My Experiment With Minimalism: HOW IT ALL BEGAN

I always thought about myself as a bit of a minimalist. I love minimalistic interiors - the zen places where it is easy to relax. I like it when the small things in my home are hidden away from view and are in their right places leaving my surroundings more spacious and free of clutter. I think it is simply easier to live this way - you save energy of being frustrated about the mess around you and the need to constantly clean it up.

But if I REALLY think of it, I am still very far from being able to call myself a true minimalist. That is because I own too many things.

A while ago a friend of mine was moving houses. Because he rents and because he was moving far away and had limited resources he decided that he would only need to take with him the items which he has been using over the last 6 months. He got rid of the rest - of most of his things really. And you know, he called it a very refreshing experience. Let me tell you, his move was very easy. He realized how much stuff he had accumulated which he was keeping for no reason whatsoever. He sold or gave things away. He said he got some money he channeled to better purposes or simply helped people who were in need of things he was not anymore using.

In the West we live in a society which suffers from an extreme case of consumerism. We keep buying things because we believe we need them, but is this really the case? Worst of all we fall into this vicious circle - we believe we need to WORK to be able to buy and maintain all these things - all these things we do not really need.

I have recently come across The 100 Things Challenge book and got inspired to revisit my relationship with things and do a clear out of my space and also my world. I give myself time till May 1, that's 2 weeks worth of effort.

Within the next 2 weeks I will proceed with the following 3 steps:

1) Space Clear Out

The plan is to go through all my things (clothes, cosmetics, books, CDs, household appliances, etc) and get rid of the ones I no longer use. I need to end up with really useful things I need, things that inspire me and bring joy. Storing them away doesn't count! They need to be sold on e-bay, given away or simply thrown into the bin. Bearing in mind every single thing not only occupies a bit of space but takes away a bit of my energy, I should definitely regain loads in the end!!
Rule number 1 is: Do not buy new things if the old ones can still serve you well (Why do you need 7 pairs of jeans or 5 bottles of perfume??)
Rule number 2 is: Buy good quality products which will serve you longer. Yes, this is the case when you save by spending more once.

2) To-Do List Clear Out

Remember how long you were planning to finish that book for? How long you were promising to visit your friends who moved, but never found the time? Become a sponsor for pet charity? And never found the time to go do it? How many of similar activities were accumulating in my to-do list making it long, heavy and later almost unbearable to carry. The time has come to decide what to do. There are 2 options: 1) go and do it 2) decide not to do it at all and cross it out of your to-do list. It's time to stop carrying all that load of the uncompleted tasks!

3) My Environment Clear Out

Clear out of my environment - look at all the unhealthy relations which have a negative impact on my life. Finish all the interactions which bring negative effect on me. For the ones where there are potential misunderstandings - initiate dialogue to resolve them. Learn to say 'no' when the situation requires. Allow yourself to be 'ungrateful', 'crazy' or 'not well behaved' if that is the price for freedom.

So that's for starters - I will provide updates on my progress here on this blog.

I realize I'm being slightly hypocritical talking about minimalism here. I'm a privileged white female with income and savings. That’s an easy position to be in to get rid of the things you don't need. I have the luxury of being able to buy the food I need or walk into a restaurant to have it made for me, while so many people in the world need to stock up large volumes of food to be able to afford eating in principle. I also have a credit card to fall back on in an emergency while most people in this world do not.

I have funds to survive and that’s an enormous privilege. Nonetheless, I recently feel that all these things are dragging me down and complicate my life instead of giving me freedom to spread my wings. I still feel the lifestyle of less is better than the endless consumerism we suffer from where buying and hoarding stuff (which doesn’t make us happy) has now become standard.

