When Shirin Aziha Shahidan’s parents moved in with her a few years ago, it was only natural that she had to clear up some space in her home to accommodate them.
However, that process made her realise how much stuff she had accumulated over time, throwing her a challenging task.
“That was when reality struck – that clutter is a crime! I needed to ensure that my parents live comfortably so I strived to create more space. I started getting rid of stuff that was still usable, but that I no longer needed, by donating them to charity homes and through giveaways to the public, ” she says.
It was like a breath of fresh air when the decluttering process ended. But more importantly, it inspired her to start on a minimalist living journey.
American author Joshua Becker describes minimalism as “the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it”. Photo: 123rf.com
“When I started learning about minimalism, I thought it was all about getting rid of old clothes, books, bags and so on by donating them to charity and to those in need. But over the years, I learnt that it is so much more than that, ” she says.
Shirin explains that minimalist living isn’t just about having less material possessions but also embracing the mindset and practice of thriving with less.
“By consistently giving away my stuff, I have met new friends and learnt more about community outreach. It has helped me understand that experience sparks more joy than material items.
“Minimalist living to me is a journey of letting go of that attachment to things. It is about keeping life simple and drama-free, and ensuring that I spend quality time with my loved ones and am able to do things I love like travelling and motorsports, ” she adds.
|Cancelling gym subscriptions and working out at home is something many minimalist practitioners do. Photo: ArthurHidden/Freepik|
For the 33-year-old project management specialist, practising this lifestyle in a mindful way has made a world of difference in her life.
She has cut back on shopping, for instance, and buys less furniture and clothes. But she still enjoys window shopping and when purchases are made, she prefers that receipts are sent to her email instead of being printed out.
She also makes it a point to maintain a clean desk at work and strives to have everything digitised. Gym subscriptions have been cancelled; she simply works out at the park or at home with YouTube videos.
She finds time for hobbies such as running superbike events (prior to the movement control order) and together with her mother, bakes and sells homemade cookies.
Her approach to living mindfully has become a large part of her personal growth and aspirations.