I have been obsessed with tiny houses, tiny house living, and the idea of living with less for a while. I fantasized about the day I could just sell everything we own, buy a tiny house, tow it with my Jeep and live with nothing but the necessities and traveling the country. Spoiler alert: Joe was never on board with this idea. I learned that I didn’t have to live in a tiny house to adopt the tiny house living lifestyle. I could be living with less. I didn’t really NEED anything. I had a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear, and plenty of entertainment.
LIVING WITH LESS
There are so many words nowadays for living with less and the minimalist lifestyle. I try to use the word minimalism carefully and usually refer to it as just simplicity or simple living. I think sometimes minimalism can have a negative connotation or viewpoint. I’ve definitely adopted my own minimalism ways and want to share with you how I use minimalism and living with less in our life.
I was a self-proclaimed Target addict, who just this past year became a minimalist. I was tired. My mind was constantly running with a never-ending to-do list, I wasn’t taking time in the day for myself and wasn’t living my best life. The simple life. I decided to start living more simply and never looked back. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
“The things you own end up owning you.” – Tyler Durden
Minimalism isn’t about not owning things, but not letting things own you. I used to think that because I bought something that it meant I needed to keep it forever. That if I didn’t keep it, then it was just a waste. I spent more money and more energy trying to make something I didn’t like work than to just get rid of it.
I learned that nothing owned me. If I didn’t like it anymore, I donated it. Over the last year, I think Goodwill and Salvation Army could supply an entire house just from what I have donated. There was a truck coming to our house every couple weeks. I just kept finding more and more stuff we didn’t need anymore!
IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO LIVE WITH NOTHING
I think one of the main reasons minimalism has such a negative connotation is because some people are choosing to live with less, while over half the worlds population do not have a choice. However, we are all way too exposed to overspending, materialism, and advertisements. It’s the world we live in. Consume, Consume, and then consume some more.
The few documentaries I’ve watched about minimalism usually show a single guy in a small apartment with one chair and a closet with a few shirts and two pairs of pants. Umm…that’s not me and it never will be. It doesn’t have to be you either. I personally prefer to learn about minimalism from Tyler Durden (aka Brad Pitt) in Fight Club.
I still have furniture, clothes, home decor, etc. I just choose what I want to keep and have become very picky. The first rule in interior design is always function. Sure, it will be beautiful but it has to function also. Am I guilty of keeping something for too long just because I thought it was beautiful? Of course. I just became honest with myself and ask: “are we using it?” “is it taking up too much space?” and if it doesn’t prove a use or have a function, I donate it.
IT’S NOT AS HARD AS YOU THINK
In fact, it gets easier. When I first decided to start living with less, I had A LOT of stuff to get rid off. I felt like I was surrounded by STUFF. It was cluttering our home, our lives, and my head. My breaking point? The Real House Tour.
In the beginning, my keep pile was a lot bigger than the donate pile. I kept having this idea in my head that I might use it “one day” when in reality I hadn’t used it for years. So now instead of asking myself “will I use this?” I ask myself “have I used this”. Usually, the answer is no. I now have no issues with donating items and am still surprised and just how much I can get rid of.
IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN’T EVER BUY ANYTHING EVER AGAIN
I still buy whatever I want. However, I am very mindful. I might see something new that I just “have to have” and the old me would just buy it without a second thought. Now, I think about it a little more.
“Once you need less, you will have more.” – Unknown
If it is a home decor item, I think about how I can create the look with something similar I already have. Do you know how many white vases I donated? Dozens. Why did I keep buying variations of a white vase when I already had a few at home? If there is an item I still want after I have thought it over, I ask myself if there is another item I am willing to donate or toss. If I’m bringing something into our home, then something has to go. It’s all about balance and rotation.
I’m still learning more and more about this living with less journey every day. I am shocked at how much stuff we used to have and how different my day to day life is now. Target used to be my happy place. Shopping and consuming used to define me. Not anymore. Are you ready to start purging and finally get rid of all the STUFF? Check out my 10 Days to an Organized Clutter Free Home Challenge.