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.
This week, it’s my pleasure to feature Michele. She shares her minimalist lifestyle with us in wonderful detail, and has even included some lovely photos of her living space!
The story I have in my head is that my mom asked me to clean up my room when I was very young, and I wanted a way to never have to hear that again! I started to clear everything out of my room, and loved sitting in a totally empty closet. I think I only kept going back to trying to ‘decorate’ and fill up a space because so many convinced me it was what you do, especially when you leave home and have your own space. Ultimately though, it never felt natural to me, and I would get so thrilled when I cleared it all out again. Often now, even having a residence feels unnecessary, but I haven’t figured out a satisfying alternative yet. I’ve considered an rv, van, and being a traveling nomad, but none of these quite fits.
I have always valued relationships (including the one with myself) more than anything else, which in some ways has actually made me feel like I was constantly swimming against the current. Yes, everyone has relationships, but to naturally and actually put them before success, work, achieving, being busy; I haven’t found to be that common. I love the intimacy of hanging out all day with someone, just doing mundane things together and being silly and simply living. I figured that the kind of people who love that too wouldn’t think twice if I wore the same thing everyday, or had no sofa to sit on.
For the past couple years, I have felt like I’ve been in a limbo stage because most of the things that ‘mattered’, or rather that I had filled my time up with, no longer drive me. I’m left with a lot of empty days! I love the freedom of this, but there’s so much time, that I wonder if a passion of some sort will ever emerge again, or a way to be useful. There’s not the urgency there once was to “become something/someone”, etc. It’s possible that I have just grown out of the idea of having a ‘direction,’ but some part of me still hasn’t caught up and is continuing to look for one. Plus maybe the city isn’t the optimal place to meet others who just want to enjoy life simply together?
Practically, at the moment, I live in a tiny room in a city, with a shared bathroom and kitchen. I make a living as a musician and can luckily work sporadically and get by, with very simple living/low overhead. This job is also what keeps me in this particular place. I pay relatively low rent, I don’t use air conditioning. I have a twin 3″ futon mattress on a loft above a built-in desk and one little stool. All my clothes are rolled into one shelf (that hangs off the loft) which bring some splashes of color into the room. I also have several hooks on the doors for the few fancier hanging things. I like the idea of making my every day stuff the decor, and also like having everything I own in view, so I don’t use the closet.
I prefer built-in, efficient sparse furniture so that it’s simple to clean the floor. I eat mainly fruit, and raw salad and nuts, so I just have a little manual orange juicer and one spoon, fork and knife and a cutting surface. Don’t ever have to clean a stove! I distill my water with a little distiller (have looked for simpler options like a great self-filtering water bottle, but nothing yet matches the taste and purity of the distiller). 4 pairs of shoes- boots, flip flops, sneakers and heels for gigs. I don’t use soap on my body (all fruit probably helps with no body odor). 2 plants. A laptop which I feel I am on too much, but which holds episodes of shows I like, music (and music I learn for gigs), movies and books.
Thanks everyone for sharing their stories, as it excites me to read and hear about others who live this way!