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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Exploring Minimalism

Hey everyone,

I recently watched a video about minimalism that has sparked this topic for today's blog. Time and time again, I revisit the idea of minimalism because it's really moving to me. For those of you who are unfamiliar to minimalism, here are some things to consider:

1. Minimalism looks different and means something different to each of us.
2. It's about analyzing your living space and thinking about what is meaningful to you.
3. What is meaningful to you is always changing, therefore so will your idea of minimalism.

Image result for minimalismRelated image

So for me, I felt like I started to experience how I felt about the concept of minimalism when I packed two suitcases and moved across the country for grad school. I stayed in furnished apartments for 2.5 years and only bought the essentials. Everyone laughed with me when I would explain that I only owned one frying pan, 1 spoon, maybe 3 cups, etc. My kitchen was very bare minimum for one person to cook, clean up immediately after, and reuse the next meal. What I had the most of was probably trinkets and clothes. And that's okay. Again, what we place meaning on varies. For me, clothing has a lot to do with my settings and how I want to express myself. Being a professional, student, and young adult all at once can lead to several directions of clothing for sure.

It was kind of easy for me to stick to a minimalist lifestyle during this... what I called temporary time in my life where a home was always a temporary home. But after a few months of living in my first apartment, I realized how empty it was beginning to feel. Sure, it was clean but also inefficient in so many ways. I never had enough plates or utensils to have friends over. The living room looked bare and uninviting. And my idea of minimalism seemed more focused on being frugal and keeping my belongings to a minimum for the next move. It started to really make me think about what physical and materialistic items make me feel good and why. As 2.5 years went by, I collected more memories, more clothes, shoes, and kitchen ware. I even painted some wall decor and made pillows for my couch. The last apartment I lived in was the coziest and homiest place I lived in the 2.5 years I was there. Everyone who visited would said how inviting and warm it was, even though I still had fairly little belongings. That's when I started to realize a lot of what brings me value is making a space where I and my loved ones can feel safe and comforted in my living space.

Some things I have learned that I value:

1. A clean workspace
2. Wall art that makes you feel good
3. Fake flowers
4. Real plants -- especially succulents
5. Having extra baking pans
6. Having shoes that can be used in diverse settings
7. Picture frames with happy photos
8. A few good skincare products

Some things I have learned that I can part with:

1. All my post-its and memo pads
2. Pens... lots and lots of pens
3. Seasonal clothes that I never wear, even when the season comes
4. Shoes that fit a narrow list of occasions
5. Old letters and paper memories-- I digitized them by taking pictures and tossed what I could
6. Things I used to hold onto in hopes of making art out of it someday

Other lessons of adulthood:

1. Don't buy clothes just because they are cheap. Make sure you plan to wear it.
2. Buying things to make your life more efficient can be life changing, especially in the kitchen.
3. You don't need multiple items of the same thing if you know you can always buy more later.
4. Stocking up on sale items can be great but only if you use that item fairly regularly.
5. Recycling glass jars and containers is super useful.
6. You don't need nice furniture to have a nice place.

Main takeaway about minimalism for me:

1. Just because you don't use something in your home, doesn't mean that it's useless to you.
2. If something truly serves NO purpose to you, why is it still with you?
3. Consider other means of sharing and spreading wealth to others for items you don't need-- recycle, pass onto a friend, etc.
4. Don't buy things just for the sake of buying it. What will it do for you?
5. It's okay to have more than one of something, as long as it holds purpose and meaning to you.
6. Sometimes, DIY is more expensive than just buying a well made item you need-- and less time.

I'm now in a new home yet again but my mentality towards it is that it is a home, not a temporary place to just live. And that really changed my definition and outlook on minimalism yet again. See, it's always changing since we are always changing. But I think that's the beauty of it. Self-reflection for yourself and your physical/mental space can be so valuable. This is a healthy reminder for me to think about what is meaningful around me and look at the bigger picture. Who is meaningful to me. What activities are meaningful to me. Analyzing your belongings and physical space comes back full circle to analyzing what you are grateful for in life as well.

Thanks for stopping by to read my reflection for the day.
I'm off to organize two boxes in my closet while reflecting on what I'm thankful for today. :)

Happy Thursday.

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