There’s a saying Kirsty says in the Art of Decluttering podcast, my no.1 motivator during this COVID season, and that is you have to sometimes “get your Elsa on” and let it go. It sits in my mind as I write this post, and in recent weeks as I feel intensely that my years of decluttering are coming to a close. Which is, like, something I never actually envisioned as part of the future I see in my mind. I see only what I need, I see a minimalist home, but the actual section that gets me there, of reaching the end, is just, well, blank in my mind. But here we are. I still have a few stories left to tell before we draw to a finale, don’t worry. Such as, letting things go.
I have been on a work break for a few weeks now, and seizing the opportunity to keep at my projects of going through stuff. I emptied my three school tubs. That was a catalyst, as this week I opened another two tubs and emptied them, one of which, has had childhood mementoes and stayed packed for maybe 20 years. Here’s what I noticed as I went through it. I have an awful lot of collections. Some I value, but although I know I spent money and energy collecting other items, the attachment is just gone now. Let’s take a look.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m starting to see it. That was my big breakthrough recently. I surveyed the piles of paper on the bed and they seemed small. There weren’t a lot of boxes around me anymore. Decluttering stopped seeming endless, and started to appear finite. I’m getting there at long last, and you will too. I’ve been quite busy during all these months at home. While others are relaxing with family and house mates, playing games and puzzles and lego, I’ve tried to end years of hoarding and clutter with a firm view of a different future. Here’s the gist of my progress in productivity.
I found this old reflection from a holiday I took in 2016. It is so odd to read it in 2020. After I travelled so much in 2019 that I longed for a home, for the comfort and security of a place to call my own. After a pandemic shut down the world, shut down borders, rendered travel impossible. After a second wave of virus hit Melbourne and made it illegal to travel more than 5 kilometres from your doorstep. In a twisted way, it’s like I got my 2019 wish to an exaggerated degree. I look at those words below, about being passionate about travel, about living in the moment, about living an intentionalist life, and I feel it is a nice way to end the last month of Intentionalism posts.
My final piece on intentional living – travel.
Intentional travel is something of a careful blend of fun experiences, thoughtful money-spending and mindful values during a time you’re supposed to be relaxing and enjoying a break from everyday life. Can you really stay true your way of life when you are miles from home? I have learned the hard way that it’s indeed a very delicate balance.
I set off on a year-long overland holiday last year with a plan to publicly blog about how to travel sustainably. It had been suggested to me that to travel so extensively, it was best to have some ideas about what I was looking to get out of the trip, and that turned into a quest for sustainable travel. In short, I quickly found myself questioning what’s possible and how much value I’m bringing to myself and my destinations when I can’t get the balance right. Continue reading
In the third instalment of this month of Intentionalism posts, I’m delving into an important part of the journey from minimalism to intentionalism. That is, the reflection and reassessment of one’s values. Along the journey, it is natural to want to shed old, unhealthy habits and mindsets in favour of a fresher outlook. Many turn to meditation, yoga, mindfulness, creativity and other kinds of self-reflection to think about what’s really important to them. The wise will evaluate and regularly re-evaluate themselves on a Wheel of Life* to notice when their values are falling out of alignment.
An intentionalist will then try to live life with their truest values at their core. In their daily routines and practices, they will work hard to keep balancing and re-evaluating their wheel as much as they possibly can. Continue reading
Last week I introduced a month of posts dedicated to intentionalism, and I kicked off with a post about what it means to be intentional. This week looks at the first logical step, intentional spending. Which is basically, asking yourself a lot of questions before you buy. Many would say it is about living frugally. Frugal is not a dirty word. Yes, there are some people who take it to the extreme, but there can be many advantages to consciously thinking about, spending and saving your money. I went off to the Middle East for three years after living in poverty as a university student. And the money I saved from living frugally in that time paid off an old car purchase, bought a new car on my return home, paid off two credit card debts, two university degrees, saved enough to travel for months after I left, and all the while, flew business class and stayed in apartment hotels each year during vacations. How? Everything I did, came from intentional thought. Continue reading
Isn’t this year just flying by and going snail slow all at the same time? I can’t believe it’s August and there is still so much uncertainty. Here in Melbourne we’ve just entered a stage 4 lockdown amid COVID-19 numbers spiralling. Well, I thought I’d break from the norm and, in keeping with my silver linings optimism, focus on something a little different this month: Intentionalism. Similar to minimalism, the journey a person takes typically starts with decluttering then going into minimalism, and then reaching intentionalism. That’s how I see it anyway. And each week this month, we will delve a little bit into the benefits of a life lived intentionally. This week, we’ll look at the journey and what it all looks like, so that the next posts featuring the benefits make a little more sense. Enjoy. Continue reading
I have this drawer full of electronic data. By far, almost all of it is made up of copies of copies of copies. This is the problem with data, isn’t it? You back it up here, then you back it up again there later. My drawer tells the story of 20 years of technological evolution. Much like my videos, that I kept for years because I moved overseas while they were still in circulation, and never had the time, my own place and VCR to clear them, data storage was something that just kept evolving onto new devices and I never had it all together to sort out once and for all. Bet you’re not surprised about that! So how does one try to tackle years of photos, documents, videos and other data on a multitude of storage devices? How far back are we talking? Continue reading
In recent years, my book carton full of video cassette tapes has bothered me. The thing about moving overseas in 2002 is that we were in the crux of a great technological change. I had no idea what lay ahead, how the world would evolve in my time away. Yes, compact discs were emerging but they certainly hadn’t yet dominated the market. So, when I moved, my precious video tapes got boxed up for later. Occasionally when I returned home for visits, I would think about tackling them. But I didn’t make any great strides until last year. How? Continue reading
If there was one declutter task I was keen to do once I returned from the Middle East, with a bit of spare cash in the bank, it was to finally, once and for all, get my old negatives and home movies digitalised by a photo service. For one, to declutter negatives, cassette tapes and photos. Two, in case of any emergency or loss, I had a copy. Three, because I wanted to add them to my photobook project, someday that I would tackle that. Unfortunately, it didn’t prove as straightforward as I’d hoped. But, what I did learn was useful because if you’d like to do the same, I’ve got some tips and tricks for you. Continue reading