This is part one of a series of blog posts on minimalism. You can link to part two and three here:

part 2: My Experiment With Minimalism: SPACE CLEAR OUT

part 3: My Experiment With Minimalism: TO-DO LIST AND MY ENVIRONMENT CLEAR OUT

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My List Of Incredibilities

This is an exercise and an experiment I learned about just not very long ago during the time I took 'Leaving your Comfort Zone Course'. The idea is to come up with your own 'list of incredibilities'.

A list of incredibilities is a (long) list of desired events which you think would never happen to you. So these are pretty much 'miracles' which you'd love to experience but do not believe you can - like a trip around the world, or a house in Bali or a date with - say - Jon Kortajarena.

So take a sheet of paper (open a blank screen), relax, give yourself a complete freedom and knock yourself out - write them all down! Aaaallll of them!! There is nothing to worry about - they are incredibilities after all! Let your imagination loose!

The next step is to share your list with your friends or close ones. Because if you do not let the Universe know about your list, how do you even hope they might come true? An option for the really brave ones is to share the list on their blog or in social networks - so that as many people as possible could see it (this would increase the chances for the incredibilities actually happening).

IMPORTANT: if you notice you are editing things based on who will see the list, stop immediately and rewrite! 100% honesty with yourself is the key thing here!

The exercise itself already helps you to realize a good couple of things about yourself, don't you think? :)

Now, reread.

You will see that actually you could make many of the items on the list come true. Possibly, there are even items you could complete by yourself within the near future without any help from outside. Are there such items in your list? If so, go make those things happen. Soon!

If you don't have any such items in the list - choose at least the ones for which you know where you could start. What we need are first steps. Apparently this is where the magic happens. From the time you make your first wish come true, you will start making connections, you will find yourself in the right circumstances, useful coincidences will happen. But your actions need to come first. This is the list's activation if you want.

And yes, it is a bit like magic and we might not know how this works. But if it does work - who cares?

So here goes (drum roll...),(not to say I'm not scared of sharing the whole thing, but here I jump)...

Ladies and Gentlemen, the list of Olga's incredibilities:

0) Discover your essence, your inner purpose
1) Become a freelancer, with work completely independent from location
2) Quit my old boring job
3) Move to work in Bali
4) Become a digital nomad - being able to work from and travel to any location
5) Travel through South East Asia
6) Become an online entrepreneur
7) meet a business partner
8) Publish your articles
9) Publish a book
10) Your website has more than 1000 visitors per day
11) Write lots every day (3000 words per day)
12) Learn to write quickly and derive pleasure from it
13) You will receive a freelance job offer
14) Travel around the world
15) create a new cool website
16) learn Wordpress
17) Learn to code!
18) Visit Costa Rica
19) Cruise in the Caribbean
20) Visit Mauritius
21) Go to Madagascar!
22) Win lottery :)
23) My articles will be loved by the readers
24) Spend a month in New York
25) Go to the Antarctics
26) I will come up with a couple of brilliant ideas for short stories
27) Go hiking in Iceland
28) Visit Thailand
29) Go to South Africa
30) Visit Kruger Park
31) Do the bungee jump
32) Go to Australia
33) Write for a respected paper
34) Go to Cuba (before it is too late...)
35) Move to another part of London
36) road-trip in the West part of the US
37) Go back to India
38) Visit an Ashram
39) Do something that brings purpose
40) Find like-minded individuals and work together
41) Learn to take really good quality photos
42) Spend some time in Amsterdam
43) Swim with whale sharks
44) Dive in the caves again
45) Travel through South America
46) Spent time in Porto and explore Northern Portugal
48) bring up Lidia to be a curious and open individual
49) find inner peace

P.S. I created this list a couple of weeks ago, in my notebook, with a HUGE intention to share it. But immediately after life got super busy and with our travels to Dubai, me finishing the course, Lidia's illness and us going to Poland it took me a while to share it. I still need to tell you that already one of the points above came true - we are going to spend some time in Amsterdam together with our close friends and their little daughter in June.

Either way, let see how this magic thing works - I will keep you guys updated!

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