Today, I’d like to talk about something I’ve been working on for the past five years. I am by no means an expert on this subject, but I’d like to share what I’ve learnt. For the past five years, I’ve been working pretty hard on paring down my possessions and being more minimalist in life. I have to say, being a minimalist (or attempting to be one) is tough. If you were to come to my house today, you probably would really not call me a minimalist because I still have a lot of things around my house, but I can safely say that I’ve decluttered about 50% of my wardrobe from what I used to have, and I lead a much simpler life than before.
I remember very clearly the day I started longing for more simplicity. I was in my room in Kuala Lumpur, applying makeup. I loved my morning routine of blasting music on while painting my face- I found it very therapeutic. This morning, like most mornings, I was knocking over all my makeup because my table was just too cluttered. I had a huge table, but I had an even bigger amount of makeup covering it. Lipsticks scattered the table, while there were foundation smudges everywhere. There were boxes of junk under my table, while clothes littered the floor. It was a mess. It was a cosmetic pigsty.
I remember avidly feeling extremely irritated as every single time I moved, I’d knock something over. Ugh. At that point of time, I also had a lot of things going on in my life, mainly, a lot of negativity. I craved something simpler, better. I didn’t want complication. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be contented.
I started searching online, and came across a website called The Minimalists. They’ve recently become very popular, and they’ve published a documentary and also a couple of books. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the documentary (probably because I have read their their entire blog and have practically memorized their message) I do love their books and how beautifully they are written. The idea is really that we can live better with less, and I wholeheartedly agree to this.
What I’ve come to realize is that minimalism is a process. It’s not a one-time thing. I’ve had spates where I went on massive decluttering sprees, but then a few weeks later I would get bored of my empty space and go shopping. However, what I’ve noticed is that over a period of years, I do buy less. Little by little, I buy less and use less.
Right now I don’t buy a lot of clothes. I don’t get a rush of shopping out of clothes anymore. However, I used to go crazy about beauty products. I worked in a beauty company, and I was constantly surrounded by products. I gleefully stocked up on family sales. I would buy five of the same thing when it was on sale. The thing is, I’m now still trying to finish using up the shampoo I bought in Singapore four years ago. My new goal is to now finish up all the things I have and stop buying new stuff when I have absolutely no need for it! (I also have five bottles of coconut oil to go through because I went through a craze of buying different brands of oil).
I’ve also discovered a movement called the Zero Waste Movement by Bea Johnson. Personally, I have been very inspired by it. At this point of time, I don’t think I can live a zero waste lifestyle but what I’m confident of is living a less waste lifestyle. Check her blog and book out, they’re both filled with practical, useful tips for daily life. While I’m not going to expound on her ideas in this article, suffice to say I’m planning to have a life where I reduce my consumption. I’m also planning to try to cut down my plastic consumption, so you can expect to read more of this along my journey. I also saw her in person in Tokyo. That was pretty cool!
So I’m going to be starting a new category on the website. It’s going to be called Simplicity. It will be about consuming less, using less, minimizing possessions and being more fulfilled. I’m going to share my journey on the following:
- Living with less clothes – decluttering and donating
- Buying less – no more fast fashion, so bye bye H&M, Zara 🙁
- Using up the countless products I have (and believe me, I have A LOT)
- Eating out less and cooking a bit more
- Bringing more lunch to work
- A hard stop to plastic bags and plastic bottles, and working on minimizing products that use plastic
- Cutting down consumption of tissue paper
- No more paper cups at work
- Making my own beauty products
So I hope you join me in my journey to living a little bit more sustainably and with less stuff. I hardly expect to be perfect in this and will run into all kinds of pitfalls along the way, but I’m excited to try living a new life that doesn’t harm the environment. I’d also love to hear from you if you’re trying to live a life with less things, less plastic and just less toxins in general, so write to me!