Journey to Minimalism… Phase II

At the end of 2015, I downsized again.  This time I moved into ONE bedroom…  not a one bedroom…  JUST ONE BEDROOM.  Ok,  it was a pretty large bedroom…  plus I had a bathroom, some space in the kitchen…  and a 5’x5′ storage unit.

This lasted about 3 months until I moved into a one bedroom condo with my guy.  No garage this time, although there’s a decent amount of storage and a good sized patio.

This downsize consisted mostly of selling items on craigslist, giving stuff away to friends or family and making donations.  I skipped the garage sale route.

There were some items I had a hard time getting rid of… even for free.  For example, I had a very heavy china hutch that no one wanted to bother moving down the stairs, no matter how low I brought the price down…  that got donated and one organization picked it up, no problem.  Yay!!!

Fast forward about two years, to now…  I realize, each time I’ve downsized only to the space I knew I would have available.  I really eliminated as little as possible to fit into the new space.

Sooooo….  I still have crap I don’t really need.  I keep carting it around.  And now I ask myself, WHY???  If I had it to do over again, I would have ditched a lot more stuff earlier.  I guess I just wasn’t ready to let it go.

Well, that changes now.

I told myself, at one time, I needed to pare down as if I’ll be living in an RV…  because eventually I’d love to do that.  EVENTUALLY….  Ha!  Turns out that might be happening sooner than I expected.

We’re seriously considering it, at least for a few months.

So now I’m taking a good hard look at what we really NEED.

After having most of my precious “stuff” stored in boxes and closets, I realize I haven’t used much of it in these past 2 years.  I’ve filled bags and bags of clothes that I never wear.  And still, I find more clothes stashed that I never wear.  Even the ones that do fit now (I lost quite a bit of weight in the past few months), they no longer suit me.  Either they’re out of style or simply don’t spark joy when I put them on.

I imagine living with only what I really need, use and love.  The idea of that feels even more freeing now.  So, on to phase 3…  the super downsize.  This will be more of what I seriously consider extreme minimalism…  I think 😉

We’ll see how I do!

What is Extreme Minimalism?

What is Extreme Minimalism?

minimal-freeimages-peter-malinowskyExtreme minimalism is not about having nothing.  It’s not even about having less.  It’s certainly not about deprivation.

It is about having quality items that enrich your life and letting go of items that burden you.

You probably don’t even realize how your “stuff” can weigh you down.  Think about how you feel in your space.  Do you feel light and free?  Or do you feel heavy, anxious, stifled or cramped?

Think about how much time you spend taking care of “stuff”… organizing, rearranging and cleaning.  When you have only what you really need and love, you waste less time handling unneeded items.

Do you have piles of paper in multiple locations?  Does that cause you to pay bills late and cost you in late fees?

Do you have closets full  of clothes you don’t wear?  Or maybe you wear clothes you don’t love and don’t feel good in.  That’s the worst!  It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you don’t feel good in your packaging.

Do you have a hard time finding items when you need them because they’re hidden in a sea of items you don’t need? Do you have closets and cabinets stuffed full of stuff???

If you find yourself challenged with letting go because you might need it someday, might fit into it someday or whatever other excuse you give yourself, you can make the process easier by changing your perspective.

When you ask yourself the right questions, it becomes easy to let go of excess.

One of the best questions I’ve come across is from the KonMari method…

“Does it spark joy?”

How great is that?  If you ONLY have items remaining that spark joy, how wonderful will your space be?  How amazing will you feel when you’re surrounded by things that spark joy in you?

To truly embrace extreme minimalism, imagine and set your intention to be surrounded by beautiful, quality, useful items… everything that makes you feel light and happy (or joyful).

Minimalist Holidays – How To

Minimalist Holidays – How To

christmas-freeimages-Simone-RenouAt first glance, you might think going minimal for the holidays will take away your joy. However, it will actually enrich your experience.

And that’s the key…  focus on the experience rather than materialism.

This also doesn’t mean you have to go all out with food, decorations or anything material at all.  Focus on the experience of quality time with the people in your life.

If you want to give gifts, keep them simple and personal.  Give something you KNOW they will use.  If you want to share a family meal, keep it simple.  Enrich that experience by preparing the meal together.

Do a simple test for any task you’re considering to prepare for the holidays.  Notice how you feel when you think about doing it.  Do you feel light, energized and expansive?  If so, go for it.  This is something you’ll likely enjoy and love.  Do you feel heavy, hesitant or drained? If so, this is a task you likely want to ditch or simplify.

Enrich you holidays with the less is more minimalist approach.

 

Minimalist Holidays Add Joy

Minimalist Holidays Add Joy

christmastree-freeimages-radoslava-todorovaThe holidays are usually considered a happy time.  A time for giving and gifts and family.

For many though, there is an underlying feeling of pressure, stress and overwhelm.  That is NOT joyful.

Several years ago my family decided to tone down the consumerism of the holidays by limiting our gift giving obligations only to the kids.  I was ecstatic about that decision!

