A few years ago I moved to another country. As a whole, this was a very transformational time in my life. Since then all aspects of my life have changed and a lot of the decisions I made abroad shaped me into the person I am today.
One thing in particular started to affect me after I moved back home, much to my surprise.
The thing is, when I moved abroad I brought with me a little bit of clothes and one personal item, and a coaster my mom gave me that says “I love you to the moon and back.” Not that I had anything to do with a coaster, and as I am writing this I just realized that I did not intend to take that coaster with me, but found it in my suitcase when I arrived — a nice surprise from my mom.
So it was a clean break. I moved in the autumn, having left my apartment in the spring and stayed with my parents over the summer. Almost all my stuff I put in boxes and into storage, cleaned out my apartment and rented it out. Of what I brought home with me to my parents’ house, I brought very little with me when I moved.
For a year I lived in a room with a shared kitchen. When I arrived, I got new sheets, the same as everyone else on my floor. For the first half of the year I didn’t have curtains, as I couldn’t be bothered with buying them and hanging them up. For a year, my personal items were notes that I wrote or somebody wrote to me, my tickets to the cinema or the theater, and all other kinds of memories from my travels during that year. When I came back from my Christmas break home, I brought one cup, which of course fit perfectly on top of my coaster.
When it was time to move back home, I threw away almost everything away that I had collected. All the material things that I thought represented my memories.
I knew I had to do it. I had already added on some extra luggage (perhaps a yoga mat or two) and it made no sense to bring all these paper notes back home for the simple reason that I wanted to hold on to them.
It hurt. While I was looking through them all and throwing them away.
But I knew it was the right thing to do. So I kept going.[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]I am, in my heart, quite the hoarder.[/tweet_box] I was raised to take good care of my things and never waste anything. My clothes last me for years and I can get quite attached to my things for the simple reason that they are mine.
When I moved back from my exchange I went back to live with my parents for three months. My boxes were still in storage. I only had the things I brought home from my exchange during those months. And I was living in my childhood home, so I needed absolutely nothing of my own stuff to feel comfortable and at home.
Then I started my travels again and went to Thailand for my YTT. I travelled a bit both before and after my training, and for two months I lived out of a suitcase. I made myself at home wherever I stayed, wearing the same clothes every single day, and making more memories every time the day came to an end with a beautiful sunset.
Last Christmas, I moved back home again. This was the first time in years that I arrived at the airport in my home country without another flight out of there. I was ready to stay for a while. Not wanting to burden my relatives’ storage for any longer, I went to get my boxes, even though I did not really need anything from them.
From the storage I took sixteen boxes.
What? I had forgotten how much I had packed.
Feeling nostalgic I opened up many of them, finding a few items I deeply cared about. But mostly, what I found in my boxes was just stuff.
Stuff I did not need.
Stuff I did not want.
Stuff I did not remember packing.
Stuff with absolutely no value for me.
Just stuff. And way too much stuff.
But as a person moving around, I did the only sensible thing at that time: closed all the boxes again and moved them to the next storage. I knew I would need both space and time to reevaluate what I truly needed. I knew that time would come several months later.
Now about half a year has passed since I moved home. I have been moving around a lot and staying with relatives. It has been quite lovely reconnecting with them after a long time away, and good for me financially, after a year and a half travelling.
I am grateful for my time moving around and now I am ready for my own space. And I finally have a date for it! I will move into my apartment in two months.
I know that I am not the same person I was when I packed those sixteen boxes. Therefore, I know that this apartment will be a very different one from the one I lived in before.
My new apartment will be simple. It will be clean. It will be full of light. And it will be beautiful.
There I will only keep the things that I truly need. The things that make me a better person. The things that make my life better. The things that warm my heart.
I’m done with designer things that have no value for me. I’m done with way too many plates and cups. I’m done with holding on to stuff just because it hurts to let it go. I’m done with collecting stuff that doesn’t truly matter to me.[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]Because now I am a minimalist.[/tweet_box]
I have learned to live with so little. I have learned what I truly need. I now know what serves me.
And my apartment will reflect that.
I will take care of my environment, as I know how deeply it affects my life.
I will keep my beautiful lamps, as their light makes everything more beautiful.
I will keep my warm blankets, because they make every evening cozy.
I will keep my quality yoga mats, as they are the space where I get to know myself.
I will keep my apartment clean, because I know that it keeps my heart clean.
I will make sure that it makes me feel at my very best.
Because this will be my home.
And my heart is where my home is.
Have you found minimalism in your life, yogis? What was it like for you?