As far back as I can remember I’ve been a little obsessive about being tidy (rare is the small child who gets extreme pleasure out of an all white uncluttered room). The truth is… “stuff” makes me really (really) anxious. If I start thinking about how many items I own, I can legit drive myself into a full-blown panic attack. Birthdays and Christmas make me extremely nervous; gifts = more stuff.
I have this reoccurring nightmare that I’m attending my own baby shower… people are bombarding me with loud flashing plastic toys, stuffed animals and brightly colored appliquéd outfits. I keep yelling through sobs “thank you but we said no gifts” – no one listens and the gift givers start laughing and chanting “Get used to it!” This is right around where I wake up and probably why I don’t have kids.
When we sold our house a few months ago, we also sold almost everything in it. We’re currently in limbo with our living arrangements, while we wait for our apartment to be built, so we haven’t replaced anything. We were minimalists before but this is next level. We don’t have a TV or sofa. We have a borrowed bed, a borrowed dining room table and 2 borrowed wood chairs. We have 2 plates, 1 mixing bowl, 2 forks, 2 spoons, 2 cups and 1 frying pan… Our garage has some boxes with personal belonging (books, pictures, tools, some art…), we kept our bikes, ski equipment, a grill and a few other odds-n-ends. Ohh and we moved our plants plus the dog!!
Simply – Our accommodations are sparse.
Even since we’ve moved I’ve combed through my wardrobe, purged a lot of things I was holding onto for no good reason and implemented a spending fast of sorts.
Having so little in the house has done unexpected things. It’s made me really appreciate and use the things we do have. It’s sparked a self awareness in myself that has poured into other areas; my business, my diet and my mental health. Not having the TV for example has made me waste less time in the evenings… when I could be sleeping. I’m better at prioritizing. I’m extremely selective about what I allow into my life (both physically and emotionally). Selling or donating most of my clothes, means I’m only left with the items I really like! It makes getting dressed really quick and effortless.
Opening the cabinet and using our 1 vintage milk-glass mixing bowl makes me really happy; I love that thing. I feel freer – Less anxious. It’s got me excited about de-cluttering other areas that can be pain-points. Saying “no” more and building in more time to do the things that interest me. Erasing my personal presence on social media, deleting all accounts and apps that aren’t business related and canceling subscriptions that don’t add value. Pulling everything way back; starting from this new place.
I rarely compare myself to others but I DO compare myself to my past. Was I more ambitions then? Was I in better shape? Was my skin nicer? Were my teeth whiter? I should get back to that routine. I really looked good there… etc.
A few years ago (well Hell even a few months ago), I was in the relentless pursuit of more. More work. More hours in the gym. More hustle. That was great… Then. Right now I’m into less. Less chemicals, less products, less pressure, less noise, less technology, less of what doesn’t matter. I’m redefining what “health” means to me today (not harping on what it used to mean). Maximizing through minimizing.
I’m not suggesting that you need to get rid of all your stuff to have a mental breakthrough (I do plan on buying a couch and full dinning set once we move); I’m only suggesting that there could be great opportunity in re-framing what it means to have less.
Think of something that makes you incredibly happy; this could be anything. Maybe it’s taking a holiday, going for a bike ride. Maybe it’s refurbishing classic cars… Whatever! Now. Think about what it would be like if you could do more of that!!! The typical approach is this… Work more. Work harder. Make more money. Put hobbies and interests, health and connections on the back burner until… You retire. You pay down some debt. You grind through that job you hate.
What if instead you did less and got MORE. What if you got rid of that new car payment and drove something used (no payment!). What if you downsized from that house you have a huge mortgage on and lived in something smaller. What if you sold some of your toys (the sleds, RV’s, boat, ATV, that 3rd blender). What if you bought a beautiful, high-quality pair of boots every 5-years instead of emptying your wallet every time you pass a clearance rack (disposable/uncomfortable cheap 1-season footwear). What if you stopped buying crap throwaway toys for your kids and went for a hike instead. What if you shut off the video game and finally worked on that business idea you’ve been talking about for years. What if you didn’t need every NEW iPhone. What if you spent more on what goes into your body (nutrient dense REAL food) instead of shelling out cash for antacids, doctors bills and fast-food.
What if you did just a couple of these things? What if you just did one?! What if you really think about what makes you happy and prioritized that! People always assume they need to make more… But what if you just need to spend less. You can be a minimalist and have nice things. Look – I love my Apple products and I’m a sucker for well-crafted home goods and clothes. But the practice of carefully curating what you allow into your life is paramount and doesn’t stop at consumer goods. This includes people, energy and emotions. Minimalism to me means being more intensional. More selective. More meaningful. More from less.
I make WAYYYYYY less (crazy less) money now than I did when I was selling (legal) drugs but my cost of living is a fraction of what it used to be. I had a job that was so stressful it was making me sick. I could have stayed there OR I could get out. My plan was to take advantage of a philosophy I’ve been using my entire life; minimalism. I do more with less now and I continue to learn and change through this process. I have time to do the things that interest me and give me purpose; my possessions are few but they make me happy and have a clear function.
If you visit… BYOCCSD (Bring Your Own Chair Cup Silverware Dish!!) at least for a few more months!!!! We’ve got the beer. Haha.
Health + Happiness,