• Naomi Kiyoko Wilson

Minimalism and the Art of Decluttering - Part 1

Updated: Mar 27

Have you ever felt extremely stressed by the clutter in your house? Felt like the things around you were dragging you down rather than helping you?

This was me a couple months ago. I had a ton of clothes, books, shoes, and stationery, most of which was not being used often. I was overwhelmed and felt like tossing them out, but my attachment to these items prevented me from doing so. Thoughts such as “what if I regret donating this dress later?” and “this book looks interesting. What if I want to come back to it later?” popped in my head whenever I was sorting through my stuff. I couldn't decipher the essentials from the trivial things. I couldn't differentiate the things that added to my life from the things that simply filled it.

Then one day while exploring the internet, I came across minimalism. Minimalism is the concept of only keeping the necessities. It builds off of the idea that a cluttered space equates a cluttered mind, which most of us have probably heard at some point in our lifetime.

Minimalism has taught me to turn my attention towards the things that truly matter and give me joy. I have noticed a drastic decrease in stress and have experienced an increased sense of clarity after incorporating this concept into my own life. As I was decluttering my physical space, my mind was tossing away feelings of regret, anger, and sadness, eager to make room for future adventures and the knowledge that came with them. I kid you not, I felt like a completely different person after I sorted through all of my belongings.

Now you may be thinking “easier said than done. I am not ready to give up my stuff.” I am not suggesting that you get rid of everything; that would not be sustainable. I am simply suggesting that you examine the objects in your life and ask yourself “is this a necessity?” and “does it bring me joy?” I have found that the majority of the possessions that I have now fall under both categories, directly or indirectly. Even if something does not give me joy just by looking at it, it might alleviate some of my stress and thus make me a happier person.

Here’s an example from a couple months ago. I started sorting through my clothing when I came across several shirts that I have not worn in the last six months. I put these pieces of clothing in the donation pile. I kept the clothing that I wore on a weekly or even monthly basis. Next, I moved onto my books. Half of my collection consisted of novels that I previously read, and since I rarely re-read books, I made the decision to sell them to Half Price Books. I moved the rest of my stash from my closet to a more visible space where I would appreciate them more. Finally, I went through my electronics and their corresponding chargers. My computer charger definitely does not bring me immediate joy in the same way that my books or clothes do. However, it ensures that my computer is on full-battery, thus lessening the number of panic attacks I have during the school day, making me a calmer and happier person.

Through taking this approach, I have been able to hold onto the things that truly matter and eliminate the rest.

In my next blog I’ll go more in depth and detail my own tips and tricks on decluttering and becoming a minimalist. Until then, feel free to leave your comments below and I’ll try my best to reply to them. See you next week!

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St Paul, MN, USA

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