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Becoming Minimalist

We are officially #homeless.
We sold our first home and are putting up in a temporary place for the next 3 months until our new house is ready.
It had been an intensely emotional journey. During the packing, it was a perfect opportunity to declutter since the last move 5 years ago.
For every item, I asked myself, “Do I really need it?” Also, using the Marie Kondo way, “Does it spark joy?”
It is quite scary actually to realise that for the 70% of the things I own - the answer is no.
So the question is, is it worth it to keep them,  incur more storage costs over the 3 months as well as transportation cost to carry these things over to my new place?
My head knew the right decision was to let go, but to be honest, I was slapped with guilt, overwhelm and procrastination.  Without work to distract me (I was on annual leave), and the moving date looming, I had to confront stuff that I have accumulated over the years. This means getting my personal life in order and organised.
First, let's look at our relationship with materials.
Belief to let go: Material buys us happiness
This is the biggest myth of all time in this Instagram-ed, capitalistic world. Growing up in a single-parent family, we were always pinching our pennies. When I started working, I worked hard and bought high valued items like branded bags and jewelries, thinking that was what success meant and owning them gave me happiness. Of course, you know how the story went. When I finally had the job promotion but it did not bring me the happiness I expected, I spiraled into panic and anxiety.
In my soul searching journey, I realised true happiness comes from deep, authentic relationships. That's how I immersed myself in my soul work, building RAW community while juggling a full time career, spending time and effort in building meaningful relationships with husband, friends and family.
New mantra: Non-material things bring me happiness
So, if you agree with me so far, now you are ready to donate, recycle all your possessions, right?
However as you work through the different rooms of your house, like me, you may find you have more resistance to let go of things in some rooms than others. The shocking truth is this: the more stuff you accumulate in the various rooms, the deeper your insecurity is about in that area. (Therefore you buy more things to compensate, hoping to feel "enough")
Look around your house and your clutter may teach you about your insecurities:
  • Wardrobe and beauty products - body and appearances
  • Important paperwork like insurance, taxes, housing - money
  • Boxes of memories - relationships with others
  • Kitchen - relationship with family, especially mother or another maternal figure

 

So first step,
Identify the belief to let go, then replace with a new mantra.

 

Below are my personal examples, 

 

  1. More clothes and beauty products makes me beautiful --> Being loving and kind makes me beautiful
  2. I refuse to organise, file the important paperwork because they are too complicated --> I have a new relationship with money and I have things in order and in control
  3. I will lose those precious moments if I throwaway my boxes of memories (cards, journals, mementos)  --> The memories are kept alive and experienced meaningfully when I am with family and friends
  4. Throwing away expired food, under utilised kitchen apparatus, utensils etc. are sinful --> Expired food is a result of too much waste. Others may find greater value for the kitchen objects which have no value to me.
When you find you have more resistance than the other, I invite you to go deeper and reflect on these questions:

How/ when is this belief is being formed?

Is it logical?

Personally, Areas 1 and 3 were relatively easy because, I have been doing the inner work on who I want to BE and the quality of my relationships over the past 5 years. However, I had more resistance for 2 and 4 because surprise, surprise, I have not started doing the inner work in these areas!
I have to confess that I am still a huge procrastinator when it comes to my personal health, finance, housework (cooking and cleaning). Decluttering definitely helped me to confront these beliefs and gave me an opportunity to understand and reframe to a new set of rules of living.
By filing away my paper works, I also reinstated my terminated insurance policy and start researching about optimising my income tax.

 

Burning away my teenage journal, and recycling my boxes of CD was liberating. It was as if the "recycle bin" has been cleared from the brain's hard drive, and I have more mental and emotional capacity to welcome a new and better life.

30 days decluttering challenge
As I am living in an empty apartment with my possessions mostly in boxes, I will see how many items I actually need in the next 30 days. This will be an interesting experiment and will give me a second round of decluttering opportunity - to live a minimalist lifestyle. I will only be keeping items that I absolutely need.
If this resonates with you, I invite you to join me in the 30day habit building challenge. Start small, discard 1 item a day for the next 30 days and leave a comment on how you feel!
Objects are just objects. It is time to disentangle feelings, memories from them. Reflect on what old beliefs to let go, and construct your own new mantra!

 

All the happiness you are chasing for, it is already in you.  Are you ready to let go, to be free?   #lessismore #lessisnow

Elle is an authentic branding coach and psychotherapist who supports overwhelmed, successful women to awaken their dream self, relationships, career and business with courage and alignment. Follow her on FB/IG/Youtube @relatingauthenticworld  

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