Real Life Minimalists: Megyn

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, we have a wonderful submission from Megyn. I love that she addresses the issue of buying (and wanting) less—because stopping the inflow of stuff into our homes is just as important as decluttering! Please visit her blog, Minimalist Mommi, to read more.

Megyn writes:

Megyn

I grew up in a house full of covered surfaces. A mom who loved to shop. A dad who loved to save. It was an equation for a house full of a chaotic mass of “stuff.” As a child, I went along with it swimmingly. Collecting items. Amassing tiny displays for any and all surfaces. I was just going with the flow of the household. At some point, the flow slowed down. I stopped wanting to accrue more to display or collect. I started finding joy in empty spaces. Cleared off surfaces. Organized drawers. Bare floors. It felt relieving. Looking back now, I firmly believe my path towards minimalism was a path towards sanctuary. The chaos of my house, both physically and mentally, wore me to a nub. My room was my inner sanctum where I could slow down and be myself. As I grew older and older and eventually moved out, I promised myself that I’d never be like that. Cluttered. Disorganized. Messy. I was fighting my upbringing. I was fighting for independence and a voice. It was empowering to say the least.

There I went, off on my own with little to actually call my own. I liked that. When people came over to my meager college apartment and noted how bare it was, I accepted it as a complement rather than a slight against me. I was succeeding. Further down the road, I started to realize that although I had little, I purchased frequently. From a young age, I had a passion for getting rid of things. When at a friend’s sleepover, I was asked what I wanted to do. My answer? Help her find things to get rid of and reorganize her room. I was ten. Out with the old, in with the new was how I was functioning as a young adult. Thankfully, I never let it extend beyond my means, but my consumption was unnecessary. Reexamination was needed. How could I be a true minimalist if I was avoiding half of the equation? Not only have less, but buy less? This is an aspect I’m still working on. Continually finding value in what I have is hard. I get bored easily. And since I don’t attach myself to many objects, it’s easy to get rid of something in order to get something new to me. Ay, there’s the rub.

My path now is leading me to just being happy with how things are in this exact moment. My need to rotate items came from my need to rotate my mind mentally. Getting something new diverted my attention away from what I should have truly been examining all along. I’m finding that my path to a clearer, wiser mind is not only aided by having less physically, but also by being satisfied with what I do have and trying not to constantly want more. It’s a long, bumpy road ahead, but I finally feel that I have the right vehicle to traverse whatever may come my way.

If you’re interested in learning more about where this unknown path takes me along with my random ramblings, please hop on over to my blog Minimalist Mommi at http://minimalistmommi.blogspot.com. I hope to see you around :)

{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.}

Related posts:

  1. Real Life Minimalists: Reggie
  2. Real Life Minimalists: Miss HK
  3. Real Life Minimalists: Geoff

18 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Megyn

  • I love this girl. Check out her blog, she is so inspirationalband fun xxxxx go Megyn xxx

  • Great post by Megyn, and awesome picture too!

    It’s amazing how we think stuff will make us happy when in fact the opposite is more true. I recently went a month without spending anything (except for food of course) and it was liberating.

    Love your blog

    Tracey

  • I try not to impulse buy a lot too. I think it’s important not to over consume on needless items without really considering whether I need them or not. Sometimes I feel bad though when trying to buy an item of clothing that I do need as my wardrobe is lacking, so I need to remember that buying things isn’t inherently bad but as long as I’m mindful I should be okay.

    It’s strange as a young teenager I hated spending money on food because I thought it was a waste (as I had nothing to show for it!) and sometimes I would go without food just so I could save up for a new video game or cd. I clearly had my priorities mixed up! I’m so glad my way of thinking has changed and some weeks I barely spend anything at all.

    I love the part about you as a child when visiting your friends houses and wanting to clean up – so adorable!

    Thanks for sharing Megyn! :)

  • ElizMcK

    I suffer greatly from buyer’s remorse, even when purchasing things I need. However, I happen upon something I only “want”, I will wait three days (or more) before I actually go back to purchase it. It is like waiting 20 minutes before satisfying a snack craving, I guess.

    I loved this post. It really touched nicely on the delicate balance of minimalism, as well as the psychological and spiritual components. In minimalism, I suppose, we get to know ourselves and our world.

