1: What drew you to minimalism?
I've always been quite clean, and I kinda fell into it. I liked my room tidy as a kid, and I got better with letting go of things or being content with what I had. I was fascinated with nature and the fact that we humans were the only ones that lived so differently, almost like we were out of touch. When I got to university, I had to move in and out of the dorms every semester and I learned very quickly to live lightly. I loved moving to new places and seeing new things, so it wasn't even an option for me to keep a lot of belongings. I felt my best when I was light and able to move around freely whenever I needed. It was only until I was out in California that I learned about the term minimalism. There was a little book about de-cluttering that I found at Borders (I loved that store) that introduced me to minimalism as a concept, and that was it. I knew right then and there that I was a minimalist and I always have been.
2: How did you start the de-cluttering process?
After I skimmed the little book at the store, I went home and started to look up inspirational sites online. I felt so excited, and I started that instant. I gave to my family, to charity, I started to sell things right away, and I started to question anything that I bought or accumulated. It was such a liberating feeling, and I felt a sincere calm come over me. Material possessions no longer controlled my wellness. I was whole with or without them. It's okay to own things; some items enrich our lives, but when they're not needed anymore one must know that it's time to pass them along. The more I practiced this, the more I found I was content with only the things that enhanced my life. As a side note, this also left room for quality relationships and experiences, because instead of playing with my stuff, I was focused on the wonderful people in my world and the time we shared together.
3: Have you ever counted all your things? If so, how many things do you own?
No, and I never plan to. Minimalism is not about only owning a set amount of items, it's about owning only what one needs truly. This may be different for everyone. I had a huge wake-up call when I moved from California to Pennsylvania, because I had accumulated way too much, and I felt so heavy. I value freedom and movement, so this did not align with who I am. I'm trying my best to remedy that now.
4: What are your tips for dealing with the desire for more?
Think about the whole lifespan of an item. Is it sourced properly? Is it quality? Will it last? What will happen to it when it returns to the earth? Will it add true value to one's life? An example of this is that I would love to have a Wacom Cintiq Companion. I'm going to sell the large laptop, the 21" Cintiq, and downsize to the Companion. This way, I can be free to take it on my travels and have it with me instead of needing a desk and the space for such large items. It is in harmony with my way of living.
5: How do you deal with non-minimalists in your life?
If one is interested, I encourage and inspire. My family knows not to buy me things. It makes it easy for them. I do love food and experiences though! That's a brilliant way to spend one's time and money.
6: Do you have any guilty pleasures where minimalism doesn't apply?
No, not really. It's fascinating how the opposite happens, and it seems to apply to other things in life as well. Simplifying all things is beautiful. I'm happy having less stuff to tie me down. If I had my way, I'd live in fully-furnished places and only have a small collection of personal belongings. Then I can come and go as I please without all of my stuff pinning me down. Also, one's space is a reflection of self, and I truly adore open modern designs. They're so tranquil and alluring.
How about you? Does minimalism interest you as well?