Making Room For Books On Minimalism

Holding two books in my hands – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living. I was in a dilemma. On one hand, yes of course, I’d love to read them. On the other, reading about minimalism and then adding physical clutter to my home seems…counter-intuitive.

Round and round the bookstore I walked, pondering if I should buy them. These days, prices of Kindle books and paperback are almost the same. In some cases, ebook costs even more. That’s crazy, considering the distribution model of epub is next to nothing. If there’s no such price discrimination against epub, I’d gladly load them up into my Kindle. While I love the tactile feeling of actual books, they’re eating into our modest-sized home.

The act of simplifying is a concept I admire. Like Dieter Ram’s philosophy and also Apple’s design thinking, less is more. Ironically, as much as I’m a minimalist at heart, my actions and possessions do not reflect this. It’s a shame because every time I look around my house, the clutter keep piling up. In my half-hearted attempts to declutter, I’ve built up a mountain of stuffs I probably have no real use for.

While Marie Kondo advocates for a complete (and ruthless) decluttering of possession. I took a more conservative approach to clear away the mess. Two weeks back, I decided to start with a drawer attached to my study table. I took a box and empty all the content in the drawer into the cardbox. If I needed something, I’d have to take it out of the cardbox and then put it back into the drawer. In these two weeks, the only item I took it out was a nail clipper. The rest of the items were inside the cardbox that’s filled up to the brim. I can’t even remember what’s inside the box anymore.

It’s safe to say that if I were to dump it away, I wouldn’t be losing too much sleep over it. After all, they are belongings I don’t use now. Maybe I did use it in the past but they’re not relevant to me now. The hardest thing to do is to part away with my possessions. I can imagine part of me would love to see the back of them, and another part wants to desperately hold on to the past for “just-in-case” situations.

The biggest takeway are the concepts behind this simple decluttering exercise. First, we need much lesser things than we think. Second, making major breakthrough is about taking tiny steps. I remember reading a quote that for this lady, her morning routine involves dressing up in sports attire and heading to the gym every morning. Once there, her routine is complete. Of course, she doesn’t travel all the way there and head back home. She exercises. Over time, a habit is formed.

Similarly, my intention is never to weed away all the stuffs at home in a one sweep. It’s about being intentional and understanding what I really need. It starts with one drawer at a time.

Now if you excuse me, let me try to make room for those books on minimalism.