Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Minimalist: Kick Off

Have you heard of Minimalism? It seems to be this new movement and once you get bit by the bug, it may feel like a religion! You know when you find some amazing new product and you want to tell ALL your friends? Well minimalism is awesome! One reason it came to me was because I want to live in a travel trailer. Travel Trailers don't have much room for junk. Look around you, how much of that stuff is actually junk?

If you haven't heard of minimalism, there are some sites and blogs out there that have already explained it for us. You can, of course, look up the definition or find those sites. I, personally, love The Minimalist Mom! Hers was the first blog I found about minimalism and I can also relate to being a mother. Minimalism is going to look very different in different households.

Truck Load of Donationstruck load of stuff
taken to Goodwill in December
(just before our last move)

So... why have less stuff? There are lots of different reasons for different people. Obviously there is the less space that I mentioned. But also, a lot of people are realizing that we're letting our stuff run our lives. We work more so we can have more stuff. So couldn't the reverse be true? If we could stop consuming so much stuff, could we work less? Yes! I'm still trimming down the junk I have, but I've donated (and yes, trashed) a LOT of stuff in the past 6 months or so. The trick is, though, I haven't replaced it, either. My husband and I have cut back on our consumption (of tangible as well as intangible things) so much that I've been able to quit my Full Time job. We've opted instead to get by on two Part Time incomes which affords us more... (wait for it)... TIME! Together! And another bonus, less stress!

Here in the U.S. we work very hard to be the consumers we want to be. But why do we want so badly to be consumers? Why do we even care what the neighbors have? So what if they're television is bigger or their car is newer. Do you think those things really make them happy? Does any of your stuff truly bring you happiness? Or is it the time to share those things?

Pile of JunkJunk Pile still remaining
one month after our last move

I'm not saying live with nothing. I've found, though, that I had a lot of extraneous crap. I'm still digging my way out, but I'm deep enough in that I'd like to start sharing more of my minimalist thoughts and journey with you. So I've started Monday Minimalist! I may share with you things that I want and how/why I choose not to consume them. I may share resources or tales of things I've passed along to someone else. I hope you'll enjoy this new thread and take something from it (ideas don't use up any natural resources!). I hope some others in the minimalist world (or you, when you join the movement) will jump on my MM bandwagon.


  1. Awesome that you are trying to be minimalist! Having too much "stuff" has always driven me crazy - something I inherited from my dad, I think. It's hard to be minimalist with baby when the grandparents and family members are so excited to buy buy buy for him, but we're trying our very best!

  2. I understand! The Minimalist Mom recently posted a Toy Box Confessional, but I think she is doing well. I'll be tackling my daughter's toys soon because I feel like our house is overflowing with toys!

  3. I used to be very minimalist. While stuff would still accumulate, I would regularly take great joy in going through my stuff and ruthlessly throwing and giving stuff away. It was wonderfully therapeutic. Anytime I felt out of sorts, I would go on a throwing stuff away binge.

    Eventually I came to a point where I had paired down so much that every single thing I looked at in my home was a useful, beautiful, treasured item. It was amazingly satisfying experience that I'll bet most people never get.

    In 2008, I moved into a van, and I sold or gave away everything I owned that didn't fit in the van. That was another valuable time, getting to experience having nothing in my life except the bare essentials and living voluntarily on about $600 a month.

    Last year I bought a forever house - the place I intend to live for the rest of my life. It's a big place, and coming from living in the van, it was interesting to try to stretch out and fill it again, although I still have a tendency to buy very little and throw away extraneous stuff. Just a few months ago, I realized that minimalism doesn't quite suit me where I am now. I think I have done the work to remove harmful attachments to stuff, and now I'm doing the work of giving myself permission to take up more space. For example, I'm reveling in building up a craft space full of craft materials that I may never get around to using, but it's okay if I have things that make me happy, even if they aren't "useful".

    All of which is to say that I think our cultural relationship with stuff is complicated and interesting to explore. Congrats on taking the minimalist plunge. I bet you're going to get a lot out of it! :-)

  4. That's great! I've been doing my Minimalist Monday Mission: Declutter 365 since January and posting about what I'm decluttering every week. I am aiming on a thorough declutter of the entire home in 2011. It's been awesome so far, and as of last week's post, I'm up to 924 items eliminated since January. Feel free to hop over and check it out:

    Good luck on your journey!

    Dr. Laura

  5. Great post! I am a big declutterer. When we lived on the bus, it was ridiculous how fast stuff accumulated. I am on yet another binge time of cleaning and purging looking forward to our move!!

  6. Issa, that is SO cool! In August we moved from a large-ish 3 bedroom condo into a small 2 bedroom apartment. After minimizing a bit (starting in Oct / Nov), we moved into a 1 bedroom apartment in December. If we don't make it into a Travel Trailer when our lease is up in August, we might find an efficiency apartment.

  7. Great post! My husband and I have been talking a lot about decluttering, minimizing, and etc. I keep holding on to stuff thinking we could sell it on CL, have a garage sale, etc. I should probably just donate it and be done with it!

    I think I'll take one day a week and focus on reducing. Thanks for the extra push.

  8. This is exactly what I would like to do: sell our house, so I don't have to work full-time, spend more time with my baby and move to a much smaller place. I have hit a snag, though, we can't sell our house! I'm a huge declutterer and I try to be very careful about what I buy, but in order to really do this, I need to sell my house. I'm not sure what else to do? Thanks for the interesting post.

  9. I'm currently on a minimalist drive myself...gave away a whole bag of baby clothes just yesterday...that was hard with all the memories in them but the Red Cross will benefit. I have more to tackle plus the books, magazines and papers - arrghhh. I'm determined to have a lot less stuff in the next few months. Thanks for the inspiration


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