2017 has been the start of a new chapter. I left a full-time job to work part-time, I completed a bucket list item, I started eating a primarily plant-based diet and now, I am focusing on creating a minimalism lifestyle. So much of my life has been filled with stress, worry and depression. Whether it was trying to pay off my considerable amount of consumer debt or coping with the loss of my dad, there have been some pretty major obstacles to overcome. Now, with this new chapter, I am trying to live a more intention-filled life. And this starts with minimalism.
One thing I’ve realized since starting this journey; holy shit, we have a lot of stuff. Much of it we rarely use, but hold on to it because we believe we one day may use it. When I was at home during the winter, decided to do a massive de-clutter of our home. 28 bags to good will later, I realized I have barely scratched the surface. I didn’t even get to the basement, which I know would be another 28 bags worth of stuff. It feels SO good to de-clutter your home! Don’t you feel amazing after? Like a physical weight has been lifted off from your shoulders. However, these purges also reveal your spending habits and how much money we waste on stuff. I noticed this, especially this year, my tide to emotional spending and how much stuff I have accumulated over the years.
We hold on to stuff for nostalgia and ‘motivation’. I had an entire closet full of pre-pregnancy clothes (mama’s out there can relate) that I was keeping because they were my nice work clothes and I was hoping I could fit back into them. Nature has other plans and my post-baby body isn’t changing (my hips are naturally wider and my boobs more saggy – thanks breastfeeding!) after I got ride of these and did a capsule wardrobe, I noticed my attitude towards clothes changes for the better. Now, when I put on clothes, they all fit and I feel confident in them.
It is harder to let go of the nostalgia. Minimalism blogs recommend taking a photo in place of the physical object, but I have a hard time doing that. Do I really need my second grade report card? Or a high school ISU? No, but for some reason I have a hard time letting this stuff go. I’m sure there is a psychological connection here.
All of these lessons learned have led me down the path to minimalism. When people think of minimalism, they probably thing barren rooms, with no personal items and a stale wardrobe. It’s in fact, the opposite. I see minimalism as a life movement to help you distinguish what you value in life. Once you realize these values, it helps you prioritize what is important and how you should spend your money and time. As you read in my previous post, my initial minimalism focus was on my clothes. I love shopping, but shopping doesn’t necessarily love me back. Now that I am curating my capsule wardrobe, a lot of this stress has been lifted. I wanted to transfer this into other areas of my life.
What have I learned that I value? Nothing beats a family night at home. I love being with them, so this means investing in things to help this. We love to cook together, so investing in quality produce and cook ware so we can spend time making a meal. We love going on family walks, so this means investing in good shoes and comfortable athleisure so we can enjoy being active together. Personally, my focus on my health has become a huge priority. This means investing in a running coach, yoga classes and healthy food. Once I’ve prioritized what I value, it is easier to get financial distractions out of the way. I know what I’d rather invest in (time with family, fitness, travel) and not invest in(emotional shopping and drinking). Minimalism, for me, also means re-evaluating what enters into your home. Do I really need 20 necklaces? Or random kitchen items? Once you get rid of these unnecessary things, you’re able to make room for what matters.
Obviously, nothing is perfect and there are definitely somethings I need to be mindful of. I need to continue setting intentions on my spending habits. I need to keep re-visiting my personal and family goals to realize what is important. We do need to be aware and monitor what enters our home, to ensure we don’t replace the old stuff with new stuff. I am making a list for my fall/winter purge items and you can bet that basement is on there. I also want to continue with building a capsule wardrobe. I love this! I would have thought having a small amount of clothes would be boring, but its not at all. I’ve never felt more confident in my wardrobe and I believe this shows in how I carry myself. We also need to monitor how much stuff Emily accumulates. Obviously, this isn’t her fault, however, Tolga and I need to be diligent that our house doesn’t get overrun with clothes and toys that she barely uses. I purged a bunch of her stuff and she hasn’t even noticed. She still has plenty of stuff to play with, but its all things that are her favorites and being value to her play time.
There is a lot online about the minimalism movement. Want to learn more yourself? Here are some blogs I read (thanks to those who messaged on Facebook about this!) when I got started:
I believe this is now my new lifestyle. I have learned what I value and vote with my dollars. I see what I need to invest in and what can be ignored. I found my stress and mental health have been more even-keeled and I am not overwhelmed by our ‘stuff’. I still have a lot to learn and de-clutter, but I am getting there. I am looking forward to teaching Emily about how to live a life that matters and fill it with things that are important and not temporary place holders. Minimalism also being a new financial freedom I haven’t felt before. I don’t feel pressure to buy things on sale because those items don’t bring value to my life. It is also a great conversation topic at a dinner party! Want to learn more? Don’t be afraid to reach out and let’s chat!