For many Filipino families, it is common to live in a maximalist house filled with many stuff. Anywhere you go, there are so many unnecessary items and objects taking up space and filling our homes.
It is even evident in our own house. If I go to the living room, there is a cabinet containing birthday and wedding souvenirs. There is also a space where travel items are displayed.
Then moving into the kitchen and dining area, there is a cupboard filled with more than fifty seldom used plates, several dozens of drinking glasses and mugs, and many utensils. However, most of them are just displayed.
Then if I go to my parent’s bedroom, there are dressers filled with hundreds of clothes, many of which they will never wear again. There are pants and shorts that barely fit, several changes of towels and beddings, different colors of curtains, and many more.
But a house filled with stuff is not rare, and unfortunately, this home setup is still widespread. It’s just sad that many people still have the goal of owning a house large enough to fill with a lot of stuff.
My journey to minimalism.
I’ve been trying to adopt a minimalist lifestyle for a couple of years, learning a lot from it. I realized that our consumerist society had brainwashed generations of people to think owning more is the right way to live.
The problem with that thinking is that many of the things we buy, receive, and store does not add value to our lives; some of those items can even add stress.
Eventually, those items just become things that we just purchase to spend our money on, including those we don’t have, but somehow give us some dopamine to make ourselves happy.
With minimalism, I began to look at life from a different perspective. I realized that I have more than enough for my own and can even be a channel of blessings for others.
Contentment is the key to a better life, after all.
Living in a maximalist house.
The biggest challenge in my minimalist journey is the house that I currently live in. Since I returned to the province, I am living in my parent’s house again.
Though I can live on my own, I choose to stay in my childhood home to maximize my time together with my parents while still single and because it is more economical.
However, part of my decision to stay will also include occasional stresses over the stuff around the house.
That is also why I try to have a personal space in the house to feel in control — that is my room.
And in that small portion of our home is the place where I can have the feeling that owning less provides a bit of peace of mind that whatever I need will be within my reach.
Common problems among maximalists.
A common problem with people who loves to collect things is the tendency to hoard. Many people would love to collect items that they will just display in the foreseeable future, hoping they can pass on those things to others one day — which in some cases are not appreciated.
Another problem is storage. I find it funny that when we can’t find spaces to store our belongings, our initial response is to buy additional storage spaces such as cabinets and drawers.
However, the problem is not with where to put the overflowing items but the items themselves.
The lack of spaces in the existing cabinets and boxes are only symptoms of potential overconsumption and inability to let go of old, excessive, or unused items.
And lastly, the tiring process of cleaning. Joshua Becker of becomingminimalist.com got the lightbulb moment while cleaning his garage. He realized that he is spending too much time cleaning his storage than spending time with his family.
Since then, he began his journey to minimalism and started to inspire millions of other people in their minimalist journey, including myself.
We can’t change others.
Another lesson that I learned in my two years of living with maximalists while trying minimalism is that it is impossible to enforce our values to others. We can only try to influence them.
And since we can’t change others, we can only do the things that will hopefully inspire them to try minimalism.
When will be the time to leave?
Though it will be much easier to implement my lifestyle changes in my own space, I am not trying to rush into it just for the sake of it. Though I am getting frustrated sometimes, still, I can stay in the meantime. I just want to spend more time with my family.
Another is I don’t find economic sense in moving out of our house since the expenses that I usually spent while I was in Manila were cut in half.
I think the time will come when I will have to leave eventually, and that time would be after I get married, hopefully to someone who shares the same values as mine.
I just put my trust in God’s plans while still preparing myself that if I meet someone, I would be ready.
Minimalism is a journey that will take a long time, and the place where we live will have the most significant impact on how fast we will transition.
We think we need many things, but in reality, some will add little to no value. So let us be more conscious of the things that we take inside our house.
Now, look at your house. Do you think you can improve them by adopting a little bit of minimalism? And probably the answer is yes.
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