Accidentally embracing minimalism: moving abroad

How good does it feel to have a really good clear out? Whether it’s going through the kitchen cupboards and throwing the out-of-date-by-decades tins and spices away. Or going through the closet and donating the clothes you ‘might wear one day’ to charity. It’s refreshing to not get that guilty feeling when you see unloved belongings lurking in the corners of your home.

I moved abroad a little over a month ago, and that, my blogging friends, taught me a very valuable lesson in minimalism. 

Minimalism doesn’t really have an agreed definition; all kinds of people interpret and embody it differently. The common thread running through all versions is that it means living with less. And all the evidence shows that it is on the rise, with more and more people ditching their belongings in favour of a simpler and less cluttered lifestyle. Minimalism is apparently particularly prominent in Japan, influenced by Zen Buddhism.

There is even a Netflix documentary: ‘Minimalism: A documentary about the important things’ storytelling the transformation of two city workers from capitalist ‘buy-everythings’ to ‘keep-only-what-you-needers’ (not a real word, I know).

My journey towards de-cluttering has not involved an epiphany moment, or even a conscious decision. For me, it was simply practicalities.

When me and my husband decided to make the move from the UK to Singapore, we had to vote on which of our belongings would come with us. A few years earlier, we bought our first home. This signals the start of hoarding, for most people, and we were no different! Our cupboards, wardrobes, drawers and loft space started to fill with things that were lucky if they saw the light of day once a year.

For the move, we were ruthless. We limited ourselves to seven boxes, which we filled with kitchen essentials, bedding and towels, 2 cushions and 4 lamps. Oh, and our umbrella stand because, well, it’s Singapore where it rains even more than the UK! In moments of weakness, we challenged each other, “Do you REALLY need it”?

I have to say, it has been a breathe of fresh air.

Our flat here in Singapore is now easy to keep tidy and clean. We do our washing up more regularly because we don’t have spares. Bedding is washed early in the morning so it’s dry by the evening. My wardrobe contains only the clothes light enough to be worn here, and nothing else.

I truly believe that losing the clutter has improved our quality of life. I feel lighter, less wasteful, and nimbler. When our next move comes, it’ll be far less stressful. Of course there will be things that I buy while I’m here, the shopping is fantastic! But I’ll think twice, and only buy if I will truly value and use the purchase.

So whilst I may not be living true minimalism, I am certainly embracing it’s qualities and going with the motto ‘less is more’.

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