Real Life Minimalists: Francesca of Tasmanian Minimalist

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.

Today, I’m pleased to feature Francesca. She did a complete turnaround, from avid accumulator to avid declutterer. You can read more about her experience on her blog, Tasmanian Minimalist.

Francesca writes:

I still have a long way to go. But, when I consider how far I’ve come, I can’t help but pat myself on the back.

My lurch towards minimalism is an all-encompassing lifestyle change for me. Two and a half years ago, after being partners with a hoarder and being a heavy-duty shopper and hoarder myself, I found myself single again, not to mention, heavily in debt.

In my panic to build up the walls of protection around me, I continued to buy all kinds of things I thought I would need as a single woman trying to build up a home again. I say buy, but really my new boyfriend Mr. Credit Card paid for everything.

Cookware…bedding, furniture (4 sofas in one small house), cushions, clothing, mugs (at one point I had about 60), books and the list goes on.

I somehow thought it would be ok and I would get around to paying it off at a later date.

The house became more full and my happiness levels continued to plunge. One day, nearing crisis point, I realised I was simply buying to fill a hole. I gave away as much as I bought, but continued to buy to fill the physical space I created by giving away in the first place..and so the cycle continued. Then I hit my (very high) credit limit.

I remember actually looking at myself in the mirror and thinking “how can one small person THINK they need all this stuff?” I looked at myself, I mean really looked at myself and thought why had I done all this? It had only served to make me unhappier and more in debt.

So I began to give things away, beginning with sacks and sacks full of clothes. 30 pairs of trousers in one fell swoop just to start. Then off went a settee, books, any duplicates..20 towels..out they went…a kettle, a blender…the list continues.

It was almost like the pendulum has swung in the other direction. As quickly as I wanted things in the past, just as quickly did I want to get rid of all the amassed items. And so it continued, and continues to this day. Along the way I have also started tackling my debt and brought it down a lot..and whilst I often still berate myself for my stupidity, I take comfort in the fact that I now have a much more peaceful, calm environment. I can find everything and I have also helped a lot of people along the way.

Who can put a price on that?

I began to blog my experience on a a few weeks back. I have a daily tally of what I am still getting rid of and I try to include small money saving ideas along the way.

Thank you for listening.

“Eat Your Greens”

{If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

19 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Francesca of Tasmanian Minimalist

  • Can I just say ” thank you ” Francine ?

  • Mrs Brady Old Lady

    Very encouraging!

  • AussieGirl

    ‘In my panic to build up the walls of protection around me, I continued to buy all kinds of things I thought I would need as a single woman trying to build up a home again.’

    Exactly! We think that accumulating masses of goods bring security (we have every thing we need after all), when in fact (apart from the basic of necessities such as shelter, food and warm clothing) they don’t. It brings stress (in the form of paying for it, maintaining it, storing it, securing it from thieves)..

    I enjoyed your story – Thank you for sharing it!

  • Francesca, thank you for sharing your story! It must have taken a great deal of courage to let go of the ‘protection’ of things and walk towards a better life. All the best on your journey.

  • Very encouraging to read your story, and you are brave for sharing it! Awesome that you came to the realization of what you were doing and now seeking to reverse and overcome it. I hope that through it all, or in spite of it all, you will find YOU and be truly happy with you and that it is not about stuff at all!
    Thanks for sharing!
    THE best organizational tool EVER

  • Caroline

    Wow!! Good job!

  • runi

    You hit it head on about buying quantities of stuff to
    serve as protection. Makes me remember decades ago! It’s such a relief when one doesn’t do it any more.

  • Alix

    Good for you, Francesca! You’ve discarded things and gained wisdom in its place.

  • Henny

    Amazing story. I love how you described the pendulum swinging in the other direction – I can relate to that, though on a smaller scale. Very inspiring!

  • Wabi

    I thought I was the only one who bought things and then gave them away before they were paid for! I am definitely a work in progress and your story gave me courage.

  • Thank you everyone for your truly kind words. I can’t tell you how much I really appreciate them. I wish love and peace in your lives :)

  • CoCoYoYo

    Looking forward to visiting your blog, Francesca! I have a LONG ways to go towards reach my minimalist ideal. It’s like any major change (losing weight, going back to school, changing careers) — you can’t do it until the time is right. Best wishes to you :)

  • […] needs. Who hasn’t indulged in a little retail therapy? (Read Francesca’s story here). I found that not only did I clothing shop for fun, I couldn’t pass up a good deal. I also […]

  • WOW! That’s an inspirational turnaround.

    For me though, I hit my credit limit, and instead of changing, I actually rode it: it became my new zero point. Crazy, I know.

    Minimalism helped me to find my way, and for that I am very thankful. Many stories just like this one make it so easier to see how it can relate to my life. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tina

    We just got rid of a pile of books. Then I gave my nephew some serving pieces to go with his china. Slowly we are getting rid of more things. My grandson says we have a tiny TV. I find
    This very funny.

  • Tina

    Another pile of books went to the library yesterday. There is a big pile of clothes for Goodwill ready to go,too. We are moving steadily towards fewer possessions. I wanted to give some dishes away but my husband thinks the kids want them. Dishes are the things I need to declutter the most.

  • Tina

    Just decluttered someone else’s closet. 5 big garbage bags of clothes that don’t fit or are worn out. Now to declutter the dresser. I don’t know how to declutter someone else’s shoes.

  • Tina

    I am still decluttering. I need a box because I want to give away more china. Maybe someday my upper cabinets will be cleared out. My daughter in law has asked for a set of glasses I have so whenever she comes and I have a box, she can have them. There really isn’t much I want or need.

  • Tina

    Another 2 bags for Goodwill. My husband bought new shoes so 2 pairs are leaving. More clothes no one wears. I have 3 flannel shirts I wear around the house only. My husband didn’t wear them any more. I think I will give away the one in the best shape. I am giving 2 sweaters to my mom.

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