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I was introduced to minimalism by accident. At the time, my husband and I were looking for land to purchase, so that we were one step closer to marking some things off of our dream list.
My hobbies at the time included reading books. I mostly read fiction, but started venturing out into the non-fiction genre. One book in particular popped up all over Pinterest, so I decided to order it.
I had no clue the door this book would open up to my life. The impact of the changes after reading this book are immeasurable, so much so that I started to give this book as gifts to friends!
How I Was Introduced to Minimalism
Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup opened my eyes and helped me see my possessions in a completely new way. While it is about 12 secrets that help you live a better life, I took much more away from it than that.
As I started to read it, I became confused. I asked myself:
How could living with so much less make someone so happy?
How could children be so happy with less toys?
Not that I am materialistic or anything [because I’m not]. I just didn’t understand how owning less could change someone’s life.
I didn’t understand how it could make you happier.
We live in a consumerist society that believes we truly need another skillet, monogrammed towels, a shirt we partially like and buy because it was on sale, etc.
I was all the more happy to contribute to this lifestyle, so what Ruth described within this book was the complete opposite of what I was raised to believe.
Diving into minimalism //
By the time I finished the book, I could see there was something to this lifestyle. Being the researcher that I am, I began to dig more into Ruth Soukup’s lifestyle.
I watched interviews, read her blog, etc. If she was so happy with living with less, spending less, and found her true passion in life; I wanted it, too!
I was so tired of being surrounded by clutter, and the only way I could change was to follow someone who succeeded at changing it. Ruth doesn’t classify herself as a minimalist, but the principles she shared to live a simpler lifestyle helped me become one.
Purchasing Land and Preparing to Sell Our Home //
Shortly after I finished this book, we found land to purchase, and decided to sell our house. It was virgin land, which meant that we had to put in water, electricity, and actually build something to live in just to move onto the property.
The plan to make all of this happen included:
- Selling our home
- Moving in with my in-laws while we constructed our new home
- Storing everything we owned somewhere
This seemed like the perfect opportunity to start downsizing our possessions, and see what we really needed to be happy, as Ruth Soukup explained in her book.
Once this process began, I felt relieved by the amount of stuff being donated! Packing up almost a car full of things to donate really opened my eyes and amazed me! Seeing all of the things we didn’t need go out the door was incredible!
I even had a couple of friends pick through to make sure there wasn’t anything they needed, and found myself giving away even more!
By the time we were ready to put our house on the market, a quarter of our possessions where donated, sold, or given to a friend.
It felt as if I was on the right path.
I thought this transformation was about living simpler. But I didn’t realize it was a movement across the world.
I was doing what I needed to live a happier lifestyle. It wasn’t until later I realized I was becoming my own version of a minimalist.
Decluttering and Putting Our Home on the Market //
After countless hours of decluttering my home, it was finally staged and more beautiful than ever. I could not imagine having to leave it once it was ready to sell.
I started to see how Ruth felt when she simplified her life. It felt good! Like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. Feeling the freedom of ridding my life of possessions I did not need was indescribably great!
We put our house on the market, and were thrilled when we booked several showings in the first week! I imagined it would take a few months to sell, so hopes were not very high in the beginning.
It took some work each day to make sure we were living in a staged house, and always prepared for the person who wanted to come the same day.
My daily tasks to keep my home prepared for showings:
I made sure dishes were in the dishwasher or put where they belonged, nothing was left in the sink.
Laundry was started right when I got home; so that by the time anyone would come, they would be clean, resting in the dryer, or already folded and put where they belong.
Vacuuming, dusting, and tidying my home were a daily must as well!
This part was a daily process, regardless if there was a set appointment or not. The few things we did, when we knew someone was coming, was put the dog kennel in my car and load the dogs into the back of the truck.
This was an extra step we took, since we didn’t know if the interested party liked dogs or not. This entire process was easier than it should have been.
If it was not for decluttering our possessions, I could not imagine how much work it would have taken each evening to do everything that needed to be done.
I know it wouldn’t have been staged the way it needed to be to sell it in the first showing! Thanks to decluttering and many other tips I have found, we were able to do just that!
Not Ready to Start Packing Up //
I enjoyed living in a clutter free and less stressful environment, but with our home under contract, I had 30 days to pack everything else up and move onto the next part of our plan.
The week leading up to our move out date was beyond stressful, but really when is moving not ever stressful?
It felt like backsliding, even though I was only packing things up to move them. The boxes, clutter of packing, and disorganization drove me insane!
Of course, in this process, I found even more to let go of which was great! We packed up most of these items and decided a garage sale maybe in our future!
Related Post: My Tips for a Successful Garage Sale
We took our furniture to my parents home, and the rest went to my grandmother’s home. We were so blessed to not have to take anything to a storage unit and pay storage fees!
I realized in this short time, material possessions are only okay when useful or aesthetically pleasing. Everything else needs to a new home!
