Minimalism – The New Age Mantra
Moving forward in 2019, are we up for some physical and emotional decluttering in the New Year?
Less is More and ‘Quality over Quantity’ are phrases familiar to us. But most of us are unable to sustain and manage our lives within moderate means and are unwilling to let go of our possessions for the lack of fear of ‘letting go.’ Especially in a Cosmopolitan City like Gurgaon, a metaphor of luxurious concrete space, people seem to be more trapped and clingy to their pseudo lifestyle of material abundance.
Shop till you drop!
In this age of heavy consumerism and easy online ‘cheap’ shopping, we are getting sucked into the hard-to-break habit of endless and reckless buying which eventually often piles up into stuff that is just lying around without playing an important role in our life.
Most of the affluent households would have wardrobes burdened with outfits not worn for months or even years, cabinets full of crockery not used since the Diwali of 2005, books gathering dust on shelves, or gifts lying around in cupboards waiting to be passed on, any thoughts what next… how much is enough?
A walk towards minimalism
“I had six cupboards full of clothes which also revealed items I had bought three seasons ago and still had their tags on!” says Kanika Bhalla, a consulting professional and travel freak. “My first tryst with decluttering happened in 2016 with my collection of over 700 books which had taken over my entire house. I distributed them within friends, families and book lovers keeping back only 20 of my most favourite and it felt so good. I then decided to take the plunge and downsize from six wardrobes to just one.
The biggest lifestyle change I also did was that in the whole of 2018 I didn’t buy any new piece of clothing, shoes or accessories! It was difficult to not grab things off the shelves I liked but since I knew I didn’t really need them I stood firm on my decision. I realised hoarding so much is just a waste of energy, time and money. My own excessive stuff and lack of space pushed me to declutter and in 2019 I am going to work on bringing the total of all my possessions under 100,! ’’She says with a smile of achievement. She travelled all across Europe for nine weeks with just one backpack. So bare minimums required can be accommodated in a bag to lug it all by yourself.
Activating your energies
According to the concepts of Feng Shui and Vastu, one of the most common ‘life energy’ blockers in our home and work space is clutter. It restricts the flow of the vital life energy known as ‘Prana’ and ‘Chi’ in our surroundings. When it’s blocked, it can hamper health, growth, relationships and prosperity.
“I believe the universe provides us with what we require at any time and by giving in to our securities, we tend to hoard,” explains Shivi Dua, the founder of Serenity Surrenders, a healing modality which helps connect with our inner power. “Interestingly what we have hoarded doesn’t serve its purpose at the time of need and not only does it require more effort, but also keeps us from learning the lesson we were meant to learn from our low phases,” adds Shivi who feels often people tend to buy or indulge extravagantly just to feel good or as an escape from the emotions they want to run from which would otherwise have shaped them into stronger individuals.
Sensitising the Next Gen
Children today have access to a lot more than what we or our ancestors did. From clothing, food items, toys, gadgets, technology and so on; they are exposed to a much wider spectrum of consumables than we were as kids.
Children today can identify fashion brands faster than what we as new brides could identify the ‘dals’ in our kitchen cabinets! “While we as parents love to pamper our children with the best, at some level they need to be taught about the importance of minimalism and not to be carried away in the pursuit of materialist pleasures, says Ritika Sood, a senior corporate trainer and a certified yoga therapist. She hosts sessions in Gurgaon on mindfulness, conscious living and breath monitoring, Ritika not just practises minimalism and decluttering in her own day to day life but also is motivating people to enter the ‘beautiful world of being fearless.’
Ritika says, “I am a work in progress and I have realised that people are fearful to let go of their possessions. 15 years ago at one point of time, I discovered that I had 150 plus sarees! That got my mind churning, at a very subconscious level I said to myself that I have to let go of my sarees and just keep a few to myself. I handed the rest to my neighbour who further donated them to a charity that organises mass weddings. It brought me so much joy to see my sarees which were otherwise lying neglected being happily worn by the young girls and brides. I then gave away all my excess crockery as well and today you will find that my bed boxes, drawers and cupboards are not overburdened with any unnecessary stuff. I didn’t even know the term decluttering or minimalism back then and just wanted that people should use and get some benefit from my stuff. My home is clutter free, things around me are only which I use regularly,” she shares with a smile of satisfaction.
Minimalism and decluttering are at some level an extension of each other. If one gets into the habit of not having clutter around your living space, one invariably stops to add more materialistic possessions around self. It brings about an understanding of how much your family genuinely requires to sustain a comfortable life.
What started as such a spontaneous habit by Ritika has been subconsciously imbibed by her daughter Naima who unlike most millennials of her age is totally detached from materialistic belongings and is a thoughtful buyer herself. People of her age group are brand savvy and fashion conscious, Naima is more partial to products of Indian artisans or those epitomising Indian heritage.
Naima as a young girl is not attached to material things and she is happy leading her life with minimalistic material things. “I also strongly believe in the idea of gratitude which is to be thankful for what you have which leads to infinite blessings and opportunities!” says Naima.
It’s time to lead a baggage free life by chucking off excessive needless possessions not just material, but mental and emotional as well.
“I decided to let go of my bulk saree collection, hence donated to the charity which organises mass weddings.” Ritika Sood
“People tend to buy or indulge extravagantly just to feel good or as an escape from their emotions and fears.” Shivi Dua
This story was first published in the print version of SUBURB January 2019 issue.