Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Few Things: My Path To Minimalism

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I've been thinking a lot about downsizing and how I've come to this point in my life where we are basically minimalist, traveling gypsies. We've been bouncing around from house to house for the past couple of months while trying to build our own house. And while it has it's frustrating moments, we've really been trying to embrace it and learn from it. It's been fun to be able to live with our different parents, everyone gets a little bit of us each week (and by us, I mean Eliza because she's the center of everyone's attention) so it's been rewarding on that end of the spectrum but there's also another side. We only stay in one place for about 3 or 4 days and because we are not able to have all our belongings in one place, we've kind of split our things between the places and we have one bag/suitcase each that we carry around everywhere with our basic needs. It's been fun learning what all we need to live off of and kind of a precursor to what living in our tiny home will be like and maybe even communal living if that is in our future. It's forced us to really pare back on our needs and learn to use our resources and work with other people for the things that we don't have. 

But I was thinking about how we got here and how our past has led us to this point and I think it all started  when we first moved into our apartment. So back when Brandon was working for UPS, we decided to get our own apartment. It was such a fun time and we were really proud to be (partially) on our own. We moved into a fairly large 1 bedroom apartment and I automatically went into nesting mode and was determined to fill the space up. And I think it really became an addiction for me. While I did make majority of the items in our home instead of buying them already made, that still involves purchasing the raw supplies and so I incurred a small buying addiction. And then somewhere along the line, I started to become more environmentally conscious and realized I had gone too far. My home was filled with so much stuff that it was extremely stressful and even though we had a small home, it was getting really hard to manage and keep clean. Gradually, I started to curb my addiction of buying and making things for our house but I think that started with having to declutter in the first place. And for me, it started out by simply stressing over messes. Instead of just cleaning or shoving things in places, I made it a habit of decluttering to simplify things which would ultimately make it easier to clean. I don't know how I did that but it's been a really good habit for me. Now, when I get stressed out over cleaning, my automatic reaction is to start getting rid of stuff! So I started getting rid of stuff. Ultimately, I was too lazy to sell the things I was getting rid of (plus they probably weren't worth much anyways) but it was a good lesson in waste and how I could have saved my money by not buying these things I didn't need. By simply giving them away, I was teaching myself a lesson, a hard lesson that I didn't really need those things in the first place. I started putting more thought into what I was buying instead of grabbing it on impulse and regretting it later on. 

The first year of living in our apartment, I was focused on filling it up. Then I realized that it wasn't the best thing and the second year, I focused on getting rid of most of the stuff I had accumulated! And then at the end of the second year, we decided to move out and move back in with my dad with no expectations or though of what would come after. We needed some time to regroup and figure out what our future was going to hold. And it wasn't but a few months of living with my dad that we decided to build our tiny home! 

When we made the move to my dad's, we pared down even more because we would be moving back into basically one bedroom. We have some stuff stored away like kitchen utensils and all that that we may need someday but still some of that we've donated or given away to my sister who just got her own apartment. 

And now we are splitting our time between my mother-in-laws house and my dad's house and our stuff is just spread out all over the place. But I've noticed, since we don't really have a permanent dwelling at the moment, we really haven't been buying or accumulating household items. Which is nice because we won't have room for it anyways! But I don't think about it at all, I don't have a need for it. The only things I buy are food, tiny home supplies, and supplies for Sam Wish. Our basic necessities. And I think this is a really great thing for us. A nice time to learn about what we do and do not need, especially when it comes to consuming because we're going to need this mindset when we finally do move into our tiny home. 

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Essentially, we are now minimalists. And it's so nice. I don't hardly ever worry about stuff (only when I have a pile of dirty clothes to wash and toys to clean up). Which enables me to focus on the million other things I have going on! I wish I could say I have simplified but that wouldn't exactly be true at the moment as my life is crammed full. But it's not so bad. Because I've crammed it full with all of the things I love. My life is filled to the brim with passion and creativity and community and joy and appreciation. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

And I think that's what minimalism is all about. I wouldn't be able to do everything I'm doing if I hadn't gotten rid of half of my belongings. I wouldn't be able to participate in all the activities I do if I had to worry about 'stuff'. It wasn't an easy road to get to this point and I don't know if I even would have made it here if I had not accumulated so much stuff and learnt this the hard way but it's so worth it in the end. I am so grateful for this journey I've been on and I can't wait to take it a step further with the tiny home. What a great adventure it will be! 
Inspirational Quotes, life, Ocean Surfer Photography Print. minimalist, 8x10, Typography
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