This month, media personality Jade Seah shares how she went from being a maximalist to minimalist by prioritising what makes her feel good.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

I have reached a point in my life where I find myself moving towards a more minimalist lifestyle – something I’d never thought would happen to this consumerist.

Some of it was triggered by the tiny decluttering projects I’ve taken on at home. As I held each item and asked myself if it sparked joy (a la Konmari fashion), I found many made the cut, but then came the bigger headache: finding a way to store and organise them. 

I struggled to sort the many knick-knacks and was about to throw my hands up in frustration, when it suddenly hit me: The less I chose to keep, the less organising I had to do. Whether they individually sparked joy or not was beside the point – fact is, I did not actually need all that stuff!

This earth-shattering revelation occured during one of my decluttering projects: the accessories stash.

I’m a maximalist when it comes to style. I love rings, earrings, bracelets and bangles – and I like wearing them all together. More is more! I have a pretty sizeable jewellery stash. As I went through my collection, I realised that while I did pile on the arm candy every day, I mostly went back to the pieces that had become my personal favourites.

For example, I’d pick a slim gold bangle that my hubby got me over a similar one that’s less precious. The former has sentimental value, and fits better (my wrists are scarily tiny for a tall person, and the one he got me was custom made) while the other one is a little too big.

Then there are the rings that I prefer to wear because they have a better fit and don’t tarnish. I like certain earrings that do not hurt my ear lobes and make me feel fabulous whenever I wear them.

So, what’s the point of keeping the second choice items?

From my accessories stash, I learnt this: Do we not want to look and feel our best every day? And if so, should we not choose to use only the items that make us feel good about ourselves?

I am beginning to see how this concept also applies beyond jewellery to clothes, books, music, movies… and yes, people.

I’ve learnt that minimalism isn’t about deprivation. It’s about appreciating each and every entity in our lives, so that we choose only the best, and the things that spark joy each time (take that, Marie Kondo!) – and thus, we need no excess. 

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