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MINIMALISM

A young lady was moving into a new apartment. She did not want to commit a lot of money to her household items and so she went to stores and bought the cheapest brand of items (most of which were knockoffs) money could buy. At the beginning she thought she’d got a very good deal for some of the stuff she bought. She also bought a lot of clothes because she got such a good price for them.

A little over a year later she realized she needed more than half of the stuff she had bought initially because most of the things she owned were either spoilt, broken or would not function. Her bed was broken; her electrical appliances had given up on her, all her bedsheets had pilled.

Hoarding: Buried Alive

Peeved, she decided to get a whole new range of items. This time she did buy good quality stuff but she realized she had one problem; the constant buying had made her apartment choked. She had become a hoarder, because the thought of throwing some stuff (especially her clothes) away was unbearable. She moved to a much bigger place, and realized she still had a problem with space. She had so many clothes (some of which she didn’t wear) she had to pack some in suitcases and put it under her bed, but it didn’t solve her problem. Her rooms had become choked, and she couldn’t invite people in because clothes and other stuff were scattered everywhere.

 There are some people who just can’t seem to stop amassing stuff, especially clothes, books, shoes, bags and the like. They are prone to keeping everything they buy even when it does not serve the intended purpose anymore. Even when they don’t need them again, they continue to keep stuff. They become hoarders. Hoarding in an extreme form becomes a disorder (Compulsive Hoarding). A hoarding disorder is where someone acquires an excessive number of items and stores them in a chaotic manner.

Also, there are some people who would rather buy cheap stuff than go in for a few quality items. Guess what; you could either buy one good quality electrical appliance or buy a knockoff which you’ll replace a countless times. The average person now believes having more stuff is somewhat better. In the end he or she is overwhelmed with clutter so much so that it begins to affect him negatively. The lady described in the scenario above exhibits traits from both a hoarder and a person who clutters. This should let you know that indeed, there is a difference between the one who hoards and the one who clutters. However, like this lady, a person could be both.

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Sarah Noffke in her book Awoken said “The belongings people accumulate throughout their lives will always own them. People seem to think if they had more they’d be happier or freer, but their possessions only chain them to the earth.” I believe truer words were never spoken. In order to solve most of these problems with hoarding and cluttering, I present to you: minimalism.

Minimalism (noun) originally referred to a type of art or design aesthetic that uses negative space as its primary component. Today, minimalism often refers to its more Postconsumer related definition of choosing to let go of ‘stuff’ and instead live only with the bare essentials. The minimalist believes that you really don’t need more space, you just need less stuff. For him, less is more. You don’t need to own so much stuff to be happy. You spend less (and therefore save more). When you are content with the little you have, you are not pressured to indulge in stuff you don’t need, especially frivolous stuff with ephemeral values. You are not swayed by new gadgets which frequently swarm the market. You are not tempted to buy stuff just because they seem really fascinating and you have the money to buy it. You end up saving money for more important things in the future. Minimalism also encourages one to buy good quality stuff. One will rather get about three or four quality bedsheets than get cheap ones which lose their colour after a few washes. Also, it is easier to clean your home or environment because you really don’t have much to clean. The minimalist lives a simple lifestyle and does not overwhelm his home with complicated objects or stuff.

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Perhaps you would like to reduce the number of stuff you own and you don’t know where to start from. It takes time and effort to declutter and start all over again. You need to ask yourself if some of the stuff you own is really necessary. Of course it is great to have duplicates of some stuff, but how many do you really need? Do you need a few quality bedsheets or you would rather keep those twenty bedsheets of which most are pretty much unusable? To declutter (especially in a big house), you will need to clear up one room at a time. The minimalist makes use of simple, subdued paint colours like white, beige and grey. While you don’t have to stick strictly to the minimalist’s mantra, you can borrow what suits you. if there are some clothes you’ve never worn and you’ll never wear, or some clothes you’ve worn but you don’t need, you can gather them and later give it out to others who are in need. The exciting thing is not only do you free yourself of too much stuff; you are giving to others, which is definitely a good thing. You can also give out other stuff apart from clothes. Of course, some stuff are unfit for use and they only belong to the trash.

You need to downsize, edit and eliminate if you are passionate about freeing yourself of some of your stuff. You need not hold on to that bag which is totally great but you ever use. Also, don’t buy stuff because it’s on sale and it’s cheap. If you don’t need it, forget about it! Do you need those countless pillows, or hangers? Aren’t your glasses too many? When you take out what you use on a daily basis, and what you use to serve your guests on special occasions, are there any extras you don’t really need?

Do you use all that makeup stuff? What are those half-used foundations (which you haven’t touched in months) still doing in your makeup bag? Take your time, downsize and eliminate stuff you don’t need, or use. Learn to live with less and you will never have a problem with clutter and hoarding. What are you waiting for? Start decluttering today!

In time you will understand and appreciate this simple quote: Less is more.

 

Glossary

Clutter (Verb in this sense): to cover or fill (something) with an untidy collection of things; to fill or spread in a disorderly manner; to make disorderly

Declutter: (verb) to remove unnecessary items from (an untidy or overcrowded place)

Hoarder: one who hoards

Pilled: created small cotton balls on the surface. (Pilling is a surface defect that occurs when the fibres of your bed sheets tangle and knot up, creating the little, fuzzy bulbs or ‘pills’.

Ephemeral: lasting for a very short while

 

Author :  Akua Serwaaa, Writer threesixtyGh

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