Sunday, December 31, 2017

Annual Project 2017 - Review

Why Minimalism as the annual project?

I was a shopaholic - I spent a lot of times at malls and always got lucky in getting sales items. I remembered being proud about this back then. I was also a shoeholic - I really love shoes, and I had almost 30 pairs of shoes. When I moved to Australia in 2013, I packed a lot with me and decorated my single studio gloriously. It took 2 months to hit me that the rent was too costly. I moved out and had moved 5 times in 3 years. Each time I was both amazed and ashamed on the amount of stuff I have. And the process stressed me out. Midway through Annual Project 2016 on Italy, I discovered the concept of Minimalism on Youtube. I couldn't get my head off it and couldn't stop watching videos about it. Reflected on the past 10 years on my spending habits and items owned, I knew I needed to change. It was clear to me to make Annual Project 2017 on Minimalism.

I started with decluttering..

Probably the ultimate first step in the Minimalism journey. I decluttered my items and filtered out clothings and items which I didn't need. I made a pledge to sell it on a secondhand items platform and donate the monetary gains to charity. To my surprise. It worked. I donated RM1,000 to Borneo Alliance who are committed in saving rhinos in Sabah, and to Save the Children on emergency relief. I am proud with the RM 2,000 donation, it worth the post office runs, shorter lunch or work hours, the effort and time. I still have a lot of items and still have a lot to declutter. It will take more rounds until I can minimise the items I owned.

I learned to use less than before..

I knew every single piece of item in my closet. I am still finishing up my skincare products. And I have reduced my beauty products significantly. While it could be easier to just dump everything. But to me, that is not the right essence and the right kind of transformation. I think it needed to be slow and (slightly) painful for me to learn. There are also some significant lifestyle habits change such as adopting the No (Sham)Poo and ditching the tampons.


Incorporated Minimalism into Travelling..

I traveled quite a fair bit this year - locally to Penang, Lumut, CyberjayaMalacca and Port Dickson which are nothing new to me; overseas to New Zealand and Cambodia. In 2016, I went to Italy for a month and carried a 17kg medium sized suitcase with me. I was a blur kid, and only packed it 6 hours before my flight. I was determined to learn how to travel light and easy. I planned ahead each time and reviewed my items. I invested in travel cubes and learned to pack the essentials. Comfortable is key, and I don't need to look glamorous. I also focused on getting inspirations and experience during trips, instead of doing things I can do while not travelling.

Unplanned, I dived into Sustainability..

There is a common labels/practices/beliefs of minimalists. Generally, not all but minimalists tend to share the same sentiments on being vegetarian/vegan/healthy, fitness conscious, monochromatic/nude and environment conscious. Unintentionally, I find myself feeling strongly about sustainable practices. Businesses and corporations would want profit maximisation, the environmental consequences are often being ignored. Personally, I don't think it's right that my purchases or choices hurt the environment/animals/earth. While I can't save it, but I would love to at least minimise my own impact or carbon footprint. I invested in reusable and sustainability items such as reusable bags, bento boxes, cutlery kit, reusable straw, cotton and makeup remover pads. I also tried to reduce waste and plastic usage. While sometimes I do have a distaste on friends and families who used plastic, I guess I need to just lead with examples and share while it is okay to.

But I do wish I explore more...

I could have refer to more resources...

Similarly to Annual Project 2016, I wish I have read more books, or simply watch more documentaries on the topic. It would be nice to get some formal learning.

Digitalisation can be helpful in the journey...

I am not a big fan of technology but technology does do wonders. My company is all about digitalisation and digitalisation can be a good aid in the Minimalism transformation. Some life aspects such as certificates, important documents, photos, books, etc can be digitalised. I understand this category is personal. While I love physical books, I do think an e-book reader is amazing (and I can't wait to get mine soon!).

I wish I incorporate the concept in health and fitness..

The first half of the project has quite a focus on minimalist food - simple preparation and healthy eating. I didn't get to cook much for the second half. I have been working out diligently but I have yet to see any results. I managed to get back into semi-vegetarianism but I still struggle and fall to temptations easily.

After 365 days, Minimalism to me..

Overall, I think I did quite well. Annual Project 2017 is all about challenging and changing the lifestyle. It definitely changes some big aspects and loads more to work on. I was even tempted to make a Minimalism 2.0 as Annual Project 2018 (because there is so much more to do). But I know I want to work on a new topic.

Minimalism, like a lot of minimalists say, it has no official definition. Minimalism is about knowing what's best for you and focus on it better. Most of time, it's common to agree that working your lives away is not the most important thing. Minimalism is also not about owning x amount, but rather knowing what you need and only get what you need. Minimalism is not about just owning black and white or ditch physical items completely, it's about knowing getting the right things for the right purpose.

For me, Minimalism helps me to establish a strong foundation for balance - the work-life balance, the family-friends balance, the people-me balance, the financial balance etc. I understand more on things that I need and want, take some time to evaluate and research. Minimalism makes me aware on my interests - health, fitness, sustainability, travel, baking. Minimalism helps me to focus on gaining experience and pursuing new interests such as running and zero waste.

Next annual project..

I am pleased with how the Annual Project has turned out which I have learned so much. While AP2016 has challenged me on learning a new culture, AP2017 has challenged me on lifestyle change, AP2018 will be something to do with the thinking. I don't know how it will turn out, but we will all see it together :)

Thanks for reading and following my journey.

Love, Wen Xin