Minimalism…

 

I’ve recently started listening to podcasts, usually during my transit to and from work. The couple that I’ve been listening to most often are focused on subjects like health, wellness and how to maximize productivity and fulfillment in your life through minimalism.

Minimalism is a subject/lifestyle that’s interested and intrigued me for some time now.  Over the last few years I’ve started incorporating a few different minimalist ideals into my life.

Six years ago my husband and I lived in a 2400+ sq ft, 3 bedroom home with an in-law suite. We had spent the previous decade as apartment dwellers in a high cost of living city so, when we’d finally decided to move out of state to a lower cost area and saw what the same amount of money could get, instead of looking for something with just the space we needed and saving some funds we decided to go all out and get the biggest place our dollars could afford. Why? Just because we could.

Mind you, we had no children (other than the furry kind) and no relatives that came to visit and stay on a regular basis. So, we ended up with rooms that were never used other than to store various belongings and furniture that we’d purchased just so the spaces would not sit empty. We paid higher energy bills to heat and cool all the extra space…In the end, it was really just a big waste.

When it was time to move again we decided to downsize to our current home, which is just over 900 sq ft. Since we were moving about 18 hrs away and did not want to transport or store all those extra belongings, it was now time to get rid of all the stuff we’d accumulated just for the heck of it.

It took a lot of effort and man hours to accomplish this, but we were finally able to offload most of the items we no longer wanted through weekly garage sales and online “for sale” forums. Then, we packed up the rest of our belongings in the moving van and headed off for our new home with a fresh, new perspective.

In our current, more limited space, we’ve continued to try to further minimize our home.  We’ve become much more practical with the items we purchase. Every so often we do some “spring cleaning” to get rid of anything we deem unnecessary. However, we still have an overage of “stuff”…things stored away in our drawers, closets and shed which we’ve barely looked at since we moved in 6 years ago but are still reluctant to let go of. This year I hope to dig through those boxes and finally cut the cord. It will not be easy, as many of those items are “sentimental”, but what value are they really bringing to our lives? If they’ve been sitting stored away for that long obviously they cant be too vital, right?

In the last couple of years, I’ve become somewhat infatuated with tiny homes. It’s a dream of mine (my husband, not so much!) to move into one. I’ve seen and read a lot about the pros and cons and know it’s not necessarily the easiest or most comfortable option, but for some reason the idea really intrigues me.

Tiny home living really forces you to strip things down to the bare basics and necessities. Absolutely everything must have it’s place and purpose…there’s no room for excess or embellishment. (I guess it’s possible, but I certainly haven’t seen any tiny home dwellers on “Hoarders” lately:)

{Side note: Ironically, as I sit here writing about minimizing our belongings, my husband and I have just had a little spat about a coffee maker. He had asked if we had a small dripper (I use a french press) so I pulled out the little 4-cup coffee maker we had stored away in the cabinet. It hadn’t been used in quite a while, so it was a little dusty looking and, after seeing it, he tells me he thinks he’s going to go buy a new one. Why? Because he wants a “clean” one…as if the one we already have can’t be cleaned. In the end, I won the battle with him agreeing to clean it up and give it a try. Then, and only then, if he is still weirded out about it, we’ll go get a new one.}

Anyway, I’d be very interested in giving the tiny home movement a go someday. But in the meantime, I’ll suffice to continue minimizing where we can and getting rid of all those stored away, unused items will be a good next step. I think when the task is finally done, I’ll feel really good about it.

It’s so easy to become attached to all the things we bring into our lives. Those things, however small, can create a great deal of unnecessary stress and anxiety…as an example, the (basically useless) fitness tracking bracelet I thought would be a great way to help monitor my activity. The gadget lasted less than a month before it stopped working and only resulted in my spending hours in frustration trying to troubleshoot and fix it without success.

In today’s world, with all the “new and exciting” products being marketed to us day in and day out and the constant pressure of society’s view of what it means to be successful…the big house, the fancy car, needing everything to be “connected”…it can be easy to lose focus on and forget what really matters.

I know it may not be the same for everyone out there, but for myself I’ve come to the conclusion that only the bare basics are necessary. Everything else is just excess, building a barrier between between who we are and who we should be.

It’s easy to build that wall of “things” that shelters us from reality, but the real work begins when its time to start tearing that wall down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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