Minimalism

Friday, November 22, 2013

Good morning, dear readers!

Today I felt I would touch on something a little bit different than my usual posts on my blog.

Lately I have been seriously trimming down my belongings, which feels amazing!! :D

(YAY flowers, because why not!)

I grew up being a pack rat and a bag-lady, and I used to have so many things that I owned.  I was a hoarder.  I had trouble throwing away anything (even some wrappers!), and I would make an emotional attachment to everything I owned.

(Not my image, image from here)

Over the last 7 or so years, I have done a huge turn-around, mostly after reading about minimalism.  Every couple of years I do a big revamp of my stuff and get rid of a lot of things, and it is very invigorating. :D

Now, I am not a full on minimalist as I still have a lot of unnecessary things in my life, but I do agree with most of the main points of minimalism.

I finally got sick of keeping everything and anything.

I would have a drawer of the packages that cosmetics came in.  Notes scribbled on napkins, the envelops that letters for letters and cards I received (I do collect cards and letters, and they are some of my most prized possessions.  But do I seriously need the envelopes?  Hardly.).  
I had a bunch of make-up that I never used and/or had expired, books that I would never ever read, class notes that weren't even anything special to begin with.

I have had hundreds of nail polishes, most of which I have only ever used once (some not at all!), and plenty that I didn't particularly like.  

Now you know how much I like nail polish, and I know how much you do too (yay nail polish! XD), but I had so many that it got to the point that I was collecting them just to have them.  I was holding onto them "just in case" I wanted to use them someday (same goes for a lot of other belongings I had), even though I didn't like the colours all that much.  Even after giving my sister almost all of my non-cruelty free polishes, I still had hundreds.  I have spent so much money on nail polish alone over the last three or so years, and I still had a huge list of ones I wanted to get.  

I have always loved collecting things, but it was getting to be too much.

When I actually got around to painting my own nails, I would open up the drawers and see rows upon rows of selections, but would just stare for a while with no idea what I wanted to wear, as there were just too many choices.

I would search for reviews, and eagerly await the newest collections to pick out what I wanted to add to my collection.

When I got them, I would add them to my Helmer drawers, and then maybe use them once, and move onto the next shiny bottle that I just had to have!

My favourite kind of polishes to collect were blue polishes.  I seriously adore the colour blue, but I had at least a whole drawer full of just blue polishes.  I would collect the ones that I didn't even like, so I would have a bigger collection of blues.  MUST HAVE ALL THE BLUES!

I had several polishes that looked almost exactly the same!  As nail polish lovers (especially being collectors) we pay attention to the minute differences that a lot of people wouldn't notice or ever care about: 
"why do you have 10 identical polishes?" 
"What?"
"Right there!  You have 10 of the same polishes."
"No I don't! That one is the teensiest bit darker, that one is lighter, that one has shimmer, that one is limited edition, that one is only available in Japan, that one is worth $25.00...."

But it is true that I really don't need that many navy blues.  Or blues in general.  Or polishes in general.

And so, I have done a magnificent de-stash, and have decided to sell a lot of my remaining collection (I am selling almost 200 polishes).

To be sold:



I sat for hours deliberating which ones meant the most to me (either from an emotional attachment to them or because I actually love the colour), and decided to keep only the most special to me.

It was hard getting rid of so many Christmas releases (my favourite time of the year!), but honestly, there were so many variations of red and other colours and glitters that I just would never get around to wearing.

I wish I could list my sale on my blog, but I wouldn't be able to afford to ship out the polishes, especially not internationally.

Even after all of this, I still have about 2 and a half Helmer drawers full of nail polishes.  XD  I may have kept three navy blues and 8 different purples.  But I got rid of so many others, and for me that is a huge step.

Now I look forward to choosing what to wear, because I know that I really do love each and every polish I have kept. 

*****

I want to stop being such a consumer and shopping addict.  Seriously, I am not just throwing that word around, I am addicted to shopping.  I've never had a lot of money, but I would always spend it all right after I got it.  I've never had a savings account, and didn't have a little money bank for a rainy day (because I wanted to spend it all right after I got it.).

I want to stop wanting so much.  I want this, I want that, I neeeeed those, maybe having this will make me look better/feel better/be more interesting.  

