What do you think of when you hear the word minimalism? I have been wanting to share our journey towards minimalism for a while now, but I’ve hesitated. I’ve questioned – What makes someone a minimalist? Am I minimalist enough? We definitely own more than 100 items, and I have (slightly) more than 2 pairs of shoes. But owning less, and being more intentional with what we do own has made such a difference in our lives. Whether or not we are ‘true’ minimalists, our steps on the path to minimalism have led us to some amazing places! Here’s how we accidentally fell into minimalism, and why we love it so much:
Our Journey Towards Minimalism: Setting the Stage
Several years ago we listed our house for sale before making a cross-country move. To help our home show well, we packed up over half of our belongings and moved them into short term storage. This one simple thing impacted our lives in amazing ways! Suddenly, our cozy (read: small) house seemed airy and spacious. Everything felt clean and uncluttered. Books and toys were easy to find on the artfully staged shelves. Tidying up was a breeze, and our house became a cozy, peaceful haven.
The craziest thing? In the months before our house sold we barely even touched the stuff in storage! We were storing lots of stuff we didn’t even need (or really care about). And worst of all, that extra stuff was adding stress and pressure to our lives that we hadn’t even realized. It was honestly a turning point in our lives.
Selling (Almost) Everything: Our Accidental Next Step Towards Minimalism
Our cross-country move was the next thing that really pushed us over the edge in our minimalism journey. With a house full of hand-me-downs and furniture we didn’t really love, we decided to save money on moving expenses by selling almost everything we owned. And so aside from a handful of practical and sentimental items, we did just that!
I’ll be honest and say that given the opportunity, I wouldn’t probably make that choice again. Or, at the very least, I would have chosen to bring different items with me. But selling almost everything did make the essentials in life crystal clear, and I’m very thankful for that. It’s also when I fell in love with the simplicity of owning less!
Our Journey Towards Minimalism: Loving Our Small Life
After our move, everything we owned filled up a scant 2/3 of a small storage unit. We rattled around in our 1,000 square foot house for a while, with just the barest of furniture. But after three years I’ve been surprised to see how much we’ve accumulated. The influx of stuff in our life is overwhelming. Even with regular decluttering and donating, I can feel the weight of excess, and I don’t like it.
This is what has drawn us on our journey towards minimalism. We’ve experienced the freedom of living with less, and it’s addicting. Our small house has limited how much we can comfortably own and maintain, and we’re okay with that. We know that living small allows us to live big in so many other ways.
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Minimalism is a Journey, Not a Destination.
I really do believe that minimalism is a journey, not a destination. Our journey towards minimalism has had amazing benefits for us, but it has also been a process, and a mostly accidental one at that. Owning less stuff, and being more intentional about what we do only makes our life easier – it definitely isn’t a moral high ground.
It’s been beneficial, but I still don’t always love minimalism. Some days I long for a comfortable guest room with en suite bath for visitors, rather than a futon in the living room of our one bath house. Sometimes I get sucked in by the lure of handy kitchen tools, and fun accessories, and educational toys that would actually choke us if we owned them all. But most days I love the having less and living small.
Do you consider yourself a minimalist? Is there anything that draws you towards minimalism? Is there anything that particularly challenges or scares you about the process? Please share in the comments – I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Jamie writes about living intentionally and finding beauty and perspective in the adventures of everyday life. When she’s not writing, she’s living her own adventures – working full time at an ER registration desk, parenting two spicy girls, and collaborating with her husband on the remodel of a former one-room schoolhouse on their homestead in rural Wisconsin.