I was chatting with a friend one time about how our partners like keeping a lot of things they don’t use. Considering Tokyo’s small apartments and houses, we were complaining about not having enough space and their things ending up hijacking the kids’ rooms and common areas. It’s frustrating for me so it was nice to be able to vent out.
I’m a minimalist. Hence, the frustration. But I wasn’t always… Living with my uncle in Manila while growing up, and then living in Tokyo for a long time turned me into one.
My uncle was loved by Lady Luck so he always won prizes in raffle draws, bingo games, etc. Most of the stuff he won we didn’t use so they ended up piling in different corners of our house, gathering dust. He also won many photography contests so he had a lot of trophies and plaques on display. I was in charge of house cleaning and it was quite tedious! And, we had so many things all over the house collected over the years, that it was hard to find stuff. So when I started living alone I thought, “I’m so over that. I’m lazy, I want to find things easily and I don’t want a lot of things to clean.”
Besides that, living in Tokyo where apartments are small yet expensive and the cost of living is high, forced me to be “mindful” of my spending. I had my share of “broke” days so I couldn’t buy many things, and my apartment was small so I couldn’t fit a lot in it even if I wanted to. Another thing was, I was living outside of Tokyo where it’s cheaper, but the commute to work was tough so as I earned more, I moved many times to get closer to our office. So I had to make sure I didn’t keep much things so moving would be easy. Each apartment I moved to had a different color theme, so I also made sure my furniture were neutral colors or monotone so they match everywhere.
Going through these experiences forced me to become a minimalist. In the beginning it was shōganai, but as I get used to that kind of lifestyle, I started liking it coz it makes sense for me and makes life simpler. And how I love finding things easily and not having many things to clean. Plus the extra space! Despite “Tokyo”! It also allows me to invest on quality things over quantity. So I have less things, but good quality things.
But it’s just me, not my husband. When we moved in together, I found it funny that I used one small moving truck, while he used two middle size moving trucks! So it’s been a challenge to keep my lifestyle since we started living together. He sometimes makes fun of my minimalism saying that I can probably live with only a quality sofa for furniture… Maybe I could! As long as I have my bags with me I’m all good — they’re the only exception!
*shōganai (しょうがない, Japanese), can’t be helped, no other choice