As I had to move my things from one country to another, I took the opportunity to pare down. I realised that I had so many clothes, most of them I did not wear often or that they were quite old. I ended up donating about 2 boxes full of clothes.
It was quite easy letting go of them because I knew what I actually needed. I had to do this at some point anyway and so I had prepared my mind to let go. I did it in stages so that it wasn’t overwhelming, and to avoid my relenting to the thought “I think I will wear this some day” knowing well enough that some day may not come.
The most annoying things were the little things like stationeries and other miscellaneous objects. Because I actually had to properly clean up my room, I had to go through every single thing, not only asking whether I would still need it but also thinking about how I should dispose of it. Do I recycle this laminated paper? How about that lanyard? Would a friend want this thing?
I managed to give some stationery to my friends and recycle the unwanted ones. But for some, I had no choice but to dump them in the general waste bin. I felt kind of bad but it just had to be done. The guilt was somewhat good because now all I think of is to pare down some more and then if I do require something, I would think twice before buying it.
I know people would say that this is such a hassle. Well, they are right. It is a hassle that we have somewhat created. We produce all those things and we consume them greedily and then we throw them away irresponsibly. Some would say the world is going to die anyway so why bother? Well, it’s just that I care about my living space and the legacy I would potentially leave behind for the future generation. I want the beauty of Earth to be preserved — is that so bad?
The way to stop this cycle of excessive production and consumption is to break the cycle. And that’s what I am trying to do.
In total, I managed to fit in my “essentials” into two boxes that were shipped, and the rest were fit into one big luggage, one small luggage and a backpack. What I didn’t expect was to part from my books that I had packed in my small luggage.
So long story short, Emirates has implemented strict rules allowing only a total of 7kg of cabin bags (including handbags) and 30kg of check-in bags. I had gone on Emirates before and usually they would not weigh the cabin bags. So I thought I could get away with my books being in my small luggage. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for health and safety reasons, my cabin bags were weighed and found to be overweight.
I had no choice but to get rid of most of my books and some more clothes. Most of the books were new, as in I did not get the chance to read them, like Sapiens and Go Set A Watchman. I also had to let go the newly released On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher, but thankfully I’ve read that. A random man took all my “extra stuff”, which I am grateful for because at least I know someone would read/donate those books on my behalf. The ones that I absolutely could not give away were The Malay Archipelago by Alfred Wallace, Deliciously Ella recipe book, Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home, and a gardening book.
Deciding what to let go at the airport was so stressful. I did shed a few tears but then I quickly rationalise that I could buy those books again someday. This experience has certainly helped me understand the true value of things and also quench the urge to buy more books when I still have not read the ones already bought.
I have been home two weeks, and due to the changes in my lifestyle, I could feel the difference in so many ways. There is clutter to be dealt with and habits to be changed. But most importantly, I have people to meet, memories to be made and an income to gain. I know that if I can organise my living space, I could be more efficient with my time and therefore be more productive overall. That’s what living a meaningful life is all about.