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.
This week, we have a wonderful story from Annie. She tells us how she went from organizing her stuff to minimizing it, and became a more conscious consumer in the process. Read more about her experiences on her blog.
I’ve always been an avid organizer. Even in elementary school, I had the habit of regularly dumping out all the contents in my drawers to reorganize them. I also enjoyed organizing all the pots, pans and dishes in the play kitchen at daycare while I waited for my parents to pick me up.
After I started working full-time, I discovered the world of blogging and started following several organizing blogs. Those blogs ended up doing more harm than good as I started to buy stuff I didn’t need (or use) like decorating books and craft supplies. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon blogs like Miss Minimalist and Becoming Minimalist, that my minimalist journey began. Both of those blogs talks about how storage is not a solution, which helped me realize that being a minimalist would yield far greater benefits than being organized.
As therapeutic as organizing can be sometimes, what I really wanted was to free up more time, space and resources for spending time with family and friends, cooking, volunteering, journaling, reading and travelling. Since I’m one of those people who struggle with being productive in a cluttered environment, not having all my stuff in place or feeling like there’s something that needs to be cleaned or organized was always a mental roadblock that kept me from doing more of all those activities.
After dabbling in decluttering here and there for a few years, I decided to set a goal for myself last year – to finally reach my ideal state of minimalism before getting married (in November). By the time November rolled around, I thought I was in great shape until it was time to move. Having to lug all my stuff from my loft, down to the living room, down to the lobby and onto a U-Haul truck and then unloading every single item and lugging it up to my new apartment on the third floor was a rude awakening. I realized I had been fooled by the clean surfaces on my desk, nightstand and dresser. The contents inside were out of sight (and out of mind) until I had to physically move it all. I was disappointed in myself on moving day because it was a very stressful experience, which would’ve been less stressful if everything I moved was something I loved. But at least half of the items moved were items I didn’t find useful or beautiful, nor did they bring me joy.
Once I settled into my 480 square foot studio with my husband, I continued to declutter using the question, “would I want to move this to my next apartment?” as my guide. With that mentality, I’ve finally reached my minimalism goal.
A side benefit to minimalism is that instead of just focusing on quality over quantity, I now also take ethics into consideration. For makeup and skincare, I started purchasing products that are vegan and cruelty free. And for clothing, I try to buy secondhand and support companies that don’t contribute to the fast-fashion problem. I am so grateful that minimalism has made me a conscious consumer in more ways than I could have ever anticipated.