Wednesday, January 6, 2016

why minimalism?

my series on minimalist living has probably been my most popular so far. and while that 
probably has a lot to do with minimalism being kind of a hot topic in the blogosphere right now, i couldnt be happier about this. why? because learning to embrace a minimalist lifestyle has been a really awesome experience for us. its been challenging, for sure. but its also been rewarding. im planning on continuing my posts on minimal living on a weekly basis (like i was before my break), but since i was gone so long, i wanted to take a few minutes to back up and talk about why weve chosen to embrace minimalism: 

so why have we decided to make these changes? 

our tiny home is not as temporary as wed originally hoped. obviously nobodys planning on keeping all four of us in this one bedroom apartment forever, but its just not practical for us to move into a bigger place (which would require me bringing in a significant second income) until after i graduate with a degree in an employable field. which wont be happening for... (at least) three semesters. if were going to make this place work (which we need to) we need to clear it out. 

we need to let go of our past baggage. james and i both came into this marriage with a LOT of baggage (both literal and figurative) that had created really unhealthy relationships with "stuff". after getting married, we moved a lot, dragging all that crap around and not dealing with it. it took us way too long to figure this out, but the biggest thing we can do to get rid of that baggage is to literally get rid of the baggage. 

we want to make a home we love. because of the past baggage and the moving a lot and the being poor, our apartment was not only disorganized and cluttered, it was cluttered with my stuff, with jamess stuff with stuff other people gave us, and with stuff we bought super cheap because we needed it right now. we had very little stuff that was ours, that we liked and we wanted, to the point that (up until fairly recently) i never felt like i was at home at any of the places we lived. and while thats not the most important thing in life, its something we need as a family. 

we want to actually use our home. when our apartment was stuffed to the gills it was nearly impossible to do well, any of the things that we actually like doing. things like games, projects, having people over, heck, even normal CHORES were difficult before we got serious about de-cluttering (and being a stay at home mom was miserable). living with less stuff gives us so much more space so that i can work and the kids can play and we can actually use the (small) space we have. 

we want to focus on the important things in life. before we got on the minimalism train, almost every activity we did involved some kind of shopping, whether it was buying things or looking at things we wanted to buy or trying to figure out where to put all the stuff we just bought. i could go on and on about why this was bad but the worst part was it kept us from spending time doing the real important things in life, like spending time together, getting outside, going on adventures, and hanging out with our friends and family. 

we dont want to be enslaved by what we own. sure, we could keep everything we have (and dont use), and move in to a bigger place so that we have room for all of it, but then wed both need to get more jobs to have the money to pay for that bigger place, leaving us with little to no time to spend with each other, let alone the stuff that we werent using that we got the bigger house to have room for. people have literally suggested this exact thing to us, and honestly it sounds like my own personal hell. 

we want to teach our kids good habits. it took james and i 24 and 26 years (respectively) to get to the point where we were ok with getting rid of stuff (mind you, that we didnt need or use or even think about), and this was definitely not a good thing. so many parts of our lives would have been much easier if we had learned to be happy living simply. living simply ourselves (we hope) will set an example for our kids so that they dont grow up with the baggage that we had. 

im going to be honest, this whole minimalism thing doesnt come easily to me or james, and our slow transition has had more than its fair share of challenges. but as we move forward (and our apartment gets emptier), the positive changes were seeing in our home, our lives, and even in ourselves, have been more rewarding than weve ever imagined. 

much like my series on money, this ones still in the planning stages as well. do you have any questions youd like answered about minimal living? let me know in the comments! 

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