I just would like to share my story on how I started becoming a minimalist. Also, how I keep being a minimalist when being a young elected official means you have to attend a lot of parties, paperwork, books, schedules, etc.?
Late 2016, I stumbled upon a website of The Minimalists which influenced me in this whole idea of living with less. I was dreadful during those days seeking for something to get my life in peace and find value in it. Depressed of all the discontent in my material possessions, I acquired more than what I actually needed. It came to a point where I found out that I have a thousand material things in my room. Stuff that I don’t use. Clothes that I never wore. Multiple gadgets that collected dust. Oh the overwhelming realization that I had been surrounded by all these non-essential things.
So I started jettisoning things. I had a week-long packing party. Taking out what’s inside the closet and the cabinets and sorted them out: for donations, for a garage sale, and for trash.
However, a fellow young politician friend asked me how I managed to keep it less when our job requires us to wear various clothes for many different socializations and events in one week. Well, if you think about it, I should have more than enough clothes in order not to repeat one dress on many occasions. No, I only have 3 quality executive dresses (in a plain style, solid colors white, black, and gray) that I interchange every time I attend big events. I don’t mind other people seeing me do a repeat costume, haha. As long as I am comfortable with what I wear. If you are really conscious about what others think, then you have to be creative. Perhaps invest on few pieces of fancy conversation-starter necklaces that you can mix and match. Believe me, they won’t even notice your dress!
The secret is – comfort and confidence. I am comfortable with these few dresses and I am confident that everytime I wear them, I look good. Neutral colors like black, white, and gray are good for a mix-and-match thing.
There had been several inevitable instances that I needed a certain color or style of dress for a themed-party. You do not need to dread just because you are a minimalist and you MUST not buy. Of course, if I do not have it in my closet, either I borrow from my sister or purchase in special cases. But after the event, I make sure that I dispose of it (either donate or sell) if it won’t add any value to my life.
With paper works, I have a heft of it everytime I drop by the office. What I do is I ask our staff to just send me the soft copy of everything. They know that I am somewhat into a paperless thing so they are very kind in helping me. I use Evernote for all my files as much as possible. If there are bulk pdf documents, then I save them in my Google Drive. This way, I can access all my files through my tablet. Plus, you are doing the environment a huge favor by not using too much paper.
With numerous activities. As a public servant, we need to attend to various event invitations involving our barangays and local government unit. Sometimes, the programs get in conflict with another so I need to choose which one to prioritize.
An hour of doing nothing. We tend to become uneasy when we find ourselves doing nothing. Do not worry, it takes practice for this to become a pleasurable experience. It is healthy to just sit and be still once in a while – a quiet time. No phone calls, no social media, no TV. Just you and your thoughts. Try it!