We should not be measured by the volume of our possessions, but rather by what we do without them.
We fell into the American trap. The Consumerism monster. The more we owned, the pricer the dinners we went out to, and the number of articles in our closet and house began to eat us alive. Keeping up with the Jones isn’t just a saying, it’s a real life warning.
We did not heed it for a long time.
I would be lying if I denied the fact that there were certain people in my life that I was trying to impress or emulate. I think we all know at least one really well off person who seems to ooze excess and glamour, all while smearing a smile across their glittered faces. We want to be that person. We want people to admire us, to be envious of us, to want to BE us.
For my husband it was natural. Minimalism was sort of what he was already doing without even knowing it. He would replace things if they were worn beyond repair only. He would wear the same t-shirt and jeans forever. I’m pretty sure if he was living on his own he would only own a bed and a tv. Maybe a small dining table, but that is debatable.
On the other hand, minimalism was very hard for me to grasp and practice. I came from an uber maximalist family. I owned heaps of clothes, luxury and casual. Eating out instead of cooking was sort of my thing for a very long time. I wanted things. The very act of shopping brought me happiness.
Brief happiness, but it was there none the less.
It was a long time before I realized that the happiness that most things brought were temporary and shallow. What I craved were experiences.
We found ourselves, as many minimalist will say, in a pickle. A financial conundrum. We had good money coming but never seemed to be able to save a cent. How was that possible?
Easy. Excess living.
For me, minimalism really took off when I found a purpose in the things I owned. After watching a lot of documentaries on fast fashion, the state of our own health and the environment; I finally realized I didn’t want to be a part of that. I did not want to contribute to the poison that was sickening the planet, and the easiest way to do that was the cut back on what I purchased and to only support businesses that upheld the same ideals as me.
For my husband, it was money and space. A cluttered home creates a cluttered mind. Anxiety and restlessness. By cutting back on the excess purchasing and expenses, we could actually begin to not only save for a comfortable life, but we could actually use what we had to do what we truly loved doing.
We loved to travel. Traveling doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Although my husband will never break down to use a hostel ( a personal point for him) we can very easily find a good Airbnb or place to lay our heads while still not crying at night over the bill.
We wanted to raise our children a certain way, out of day care being one of them. I have my own reasonings for this. I’m not saying there aren’t great daycares out there, because there are some amazing ones; but I was that kid who experienced the questionable and scary daycare stories. For us, we wanted to raise our children at home and that meant me walking away from a deadbeat carrier. One less income. That requires some planning.
So with those two reasons hanging over our head, we moved forward. Minimalism was a natural choice. The more I learned about our individual impact on the environment and the people who create what we own, the closer I found myself striving to become better living with less. As we tried hard to build our flipping business we had less time to go out and spend money on eating out and glamour, and we found ourselves not really missing it either.
Minimalism just fell into place for us. It was our solution to an ongoing issue we couldn’t before find a resolution to. Don’t get me wrong, it was very hard for me personally. I grew up in an uber maximalist house afterall and my family lives to go out to eat and drink. It’s been hard trying to balance that, but it is doable.
We wanted financial freedom. We wanted more peace and comfort at home. Cutting off the excess fat in our lives was the first step. Although I wouldn’t necessarily call either of us “true minimalist” yet, I can say with certainty that it has helped us push forward towards our end goals.