for my Minimalism Experiment I decided to take on a task that stands to be one of the most recognized aspects of a minimalist lifestyle... the horrible 4 letter word that every true Minimalist avoids…STUFF.
Fortunately for me, I LOVE throwing things out. Even though this can be an extremely wasteful and horrible habit, the process of throwing away things that you no longer want, need, or use is something that I find extremely cathartic. Getting rid of the old and making way for the new is such a great way to feel light and fresh, especially when one is in search of inspiration during these cold and sometimes dreary Canadian winters.
Throughout this half-a-day undertaking I managed to eliminate…
- 1 garbage bag of items that I donated to the Salvation Army
- 1 garbage bag of items that I was throwing away in the trash
-3 old iPhones that I had recycled at my local Best Buy
-1 item that I sold on Kijiji
While going through the items in my room, I went through a variety of different emotions that made me question a lot of things about myself. Not only does getting rid of items free up space physically and mentally, it also forces you to dig deeper into past experiences and memories that are attached to the objects you’ve surrounded yourself with. Through completing this process and listening to The Minimalist’s podcast, I’ve come to a much greater understanding of why we attach such meaning to physical objects, and how sometimes, this can be an unhealthy behavior.
When going through the items in my room, the greatest realization that I had was that any item I would deem to be “sentimental” was stuffed away in a place where it would never be seen, and completely covered in dust. Very few items that have true meaning to me were actually displayed out in the open to be enjoyed regularly. This really made me question the idea of sentimental objects and how so much of what we have and attach meaning to is simply cluttering our lives and taking away time and space from the more important things.
By taking on this challenge, not only did I learn more about myself, and change the way that I view material items going into the future, it also made me confront my habit of simply throwing things away. When I looked at a lot of the things that went into the trash bag, they were not trash at all, but also not things that I would consider donating or selling. Even though these actions are horrible for the environment and are very wasteful and violent forms of communication with the world we live in, the experience made me never want to find myself in a situation like this again. Throwing away such an abundance of perfectly good items, even though they were completely useless, really made me want to be a more conscious consumer and only bring items into my life that will fulfill a long-term want, need or desire.
If you’ve made your way through this crazy long post, I highly encourage you to do the same. Set aside half a day and go through every nook and cranny of even just one room that you spend your time in. I guarantee that you will find it a powerful experience, even if it seems scary at first!