I spend most of the year on around 9 kg of personal materials. It includes my laptop and a big-ass camera. The number didn’t just happen to be 9 kg. AirAsia is behind it.
AirAsia charges separately (around $20) for the check-in luggage. Before setting off for my first trip abroad (3 months long), I asked myself, “can I fit everything in my carry-on and save 20 bucks”? It turned out, I could – without evolving myself into Mr. Bean’s packing avatar. 7 kilos go into my bag (maximum allowed for carry-on luggage) and the 2 kilos stick on my body. Thanks to AirAsia, I started my journey as a minimalist traveller.
When I started off, the subtraction was for the sake of subtraction. After living for 3 months as a minimalist, subtraction was a choice. Just like some people find it difficult to live with the absence of certain things, I found difficult to live with the excess of things.
When I returned home, I donated most of my clothes, cleared the clutter, and threw out stuff which I thought might resurrect to something useful someday.
How minimalism helped me declutter my mind
More things ≠ more happiness
Imagine you’re going to buy a gold ring next week. You’re are super excited, aren’t you? As the purchase day comes closer, your excitement increases. Finally, it’s the d-day. You go to the store, eagerly unbox your ring, and gingerly put in on your finger. Wow! It looks spectacular. During the next week, your friends and colleagues complement your ring which makes you happy.
Fast forward three months. Now your ring is a part of you. But you don’t feel about it the same way as you did when you just bought it.
Look around you at the stuff you bought for their aesthetics rather than utility. And ask yourself how much happiness you derive from these on a daily basis. Happiness from things is temporary. It fades away like the colours of flowers. And when it fades away, you start looking for a better ring, a bigger car, a more luxurious house, and more clothes to fill your wardrobe.
Happiness from experiences and people is everlasting.
I travel with four t-shirts. And I know that even if travel with ten t-shirts, I’d be just as happy. So, why bother?
Not playing this game
I’ve seen people buying bigger cars just because their neighbour purchased a bigger car. As much as you can deny, humans are envious beings. They wish for material possessions.
When you compare your possessions with others’, you can never be truly happy. Because you’ll always find someone who has more than you. When you shut the doors to buying things to satiate your ego and to please others, and instead buy thingsthatyouneedandtrulymakesy ou happy,itbringsimmensepeacetomind.
Freedom to focus
Lesser choices mean lesser time and energy to choose, maintain the limited choices, and look for new options. I wear clothes of a specific style of a particular brand. Last year, I think I didn’t spend more than a total of 15 minutes to buy clothes. It frees up time to focus on things that are more important or pleasurable to me.
I also can’t imagine buying a car or a house ever and deal with annoying issues of paying insurance, taxes, car-scratches, rusting of tap and staining of walls.
No check-in luggage leads to lesser time at the airport. Along with ease of movement, I don’t have to worry about the trolley as if I’m carrying a baby. It takes me less than 30 minutes to pack all my stuff while moving from one place to another. My room is also usually pretty neat, and I don’t need to find or arrange things regularly.
A bit richer
Buying lesser things leaves me with more money in my pocket. I can spend more on experiences, investments, and on my parents. More than everything, it releases the pressure on me to earn more.
Being a minimalist, for me, doesn’t necessarily mean lesser things. I carry with me a small spinning wooden toy that my mom gifted me. Some people who claim to be
staunch minimalists would say that owning things that have no practical application is against the minimalist values.
I believe if we go by that philosophy, we become less of humans and more like robots. My idea of minimalism is deeper than the mere material-rejection. It’s about finding value in everything I own and asking myself, “would I still own it if no one could see it”?