Art of Letting go…
I am no pundit on decluttering or minimalism. But I am a work in progress simplest. Simplifying my health, habits, relationships, and decluttering my home.
Keeping up with the good vibes in my life – eating healthy, exercising, seeking my passion, the motivation for downsizing and decluttering my home felt like a natural calling. I drew my inspiration from The Minimalists-Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus. Sharing their thoughts on Minimalism as a tool to help get rid of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.
A couple of months back an incident got me thinking about all the stuff I had collected over the years. I was trying to put away a new purchase in the drawer and there was no empty drawer in my house. It took me a few days but I started going through the stuff in the closets and drawers. There were items which I never used or didn’t even remember I had. My personal closets were also full of things that I procrastinated using for multiple reasons. Special occasions, gifts from loved ones, will fit into it once I lose weight, too expensive but didn’t like it.. a long list of things. Yet I was holding on to them. I felt disappointed because of the time and money I had spent on these things. But I was still looking to add more.
I am hardly a minimalist, far from it. But over the past few months, decluttering my home has added a sense of calm and health in an otherwise crowded house. Decluttering should be more than just discarding things, it should be mindful and personal. So, I am sharing categories of things I purged and dealing with personal scenarios of letting them go.
Biggest in number, personal items – clothes, shoes, bags, watches, belts, scarves, jewelry and accessories. I had tucked away stuff from school days or those with tags still intact. There was also the whole bunch of stuff from my corporate job. Items picked up on sale, too pretty too cheap, online shopping that didn’t resonate with me or my sense of style now.
I sorted things in roughly 3 categorizes – Keep, Let go – Donate, Discard.
I kept things that resonated with the present me. That meant bidding adieu to things I had long cited excuses to hold on to in the past. Most pieces in my wardrobe now are things I would wear, carry or use. For things I had sorted out of my closet which I no longer needed, I donated them to charity, or family members, anyone who saw value in having them in their lives.
I also want to say that we should be mindful of things we extend to others and respectful of the condition you offer them. Don’t extend things that are damaged or junk. For all the pieces of clothing I gave away I made sure to spin them in the washer at the very least before respectfully letting them go.
Books, magazine, stationery, paper trails
“I will read it someday” or borrowed, I had a number of books, magazines that were bought with a lot of thought but I never reached to them. Mostly because I was pressed for time. They were pressed in the bookshelves, lying on the nightstand along with other books that I was long done reading with a wafer-thin layer of dust on them. Similarly, I love collecting stationery, as old as my college days. Spiral notes, paper bags, bills, old documents that had found a home in multiple corners. Sorting through them was time staking mainly because I had read what I wanted to keep or let go. For books, I reached out to friends and local library to pass them on. I am now left with around 25 books.
For paper trails of the old document, I wanted to be extra sure in discarding and disposing of them. I got them shredded and disposed of them in waste in multiple batches.
Kitchenware, Serveware, Plasticware
When we bought our house, I was super excited like most couples to buy new things. As things settled down, we had clear favorites that we used the most, pristine dinnerware and more stuff that was just placeholder. Sorting out these items I had a resonating question “ What if I need it later”. I did the same what I did with my clothes but I also made a few boxes where I kept my “What if I need it later” items, only this time the list was much smaller. Removing multiples duplicates, A LOT of plastic – not tossing it in the garbage. I planted herbs in few containers, used a few to hold and organize things around the house, gave out some.
Though it feels a lot lighter and sane there is still a long way to go before I get free from the surplus things I still have.
Toiletries, beauty products, meds
Miniature products along with bottles and tubes of decadent body wash, lotions, bath salts etc, I discarded those that were past their expiration. For those left, I still had plenty to consume all on my own. I gave away few products as I was sure I won’t reach to them before their expiration. For future, I won’t be buying a new product unless I am done using the ones I already have.
Gifts, mementos, souvenir
It’s always an inner conflict to let go of items from the past. They seem to add a sense of nostalgia to our lives when we come in contact. I couldn’t get myself to let go of a lot of memorabilia but I slowly stripped away supplemental things like souvenirs from travel, keepsakes or things gifted by loved ones that I never used but carried for a long time. I only minimized things till the point I was comfortable.
Downsize by purging products and food items past their expiry date. I then segregated food items – retain food items versus those to give away. For the retained ones, I organized them based on the expiration dates, so they are visible and consumed first. For surplus supplies, I stored them in separate boxes. Also, recycled glass bottles and containers for storage.
Over a period of time, I had accumulated a lot of electronic devices -headphones, laptops, cables, chargers, cell phones that in retrospect had a short run before I moved on to the next version of the devices. I should have given more thought in buying those items. I donated electronics that was in decent shape and non-obsolete tech like cell phones, chargers, headphones.
Personally, I find it difficult to sell my things so I never listed any products online, but a lot of people do and its an easy way to let go of the extra stuff in exchange for some money.
Biggest ever- Letting go of our Car
Living in a crowded city like Mumbai, letting go of our car is the best decision we made. We are comfortables using Uber for its ease, convenience, and share cabs. We transferred out the car to our in-laws as it served a better purpose in their lifestyle.
Decluttering my home is beyond room cleaning, its an expression to live fuller and focus on things you value- your relationships, health, and self. For me, decluttering is also an expression for responsible living. Being responsible to the environment, mindless consumerism. Finally, taking small steps in letting go of things that are holding you back and cherish the feeling of being free !!
Feature image credit –Florian Klauer