Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details. (Note: the schedule is now full through mid-December — but if you don’t mind waiting, feel free to send me your submission!)
This week, I’m happy to bring you Jennifer’s story. She tells us what inspired her minimalist journey, where she is now, and what she’s working on for the future.
A few years ago, I got my heart broken, and in those first few awful days following the break-up, I was in deep DEEP denial. I figured that this little bump in the road would soon be behind us, and we’d probably end up moving in together and getting married eventually, so I’d better clean out that storage unit since I wouldn’t want to move it all to his place (oh Jennifer, you poor dumb thing). In a frenzied effort to avoid thinking about reality, I finally sorted through fifteen boxes that over the course of ten years I had moved from storage unit to storage unit without ever opening. It felt so good to get rid of all that junk – I actually felt lighter. I followed the storage unit with getting rid of clothes I hadn’t worn in years, books I’d never read again, pieces of hand-me-down furniture I didn’t like, and the more I cleared out, the more I realized that I loved having empty space. It shocks me now to think of how cluttered and jam-packed I was in that tiny apartment.
Over the years an appreciation for open space and minimalism has seeped into almost all other areas of my life: I pared my wardrobe down to the most basic essentials and love not stressing out about what to wear each day. I don’t buy a lot of food that ends up in the garbage. I don’t buy or store seasonal decorations for the house because I don’t like clutter of any kind. I love coming home to a calm, peaceful, airy open space and knowing exactly what I have and exactly where everything is (vs. years of assuming it must be in a box, somewhere…).
It’s a process though. I still have things that are proving difficult to get rid of – things I bought for the traditional life I wished to have, and letting go of those things (which I know are just representations of old dreams) is harder than I thought it would be, but I’m still working on it and I’ll get there!