Like many teachers on summer break, I find myself searching for new shows to watch on Netflix. I love my share of documentaries. I am familiar with the term minimalist, but thought it was literally giving all your stuff away and living in a barren house. Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distract us from it. OK, sounds like a good idea in theory, but I have a 8 year old who collects anything that she can find, that isn’t possible. With the kid asleep, I decided to check out Minimalism and see what it was truly all about.
To my surprise, it was very deep and something that struck a nerve with me. While I do not keep up with the latest fashions or have the newest most updated cell phone, I do have a house overrun with clutter and stuff. We do spend a lot of money a year on material goods that don’t get used as often. Was I always looking for the next best thing? Was I always trying to keep up with the Jones’. After going through my house, sadly it seemed more like a yes than a no. Seemed like every surface we own is covered with nick knacks, whatever our daughter drops, and trash. I feel like I am constantly cleaning without a break. We get rid of stuff and then more stuff shows up. The clutter overwhelms me and makes my anxiety increase with each passing minute. Now we all pitch in as a family and clean but there is always more to do. Every closet is stuffed full and our garage that no one can even walk through without bumping into things. We are not hoarders, but damn we have a lot of things and do not use half of it.
My husband and I are working diligently towards out goal of early retirement. We want to buy land and build a tiny cabin living as much off the grid as possible. Now while that may not seem fun for most, we enjoy the solitude and work it takes to keep up a working homestead. With less material goods, we have more time for gardening, writing, spending time together. Well maybe we could start now on lessening our carbon footprint instead of waiting 10 years. I admit I spend too much money on clothes and going out to eat and buying our daughter things, so maybe now its time I put a cap on that and work quicker towards our goal.
I feel asleep that night after the documentary with a lot on my mind, but wasn’t sure where I could start or even if this would work out for us. The next morning I got up with a plan and mission. I told the hubby, look we have too much stuff and its overwhelming and what do you think about minimalism at least our version of it. To my surprise, he jumped in feet first and agreed this would be good for our family. We spent the next 3 hours going through our bedroom, bathroom, and closets. Took out 3 bags of trash, furniture, 2 bags of clothes plus two large boxes of donate.
Was it easy no, there were many things that I was holding on to, but I kept asking myself these two things. Is this important and does it add value to my life? If I couldn’t answer both with a yes, then away it went. After it was all done, I felt a giant lift off my shoulders. My side table was visible, my bathroom was clean and simple, and my closet was completely accessible without tripping over something in the floor.
My next step is setting a budget up so we can pay off our debt and save for buying that land we always dream of hopefully next year. The hard part isn’t starting, but continuing to maintain our lifestyle knowing the rewards that it will bring. Of course today is Prime Day on Amazon, but I am not shopping. We don’t need anything! While people are happily spending money on things, I will be working on another room to get rid of things that we don’t need or use. My goal is to have the house done by the time I go back to school in 3 weeks. I think it is doable.
Our version of minimalism isn’t like anybody else and that is ok. There is no one right way to practice minimalism, you can make it your own and that is what I like about it. Less consumerism, less waste, less carbon footprint, less junk, less cleaning, less worry, but we gain more family time, more experiences, more freedom, more opportunities for growth, more laughs, more love.
If you are interested in more information check out:
https://www.becomingminimalist.com/ – This is a good one if you have kiddos
https://bemorewithless.com/ – She has project 333 – this one is good too.