August 10, 2012

A Wannabe Minimalist

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"
~Leonardo Da Vinci

When you don't take care, clutter builds up so easily in your life. More the clutter, more distraction, more stress, more waste of energy taking care of everything.

For past several months, I have been trying to simplify my life while trying to be a minimalist. Some of the steps taken, so far:
  • Got rid of unnecessary and dysfunctional electronic items, DVDs and other e-waste. And this was probably the most difficult step, because these stuffs I had bought from my own hard earned money.
  • Opened old trunks and wardrobe, took out all the old and outdated clothes and shoes of everyone in family and donated them.
  • Loads of books were found lying around unused. I don't like to throw away old books, so we tried to find good keepers, but some had to go to the rag-picker. Old Magazines and Newspapers are my favorite to get rid of.
  • Deleted a bunch of movies from system which have been sitting there for months in the hope they would be watched *someday*. The thing is when you are really excited about some movie or TV episode you watch it as soon as possible rather than waiting for *someday*. And when I have less choices, it's easier for me to pick and watch the next movie. 
  • Removed redundant software from the system. I no longer have to waste time choosing the right tool for the job as there is only one tool available. System also now feels a little faster!
  • Removed a dozen old and 'just-in-case' contacts from the phone contact list. I just know that I am not interested in contacting them anymore, nor will they do anytime soon.
  • Half a dozen FB friends were deleted, a bunch of twitter accounts were unfollowed. Just keeping those who are really important.
  • Removed a bunch of old and out-of-date bills and warranty cards. Now I am only left with a handful and I am pretty sure I am not going to need them either.
  • Removed most of the songs from my MP3 player. In any case, I listen to a limited number of them. Nowadays, I prefer listening to radio.
  • Cut short a bunch of blogs I followed. Now it contains only the essentials. Unfortunately I struggle to find time even for them.
  • Texting friend is a major activity I perform. Recently I identified about a dozen people out of almost 50, to text regularly. While others still receive texts but it has become 'occassionaly'. This has significantly reduced the stress of keeping contact with everyone and texting feels less of a chore now.
  • Threw away a great number of old documents related to self and family that were lying around just-in-case they are needed. That 'just-in-case' occasion never occurred in last one decade.
  • Have stopped wearing watch after 7 years of daily use. I now carry a mobile phone and it makes no sense to carry an extra weight on your wrist (I don't consider watches as fashion accessories).
  • Trashed a great number of 'unfinished' pieces and ideas for the blog because I felt they were not going anywhere and I didn't want to write just for the sake of writing.
  • Have started giving more attention to my writing and eliminating the non-essential (while getting full co-operation from my private editor!). The articles must be crisp and precise to read.
  • You might not have noticed but this blog has become a lot more clean than it started. All non-essential stuffs (twitter feed, tag cloud, email subscription, blogger follow gadget, the extra subheading of the blog) have been removed. All you see now is the content and the archives. And that's what matters. And now with the (temporary) Dynamic views set for blog interface has become even more simplified.
  • Resigned from the post of moderator/translator from Twitter. It was a very hard and painful decision but I had to do it because other obligations were not allowing me to do justice to the post.
And I must say that this is not the end of it. It has to be just a starting. Simplifying life is an ongoing process, it never ends.I must also tell "subtracting things from life" is not an idea that just popped in my head. I read about it at a few places and have seen people practising *minimalism* and that inspires me to be a minimalist and "simplifist" myself. Of course, an extreme minimalist will pare down stuffs from his life to the bare minimum. I don't want to become that weird guy. I am trying to practice minimalism to the level with which I am comfortable with.

 I have also had a few interesting experiences while conducting these life-experiments and activities:
  • Have been facing a lot of opposition and resistance from family while throwing away stuffs. They think it would be "useful sometime in future". And I can totally understand their sentiments as I also used to feel the same sometime ago.
  • When you eliminate stuffs from your life, you start using and interacting with other things and people more often hence appreciating them more.
  • Separating from a particular thing which you have used in past also involves detaching yourself emotionally from it. Sometimes it is painful, but at other times it is a liberating experience.
Being a minimalist is coo! Give it a try!