A woman's journey realizing the intersects of minimalism and the Indian way of life. How she began practicing the Indian version of minimalism versus the popular western version of minimalism.
The term "minimalism" is trending recently in India and other places with so many people taking the 30 Day #minsgame or the #packingparty or #konmari declutter or even the #swedishdeathcleaning. But I feel minimalism has been a part of our integral culture up until a couple of generations ago.
At this point, I would like to give an alias to minimalism which I am more comfortable with - Simple living. Our grandparents and great grandparents lived a simple, happy and full life in style. Even if they did not possess a thousand items in the household, everything that they had was well loved and used with the utmost care to the best possible life span. Nothing was a waste and nothing was bought in a spur of the moment. Every purchase was carefully analyzed and curated. However, the last few decades have slowly tightened their grip on us in terms of suggesting and making decisions for our lifestyle by means of online shopping, social media, sharing about different lifestyle changes, etc. This shift from being influenced by our closest friends and family to the whole world heralded a shift in our mindsets and lifestyles as well. Now, all of us have started to aim for that beautiful looking house with a gazillion decor items and a beautiful walk-in closet with all sorts of clothes, maybe even a dog or cat or snake that we can start an instagram page for.
The damage is done to our mindset and it is not easy to come out.
I started out a couple of years ago when I felt that my mind was crammed with unwanted items around the house that needed organizing, cleaning, maintenance and upkeep. This constant pressure to keep up appearances made me realize that I should focus on quality, not quantity - thus began my journey of decluttering. I slowly began minimizing my possessions just to lead a more peaceful life. But this didn't mean that I didn't purchase anything new! In the last year, I added four new pieces of furniture as we moved home and didn't have a some furniture to begin with.
Sometimes buying things would make me cringe, I would worry, "How can I call myself minimalist if I buy things?" But then I would remember that I evaluated each purchase ensuring that they would serve me and my family for years to come in a plethora of ways.
Plus, I remember an Instagram post by @mnmlgrlblog where she says "You don't have to be a hermit wrapped in loin cloth to be a minimalist". She extols the values of self-awareness in consumption and that you don't have to live in a cave with rags covering your body to call yourself a minimalist. "Being aware of your consumption, asking yourself how to reduce your carbon footprint, being mindful of your purchases, these are all ways you are already thinking like a minimalist." she says and I agree with these words fully. Now, I simply give myself a pat on the back and enjoy the item to the fullest.
Do not be hard on yourself when you absolutely need something that you do not have. If you can upcycle something or reuse or do not mind pre-loved stuff then, by all means, go for it, but if nothing works, do not hold yourself back from purchasing it.
Remember, It is ok to take it slow....but it's not okay to stop. Minimalism is a journey, a lifestyle. Call it whatever you want - simple living, living intentionally or minimalism, the fact is it is easier and far less stressful once you begin walking the path.
Just begin. Imperfection is okay, not trying is not.
Thanks for hearing my story and do let me know how you practice minimalism in your daily lives.-Uma (Chennai, India)
This article was edited by mnmlgrl.
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