About 2 years ago, I discovered a YouTuber called Madeleine Olivia. I originally followed her as I had recently become vegan and she had made a video on veganism, but she is also a minimalist. I had never heard of the term before but learned what it was through the videos she made. Minimalism is “a tool that can assist you in finding freedom”, to quote The Minimalists. On the surface, minimalism can be about owning fewer possessions and living a less cluttered life but it can go deeper than that and it does.
At least for me, I have guilt for owning things that I don’t need or want but I keep a hold of because of other people. I feel if I get rid of certain items, I will make them upset in some way. Which doesn’t happen and even if they do, they forget about it pretty quickly. I also keep things that I think will make my life better, but they don’t really. For example, I used to read a lot when I was younger and I had a bookshelf with loads of books and also I used the library quite frequently. But I stopped going to the library after I finished school (the library I used was walking distance from my school) and I got distracted by social media and YouTube. So my books were left unread but I still thought “I’ll keep them, I’ll read them eventually.” I still thought I could be the person I was years ago who read several books in a month. Nowadays, it’s a miracle if I read one book a month.
I realised that I wasn’t going to read them any time soon and decided to get rid of them. Not all of them, but a lot of them. This realisation took some time so by the time I decluttered my bookshelf, I didn’t feel sad about getting rid of them. I felt free because I didn’t have the pressure of “needing” to read all these books I had before I could donate them. I could keep only the books I really enjoyed. I also decided from now on, only to buy books from charity shops or take out books from the library. I can save money and, a bit like fast fashion, I can try to not contribute to the energy and resources it takes to print new books.
It might be a bit hypocritical to say that and then be an aspiring author who will probably have paper copies of their book(s) and the production of new books isn’t our biggest worry right now but every little bit counts.