It all started with cleaning out a closet.
I am not a very outgoing person. In fact, I’m quite the opposite. I have a tendency to be shy, a little self conscious, and a lot awkward at times. And I really dislike being the centre of attention.
And yet, I have a blog where I weekly post my writing and put myself on the internet for the world to see. A friend once said this was the strangest and most contradictory thing about me. It got me thinking, why do I love doing this so much when my personality basically dictates against it?
I started learning more about simple living and minimalism between one and two years ago. It was at a time in my life where I was looking for something that would help me through a lot of stress, anxiety, and lack of fulfillment in my life.
I first realized that I was shopping a lot, mainly for clothes, thinking that it would offset the stress and negative emotions I was feeling. But while I did get a bit of a boost from a new outfit here and there, overall it was having more negative consequences for my life than positive. My closet was overly stuffed with clothes I didn’t absolutely love; I was spending too much and saving too little; and the small bit of happiness I obtained from spending went away as quickly as it came, leaving me again with nothing.
Of course, shopping for clothes was not the solution to my problems, but I think it did lead me to it. If I hadn’t been looking for a way out, I might have missed that one post about the so-called “capsule wardrobe” that caught my eye. As I read more and more about it, I just had a feeling that I needed to try it. And so, I started by cleaning out my closet.
Fast forward to now, when I’ve applied the principles of simple living to the rest of my life and not just my wardrobe. Clearing away both the physical and non-physical clutter in my life had a big impact on my stress levels. I was able to slow my life down a little, and finally had the courage to ask myself the question that until that point I had been taking for granted: what do I want from this life?
That question is something that I’m still working towards answering, but at least now I’ve at least asked it of myself. I have a long way to go, but living a simpler life has helped me so much already.
This is why I want to share it so much. I want to help others through minimalism as much as it has helped me, as far out of my comfort zone as that is. Even if it helps just one other person, it would be worth it. Minimalism might not be the solution for you, but what if it is?
But the ripple effect of simple living has much greater implications for our planet, not just our individual lives. For a long time I felt helpless when it came to the environment and the unfairness in the world. But there are things that we can do, little habits in our daily lives that cumulatively can have an impact and start shifting the balance back to a good place. I’m talking about things like:
- buying sustainably- and ethically-made goods;
- reducing our carbon footprint by eating less meat or trading a personal vehicle for a car-sharing service;
- buying less, reducing how much ends up in our landfills;
- and requiring less, so that we can give to others who are less fortunate.
Is minimalism for you? Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. All I can say is, try cleaning out a closet – you never know where it might lead you.
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