I need to learn to be happy with myself, as I am.  Sure, there is a crap load of room for improvement, and I definitely intend to improve myself.  But I need to learn to like myself, no matter what I look like that day, or how I feel at that particular moment.

This is going to take a long time.  And I may never even get there.  But I sure will try!

The funny thing is, the more I get rid of excess, the less I want. :O You would think that it would be the opposite, but it's true!!  I have less temptation now then before, and now I really appreciate what I already have to a much fuller extent.

I now enjoy ALL of the books on my shelf, and I know that I will read them again.  I have paints that I will actually reach for, instead of just a vast variety that a third of which would probably dry out before I ever got to using them up.  
I don't have to sift through a bunch of crappy paintbrushes; instead, I can go ahead and grab the one I want.

Not only is minimalism good for my peace of mind (even only the small amount of which I follow), it is great for the wallet, and amazing for the environment.  Less consumption = less waste, and less expended energy.  I also get a lot more space to live and breathe in, and finding things I need gets so much easier!

I have found many great resources over the last few years for decluttering, but one of my absolute favourites by far is this book:

(Not my image, image from here)

The Joy of Less is a fantastic book for learning to enjoy life more, with less material obsession.  It really helps you to appreciate what you have, and to declutter while simplifying your life.  I bought this a couple of years ago, and I just read it over again (I forgot just how good it is!). :D

Francine Jay has a delightful and lighthearted writing style, and whenever I feel the need to tone down my wants and focus more on enjoying what I already have, this book is a great reminder! :)

For someone like myself who used to hoard (not as bad as some people out there, but I still did it) and who has trouble parting with unnecessary 'things' for whatever reason (habit, emotional attachment, etc.), this tome is a god-send.

If you are interested in her work, I suggest heading over to her website, at miss minimalist.

I still have more work to be done around my home, but I actually look forward to and enjoy simplifying my possessions.  :)

One thing that I always thought I would never get rid of are my old diaries.  The problem with them, is that I almost only ever wrote in them when I was sad or angry.

Although they are records of my life, they are mostly filled with negative thoughts.  Even looking at them sitting on my shelf made me think "ugh."  

So it was time to let them go.

I still don't know for sure why I wanted to keep them for so long... maybe as a way to 'prove' my experiences in life? Perhaps to leave a part of me behind when I eventually leave this world (and for those still living to know me a bit better)?

However, the diaries had a lot of sad and negative thoughts written down in them, despite the happiness I have felt throughout the years.  It was cathartic to jot down my bad feelings when I was feeling down, but when I was in higher spirits, I rarely gave my journals a second thought.

I don't want people to read them and think that I had a terribly sad life, that it was filled with only suffering and anger.  I don't want to continue holding onto those parts of my life; I want to let them go, and to remember the goodness in it.  And I am not my diaries, and when I am gone (hopefully not for a very long time!), they will not be me.  They will just be books, with words written down in them, displaying only one side of my personality.

And you know what?  I feel lighter and happier already! :D

*****

What about you?  Are you a hoarder, collector, shopping addict, minimalist?  Let me know! :D

-Ashesela

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7 comments

  1. U did a gr8 Jon with minimilizing .. It's so difficult to get rid of belonging , we feel attached to everything..
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    1. Thank you so much!! :D It really can be very hard to let things go sometimes!!

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  2. This was such a great post! I've recently gone through my nail polish stash as well, I'm trying to sell some, and the rest I'll be giving to friends :)

    AddictedtoOPI

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    1. Thank you so much, I am so glad you liked it!! :D
      It's a bit freeing, isn't it? And now the ones you keep you will appreciate all the more! :D

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  3. Aw I love this post, Ash! Growing up, my sister and I were also hoarders...always getting attached to anything and everything! We had wrappers, napkins, product packaging...just too much stuff. Just since a few years ago, I've finally been able to simplify my life and am able to throw things away without feeling that guilt. I'm so glad that minimalism makes you happier! You've inspired me to do some cleaning out this weekend! :D

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    1. Yay!! :D Thank you so much, Traci! :D I am so glad that you have had less guilt over simplifying your life. It's amazing how much we can feel for even the smallest, most insignificant thing! It makes me so happy that I can inspire someone, for anything!!! :'D

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  4. I love that puppy picture! And I totally know what you mean about simply having too much. I think more often than not, I organize instead of cutting down.

    7% Solution

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Thank you for your comments! :D