Minimalism appeals to me, because it makes me focus on what I truly love and need. One of my favorite blogs is Zen Habits. I started reading Zen Habits for the productivity tips, but lately I’ve been fascinated with Leo’s simple guide to a minimalist life. If you were to come into my home, you’d never guess that I even think about minimalism. My home isn’t a disaster area, but it has plenty of clutter. It’s definitely well lived in.
So why does the minimalist lifestyle appeal to me? I see several benefits.
I have lots of clutter in my house, and I hate it. I would love to actually have a place for everything, but in order to do that, I need to get rid of a lot of stuff. I don’t have a garage, and my outside storage shed is very small. So everything I store would need to fit in one of my five closets. I have to admit, I like the thought of only owning as much stuff as I can fit comfortably in my house.
If I bring less stuff home, I don’t have as much opportunity to waste. I really try hard not to waste anyway, but sometimes that’s hard in a cluttered home. If the refrigerator or freezer gets cluttered, I forget what I have, and sometimes the yogurt hiding behind the milk goes bad.
The same goes for clothes. If I own the minimal amount of clothing I need to get by, I’m not likely to forget about an outfit hanging at the back of the closet. I can’t count how many times that happened when my daughter was a baby. She had so many baby clothes, that I’d forget exactly what she had. Then I’d pull out an outfit, only to find that she had outgrown it already.
I really believe that having an overabundance of stuff breeds discontentment. It seems that the more things a person has, the more they need. I know that’s true in my life. When I have the ability to buy more, I find that I start buying to fill some sort of unmet need in my life. By cutting down the amount of stuff I allow myself to buy, I force myself to deal with my discontentment. I need to learn to be content with what I have and find satisfaction in my relationship with God, my family life, and with who I am as a person.
By forcing myself to cut down on the amount of stuff I own, I cut out the stuff that I’m ambivalent about. By embracing minimalism, I cut out everything but what I really love.
I remember reading Little House in the Big Woods as a child, and I remember reading about Laura and her doll, Charlotte. Laura LOVED Charlotte. I think she loved her so much because Charlotte was her only doll. Charlotte was precious. Charlotte was special. How many things do I own that I consider to be truly special? My photographs are special. Everything else? Not so much.
Though I doubt I have it in me to become truly minimalist, I am setting a goal for getting rid of stuff. Cutting my things to what I really use and love lends itself to my quest to live a more frugal life. So by the end of the year, I will go through every room in my house and get rid of what I don’t use or love. And to be really frugal, I’ll sell what I can and put it toward my debt.
For more on minimalism, be sure to check out Leo Babatua’s books:
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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