A day or two ago I decided to get rid of some extra stuff that I was carrying over past few years and the first one to go were the assortment of random credit cards and some other savings/stores/random cards that I had acquired over a period of time and I wan’t using them at all. I have always assumed myself to be a minimalist in certain aspects of my life but while packing my stuff I realized that I might not be as characteristically immoderate minimalist as I perceived myself to be. Indeed I don’t have much furniture barring a sofa, a mattress(no bed), table, chair, and a bookshelf; I don’t own a car and mode of transport is an inexpensive bike; But when I looked around in certain nooks of the apartment, things I can call tchotchke, non functional objects collected over a period of time from lands far and near found their home. I do have plethora of books carefully selected in the past decade from various international bookstores and surprisingly have graduated to a well equipped kitchen as well.
Not a minimalist in the true sense then. Minimalism can be subjective, one needn’t get rid of each and everything. The idea is to own with a sense of responsibility and with owning less one tends to stretch the life and usage of the things one owns thereby creating lesser impact on the space and the environment around oneself. We end up in the whirlpool of the statement – I might need this one day and eventually end up having things which we don’t even need.
Back in 2014 I decided to experiment with project 333 that culminated into a success and I gave up many apparels to charity but after the project finished I ended up buying clothes again in next 2 year time frame. All of us have been caught in this vicious circle one time or the other. Oh well! Fact : After the oil industry, the fashion industry has the greatest environmental impact and with the advent of easily accessible fashion that won’t make a huge dent on the bank account, we own things without consciousness and don’t realize what impact our small purchase had. Some argue that sweatshops in south east Asia are important for the economy and how they are injecting money thereby increasing the purchasing power of the people. But don’t these big brands who give the contracts to the sweatshop owners have any responsibility how and under what conditions their clothes are made or are they merely concerned with minting money?
The idea behind minimalism isn’t to live in paucity but with enough that won’t cloud our vision and won’t be an obstruction in the process of life. Also, realizing the state that owning stuff doesn’t equate to lasting happiness may be ephemeral and transient one. From my personal experience, the last minute tickets I have purchased to go to some far flung or an unknown city for a brief vacation has brought more pleasure and pinched me less than Moomin mug or yet another CK shirt.
So, when I decided to get rid of the cards that I was owning and not using them, I decided to record my Rachel Greene moment but it turned out that next day many people ended up calling me and texting me to check if I was alright and whether I am going through a rough phase. Barring one everyone termed it as a crazy act but to me it wasn’t and as I said, minimalism is subjective and it did feel good in the end.
In the end I would say, there aren’t any set rules, do what you please and what is pertinent to the lifestyle you envision; You needn’t own only 100 items or live an ascetic life by not owning a car, a bed or TV but when the moment reaches when you are buying things for emotional support or more often than not, before buying anything you don’t have a clear ‘Yes’ to the question – do I really need it, then stop, think, and then decide.