3 April 2019

Living Simply; Going Minimalist?

  Having just gone through a major decluttering of our house, I've spent some time watching various videos to get myself organized and motivated. Whether it's the tiny house movement, capsule wardrobes or downsizing, everyone seems to be talking about minimalism. But does decluttering mean we're becoming minimalists?

Our downsizing journey


 I think this best defines minimalism: Living simply, focusing on relationships and experiences rather than 'stuff'. Most of us would say our relationships are more important than our belongings, but does that mean we have to discard all creature comforts to live simply?

 When we started decluttering our home, it wasn't with the goal of becoming minimalist.  We simply wanted to get to a place where we can live debt free and with fewer expenses, and less stress. That means downsizing to a smaller home with no mortgage and lower taxes. Having lived the past 6 1/2 years in what I would call my dream home, I've come to realize there are a lot of things I thought I wanted but don't necessarily need. The idea of having a garden door from our master bedroom onto the deck sounded wonderful. In reality, we seldom use it. A walk-in closet seemed a necessity, but do I really need that much clothing? I love having an ensuite, but do I really need it? I grew up in a house with just one bathroom for 10 people. In fact, we even had an outhouse when I was a child! Our society has programmed us to think we need all of these extras. Just watch any decorating show, and see how people react when they enter a master bedroom that doesn't have a walk-in closet or an ensuite that doesn't have his and hers sinks. I'm not saying I want to go back to having an outhouse, but I know we can survive without three bathrooms!

Our Downsizing Journey

 But the minimalist movement often goes to the other extreme, paring down belongings to the bare minimum. Many people who tout the minimalist life have a lifestyle of travel and socializing outside their home. This is not us! We are homebodies and enjoy the comforts of a home. When deciding what to part with, some would say we should ask, "Do I need this?" Well, I probably don't need all the books I have, but I enjoy having them, even if I've already read them all once or twice! I'm also sentimental; I like having items that have been handed down from my parents and grandparents. I guess Marie Kondo's question, "Does this spark joy?" would apply here. I don't use the vases and old dishes I've hung onto, but I love the memories they bring to mind. I also don't NEED three dogs, but I would certainly miss them if they were gone!  

Our downsizing journey


  Everyone is going to have a different take on what living simply means. For some it's homesteading; raising animals, growing their own food, possibly living off grid. For others, it's buying a motorhome and travelling across the country.  It's just a matter of finding what works best for our own life circumstance. It really is all about determining our priorities, deciding what our goals are and making a plan to get there.

 You can follow our downsizing journey here or on our FB page Living Our Lives Well, where we'll be posting updates as we search for a house and make it our new home.


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