I continue to declutter my room every day. It is still messy. My room is a work in progress. Decluttering takes time. It is a lifestyle. Because my mind is processing. (FYI, I plan on writing a blog entry about processing.)
In 2017, a movie, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, first introduced me to it. (My friend, Jon, told me about the movie.)
I was astonished by this film, even though I was not ready to declutter at the time.
I was on auto-pilot. I used to keep shopping in a consumerism country. I always bought a material good to fulfill my happiness. (I expected it would happen one day. But it never did.) The material good eventually gets old. I always bought a new one to replace it.
Brand new items boosted my ego and confidence. I bought them to impress others. I was seeking validation and attention to others.
My old items were left somewhere in home. Because I was still attached to them.
Throughout my life, I did not realize I was always collecting "old and new stuff." Call it a cycle of cluttering.
According to the movie, it states, "The average American household has more than 300,000 items."
Last night, I rewatched the movie. It has given me a better understanding now. Because I have been decluttering since last November. (So far, my decluttered items have been either sold or donated.)
A woman was surprised by my room. She was in disbelief when she saw me decluttering my room. It was her first time to witness somebody decluttering in front of her eyes.
She did not see my desk, basketball trophies from grades 5-8 (picture shown above), shelf, and clothing rack. She thought they were missing. (It was not normal for her.) I chose to remove them.
She assumed one bedroom must consist of a bed, a desk, a drawer, a nightstand, a shelf, and a clothing rack. (Society tells us that.)
She was wondering where will I write without a desk. But I have never used it in a long time. Because my desk has always been used as a storage. It is cluttered with stuff on it. I decided to remove desk. I donated it to a man using FaceBook Marketplace.
I detached the engraving plates in each trophy by using a flat screwdriver. The woman could not believe it. I only kept one trophy. I was awarded for it as "Most Improved Player" in my 8th grade basketball team. I only deserved this award. Because I earned it. My team won many tournaments. But I rarely played. I decided to remove the other trophies. I donated them to Goodwill.
My shelf and clothing rack created more clutter. The woman was curious about my clothes hung on rack. I have donated most of them to a friend. And the remaining of the clothes were now hung on my closet. I sold shelf and clothing rack using FB Marketplace.
I read Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. She asks herself every time she grabs an item, "Does it spark joy?" This question lets her know if the item is worth keeping.
Decluttering has taught me how to let go. I do keep some items. Because it still sparks joy in my life. I decide to declutter them one day. It takes patience to let go.
"We overvalue nonessentials like a nicer car or house, or even intangibles like the number of our followers on Twitter or the way we look in our Facebook photos. As a result, we neglect activities that are truly essential, like spending time with our loved ones, or nurturing our spirit, or taking care of our health," Greg McKeown writes in his book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.
I used to see material goods as a part of me. Because I was always attached to them. And especially, my birthday and Christmas gifts given to me from family, friends, and relatives.
These are the most difficult items to declutter. I cannot stop them from giving me gifts. Giving is what makes them happy.
I decided to always keep the gifts, even if I never used them at all. Because if I ever donated or sold my gifts, I felt neglected and abandoned to my givers.
Instead, the gifts were left being dusty somewhere in home. And more clutter was stored.
Now, I have realized the gifts are given to me. I own them. It is my choice. It is my life. The givers do not control me on what they already have given me. (They should not. I plan to write a blog entry about giving.)
I am grateful for my givers who have taken their time and effort to give me a gift. They cannot force me to like or keep their present. What matters is their presence (not presents).
I used to be always focused on owning material goods. I saw people with old items. I criticized on them. I always checked on the latest product. I wanted to be the first one to own it, like finishing a race at first place. I was doing it for the sake of bragging to others. I was waiting for others to congratulate me on my brand new items.
This was completely wasting and expending my energy.
I always wanted somebody to be at the house. (I am lucky to be still living with my parents. Thanks for the free rent, food, and gas.) Whenever my parents and I went out, we wanted at least one of us to be home. We needed somebody to housesit, and especially, dog-sit. Because we were afraid someone would steal our stuff. And we must take care of the dogs. (Dogs are the huge priority now.)
I realized I was not able to live in the moment. I was concerned and worried about my stuff, even when I was far away from them. More stuff, more stress.
Decluttering clears my mind.
Seeking and owning material goods is not a top priority in my life anymore.
I like to meet people instead. I enjoy having deep, intellectual conversations. Relationships and connections are more meaningful. They come unexpectedly. (My previous blog entry, Sauna, relates to it.) It allows me to hear more stories and experiences from others. I can either apply, learn, or observe from it. Listening to stories and experiences has also given me patience.
I am willing to change, grow, evolve, or develop. I continue to have empathy and compassion to others.
I know a man who prefers owning material goods than building relationships. He chooses to buy an item online than talk to a stranger. It is easier for him.
He thinks owning more material goods gives more power too. For instance, he shows his outer-confidence by owning a lot of cars. He believes this overpowers his neighbors by owning more items than them.
He also believes every person is acting in the world. He assumes everybody is lying to him. He second-guesses people every time he hears a story from them. For instance, he hates it whenever famous, rich people do talk about their flaws and weaknesses in their past life. He believes it is a lie. And they want attention more.
Whenever the man hears good stories about people, he assumes they are trying to impress or overtop him. He also thinks somebody is coming after him.
"Our intelligence helps us regulate our emotions. Fear, for example, is based on mistrust and a lack of self-confidence. If, on the other hand, we remain honest and truthful, open and tolerant, we will have greater self-confidence and overcome fear," Dalai Lama tweets.
It is good to already declutter. Because I am going to die. For instance, I am decluttering my sister's room. She died on May 17, 2003. I was not able to accept her death at the time. I believed everything in her room must be kept too.
Before she died, she wanted me to manage her stuff. I have decided to keep some of her items, such as diary, high school class ring, and pictures.
A woman was in shock.
"It is the mind. I remember the memories and moments with her," I told her as I pointed at my brain.
I realized I cannot take everything in my room when I die. It will not fit. For instance, my tennis and basketball coach passed away last November. And I saw his arms being wrapped around by his tennis racquet as he laid inside his casket.
Lastly, decluttering simplifies my life.
"Own less. Live more. Discover the life you want," Joshua Becker blogs at Becoming Minimalist.