A Journey to Minimalism – Stepping Out.

I woke up early this morning, as seems to be my new routine. My room was fairly bright despite the grey clouds I could see through the slit in the curtains. I turned over in bed, rousing myself for the coming day, completely calm and serene. Until I opened my eyes and saw red. The first thing I saw today was that delightfully gaudy Notebook, looking back at me. It was, at that point, completely empty – filled only with potential. The pen sat on top, completely harmless, doing nothing out of the ordinary. Anyone else who saw this book might just think I had it on my bedside table to jot down those late night ideas and thoughts before they fleet away, chased by sleep. But oh no, that’s not the aim of this game.

As per my promise yesterday, I have taken to carrying this Notebook around with me since the moment I woke up. I have painstakingly noted every object that I have used this morning in an attempt to adapt the Minimalists 21 Day Journey. It seems like there’s always something I forget. For example, does the shared table and chairs I sit at every morning to eat my breakfast count as a possession? I’m not completely sure it does. After all, it is owned by my parents and is part of their house. I couldn’t go ahead and sell it off, just because it doesn’t fit into my lifestyle, could I? There might be some very difficult questions to answer if I did. The same goes for the bath, the kitchen cupboards – I’m borderline on the dishwasher. I know that these are shared objects, communal objects so I’m writing them down with little concern of their impact. After all, when I move back out for the next academic year I won’t have access to these things, I’ll be leading a simpler life by default.

I can only say that no matter how much I consider this Notebook to be a burden (a millstone, even) I cannot imagine how difficult a post-packing-party world must be. The morning would presumably need around four extra hours to go through, find and unpack the necessary items. That’s not to say I’ve had a particularly normal morning, as of yet. My list does already include some unusual items – it is Demi’s Bake Day so I have had to use a larger number of utensils and machinery than I would normally do of a usual weekday morning. Mostly though, it covers the basics. Alarm clock, lamp, towel, bowl, spoon – that kind of thing.

Anyhow, I’ve started the process off now so I guess I just have to keep going. The list will presumably get to be too long to note down here – I don’t fancy having to copy it out all the time – but sufficed to say, it’s already been an interesting experiment. I’m fascinated to see where it’ll end up. And, only four hours in, I can safely say I cannot wait to burn this Notebook and rid myself of the burden (both physical and metaphorical, actually – mainly physical). Only got 18 days to go!

As for the 30 Days Game, I’m on the second day. Today I have to get rid of two objects. Yesterday this turned out to be a bit of an odd one, actually. This part of the project might actually turn out more meaningful than the 21 Days part. I found myself looking quite hard to get rid of something which I would have considered to be meaningful but is actually just a waste of space. I went through my drawers and found several candidates. My first pair of (totally unnecessary) glasses, old pencil cases, books. None of these seemed to suit – they, ironically, weren’t unimportant enough. Eventually I decided on the old Sony cassette Walkman I bought a few years back as a Christmas present for my first boyfriend (even though I’m not sure I can really call him that – another story for another time…). I had been delighted when this came up after a long trawl through Ebay – I had gone proper old school for his present, making up three personal cassettes for him. The Walkman was the icing on the cake, I had the perfect present. I put so much time and effort into putting the gift together and couldn’t wait to give it to him.

One small snag though – the Walkman arrived in time, but it didn’t work. I couldn’t return it either, having not read the smallprint on the purchase. It was a disaster. I should have chucked it out then and there. I knew that it wouldn’t ever get repaired and, quite frankly, it was the definition of useless. But I had put some emotional value on it. It had significance because I had made it so. I’ve held onto that Walkman since I was 16, I’m turning 20 this year. That’s a long time, especially considering that the relationship ended soon after that Christmas and is now of very little emotional relevance to me. And yet I held on. I made it retain some meaning. But not any more.

Getting rid of that first possession has given me a new sense of empowerment over the others. I now feel more ready to take a deep breath and look at the stuff around me for what is is. Just that – stuff. And I don’t want stuff right now, I want space.

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