What My Trip Back Home Taught Me

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I’m lucky enough to have been able to quit my job and return to school, thanks to incredibly supportive people in my family. Granted, I’m still young, so it’s still socially acceptable to do so, but I am still thankful. Because of my free time, I was able to return to my home state, California, for the whole month of December. It’s significant because I really felt that I needed a break from my life at home.

I just wasn’t happy. I had no reason not to be happy. I wasn’t working, I had plenty of free time (that of which I filled with Overwatch), I was doing well in whatever I could motivate myself to do, and my relationships were just fine. Why was I just not happy?

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Well I stayed with my mom in Cali, she has a small townhouse in Huntington Beach. My mom is the kind of person who doesn’t like to have a lot of things lying around, and she loves natural light. She hates clutter. All of her belongings are stuffed in a closet somewhere unless it’s functional furniture. I knew she would have all the essentials, so I chose not to bring much. I packed all my important belongings in a duffel back and a backpack (I brought my PS4, of course. What is life without Overwatch?), and that was all that I used for a whole month. This was by no means a big deal for me. I don’t have that many clothes, and I don’t use that much stuff.

While I was there, I realized that I had all this energy, and I wanted to go out more often, hang out with old friends, and work out. These were all things I did regularly before I moved out to another state. I had thought that my interests had just changed, but here I was, indulging on activities that I thought I had gotten bored of.

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I came back home with all of this motivation. I wanted to finally do those home improvement projects I had been telling myself I was going to do for over a year. I was going to declutter everything, and reorganize my life. However, after just two days, I was burnt out. My tired, boring, lame state came back, and all I wanted to do was sit on my butt and do nothing productive.

I understand that vacation is great, and people typically enjoy getting away from the stresses of their daily life. However, I didn’t have any responsibilities upon returning home. There was no school, no work, and I don’t have children. To me, that sounded like something was wrong with my home. Home should never drag you down, so something really needed to change.

I forced myself to seek out things that would re-motivate me. Youtube, teach me how to declutter please because that is easier than putting up curtains. Decluttering lead to Minimalism, which lead to an entirely new philosophy, it seemed like. I’ve done some very brief research on Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy: Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which doesn’t comment on Minimalism, just that you should only own items that make you happy. I also ran into existing Minimalist, Jenny Mustard. They both preach concepts of owning only the items that make you happy and that you need and use, and how having less clears your mind to do more. How to combat the effects of consumerism, and as a side effect, save money.

Honestly, I was skeptical about these concepts, just because I didn’t feel that I owned very much and I still felt like I wasn’t happy. Then, I thought about how I looked at certain items that I owned. For example, I have a few stuffed animals. Some are from exes, and some I bought for myself. For the last year and a half, they’ve been stuffed in a trash bag that is stored above my clothing rack. It’s in my closet, mostly out of sight. I don’t even really pay much attention to it, but when I do, I don’t feel good about it. Stuffed animals have souls, obviously, and they don’t deserve to be stuffed away in a suffocating trash bag! It’s something that I very briefly think whenever I get dressed and see it in my peripheral. So every day, right when my day starts, there’s already this very brief negative thought. I don’t have anywhere to put them where they will get the attention they deserve, so I will be donating them very soon. Some kid somewhere will be able to enjoy these perfectly good stuffed animals.

So lately, I’ve been re-motivated to declutter my home. I’ve been attempting to sell some of the items, but honestly, it’s such a hassle. I’ll probably donate 99% of it.

Before, I was so focused on the physical act of decluttering, just to make my cleaning life easier. Now, I’m looking more into the psychological and lifestyle benefits of it all. I’m trying focus on how I want to feel at the end of it: clear headed, organized, light, and focused. I feel it’s a much better way to stay motivated than just “my place will be easier to keep pretty looking.”

Here are some other youtube channels that have inspired me:

Emerging Minimalist: Katrin Berndt

Emerging Minimalist: Jessica Avey

Experienced Minimalist: Break the Twitch

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