Begüm Başoğlu and Ege Erim, the Istanbul-based co-authors of SADE and its corresponding blog Sade Yaşamak (Living Simply), don’t pretend to be gurus of minimalism. They know that the road to living simpler (and happier) is long and often difficult, but through their musings, discoveries and experiences, they hope to inspire others. We had the chance to talk to the two authors about their work, their lives and the benefits of learning to live with less.
What made you decide to write the book SADE and what were you hoping to achieve with it?
B.B: The day I met Ege, we were both surprised and delighted in our realization that we had both been reading the same books over the years and living our lives trying to find the answers to the same questions. We decided to sit down and write about how we eliminated all the unnecessary things from our lives and found joy in living with what was left. To show that through minimizing, it was possible to consume less and live more and be lighter but live life fully. The book was a collection of minimalist techniques that we tried in our own lives with positive results and we wanted SADE to be like a small guiding light that would help us find ourselves and our balance in the chaos of the modern world.
How did the blog Sade Yaşamak come about and what is its main aim?
E.E: The idea of a blog came about while we were working on the book. Writing weekly posts would regularly inspire us to continue thinking and producing in regards to the subject of minimalism. I guess we both really like this idea of regular order and output! We don’t have any social media accounts and we don’t worry about keeping a constant place of prominence. But we both agreed that a blog would be the right outlet for us. Our aim has been the same since day one: to present new perspectives about subjects that interest us and to make our readers think and sometimes even surprise them.
What specific events in your life made you want to live more minimally?
B.B: I realized that something had to change when I spent a whole day during my vacation on the phone and wasn’t even able to go swimming. I analyzed myself to figure out what I didn’t want in this life and what kind of job I was dreaming of. Through the articles I was reading at that time, I became familiar with the concept of minimalism. The idea of increasing my attachment to the things I liked by choosing not to do the things I didn’t like and the opportunity to make more space for my passions, all made me very excited. After that, I also began to focus on my belongings, money, relationships and social life.
E.E: I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could free myself of the endless cycle of working full-time and paying rent. This issue was also my main motivation in terms of minimalism. I left the apartment that I was renting and moved into my family’s unoccupied house on Büyükada, even though it was very far from the ad agency in the city centre where I worked. The commute took much longer, but seeing that I could finally save some money made me incredibly happy. I also began studying subjects that would allow me to work part-time. Big changes don’t happen in a few days, my own goals were clear from the beginning and it took me four to five years to realize them.
What are some beginner’s tips that you can give readers who want to simplify their lives?
E.E: Luck has it that there are a lot of online resources about minimalism! I think it’s good to start with the most troubling matter in your life. Perhaps decreasing the number of belongings or things in the closet or taking a closer look at expenditures…but I think the most important thing to remember is this: minimizing is not a goal that needs to be achieved in two days, one week or ten days; it’s a long process. Instead of suddenly making radical decisions, a few sustainable changes can be made and once the positive results are clear, you’ll be inspired to go further. And so little by little, the benefits of living simpler are introduced in stages. It’s not a race. It’s a series of trial and errors so that we can enjoy life more and make space for the things we want and our most creative selves.
What are the greatest challenges when it comes to living minimally?
B.B: I believe there are a few points that complicate the process. It’s either our attachment to our habits, which makes us resist change or trying to adopt the exact recommendation into our lives. I think in both of these instances, we skip the phase of getting to know ourselves. If the chaos we experience in any part of our lives is too much for us to handle, then it’s time for a change. On the other hand, if we begin to simplify our lives, believing there’s only one correct technique for everyone, we will not achieve healthy results because we are standing on an unhealthy foundation. The first thing we need to ask ourselves is why do we want to simplify our lives? When we’re able to answer this question with full honesty and disclosure, taking small steps will help us to come closer to the life we want.
And what are some of the greatest joys and benefits of living minimally?
E.E: Less responsibility, more freedom. Less social media, more creativity. Less guilt, more awareness. Fewer belongings, more quality. Less laundry, less ironing!
Make sure to keep up with Begüm and Ege’s weekly posts on their blog or shoot them an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org