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A Year of Living With Less (and 7 Things I love about Minimalism)

Last year around this time I was swimming in large piles of ill-fitting clothes, unused kitchen ware, not-quite-my-style furnishings, and a house one-thousand-square-feet too big. As a brand-new studio apartment at a perfect location for an ideal price became an option for us we began the large process of downsizing. We thew out 3/4ths of our clothes (or more), we got rid of more than half our book collection, we returned all of our borrowed furniture, and we began the journey toward minimalism.

I’ve learned much on this journey. The primary thing being that minimalism looks different for each person. We probably won’t ever be the people who build a tiny house and bike everywhere we go. (Though we considered it.) We need space for a piano, after all, and for a few boats. Besides, my husband’s 6’4” frame would probably find some obstacles in a home where you have to turn sideways to move anywhere. I also don’t foresee us spending our entire life in a studio apartment. However, there are things I have learned and loved about living with less that I will take with me wherever we go.

1. Less decision making

Limitations are actually blessings. I used to stand in front of my closet and agonize over my clothing choice each morning. I probably had 40 choices for tops alone. Life has become much simpler without the vast amount of choices – and this isn’t limited to clothes alone.

2. Less cleaning for a cleaner home

I’ve never been a particularly tidy person, but I have stayed on top of the house cleaning considerably well since downsizing. I can thoroughly clean my entire home in under two hours. Things stay cleaner and I don’t have spaces that get out of control because everything is visible and I don’t have doors that I can close if I don’t want to be reminded of the clutter.

3. Fewer purchases

If I buy an article of clothing or a book or a new decor item it is only because I’ve decided it is meeting a precise need. I don’t buy a new dress simply because it is on sale, nor do I go to the library book sale and come home with dozens of new books because they were only a dollar apiece. Every item that comes into our home has been deliberated about and, often, is a replacement for something rather than addition.

4. Higher quality possessions

When you only need to buy a single couch to furnish the home you can afford to buy a new one. When you only own a few articles of clothing you can buy them at Target instead of Good Will. I have nothing against thrift store shopping and hand-me-downs, but it is nice to pick out exactly what you want rather than settling for the skirt that needs pinning or the couch that doesn’t match your style.

5. Finding things is easier

Where are my keys? Where’s the headlamp? Where’d I put my book? These are still daily questions on the way out the door but everything that lives in our house only has one spot and so the scramble to find what we’re looking for is greatly minimized. Even if it is out of place there’s only so many places it can be.

6. Larger amount of discretionary income

We are both making the same amount as we were last year, but the amount we have to save, invest, vacation, and give has increased greatly. Less space doesn’t just mean cheaper rent, it impacts every aspect of our spending.

7. Greater contentment

I have never had a home I loved as much as the one we are in today. That may be in part because it is brand new, a great price, perfection location, with amazing neighbors. But I think it is mostly because I have learned to live with less. I am not dreaming the next home, and pinning my favorite interior decorating ideas on pinterest. I have all I need, and I have chosen to be happy with it. There are imperfections and inconveniences, but I’m thoroughly content to call this little garage apartment over my employer’s garage my dream home.

 

It’s worth it, this ‘minimal’ lifestyle. It really is. The accumulation of stuff is a painfully easy habit to find yourself in. I was barely 25 with no children and a low-maintenance husband in a 1600 square foot house filled to the brim and just enough money to house all my things. Who knows where I’d be in another 25 years if this habit had persisted. Minimizing our lifestyle has maximized our living, and not a day goes by that I am not overflowing with gratitude for the life we’ve been given.

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23 Comments

  • Reply
    halfcupful
    August 11, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Sounds wonderful! I am a minimalist living in 2300 square feet with 3 clutter bugs!

    • Reply
      greeroharah
      September 6, 2016 at 10:03 am

      It is tough living with other people, isn’t it? I have to just let my husband do his own thing and find minimalism in the areas I have control.

  • Reply
    Leesasee
    August 26, 2016 at 10:46 am

    I love this post! Last year I read a book called “essentialism” by Greg McKeown and it changed my life. If I had read this post before the book than you just might have done it 🙂

    • Reply
      greeroharah
      September 6, 2016 at 10:13 am

      I just checked out Essentialism from the library. I can’t wait to read it!

      • Reply
        Leesasee
        September 11, 2016 at 8:32 pm

        Awesome! Please do let me know what you think 🙂

  • Reply
    A Year of Living With Less (and 7 Things I love about Minimalism) | littlelambforever
    August 26, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    […] Source: A Year of Living With Less (and 7 Things I love about Minimalism) […]

  • Reply
    Krysann Joye
    August 26, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    ​Love this! We bought our first house two years ago (the longest we’ve ever gone without a move! I know you can relate to that excitement as I just read your post on “staying” 🙂 goll, I sound like a creeper now). It’s a 940 sq foot house and we have three kids, a dog, a cat, and we LOVE it! We are sort of falling into a more minimalist lifestyle by necessity, but for all the reasons you listed and more, it makes life so. much. easier. to have less stuff – even less space in some ways! We probably won’t stay here as our kids/family grows, but I am so grateful for what we have now and the benefits we get living in a small house. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    ayesha4827
    August 27, 2016 at 2:00 am

    Simplicity is indeed the greatest sophistication 🙂

  • Reply
    Searching Savannah
    August 28, 2016 at 7:19 am

    Every room in our house is pretty much clutter-free except the art room. It’s about as neat as it’s ever going to be. And the teenager’s room is pretty good, too. As teenager’s go. lol

    • Reply
      greeroharah
      September 6, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      I’m sure having a teenager would entirely change my lifestyle!

  • Reply
    Grace @ Cultural Life
    August 29, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Such a great post! I enjoyed reading about your minimalist lifestyle, and the advantages you point out of living with less stuff are inspiring. 🙂

    • Reply
      greeroharah
      September 6, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      Thank you! This lifestyle has worked very well for us!

  • Reply
    savvypriya
    August 30, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Beautiful post! As I continue with my experiment in minimalism, there are several observations that resonated with me

    • Reply
      greeroharah
      September 6, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      It is a fun experiment, isn’t it?

      • Reply
        savvypriya
        September 15, 2016 at 11:43 pm

        yes, it is. I keep wondering why did i not start with it sooner. It is just so relaxing. hope you are doing great

  • Reply
    dariakrauzo
    September 2, 2016 at 4:09 am

    Love it! I have been living for so long with so few things and now and than I realise how light I am thanks to that. Minimalism makes you appreciate each and every thing and be thankful for all the small miracles that happen every day. Have a great weekend Greer!

    • Reply
      greeroharah
      September 6, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      I love that perspective on minimalism! It has made me more appreciative as well! Thanks for your comment!

  • Reply
    What I Learned in August – Ordinary Epiphanies
    September 2, 2016 at 10:22 am

    […] The start of August marked a whole year living in a studio apartment with a quarter of the possessions we had previously owned. I am so glad we chose this as our lifestyle for this season and listed seven reasons I love minimalism over here.  […]

  • Reply
    Charlene
    September 5, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    I have been reminiscing about memory of greater contentment from less possesions a lot recently. I don’t have a big house to start with, living in the biggest city in Korea. But I sure have a lot of stuff that I can totally dispose of and go minimalism. Thanks for your post, it’s a great reminder to me.

  • Reply
    BuildMumaHouse
    September 7, 2016 at 9:45 am

    this is great to hear sounds like you made the downsize really work for you

    • Reply
      greeroharah
      September 19, 2016 at 10:15 am

      Yes – it has been marvelous! Thanks for stopping by!

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