Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details.
Today, Adriana checks in with us from Singapore, and tells us how she’s minimized her wardrobe, her finances, and other areas of her life. After you read her story, please visit her website to see her delightful drawings; they’re sure to make you smile.
How wonderful it is to be a minimalist now! Now there is a community, and blogs such as Miss Minimalist to help us along!
In 2006, I decided that I had enough.
I was quite the avid shopper, and frittered away most of my pay buying things after things after things. I am staying in Singapore, an expensive consumer society, where we joke that the top 3 national pastimes are shopping, eating, and complaining. Singapore is filled with malls, and at that time (and sometimes even now) to buck the trend and be a “non-consumer” is a very lonely path.
I didn’t really know what to do, but I knew that my collection of about 80 pairs of shoes, a bursting 4-door wardrobe, my motley collection of 2 trunks of bags and various piles of just stuff was making me feel suffocated and helpless. Helpless? Yes. Helpless. I had so much and yet I had nothing to wear. It was truly the paradox of choice.
First I tried organizing my stuff. Then I realized I simply had too much. So, I started “using them up”. Cosmetics, skincare, toiletries – whatever that can be consumed I tried my best to. I implemented the “Year of No Shopping” – I just stopped buying. Slowly I wore out the shoes that I have been wearing. I didn’t buy anything new. Then I found that there were some clothes and shoes that I just would not wear, so I donated them or gave them away. Same with the clothes and the bags and everything else. I managed to simplify my wardrobe (though it is nowhere as minimal as yours!) and I felt a great sense of achievement.
It took some effort to tackle the sentimental mementos. I threw away whatever I could bear to, and boxed up the rest. Over the years, I do this annually as a spring cleaning exercise. Over time, it does get less, it must really mean something to me if I keep and clean it every year, and every year it “passes the test”!
I also simplified my banking to 3 key ones – 1 “Slush Account” where everything is paid out of, 1 separate Emergency Fund Account, and 1 account for investments only. The banking accounts category has made me a lot less worried about overspending.
Some friends laughed when I told them I was Not Going To Shop for a year. But after the year ended, they told me that they respected my willpower, and that it would be nice if they could, but “I don’t think I can”. But, thing is, you can! Even if you don’t do it all the way, and do anything to the extremes, you can make your life easier by simplifying to your comfort level. The average person is just too burdened with choice! We spend so much of our time just LOOKING for stuff!
When asked by those who know of my journey, and had asked me to summarize into 3 pieces of advice:
1. The path to happiness is in automatic bill payment. Better still if you have no bills and no debt!
2. One Year of absolutely no shopping is not going to kill you. Stop being so dramatic!
3. If you absolutely have to spend some money – buy an experience you won’t forget!
The minimalist momentum is wonderful, I feel like I have finally found people who understood!
How am I doing now? I am still in the process! But you can see that minimalism is now part of me from my drawings. They can be viewed at www.adrianatan.com.
Keep it simple
Keep it clean
Make it easy
Don’t be mean!
Happy life everyone!