Our Journey Toward Minimalism

Minimalism is removing what clutters your life from possessions to commitments.  Removing these things make more room for the items that really matter.

Too many material possessions complicate our lives to a greater degree than we ever give them credit. They drain our bank account, our energy, and our attention. They keep us from the ones we love and from living a life based on our values.

The idea of finding joy in each item you own is wonderful . It is the getting there that is the hard part.  I freely admit that I have had a small case of anti-minimalism.  We worked hard, accumulated things we wanted and enjoyed life.  But at a certain point that got a little tiring and we started to look at what we really wanted out of life.

About every 10 years we make a big shift as we search to figure out what we want to be when we grow up.  From big city to small town and from small town to RV and travel.  Most recently this past summer we made an aggressive push to downsize to only what we really need.

Most of the furniture went fast on Craigs list.  I am recognized at the donation center as cars full of items have gone there.  And now I have a stack of higher value items we are selling on eBay.  It’s a process and so many people have gone through it.  Whether we travel or not, it is a great exercise to shed the stuff we no longer need, want or use.

With less ‘things’ there is more time to relax and spend time on what we want.  Less distractions and less guilt for owning things that we don’t even use.  And of course it costs less when you don’t need a giant home to hold everything.  Your weekends can be spent playing and not taking care of your things.

Shedding the stuff feels great!  The feeling when we finally stopped working, swept the garage out for the last time and turned the keys over to the new tenants was fabulous.

We have had all kinds of advice and pushback from various friends and family.  The best advice on getting rid of items was to remember that we can keep the memories, but we don’t have to keep the things.  So often we are sentimental about something due to memories – but the item doesn’t hold the memories, we do.

Many of our friends and family don’t understand what we are doing and push back defending their need to accumulate.  We have heard everything from the justification for each room and how much it is used to pure disdain that we are just too young to be be ‘retired’ and we are not doing the right thing. That doesn’t bother or threaten us, it is just a different path.  We have no problem with anyones path.  It is just that this is ‘our path’ and yours is, well your path.  No judgement necessary.

I must admit we still have LOTS of stuff and are by no means models of minimalism.  I am continuing to cut out, not shopping, not replacing.  One item in, means something else goes.  And trying to make sure everything has multiple uses.  The wardrobe continues to be a challenge.  As does the memorabilia, sports equipment and cookbooks.  I know cookbooks are a weird thing to be attached to, believe me I recognize that.

So we will continue to strive towards minimalism and the benefits.  On that note, back to Ebay pile.

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