I didn’t realize that I was living a life of a minimalist while living in China until recently when I watched the hour-long Netflix documentary by Matt D’Avella called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. This documentary really focused on the idea that the American culture has been brainwashed into believing that the secret to happiness is accumulating more money in order to buy more things. Although this documentary focused specifically on American culture, this is a concept that is held in high regards throughout many other countries in the world.
I remember prior to leaving for China, a good friend of mine expressed to me that China was the world’s factory. Although I knew that the majority of the items I owned were made in China, this wasn’t something I actively thought about on a daily basis. As I landed in the place where almost everything I owned at home was made, I became cognizant that this meant I had the ability to get almost anything I wanted for a cheaper price.
When I arrived at my apartment, I was excited to go shopping and fill my little space with cute items to personalize my place. A few days in, as I scoped out my new home which by the way was already furnished and I quickly realized I already had everything I needed.
I had: one spoon, one knife, one cup and a pair of chopsticks, 2 spatulas, one bowl, a bed, a pillow, a microwave, a wok, a rice cooker, a washing machine, a closet, a fridge and one plate.
I had the basics and quickly realized that I really didn’t need much to survive. If you haven’t seen my video called My Super Tiny Chinese Apartment Tour you can check it out here:
When my sister Monifa and my friend Kristeen came to visit, that was when I actually went out and bought a few more things and I really mean it when I say a few. I bought a fork, another cup and another plate.
When I spent money in China, 96% of the time it was for needs rather than wants. I needed food, soap, toilet paper but I didn’t need to get my nails done or to get eyelash extensions but my wants were things I spent money on because they made me feel good. I mean, when was I ever going to get my nails done for 8 dollars or my eyelashes done for 20 dollars again? In Canada, it costs at least 4 times that amount to get them professionally done.
This also meant I spent money on things that mattered to me, like travelling. It was travelling and eating and capturing those moments with my camera that made me the happiest. If I had spent money on more clothes, more shoes, and just more stuff, I would have most likely not have been travelling and eating as much as I did.
When I came home from China and entered my room, almost immediately my heart rate increased. I had way too many things. My wall was lined with shoe boxes, and my closet filled with clothes I hadn’t worn in years. A few days in I filled garbage bags of my stuff and rolled them down the stairs to get them ready to be donated. I even had one of my my best friends, Natasha come by and help me with this daunting task. Afterwards, I felt so much better. It’s a bit hard to describe but I no longer felt this heaviness on my shoulders, and I was able to complete tasks like getting ready 5x faster than before.
I still wouldn’t give myself the title of a minimalist because I still have an abundance of things that I still hold onto that I probably don’t need but it’s a work in progress. I’m also pretty lucky to have a partner who also supports this idea to live a more minimalist life and believes in the concept that things don’t equate to happiness. I’m looking forward to this journey towards an even happier life and I’m excited to share it with you guys.
Stay Restless! xo