This picture is of our bedroom. Yes, we have a dresser and a closet, but this is basically it.
I have had a few small bouts of living a minimalist lifestyle, like living in a 200 square foot studio apartment in South Korea, but not until this year have I purposely wanted to live that lifestyle. Since getting married, (about 3 years ago) Andy and I have moved apartments or houses roughly 10 times. That means that on average, we have moved about every 4 months for the last 3 years. What can I say, we like to keep things interesting!
After Andy and I eloped for our marriage, we had a wedding party for all of our friends and family to help us celebrate. When we invited people we specifically said 'no gifts', we didn't want to acquire more things. It was a simple start to a marriage with plenty of kitchen utensils and not much else. That was how we liked it though. I mean, what else do you need in life?! With each move that we made, we acquired more "stuff". Building a life with another person quickly adds up to a lot of "stuff".
Society tells us we need a couch to sit on, a TV to watch, fancy serving trays for parties, and a bookshelf full of books. This is all consumerism and marketing at its best. Society has marked holidays, weddings, having babies, and birthdays as times that you should BUY and give. There is less emphasis these days on just enjoying each others company and being together. We are addicted to buying and owning things. With tv, newspapers, magazines, and society norms all telling us to buy and accumulate more, we are not only wasting our money, but our time. "Things" require maintenance. Maintenance takes away from time and enjoying life. The more you have, the more of your time it takes, the less you enjoy and appreciate other people and life itself. However, the less you have, the more you can get out to enjoy life and loved ones. (My soapbox speech of the day.)
Moving to California at the end of December was our 10th (or 11th, I can't remember) time moving since we were married. It was our largest and most stressful move yet. We moved all the way across the country, from Virginia to California...right through a Midwestern snow storm none the less. We also rented the largest moving truck, 16 feet long. As we drove across the country, I stressed about our stuff getting tossed around the back of the moving truck. I stressed about how we were going to unload our moving truck up 3 flights of stairs into our new apartment. I stressed that our apartment wouldn't be large enough (2 bedrooms) to fit our stuff. It was one stress on top of another, all brought on by our "stuff".
Despite my stresses, everything worked out. It was not fun though! We parked our moving truck in the middle of the street all day while just Andy and I moved our belongings up 3 flights of stairs. We ended up hiring some guys to help us and by the end of the day everything was successfully in our apartment. I was so stressed and tired of all the "stuff" we owned, that I just about lost it. I told Andy I was at the end of my rope and that if we didn't get rid of at least half of our stuff I was going to lose it. So we did just that.
Andy and I spent the first week in our new apartment sorting through our stuff. We quickly discovered that the majority of our things were either useless, or duplicates. So out they went! We were able to whittle our things down to half the amount of what we moved with. And...we are still getting rid of things. At the end of each week, we have another bag or box of things to go. With each box that we get rid of I feel lighter, more positive, and more happy. It is wonderful! We are also discovering that the less we own, the more we get out and do things. We have adventures and truly enjoy life because nothing is keeping us at home.
I hate that it took us 3 years of accumulating things and 10 times of moving to discover how wonderful it is to live a minimalist lifestyle. I am happy however, that we have finally reached this point, and we will continue to have even less in the following months. What a sigh or relief. It has been the best stress reducer that I have discovered yet!
In a future post I will give tips on how to become more minimalist.