My conscious journey towards minimalism began quite accidentally. While searching for one of my favourite poetry blogs, I discovered instead the blog written by Leo Babauta ( http://zenhabits.net/ ). It so strongly resonated with my unspelled thoughts that I began to read more and more on minimalism, and stumbled upon another inspiring blog ( http://www.becomingminimalist.com/becoming-minimalist-start-here/ ), written by Joshua Becker. What joy, what satisfaction, to discover that there are so many like minded people in the world !
In a manner of speaking, my husband and I had unconsciously followed a minimalist lifestyle for many, many years. In the early years of my marriage, I was often chided for having only 4 sets of clothes each for my sons -----one to wear, one in the wash, one with the dhobi for ironing , and one for emergencies. I bought good quality clothes, but scarcely ever more than 4, and adopted the same philosophy for myself. Our home was a stark example of minimalism ----- no carpets, no display pieces, nothing that could be broken, no furniture beyond the bare minimum, lots of space for the children to prance about without having to worry about knocking into something or breaking a vase or a figurine or whatever. We even did away with upholstered dining chairs -----spills don't matter on wooden slatted chairs because they can be so easily cleaned!
Then I began buying books, and I'd buy the whole collection if I liked an author. My husband decided I should spend more on clothes so we went on sari shopping binges. My mother added to my growing possessions by buying me clothes by the dozen. I developed a fascination for linen and soon had cupboards full of bedcovers, bedsheets, comforters et al. My elder son began collecting books too, as well as music CDs and musical instruments, while the younger one has more clothes and shoes than the rest of the family put together. We still retained a minimalist approach to decor -----minimal furniture and display pieces, just a couple of floor coverings in a large house, a few paintings on the walls ------ but the kitchen too began to creak under the load of crockery and cutlery and kitchen devices.
About a couple of years ago, I discovered the blogs I have mentioned above ------and what a ride its been! My library's been decimated, my clothes have shrunk in number to one tenth of what I had, all unused items in the kitchen have vanished , and the twin practices of "keep all flat surfaces clear as far as possible " and "buy one give away two" have been added to the principles that guide my life. In the process, I have learnt to emotionally detach myself from material possessions, buy only what is absolutely necessary, and receive and give with humility and joy.
Its an ongoing journey ----- forgiveness, I recently discovered through personal experience, is also an aspect of the minimalist life. The more one forgives, the less emotional baggage one carries.