On Embracing Minimalism

 A post on Facebook says “  Corona has proven that everything around us is temporary.  Things our lives revolved around… Work, Gym, Malls, Movies, Society…. Have all temporarily disappeared as we are learning to live without them.  It has taught us that in the end, it’s our own home and family that keeps us safe. (Though what seems to be lacking and worth mentioning here is that our total safety is in God’s hands).  This is somehow true in the sense that this current situation seems to be a turning point for all of us to reassess ourselves, our faith, our relationships, our lifestyles, our priorities in life which include our possessions. It made us realize that those things which seemed to be part of our daily lives were things that will not matter in times of crisis, not merely essential as we used to believe they were and are dispensable.    And those things that we seemed to have forgotten because we are preoccupied with the previous things that we thought matters, we now started to see the corresponding value and importance.  

One good example would be our relationship with God.  When people get to enjoy the comforts of living or even more for other people who are living a luxurious life tend to forget their relationship with our Creator.  They suddenly failed to realize the need to call on God for help because they have everything they need and sometimes even more.  When the pandemic strikes,  people began to turn to God as their refuge. It taught us that in times of crisis, money, and possessions do not count anymore, everyone in the Society is affected.  And the best defense every person can ever have is prayer because God is the only one who can defeat this unseen enemy.

The second example is our lifestyle and possessions.  When the crisis struck, all of us by circumstances were forced to stay home like never before. This has become a total transformation for all of us,  specifically for those who have an 8-hour job and spent most of their time away from home considering the hours rendered at work and the traffic encountered every day.  Now we realized how much time we are outside of our home in a week or maybe in a month and one single virus have made such a huge turn around of our everyday lives.

When your whole time was spent at home,  you will see everything inside your house in detail. Areas that need repairs, areas that need to be clean because it has remained untouched over the last few months, areas that need to be re-arranged,  things that we need and things that we don’t, things that are considered clutter because it is eating up a lot of space in your home.  Amid this crisis, we suddenly realized most what we have is more than what we need.  

Its high time to reassess, redefine the meaning of value and necessity over luxury, and indulgence.  Circumstances taught us some form of simplicity. Lipstick has become useless because of the mask.  Owning 2 or 3 cars suddenly became a luxury because your itineraries became limited to supermarkets and drugstores mostly.  Costly apparel no longer needed because of the work from home set up. Office shoes were replaced by snickers and rubber shoes. 

Since this is the new way of living, we must align ourselves as well into adopting a new lifestyle, a new mindset, a certain type of principle practiced by few people called minimalism. According to Joshua Becker an American author, writer, philanthropist, and had written four books on Minimalism, defines  Minimalism in a deeper sense is the intentional promotion of the things we value by removing anything that destructs us from it. In simple terms, it is the principle of owning less so you will have more. More time with other things that matters more in life. Minimalism is decluttering, getting rid of those things you don’t need, and keeping the ones you value most.  Minimalism is learning the process of letting go, of detaching yourself from material possessions getting rid of destructions in order to experience an entirely new way of life, calmer, worry, and stress-free kind of living.

 Becker also emphasized that if we are to practice minimalism,  we will be able to solve these 7 common problems that most people experience in their lives.  Read below:

  1. Not enough money

Our old habits of acquiring too much stuff to which we spent a lot of money on led us in a situation where there is no more amount allotted for more important matters.  If we own less,  there will a diversification of funds to more essential things like insurance, health plans, or simply an emergency fund or other financial goals that have not been considered before.

  1. Not enough time in the day

Every possession we have carries with it some burden. He wants us to think about how much time we spent on cleaning, organizing, managing, maintaining, repairing, recycling all the stuff that we owe.  When you begin to own less, in effect you are lessening this burden,  thus giving you a certain freedom to do other things which are of more importance.

  1. Time spent cleaning

Most people wanted to have a clean house but have not the luxury of time to clean, like the whole day is always not enough to finish everything.  If you own less, not only you will maintain a cleaner house but you also have less time spent on cleaning it.

  1. Not enough space

Some people complain their house is too small for them failing to realize that maybe their house is not really too small but they just put too much stuff in it.  By getting rid of stuff which you think you can live without will amazed you how much space you still have.

  1. Too much stress

As mentioned earlier, physical possession carries with it some burden.   If we begin to own less we bring about a calm, peace, less stress, less anxiety in life

  1.  Not knowing what to wear in the morning

I guess a lot of people can relate to this, that even your cabinet is full of clothes, yet you still find the problem every morning of what to wear for the day.  Minimalism will also teach you to keep only clothes that you love and get rid of those that you don’t.  So every time you open your closet you will see clothes that you wanted to wear.

  1. Feelings of discontent

This is the feeling of  “ I wish I have this or I wish I have that.”    If you start to own less, you will start to believe that you have enough to live.  And once you realize you have enough then there is less desire for the things you didn’t have.  You began to appreciate things that you have.

If I may add Minimalism is a lifestyle encourage by the Scriptures, simply because it teaches you to depart from too many earthly possessions and be contented with what you have.  

These problems mentioned have been with most of us through the years, not knowing that they were all self-inflicted, brought about by our habit of acquiring too much stuff.  When you started decluttering your home (which I am doing right now), you will begin to realize how much money you lost by buying all those unnecessary stuff and how much money you could have saved should you did the otherwise.   How many loads have you brought in your home and the stress of keeping and maintaining them that every day you feel it’s a never-ending task. That since your too preoccupied with maintaining and cleaning your stuff you no longer have time to indulge yourself on more important matters like self-improvement, self-care, finding a new hobby, because you feel you don’t always have the luxury of time. Lastly,  not to mention the psychological implication of seeing too much stuff around the house that causes stress, unrest,  and anxiety.

 I believe this is the perfect time to embrace minimalism and I am so glad I encountered it during this time. At least I have ample time to do total decluttering at home once and for all.  I can’t wait to feel the freedom that minimalism offers.  That you can do things whenever you want them without worries, without feeling guilty or anxious.  That you can engage in a new hobby, or just simply read books that you wanted to read for so long.  To see that every area in your home is clean and in order.  To feel that finally, you’re off the load and burden of owning too much stuff.  

Embracing minimalism as a concept is worth a try, anyway it’s free but it sure does promise multiple benefits.  But how to start ?..…  find out on my next blog.

Phoebe C. Espineli 

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