Two and a half years ago, before my family moved to Nashville from the West Coast, my husband and I sat down and watched a special about two friends who call themselves “The Minimalists”. Their documentary is about how they both live their lives with less things (junk, collections, mementos, household items, hand-me-downs, etc) so they can live a freer life and enjoy more experiences. I remember after we were done watching the special, I turned to my husband and declared we were going to live the same way and our move to Nashville was going to be the fresh start we needed. It felt like for the first time in my whole life I was ready to part ways with all our old things and girl, this documentary has changed my life and I can’t say enough good things about this philosophy that has helped me find some freedom.
Several weeks later, the remainder of our stuff was packed into the back of a semi-truck to be shipped across the country to Nashville, and my husband, my three-year-old, and I each boarded the plane bound for TN as well with three bags each and our dogs in tote. At first it was crazy to think that all we had on board was what that we’re to be living with for the next six weeks while waited for our home to be finished and the semi to arrive. By the end of that six weeks I realize that I didn’t miss anything that was on that semi-truck and that we were just fine living with the bare essentials we had packed and carried on with us. There was less laundry to do, less cleaning, less decision making to make, and it all felt good. It made me question just how important everything on the truck really was to me (or not important). Some of those items have been stored in dusty old plastic bins which I’ve been carrying around with me place to place since I moved out of my parent’s house 20 years ago! I was becoming a little pack rat!
Suddenly I was excited for that big ol’ truck to arrive! It was time to purge! I worked my way through one box a day (well that was the goal. Sometimes I got through more) and realized most of my stuff I was holding on to for those “maybe someday” moments weren’t worth keeping anymore. Trust me when the minimalists say, maybe someday means never. The old décor that was mismatched and overused by the time it became mine was donated. The collections of scrapbooks of pictures and memories I really would rather forget got shredded. The old books from college that are just irrelevant information in this day and age were given to the library. It was not just freeing to do all this purging but empowering. I looked at my new home as a blank slate. Something I could also simplify and make room for more people and new experiences. My house stays tidy because everything we actually use has a place and before any new kid toys come in, that same number of old toys has to go out. My daughter is learning to not hold on to every. single. little. birthday party. trinket. We recycle or upcycle everything. I’ve even found a solution for the bigger ticket items I used to enjoy, like framed artwork and antiques which I have a hard time parting with. Now I think about who in my life would also enjoy them the same way I did and they become gifts. Then I don’t feel like I’m throwing away something I had an attachment to.
Being a minimalist helps me stay clutter free of course, BUT the biggest win bi-product is this absolutely helps ease some of my anxiety. I would definitely suggest minimalism if you feel like you have a hard time keeping your house tidy and the clutter is what stresses you out. I’m not perfect at all the minimalist aspects, like cleaning out old phone pictures and old computer files but this is still something I’m learning, and I’ve enjoyed sharing, especially since I know it helps me find control and calm. On that note, the last point I would like to make it this has also helped me slow down my days, enjoy what I have in front of me, and not be so time macho with places to be and people to please. That also gives me lots of time freedom back that I was missing and helps me save a lot of money. Less events also equals less stress. Doesn’t that sound like a much-needed break?
If you want more info about how to live a more minimalist lifestyle there’s plenty of Facebook pages and groups you can follow that are full of tips and tricks to living this lifestyle. I enjoy The Minimalists, whom I have the pleasure of seeing live here in Nashville coincidentally shortly after I moved here. There’s also Be More With Less, Soulful Simplicity, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, and Project 333. I hope that you enjoy what I have learned and try these methods for yourself so the “things you own don’t end up owning you.”