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This article is part three of the post series on minimalism. You can view the previous parts here.

part 1: My Experiment With Minimalism: HOW IT ALL BEGAN

part 2: My Experiment With Minimalism: SPACE CLEAR OUT

Here is an update on the journey I started in April, in the attempt to get rid of all the unnecessary things, plans and unhealthy interactions that were making my life too cluttered and stressful.
Having got rid of many things, I got this great feeling of lightness and freedom and felt I got more energized - especially being at home and enjoying its newly organized state. It is now no secret to me that I had simply been wasting too much of my energy worrying about things which were on the way. The whole exercise of reducing my possessions came really handy and helpful. You can read more about it here.

In my newly energized state I still felt that I had piles of things on my to-do list. The thought of it alone quite often made me very nervous and fidgety. I felt it was high time to do something to stop that panicky feeling, which was helping me to achieve nothing. So I made a pact with myself: there is just so much you can do. You can’t increase the number of hours in a day. But what you can do is accept it and try to organize yourself better.

So I sat down and made a list of all the things I needed to do. All of them. Everything I could think of – from framing those photos I wanted to hang in the kitchen for so long and calling friends who moved far away, to learning how to make risotto and sewing on my jacket’s missing buttons. To my surprise, the list had an end :) – and there were slightly over a 100 items on the list. It wasn’t that bad!

I also spotted a pattern - there were things on my list I wanted to do for ages – take a course, attend a lecture, read this and that book, listen to that program, watch that movie, but never did – for various reasons. This made me realize that if I don’t do anything about these points now, they will keep being a heavy load on my back and won’t bring me any joy. So without postponing it any longer I submitted an online form to sign up for the coaching course I always wanted to attend and then crossed out all the other things from the list I felt I wouldn’t be doing in the nearest future. Maybe I will later come back to them. Maybe not. But stopping to think about them made life so much easier. And my list got much shorter!

And then the most amazing thing happened. My whole ‘to-do’ situation wasn’t looking as catastrophic as I had previously thought, and this made me feel like adding bigger things to the plan. My dreams. Things I always wanted to do but never thought I could actually embark on because of how busy I was.

This was the biggest and the most PRECIOUS discovery of the whole to-do list clear out exercise. Why would I only think of the things I ‘have to do’ as worth mentioning on my plan? Why would I keep dismissing the big things, which warm my heart and are the most important to me in the long-term perspective, only to say I do not have time for them? My conclusion was: I need to stop postponing my dreams!


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The last point of my plan was looking at my environment. That I thought was a rather easy thing to do. Was I being wrong again?

People who know me well say I’m a rather calm and self-contained individual who avoids conflict. Yes, I do avoid conflict. Problem is I do it at any cost. When I started to think about the situations, which have a negative impact on me, I gradually came to the conclusion that I myself was responsible for creating them. What happens is because of my inability to say ‘no’ in some situations, I let things I don’t really want to happen – happen. I also let people in my life I do not necessarily want to spend my time with/on. Guilty as charged! I further realized getting rid of this habit – the reluctance of saying ‘no’ - would not be an easy and quick thing to achieve. But I’m planning to do it step by step.

First thing in changing any bad habit is acknowledging the habit exists, so the good news is, I’m already making progress :). Secondly, I decided I would be paying more attention to the situations, which make me feel uncomfortable or - even worse - I regret happened, and analyze what I should have done differently. Thirdly, acting differently when the situations repeat themselves by using some of the techniques on overcoming fear I already mastered. And situations do repeat. I couldn’t get rid of the feeling I was making the same mistake over and over again by being nice and patient. So as of today I’m starting to pay the high price for my own freedom by allowing myself to be 'ungrateful', 'crazy' or 'not well behaved'.

As I dug deeper, it turned out I also needed to work on my relationships. Even though I’m rather good-hearted by nature I realized there are a couple of people who I might still be am still holding the grudge against. Pointless thing to do, as it only accumulates bad energy. Another thing, which needs to stop very soon! I promised myself I would do this by either speaking to them or, if I don’t really deal with these people anymore, by analyzing the eventual reasons why and by letting these feelings go.

