I have never (almost) been the one that subscribed to a material lifestyle. When I was a child, I felt that life was meant to be full of experiences rather than material gains. Of course I would have loved to have a grand bed to sleep on and possibly had a library in our home and had the privilege of buying sweets and other goodies from our local vendor whenever I wanted to and not steal money from our prayer place that my parents so religiously gave to the Goddess Luxmi every Friday, to feed my habit.
We were an average family who probably did live slightly below the breadline but our tummies where filled to our hearts content before we retired for the nights and we had a roof over our heads and pretty decent clothes. Our basic needs where met and that is all I needed whilst growing up. If my parents felt otherwise I would often remind them how rich we were, by these basics we had.
All that changed when I met my life partner at the age of 18. By the age of 20 I already had a house, fully furnished, with up to groceries been stored in the relevant cupboard. All I had to do was get married and move in with my clothing, which I did, by the way, at the age of 22.
The house was a whopping and embarrassing 360sq mtrs floor size. My embarrassment of having it ALL was probably taken the wrong way by my newly adopted family. My father in law gave us this and all I needed to do was appreciate what I was given and move on. And not that my life partner earned enough money for us to afford any of this in any ways but there was always that struggle between my embarrassment and appreciation. People would visit for the first time and their comments would be “oh you caught the jackpot” or “you are so lucky” or “your husband and his family are larnies (SA slang for rich people)”, proving that I possibly married him for the money he did not have. Quite the conflicting statements though, as my father in law worked very hard to retire early in life and to give his two sons and their family, the basic set up for their lives. I remember going into a departmental store one day to open a credit account and a family member worked there and her response to us opening the account was classic “Oh don’t worrying about credit checking them, they are rich”…….
Yes, I was embarrassed to be associated with the luxury of being rich (which was a false interpretation anyway, as we also made ends meet like everyone else, just with a fancy bond free home) as I found that people only associated me (you) with my (your) material possessions.
Fast forward to today. I am sitting in a rented home with just the basic things I need and feel literally light and airy about my being. I have nothing major on my name. My clothes can literally fit into a suitcase and I don’t carry much baggage figuratively and literally around. I did get my journey and I did get life experiences and I have attempted many times from then till end of 2014 to completely minimise but having kids it was a challenge to do so and especially if you are Life Learners you do tend to hoard materials for ‘just in case the kids needed it’.
I think the luxuries I do have are mainly for my kids and visitors, because if I could go the whole nine yards, my life partner and I would follow the Japanese floor culture by sleeping on a futon, have big cushions to sit on when watching tv (if and when we do), have low-rise tables to dine at and continue with the Indian Culture of eating from banana leaves, would add to my favourite way of being.
Backtracking to 2014 and what prompted my decision to dive into the minimalistic living? Over 16 years prior to 2014, I have bought and collected books. Books have been my prized possession since I could read, and its weight worth more than gold to me. Combine a book collector and OCD and you have a job for life. My five bookshelves that had double stack of books on each shelf needed to be cleaned often as my OCD allowed it and when we moved house well that needed to be packed and moved. When I moved from Durban to Johannesburg in 2011, I had over 12 boxes of books and possibly only 4 boxes of other personal belongings. My family didn’t care much for them as I did. I would have to moan for help to clean up my shelves and books.
One senseless day at the end of 2014, I went about my usual routine cleaning and I had an enlightened moment. If I had to die anytime soon, what would my family do to my prized possessions? It got me thinking, why would I want to leave such burdens to my family to inherit as they have no passion for books the way I do and they certainly will not take care of them like I would and I am probably going to haunt them beyond the dead if they didn’t, I chuckled to myself. I then reckoned it was time to let go. Let go of the books, which I dearly loved and treasured as it was taking up way too much of my time, unnecessarily.
If I could get rid of my jewels, which are my books then I can downsize everything else, which I eventually did! I gathered anything and everything that did not serve me in a year, and either sold it or donated it.
Minimalising is a process of eliminating all the unnecessary from your life and making room for important matters. Once you start the process you will find that it will leak into everything you do, from what you eat, the thoughts you keep, the people you associate with, to thinking before buying or any action for that matter. It is a complete and holistic approach to living and just being. Mind, body and soul become decluttered. It is basic Feng Shui!
In the beginning organised chaos already existed.
Organised chaos was with Minimalism,
and organised chaos was Minimalism.