Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Minimalist Indian|Exploring the lifestyle myself

Never thought I would be writing an article about this topic as I never thought myself to be a minimalist rather I have always been good at collecting junk. As Indians we are bred to optimize the utilization of whatever we have or whatever we get. We are never taught the art of returning, giving away, de-cluttering until the item breaks(our status has nothing to do with it, I will come to it later).

Living minimalist lifestyle in India

If I go into understanding the major cause of why I collected unwanted items over the period, there is no answer but one because 'It's in good condition, It might come handy some day'(like seriously😕). Parting with things in good condition has always been hard for me but I as well have started getting agitated with the things not coming to their full usage and eating up my storage.

Understanding Minimalism:

I have seen the idea of minimalism getting mis-understood on many occasions when I myself was trying to get acquainted with it. For me its not about having equivalent to nothing or a particular décor style throughout your house (It might be if that's what you prefer as your lifestyle). Minimalism as a lifestyle is a choice to opt for items which add value to your life.

Acknowledging it:

In India, it's tradition to pass on heirlooms to children which I admire being from the apparel background. To my understanding fabric in good condition should never go to waste specially the older ones but do we really need all that set of clothes hanging for ages in our closet, that heavily embroidered saree which we have worn only once or twice.


Alter it, make it into wearable attire like a suit or anarkali, sell it, donate it. Give your not so worn clothes a new home. For selling there are site like Elanic, OLX or Quikr and for donating there are organisations like Goonj or if you are searching locally there are Kusht Ashrams in every locality.


Feeling of adding value to life not objects as a minimalist

I am from a middle class family, so most of my buys earlier or the buys at home are very old-fashioned and un-organised(in terms of choices). Like most Indian households no 2 furniture sets at my home matches and I have grown this old seeing all that but with time I have come to realisation that I am a being who loves to make most out of her possessions and make thoughtful choices than the tentative ones.

Story Time-As an Indian, our weddings are grand affair and with it comes many rituals and with rituals comes the dresses(one hardly repeats dresses during weddings). With my second cousin's marriage my wardrobe was all set for glitz and glamour and since then 2 more of my cousins got married but the budget spent on the next two was limited and choices were mostly fusion from the first wedding outfits plus most of my attires I can wear otherwise/casually too. For a girl in me this was an achievement and a realisation that LESS(if chosen wisely) IS MORE.

Working towards being A MINIMALIST:

Still a long to go Minimalist as an Indian

Recently enough, I came to acknowledge that I am very organised person but not a minimalist.I yet don't count myself to be a minimalist but I am learning one day at a time and being an Indian only makes it harder. With number of traditions, chaotic approaches, different mindsets, various buying choices I still have a long way to go. I am a bachelor living away from home, am a master of my choices at this point of life so when I decide whether to keep or bring an item in my room I measure it only on 2 parameters:

  • Value Addition: From clothes to utilities, I evaluate whether or not it will add value to my life. With winter coming I was tempted to buy some new winter clothing but then I already have so much of it from the last season. Since, I already have prepped up my winter wardrobe and buying list I will be sticking to it.
  • Usage: Winter remains hardly for 2 months in most places in India, the clothing remains buried inside the trunk through out the year. Is it really wise to spend all that money on those expensive sweaters which you already have 5 of? My whole winter wardrobe is limited to a one travel suitcase in my apartment and I am not even planning to buy. Rather if you see my travels they are mostly to cold mountains, I have managed successfully.

Minimalist Lifestyle:

Being minimalist doesn't mean I am living on a rug , I love greys/whites, have no decorations in my room or just have one colour in my wardrobe. Sorry to disappoint but I have multi colours, I love vibrancy and find pleasure decorating/organising. I am really new at this but sharing this experience is going to document it  and as well might help others make a conscious decision. Now when I am going into it knowingly, I keep these things in mind:

  • Travelling Light
  • Experimenting with my attires
  • Fusion with my outfits
  • De-cluttering from time to time
  • Evaluating duplicates and expired products
  • Making list of things to buy in advance
  • Finding proper utility items, utensils and multi functional appliances
  • Buying loose products or to re-use the plastic packets I already have(working hard on this one)
With Diwali cleaning of my apartment, I recently de-cluttered all that which was sitting under the clothes away from eyes, reach and dust for ages. I am making conscious effort to either sell, donate or find new home for the items in good condition and the items which were no more usable have already been thrown out. I live in a rented apartment and keep hoping from one to other more often than others so this is also an effort to make the moving process simpler. I only will be buying things which are of utmost importance and make my daily chores simpler.

If you want to be a MINIMALIST:

Recently, I have read somewhere, ' We are advertisements.' and this stuck to my head.

In India, often more than to please ourselves we buy things to please others. For example-If we are office goers, how can we repeat outfits so often, what will others think of my wardrobe or if there is a family function how can we repeat attire more than once(I have been told this many a times and by none other than my family members). How can we invite friends to our houses if we don't have beautiful furniture? or time and gain we question our living status by the amount of things we have.
This behaviour on the other hand makes others jealous or forces them to get into same action and the loop continues.
First and foremost we need to get rid of this mentality, it's not easy to get out of it but buy things which make you happy and add value to your house.
Second is to understand that it's really easy to say 'YES' to things than to turn them away. Minimalism will only happen if you learn to look, evaluate and if not required turn it away.
Third is to understand your idea of success, is it to get a degree, then a career, then earn money, buy a big house(dream of many in county like India), buy fancy things for that house or is it to get successful by your measures, have a big enough house to accommodate you and your loved ones, buy the things which make you feel happy in the house you created together. 
Fourth is to not to give into the judgement. With every change, people have a tendency to judge but soon they will learn to respect your choices or as well might be inspired by your idea.
Fifth is to understand that sales are not  always your best friend. Bring an item after a thoughtful process, stick to your list and spend on quality than quantity.

Pros of living as a minimalist:
  1. Everywhere outside my room,is chaotic enough at least my house is free of it
  2. Its a budget saver
  3. With fewer things on list, I have fewer things to take care of
  4. Open and clean spaces makes mind feel at peace
  5. Focus on things that make me happy
Cons -
  1. If you aren't in it with all your heart, you will always feel deprived
  2. Possibility of being judged for your choices
  3. Forced by others to maintain lifestyle otherwise
Living a minimalist lifestyle in India

Happily inspired and promoting this lifestyle, try it if you are keen to and I am sure this is only going to help you. Don't let yourself fall into the category where your status is judged by the amount of things you have and money you spent on fancy items for showcasing.

This is my story of learning at my pace and following minimalism as a lifestyle in India, what's yours? Do share it in the comment section and show this one some love by sharing it.

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