Another unexpected conclusion I arrived at during my clear out project is that I need to work on the relationship with my parents. It is so easy to take the relationships with the people closest to us for granted, but these should really be the relationships we cherish and care about most. And I can do so much more here – from being more patent to involving them in my life a little bit more. I guess it is being a mother that helped me understand this special bond between parents and children, which should never be neglected.

To tell you the truth, I was never expecting this project to influence me as much as it did and for its outcomes to go quite as deep. Again, it made it clear to me that life is a journey during which we make discoveries about ourselves and the best thing we can do is to really listen to ourselves and find the time to think about things, which are important to us.

Quick summary of my Minimalism articles series:

On Minimalism: Massive Clear Out!
On Minimalism: SPACE CLEAR OUT

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My Experiment With Minimalism: SPACE CLEAR OUT

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This article is part two of the post series on minimalism. You can view the part one here.

Have you ever tried to count the number of things you own? It never really crossed my mind. Up until recently. When i decided to challenge myself and do a massive spring clear out - not only of the things which i own, but of my life in general.

In this post I will be sharing some of the results hoping some of you will get inspired :).

I have started with what I thought was the easiest part - getting rid of all the unnecessary things.

God, was i looking forward to this. Yet, it resulted it wasn't that easy to let go of some things at first. Many things. Ok, MOST of them. I found myself coming up with excuses for leaving them for yet another while 'just to make sure' i'm really not going to use them anymore.

The biggest challenge was my closet. Haha, i almost came to the erroneous conclusion that it's actually a bad thing when your size doesn't change over the years, causing you to accumulate too many clothes. They all still fit and most are in great condition, yet many don't get to be worn for various reasons. While i was going through my clothes in order to pick the items I no longer need my mind came up with so many creative ways to pair and match them (which rarely happened before), I almost decided to leave everything as is, apart from this funky patterned sweater i got from my aunt and my battered Wrangler's, worn out to a degree, where they stopped providing a proper cover for my behind.

I caught myself shutting the door of my closet ready to move on to whatever was next on my list. Yet this felt wrong. So I made myself go back and reopen it.

What really helped was getting rid of the new clothes I changed my mind about and wasn't wearing - first. They were the ones that took most space - and were a constant nagging reminder of my shopping mistakes. I felt guilty i bought them and never wore, yet i couldn't make myself neither wear nor get rid of them. It only took me 5 minutes to photograph them all with my phone and another 15 to list them on e-bay. To my surprise they all sold within the next 10 days. The biggest hit was my navy blue Zara military style coat i bought on sale for 50 quid - it sold for a whooping 120 pounds. (Looks like military is back in fashion!) I know what you are thinking, no, no, I had promised myself not to buy any more clothes with the money I'd gain from the sale. You can't imagine the feeling of relief I felt after doing this clear out! I finally stopped need reproaching myself for things I bought on an impulse, and gained lots of space to comfortably fit in the things I do need.

I packed the rest of things I haven't worn this year and brought them to H&M for recycling my local charity shop. H&M has been running this clothes recycling campaign, which is fine, yet for your clothes they give you a voucher to spend for... Yes, more clothes. Not what we are looking for here!

I took pretty much the same approach with other things which were no longer used in the household. I thought I had been quite good with not accumulating stuff. Guess what, my selling list was around 40 items long! My give/throw away list was much longer. Who knew there are portals like Freecycle, where you can advertise e.g. furniture you don't need and those who do will come and take it away free of charge (they actually charge you here in the UK (a lot) for getting rid of furniture and big household appliances).

And yes, as I got into this game, it started to be fun! Surprisingly I was ready to let go of more and more things, even that designer sofa which (let's be honest) didn't really fit in our living room. I earned an unexpected amount of cash as a result of this effort and promised myself to spend the money on personal development, charity or travel.

Here are the pluses of reducing the number of things you own:

- free space to comfortably fit things you need
- no more feeling guilty for impulse purchases
- new energy resulting clear and organized spaces at home
- satisfaction of giving things away and helping others
- knowing things are in good hands and will serve a better purpose
- learning about local charities
- some extra money earned (to spend for a good cause this time)
- feeling of freedom I get from knowing I do not need many things. This is something that brings me closer to my goal of becoming location independent.

This is only the report on the first part of my experiment. Some outcomes from the clean out of my responsibilities and environment will follow next - stay tuned.

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