If you’re a faithful reader to my blog (so all six of you), you’ll remember back in July when I announced my decision to try out the whole minimalism thing. I had ten reasons clearly laid out why I was headed down that path and had already began my pile of things to get rid of. (If you missed this thrilling post, or are new here, or have short-term memory loss and can’t remember any of it, you can read all about it over here.) Four months have past since then and I’m sure you’ve on pins and needles waiting to hear the results. (Or more likely you completely forgot all about my endeavors and are going along merrily with your lives.) Here is a recap of my journey thus far.
My aim as I began this journey was to get rid of anything in my possession that wasn’t adding exceptional beauty or exceptional function to my life. (i.e. My coffee maker isn’t really beautiful, but adds so much function to my life. It has sponsored 99% of these blogposts.) (Now that I think about it, my coffeemaker is actually very beautiful.) So I began raking out my closets, shelves, and drawers. I should have counted the amount of things I ended up getting rid of but I was too sick of it all to spend any extra time with it. I loaded up the car (multiple times) (and we have a big car. It seats 15 humans. That’s a lot of stuff.) and I loaded up other peoples’ cars (and trucks) and waved a happy goodbye to at least three-quarters of the things we had in our house and garage. (This included our second car.)
Our house seemed quite empty after that. Mostly because every piece of furniture was gone except the bed and bookshelves. (Sleeping and reading. What else do you need in your life?) We then moved to a house one-quarter of the size of where we had been living. (It’s actually an apartment above the garage of the family I nanny for. The classmates of the kids’ have been looking at me funny when I come for school pick up. I came to realize it is because they think I live in a garage like a dog or something. I think my family thinks that too.) Suddenly the feeling that we were freed from all worldly possessions changed as our boxes quickly began taking up all of the space of our new living quarters. It took some shuffling around and a few more trips to the thrift store but we at last found a place for everything. Let minimalism commence.
And yet, it doesn’t really feel that minimal. Mostly because it feels very normal. I don’t feel like our lives have changed drastically, that we’re suddenly living a new lifestyle, that our home feels significantly different than our last ones. Maybe that’s because we have more than what could fit in a single suitcase and we didn’t go far enough in our minimizing efforts. But as I looked back on the original nine reasons I had decided to try this experiment I realized things have changed and our goals in choosing this path are being met.
We are living well within our means rather than stretching our monthly income to cover large rent and utility checks. The items that remained are ones that bring me joy to see and use. It only takes me two hours to clean the entire house thoroughly and the daily tidying is far more manageable. I quickly choose the clothes I want to wear in the morning because there are so few options. We were able to buy exactly what we needed for the home because there was so little space to fill. I also can talk to my husband when he’s in the shower from my place in the kitchen, and when the coffee starts brewing in the morning I can smell it from bed. It’s a cozy and small home in which we have just what we need.
I don’t claim to be a model of a minimalist. I still have a lot of things and there are areas of the home that feel a little cramped and untidy. I’ve encountered the ideal of minimalism mashed up against the reality of life. I would love to be rid of all junk drawers, messes behind cabinets, and haphazard storage spaces – but where would the batteries, yoga mats, sound recording equipment, and beast costumes go otherwise? (The beast costume is my husband’s. Just in case you were wondering.) We are a family that has a lot of diverse interests and hobbies and hold multiple jobs. It doesn’t make sense for us to get rid of things just to maintain a pristine tidy home. That isn’t real life anyway.
So here’s to this half-hearted, half-perfect little home of ours – minimal or not. I love it, it is exactly what we needed during this season. Within its angled walls I am learning to be content with just the right amount of stuff as I make a place where real life happens.