On Minimalism: Confessions Of De-Cluttering Addict

My minimalism journey started a few year ago. I had written about it some time in 2016 and that is what I would like to share with you today.

Note: If you are not interested in reading my old ramblings, scroll down till the last paragraph to read all about the challenge I am starting tomorrow.

Alright, here it goes:

“It all started with travel.

In June 2015, I traveled to Italy and Germany with a big suitcase. Five weeks later, I returned home and as soon as I opened the door to my room, I felt overwhelmed by everything I saw in front of me. More than 100 items of clothes hanging, more than 50 pairs of shoes underneath. 4 wicker boxes of sentimental items, 8 pillows, 50 books on the floor, 2 cameras on my desk, 15 makeup brushes that need cleaning and 20 pencils that need sharpening.

I have often walked into people’s homes and questioned the emptiness of the space but I never reflected those thoughts on their personalities. Were their homes empty because they lacked experience and authenticity? Or were they empty because their minds are neat and clutter-free?

People have often walked into my living space and asked about where I got certain items; most of which were items are collected during my travels. I had been filling my space with things I thought were a reflection of who I am.

In September 2015, I went on a last minute trip to Nepal with a carry on. I stuffed it with leggings, jeans, tribal-style loose pants, a few pairs of t-shirts and so much more. I wore 3 to 5 of the 20+ items I had.

Once again, I returned home and looked at what I own. I was horrified and it was one of the first times in my life that I started thinking about how I could live with much less. I thought that those things I own bring me happiness. I realised that this unplanned trip, this little hike in the forrest and being with good friends brought me so much more happiness than any of those items I own.

Within a few months, I packed bags and bags of items to giveaway. And then I had a brilliant idea; I decided to sell whatever I can and donate the money to charities I’ve been meaning to support. I made 4,000 EGP from thin air (or shall I say, rather heavy bags of clothes and accessories).

I immediately picked up a copy of the best-selling book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and yes, it did change a bit for me.

In late December of the same year, I traveled to the UAE and India with a backpack. In fact, I got on the plane in Cairo with nothing. I picked up the backpack in Dubai and stuffed it with a few items of clothing that had traveled a few days before I did, with a friend.

I remember watching the New Year’s fireworks over the skyline of Dubai and thinking that my only resolution is: to have more. Yes, I was no longer chasing a world of less, I readjusted to want more, but more definitely didn’t mean more things. it was becoming clearer and clearer that I want more time with loved ones, more time to read, create and relax. More time to help others and more time to pursue the things I love. I wanted more space to breathe and more chances to learn. More also included material items, like more money for travel.

India ended up being a big lesson in spirituality. It shifted my perspective entirely and I came back a changed woman. It wasn’t a positive change but that’s a story for another time. The few incidents that took place in India forced me to let go. I did not really get a chance to think about what I want, especially in terms of material items.

When I came back to Cairo, I was mostly sleeping and de-cluttering. I noticed that my appetite for food was decreasing but I embraced it.”

amira holding basket

And then my story ended here. It had been a roller coaster of old consumerist habits and fresh minimalist habits since then. I have more of a minimalist inside me that I reflect on my space. This is why, tomorrow, 1 May 2018, I start the 30-Day Minimalism Game. I had known about The Minimalists for years but it was not until January of this year that I started paying close attention to their writing and their podcast. The Minimalism game keeps popping up so I figured it is time I give it a try. The rules are simple. On day 1, you get rid of one thing. Day 2, two things. Day 3, three things and so on. I will donate, sell or trash (my environmental-self is judging me right now) the items as soon as possible. I can only this up for 28 days, because I travel on the 29th but well, there goes nothing!

Will you be joining the challenge?