Now I understood what it meant to live well and spend less. If you decide to only purchase necessities, odds are there isn’t much [if anything] left to purchase.
Living with Necessities – Really Being Introduced to Minimalism
We moved into a room that was dedicated to my father in law’s deceased mother. It was full of trinkets and pictures dating back to who knows when. It was a neat room, but already pretty full of things.
There was not any closet space, but luckily my mother-in-law had a 4 foot clothes hanging rack we were able to share. We also had a couple of drawers for underwear, PJs, socks, etc.
My husband only has a couple pairs of shoes, so he stored them under the clothes rack. I, on the other hand, kept my shoes in a box. I had downsized my shoes quite a bit before we moved, but I still had a good amount.
Anything else we needed in the bedroom was stored in a box.
We were also fortunate to have our own bathroom. We only brought necessities with us, and were able to store them easily.
Thankful, but nervous…
I knew very quickly this experience would be challenging. I just did not know how challenging it would be. Within the first week my senses were in a state of shock. I had moved out of my comfort zone that was simple and systematic.
Now I was at the other end of the spectrum. Living with someone else and everything that comes with building a home is stressful, because you don’t want to impose or get in the way of their everyday routine and there’s a lot to building a home on virgin land.
My anxiety was back, and the freedom I had felt was no longer there. I knew there had to be a way to cope and get back to feeling what I had felt before the move, but I wasn’t sure how.
I began to research about anxiety, minimalism, stress, etc. The biggest factor affecting anxiety and stress is one’s environment. I started to read a book called Stress Less, but it only made me stress more!
I decided to give these thoughts a break and change tactics by watching videos on YouTube that talk about how to change your lifestyle, simplify, and become happier doing so.
This all went back to the principles Ruth Soukup talked about in her book.
I did not instantly feel better, but I could tell it was helping. Seeing if I could declutter a few of my things felt like the best option at the time.
I found a few tops and jeans I could live without; however, it was not enough.
Taking simple living a step further //
I decided it was time to find another book that went a step further into simplifying. This is when I found The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.
This book was not what I expected it to be. It had a few interesting points and a few points that left me confused [mostly due to different cultural styles]. I decided to give it a try with the things I had currently with me.
In the bedroom, I pulled everything out of the drawers, found what sparked joy, what did not spark joy, and organized it all. I got rid of more things than I thought I would have.
I realized I did not need 100 pairs of everything [possibly a slight exaggeration]. Just in the bedroom alone, a quarter of my personal possessions were decluttered, which amazed me as much as the first time I decluttered my home.
The bathroom was more of a challenge. Most of what I brought was a necessity. I was able to downsize my makeup collection a bit.
I had two magnetic pallets that held up to 12 different products at once. One held my highlighters, bronzers, and cheek colors. The other held eye colors.
It all brought me joy, but I was striving for a simpler lifestyle. So I decided to make it all fit into one pallet!
Surprisingly, it was not as hard as I imagined it would be! In the end, it felt like HUGE progress. It cut down on time getting ready, because I did not have to dig for what I needed or over think what I was going to wear.
Moving into our new home //
After living with my in-laws for two months, our home was ready! We built a shop with a temporary apartment in it. [Building our dream house is next.]
Our previous home was just over 1,400 square feet and our new home was exactly 600 square feet. Needless to say, there was still a lot of decluttering to do.
Since my family was storing our things, and didn’t mind it, we slowly unpacked everything. I gathered one car load at a time and decluttered as I unpacked.
Most of the things I unpacked went right back into the box for a garage sale. It took about 6 months to sort through everything, but once everything was decluttered, we were left with about 25% of what we had before this entire process of simplifying started.
Since then, we’ve decluttered even more, and can say that we successfully decluttered 80% of our original possessions.
Being introduced to minimalism was the best thing that ever happened to my husband and me. We see material things differently now. They are things that bring value by being useful or beautiful.
Life as a minimalist //
Living as a minimalist is more rewarding than I imagined. Everything is simpler when it comes to cleaning, laundry, finding what you need, and being able to focus on enjoying life.
Related Post: A Minimalist Cleaning Routine to Maintain a Tidy Home
Honestly, the thought that keeps coming to mind is that I wished I had been introduced to minimalism many years before I was. While it did come at the right time, I believe this lifestyle would have been useful for other prior stages of my life.
Final Thoughts //
Have you given minimalism a try? If not, I encourage you to declutter your life of all the things you don’t really need and enjoy living simpler.
If you’re being introduced to minimalism by this post, I encourage you to join the community, so that I can help you dive deeper into a lifestyle that has helped me find a clear path to living my dream life.
Don’t worry! Minimalism looks different for everyone. It isn’t a one size fits all or a room with a mattress on the floor [unless that is what you want].
I promise you can find your own version of minimalism that feels just right for you.