You see, I had become a bit of a Scrooge…  Exchanging gifts with everyone and making sure the exchange was fairly even, just started to seem silly and stressful.  Choosing great gifts for others without breaking the bank was frustrating.  And more importantly, I didn’t want my loved ones to waste money buying me things I didn’t really need.

So, skipping the gifts for all except the lil ones was great.  I finally started enjoying the holidays and simply spending time with people I love.  Doing less actually enriched my holidays.

Consider other, more simple ways to share the holidays with your family.

Tiny House Craze – Live with Less

Tiny House Craze – Live with Less

Living Tiny

little-model-house-freeimages-jasonaabergWhat better way to go minimal and start really living life?  The first time I saw a picture of a tiny house on the internet, I wanted to live in one.

Can you imagine living in 300 square feet or less?  To me, that’s truly a tiny house.  I love the idea of building a livable tiny house on a movable trailer.  That way, you don’t have to know WHERE you want to live and you don’t have that “anchor” holding you in one place.

With a movable home, you can still go anywhere.  To me, it seems to be the ultimate freedom.

I love watching shows like Tiny House Nation to get ideas for my tiny dream home and to see how they pare down their belongings.  It inspires me to purge even more and to take a new perspective of ‘what do I really need’.

Here’s a couple of quick “how to” tips I picked up…

#1 – Choose a number of items to keep from one area (whether it’s a small room, a drawer, a shelf, a cabinet, etc…  Stretch yourself to make it as small a number as you can.  Go through the area & keep only the 5 (or whatever the number you chose is) items.  Ditch the rest.

#2 – Pull out a plastic bin or two & keep only what you can fit in them.  Do this for a specific space in your home OR if you want to go extreme, do it for the whole home.

Remember, it’s a process.

 

Journey To Minimalism…  It’s a Process!!!

Journey To Minimalism… It’s a Process!!!

freeimages-stephen lewis2Letting Go of The Anchor

In 2012, as the holiday season was approaching, I gave myself a huge gift…  I let go of something I once loved, yet was now weighing me down.

I woke up and broke free of the constraints of an illusion I had allowed myself to believe in.  I’ve become more and more free since.

Ten years earlier, in 2002, I bought a home… all on my own… and I was sooooo proud of myself.  I did lots of improvement projects myself and it underwent a great deal of transformation.  It was my home and I loved it!

When the housing market took a plunge, of course, the value dropped drastically.  I still had projects I wanted to do, except I wondered if it was worth putting any more money into the house.  Making payments on a loan that was over double the value of the house became a struggle and the projects I was once excited about, seemed endless and pointless, not worth the effort or money.

Instead of loving my home, it began to feel like an anchor, weighing me down and keeping me stuck.  I couldn’t sell it for a profit…  nor even enough to pay off the loan.  It was draining me in every way.

Like many people, I looked into short selling it.  I hadn’t considered that as a real option before because it didn’t feel right to me.  It felt like I was cheating in some way, as well as admitting defeat and giving up something I had worked so hard for.

I finally decided to at least look into options and told my real estate agent friend I wanted to talk to her.  Three days later I had an offer!  It was a done deal (aside from logistics that needed to be handled).

Once that decision was made, I felt a huge burden lifted and my thinking shifted even more.  It occurred to me the typical idea of the “American Dream” is a huge sham.  That’s all about consumerism and perpetual debt.  I see “owning” a home (that is really bank owned) as an illusion that had kept me trapped.

It was this change in my thinking that was the huge gift.  I had been holding onto something that was weighing me down because of some illusion that home ownership was the American dream.  When I realized MY American dream can be anything I choose, I instantly felt free and light.  MY American dream is to live a fuller life with less “stuff”.

Now, I have no regrets about buying the house in the first place…  How else would my eyes have opened the way they are now?  It served it’s purpose in my life at the time and I loved it while it lasted.  Now it’s time for a new way of living.  Letting that “anchor” go felt so freeing.  I’m no longer stuck in one place.  I can go anywhere and do anything.

I didn’t know exactly where I was going.  I DID know I was ready to have a lot less “stuff”!!!  I had lived in this house for 10 years.   It was time for a HUGE purge.

As I sorted through the items I had accumulated over the past decade, I wondered about the decisions I had made.  I found myself asking over and over, “Why do I have this?” and “Why did I even buy this?”

I’m not into throwing usable items out, so I educated myself on ebay and started listing items.  I started out slow to make sure I knew what I was doing.  I listed larger items on craigslist and set aside less valuable pieces for a garage sale.  I ended up having 3 huge garage sales.  Within 2-3 months, I pared my belongings down to a fraction of what I started with.  That was even more freeing than deciding to sell the house!

I came to realize material wealth is not the path to freedom at all.  The beautiful truth is that once you have what you truly need for basic survival and comfort, any material items beyond this only begin to weigh you down.

How can you truly have freedom with so many items to take care of?

That was 3 years ago.  I moved from my house, with my bf, into a 2 bedroom condo with a 2 car garage…  still quite a bit of space and still quite a bit of stuff.  I went more minimal than I had been, although I had a long way to go.  It really is a process.