My journey as a minimalist has started around 2018. I had moved in to a new apartment and there I recognized how much stuff I had.
I liked my stuff and thought I would need it. Then minimalism hit me. I cannot recall what it was, the documentary, a book, or anything else, but it hit me directly in the face and I began to see.
Decluttering started quickly. One trash bag after another was packed and thrown out of the apartment. I even got rid of toxic people in my life and at the point of moving out of the apartment all of my stuff fit into my car.
Living in the middle of a big city on 24 square meters made it easy to remain minimalist, and I started to take care of other areas of my life. In the last two years I got rid of many assumptions and bad habits, habits that would let me drown in my thoughts and suck my energy away.
Through that process I learned to deal with the worst in me and probably in any other human: Expectations. Expectations I had on others, expectations I had on myself.
I account that to minimalism, it's about expecting less from the people around you. It requires work, and you are never done there as it's quite natural to raise expectations towards other people in your life.
Other areas where I experimented and learned a lot about is meditation. Currently, I am not meditating regularly anymore, but the techniques I learned there often help me to calm down, sort my thoughts, and also sleep better.
Goals and Projects
Another process over the years definitely has been my goal setting. Or better said my excessive side projects, I always told myself that I could do it all.
Guess what? I can't do it all, and you can't either. The sooner you realize that you also have only that much focus and willpower, the easier it will be to get something done. And with something I mean something valuable, something essential. What helped me here is the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown.
As soon as I started to "single-task" and put my effort all into one direction, I got so much stuff done.
The years before I had plans, I planned excessively, but shortly after the planning my motivation was gone, and I didn't make any progress. The planning person inside me was more enthusiastic than the doing person.
I don't have a big list of goals anymore. I have the vision in my head where I want to go, and I know what I need to do to get there.
I have a list of "Maybes" for 2021. And I execute one after another. When I am done with one, I work on the next one depending on what's important now.
For example, my first goal of the year was to get the PAL I certification. Thereafter, I wanted to work on getting a new blog started, with the goal named "Write 8 Articles for refactoring-leadership.com". At the same time Joshua Fields Millburn opened the access to his writing class. That wasn't on my list at that time, but since it only opens once a year, and it pays into the same bucket of building a better blog I did it. Through the writing class I have written so many articles for the new blog that I also reached that goal without noticing it.
This style of work is way calmer and focuses on what's really essential. I am not doing things anymore because my past-self planned to do them. I do them because they are the right thing to do at the moment, and they provide value.
That's an easy one. I still hate shopping and therefore don't acquire new things easily. But I extended my closet a little…
I own about 10 black t-shirts and whenever one gets worn off I put it on the workout pile, so they get a second use. I own about 6 other t-shirts in blue, white, and light blue for special occasions (which rarely happen).
Other than that I own two button-ups if someone marries or dies. Two pairs of jeans. Two jackets, 3 pairs of shoes, some workout stuff, comfy home-office pants. About three hoodies maybe. And a sweater.
Yes, I own underwear as well, but that's manly it.
A little bonus: My girlfriend adapted and also threw out a lot and enjoys having less clothes.
I don't buy clothes regularly, if I do, I am opting for very high-quality and fair production.
And that's what bothers me. One pair of my jeans costs around 140 Euros and people tell me they couldn't afford that. I have two of them, and you won't ever see me in anything else. Now look into your closet, how many pairs of pants do you own? And how much did they cost summed up?
I wear my clothes as long as they don't fall apart. Even when, I put them to second use. My old shoes that fell apart I am still wearing in the garden. Same with my old pair of jeans.
Think twice if you tell me you cannot afford fair products.
When it comes to minimalism, tech is my biggest vice.
But I think I am in control here. I still use a MacBook, an iPhone, and an iPad, but decided to get rid of my Apple Watch, as it's always dragging my attention to the phone.
Other than that I have accumulated too many cables again which happens quickly, but I have gone through them on the weekend and thrown them out.
Furniture, Decoration, and other Stuff
Last summer I moved in with my girlfriend, and we have a lot of space. But luckily, we both have the same taste.
We don't like decoration, we like space and plants. Therefore, we have nothing unnecessary around. Everything has its purpose and provides value to us.
There are no shelves, or cupboards filled with stuff that no one ever uses. And we also don't bring in anything useless.
Distractions and Digital Minimalism
That's a topic I am annoying my girlfriend with all the time. It's especially about phones, news and social media.
I am researching and experimenting a lot in that regard. Attention and time are my two most valuable goods and I want to invest them in the right direction.
The attention industry doesn't make it easier to stay minimalist there.
Sounds excessive, maybe it is. I will keep you posted.
I have already learned a lot in the last few years and minimalism has been a great tool.
But there is more to uncover.
It's simple, not easy
Changing a life is never easy, and it's never a simple hack, it takes work and dedication, and you won't ever be done.
If you want to have a chat or need some help getting started with minimalism, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.