July 12

Could you go back to basics?


As a little girl on visits to my aunt’s and uncle’s house, I was often mesmerised by the sheer volume of things tucked away in their pristine living space. When no one was around, I used to open every drawer to see what exciting things were waiting to be discovered in each. Nowadays, thankfully this strange behaviour has stopped (or maybe I’ll just look inside this bathroom cabinet quickly…). Old habits die hard.

So it was a welcoming surprise to be legitimately allowed visual entry into the home of a minimalist. Every voyeuristic fiber in my body was gathered for this momentous occassion. Before I continue, I should let you know that this is a true story.

A year and a half ago, Joshua Fields Millburn quit his highflying six-figure salary job, moved from a luxurious loft apartment into an airy one bedroom apartment, decluttered his living space, and achieved location independence. All in the name of simplicity. And for going back to basics. If you are as nosy as I am (and his 100,000 readers), feel free to look around. He would love you to.

While I am not urging everyone to do the same, I would like to invite you to take a moment to entertain these questions:

  • Are all the material things in your home absolutely necessary for your happiness?
  • Do you think you shop far too much?
  • Do you really need the things you buy?
  • Before you decide to buy yet another product, can you upcycle any of the stuff you own already?
  • Do you recycle whenever you can?
  • Are you buying stuff just because you can afford them?

If the answers to any of these questions suggest you are in danger of becoming a hoarder or gatherer, I suggest you start to declutter. You will soon find that decluttering allows more room for condusive thoughts to enter your life, energise your mind and soul. And there are innumerable ways you can do so. Give to charity or sell your belongings at a market stall. As for me, the only things I bought in the last two months were a pair of pumps to replace my increasingly knackered pair so I can feel the earth below me and two books which are food for the mind.

I’m slowly going back to the simple things that make one happy in life, would you care to join me?


basics, declutter, give, hoarder, JFM, Minimalists, room, simplicity

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  1. That makes me feel bad about my shopping trip yesterday (which felt so good the moment when carried my shopping bags)

  2. Don’t feel bad dearie, in with the new, out with the old. I am thinking of taking half a day off to sort the pile of clothes that I no longer wear. They could go to charity or maybe I’ll set up a market stall to sell them! 🙂

  3. Re some of the clutter in my own place:
    1] the clothes I agree can be thinned out/swapped out even,
    2] books can stay, because they make easy gifts when you’re in a pinch and continue to inspire/entertain,
    3] music/films: tricky one, all the music is already on my computer, but what if this old dinosaur dies on me? films I routinely sell online/give away as gifts.
    4] the “art clutter” [probably my biggest problem] I will not let go of [I will have a wall to put it up against some day!]
    5] and then, the dry food storage cupboard. it baffles me that I have a cupboard stacked full of groceries, I rarely reach into. need sweet corn from 2008? or maybe some petit pois from 2009? you know who to come and see. all bought with good intentions of course! maybe this year’s christmas gifts will consist of little pots of candied ginger and individual portions of tomato soup. you’re not having my art though.

  4. Jackie, I’m glad that you’re so inspired! I need to get down to clearing the clutter too! Hand me that petit pois from 2009!
    P/S: I’ll start looking into market stall and business idea!

  5. One person’s clutter is another person’s treasure! You benefit from creating space, the charity benefits, someone benefits from a ‘cheap’ bargain, and above all: THINGS GET RE-CYLCLED!! It’s a win win win win situation!!

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