Published: Thursday, November 02, 2017   English | العربية  

BY Yara Boraie

How minimalism can not only declutter your home – but also your psyche

I t isn’t until it comes to the point of moving out that you realise just how much of a hoarder you can be. I had my own personal experience with this recently when I moved houses and had to go through the pain of clearing the entire place before boxing all my possessions up.

Never did I imagine that I would fnd it inconvenient to own so much until I found myself wading my way through mountains of random clothes – such as an impractical, spiked denim jacket I completely forgot I owned because I never mustered up the guts to wear. I realised how ridiculous it is that I’ve spent money on items I thought of value when all they’ve accomplished is to overcrowd my house.

We all make the mistake of surrendering to our wants instead of just our needs, and that’s only natural in the consumer-driven capitalist world we live in. From flashy commercials spanning what feels like a lifetime in between television programmes to non-skippable YouTube advertisements, we are constantly put in a state of discontent with what we own and a fear of missing out on what we don’t.

So how do we curb the temptation and keep a tight rein on our expenditures, you ask? Well I found the answer when I came across the concept of minimalism. And it is cathartic. To put simply, minimalism is one’s liberation from unnecessary material possessions. There are no specifc restrictions or limitations to abide by; anyone can suss out what they need and don’t need.

Call it a lifestyle as opposed to a passing trend, it is a way for me to set my mind free and reevaluate my decisions – pushing me to think twice the next time I feel the impulse to shop for no real reason. Instead I can drop my dirhams on experiences, or simply save up.

You may be thinking that swearing off anything that isn’t a bare necessity is quite a jump to make when simply faced with the annoyance of moving, and sure at frst packing was not so bad when it came to emptying out my cupboards. All I had to do was pile the clothes that no longer ft in one corner and give away to friends or donate to charity, and in another corner a pile of the clothes I cannot live without. I thought I was done with the toughest part until I started to declutter my bookshelf from books I thoroughly detested yet kept as a part of a treasurable collection. Then a dozen stack of lipsticks that are all the same shade but each from a different brand on my dressing table. And then the endless small knick-knacks just sitting there on my desk.

And that’s when you realise, enough is enough – things you thought defned you are actually weighing you down, because not only are they taking up physical space, but emotional too. I can’t deny that knowing one must let go of collectibles that are equally meaningful and useless – like the endless pile of birthday cards or a graduation gown – will hurt.

In my case, the single most unusable relic I’m undoubtedly never getting rid of is my ever-growing cinema tickets collection. If anyone even asked me what the frst thing I’d pull out if my house were on fre, this would probably be it (sorry Mom!).

Minimalism is all about being honest with yourself. So instead of separating things I don’t need, I asked myself what exactly I do need. The result was a box labelled ‘Yara’s Things She Thinks She Needs’ which I then stored away in the new house for a while, before coming back and deciding that I can do without most of them (cinema tickets aside obviously).

It may seem like I went through twice the effort instead of aimlessly tossing everything into boxes, but in the end, it’s worth confronting the habit of hoarding now rather than later. And there is something about the process that was good for my mental wellbeing. So, what am I leaving you with? Stop wasting your money on items that will end up as dustcovered regrets. Go minimal today.
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