Minimalism with responsible decluttering

The pandemic has brought out ugly truths of our fast paced modern lives which have left us baffled and changed. Everything has changed perspective and what may have once seemed a necessity no longer serves any purpose.

The lockdown slumped the lipstick index and cosmetic sales plummeted. I just like the rest of us didn’t wear any makeup for a year. I didn’t buy any either. As a matter of fact I didn’t buy any makeup. Actually I didn’t buy anything at all. Just food. All this time shopping was just grocery items and the occasional dishwashing and laundry liquids. I didn’t go to the salon at all, being a microbiology major I knew they are hubs for infection, so I avoided them all this time, chopping my own hair and grooming myself at home.

With only foods to buy for a full year I actually started using up items piled up in the house. I felt I needed a scissor one day. A tour around the house made me find 3 scissors. I finished up all the deodorant I had. I thought maybe I could buy one of those. Instead I found many little bottles of cheap perfume lying in my cabinet. There were enough soaps, shampoos, conditioners, body washes, body lotions, face creams, eye creams, even hand and nail creams.

Once I actually started slowly utilizing each and every single item in the house I was horrified to see how much clutter I had and how so very long it takes to finish something. It takes forever! A single ballpoint and a pencil takes forever, even my tiny colour pencils are still not done with. Throwing away items or giving them away is the cheat method to be a minimalist. I felt responsible for buying and storing all those things in my house. I felt a burden to actually use up and finish up what I bought. The change it brought in my perception of usage and stocking up was huge. I didn’t need items to be kept as a reserve. I didn’t need to get something only because it was on a sale. I realized just HOW many items were unused even though I felt I have so many bottles of “empties”. Makeup items were a big part of the clutter but so were shoes. Many of them I couldn’t wear because of the excruciating heels and wear would I wear those fancy shoes? Which party will I dance in them, I mean who’s even celebrating in the pandemic? No one.

I came to a conclusion that discarding items is super easy. But for a person like me who has spent their own hard earned money and energy buying so much stuff I need to get my money’s worth out of everything. And although I did have to throw away the foul smelling rancid lipsticks and eyeliners I felt that it is a mindset to use everything you buy, eat everything you cook, absolutely have no leftovers, and thus truly have a zero waste mindset. If I cook extra rice and it gets left it’s my fault. I need to take the responsibility of cooking only as much as I am going to eat. Anything extra which gets wasted is my fault entirely and it is a burden on my soul for wasting food when many people sleep hungry in the world everyday. Electronic, fast fashion and cosmetic industry waste has destroyed our environment and I have to be mindful in using what I have instead of giving in to lastest fads.

I realize that I have enough shoes, clothes and makeup for a lifetime. And it will be a long time before I need any bath or skincare items. I have the responsibility to use what I bought and must truly invest the time and energy to use what I bought down to the very last drop. Only by doing this will I be able to change my mindset permanently towards minimalism. I believe we cannot just “chuck anything out of the window” we have to be responsible for every item in our house and in our lives. The journey is to declutter the planet not just our homes and that will be done with responsibility.

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