  • Sarah

    This post draws attention to the issue that I often feel is at odds with the sustainability and simplicity sides to a minimalist life. Perhaps it’s a question of how each of sees minimalism: is it only seen as an aesthetic statement where goods can be bought and gotten rid of on a whim or a path of(and to) simplicity and non-consumption.

    Quoting Megyn, a sentence that rings so true: “Getting something new diverted my attention away from what I should have truly been examining all along.”

  • Jennifer

    Yowza, this RESONATES. I consider myself a minimalist, yet just yesterday I came home from Target with a haul of stuff…it was mostly household stuff that will get used up, but of course at Target I always manage to end up with a few (or more) extras, and it topped off a week where I managed to spend a lot of money on this and that anyway. Putting it all away I managed to find a bunch of other stuff to get rid of, but it’s the constant in-and-out flow of STUFF that I need to get a handle on. Very timely, Megyn, thank you!

    • Ariel

      Agreed. My husband called me on it this week: while I keep telling him ‘look how many clothes I’m getting rid of!’, I go out and buy more to make up for it! I still feel I’m coming out on top though, with less clothes than I started with. I have yet to decide which winter clothes I’m letting go, might wait until winter’s over to see what I’ve not worn. When spring hits though will be the real test: will I resist buying warm-weather clothes when I’ve worked so hard to pare down what I already have? Hopefully willpower will prevail!

  • I went to “Google Books” and in the “Search” area I typed in “Frugal, Asceticism”. I was surprised to read that what Megyn is talking about was considered virtuous by our founding fathers.

    I never looked at saving, being frugal, living a minimalist life as be virtuous, but that’s what it is. Many will call someone that practices this lifestyle cheap, a miser, or what have you, but in reality, it’s noble.

    And Megyn, that’s a great picture. You’re a beautiful woman.

  • I grew up in a home with LOTS of stuff. It is only now, 30 years since I left that home that I am finally getting the hang of getting rid of things and not collecting anymore!
    Great story, going to check out her blog!
    Bernice
    5 things to do while waiting in life’s hallways

  • Lauren

    Wow thanks for contributing this! I feel like you’ve literally written my life story. However I’m still in the living at home stage with my empty room as my sanctuary. I even share your need to rotate items. I thought I was crazy since I don’t see many other minimalists writing about this. Usually it’s use an item until no longer functionable, then buy something else. However I kind of like using something or wearing really, something until I’m bored of it (which does take a while!), then donating it. Nice to know there’s another out there!

  • jenifer

    it’s so funny.

    i still feel like i have SO MUCH STUFF but i don’t really have all that much stuff. I’m heading into my spring declutter (at my offices and in my home), and my husband is getting nervous! I don’t have much, truly, but i feel like it’s all too much.

    other than a business computer, I haven’t purchased an object for myself or our household in months. we do buy food and cleansers, but pretty much everything else is. . . not in the house.

    and yet we manage to amass a lot of paper clutter, and i’m not sure how that happens. i’ll just blame it on my husband. LOL

    this weekend, we have a long weekend, so it’s time for me to declutter and reorganize what we have. I really feel that there is so much that I can let go of now. I just hope I manage to get through it all this weekend. :)

  • Caroline

    I’ve always enjoyed helping people organize and purge stuff too! I was the other kids’ parents’ dream come true :P

  • Thanks for your inspirational profile, Megyn. I appreciated your thoughts on an aspect of minimalism that is easily overlooked – reducing incoming stuff, not just increasing outgoing stuff! At this stage of my minimalist journey, I’m actually enjoying doing less decluttering because it means I’ve been doing less shopping and also mostly buying just what I need, thus not having to move it along again!

  • Francine- Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this post with your readers!

    To all the commenters- I truly appreciate all of your feedback. It means the world! :)

  • Heathear

    You seem like you are happy and a lot of fun. Just the kinda gal I could sit down and have some coffee with and not be afraid to discuss minimalism. :) Great post!!!

  • Lulu

    I peeked at your blog and loved it! Had several good laughs. After I read portions of it to my husband, he asked me if I ever refer to him as a donkey. : ) Haha.

  • I wish I had discovered minimalism early on. I have always been really messy, and probably could have benefited from your services! Also popped by your blog, very nice. :)

  • wow, the description of your un-minimalist childhood sounds so much like mine! (geez, maybe parenting classes should include a day on the negative effects of clutter on kids…) Nice blog!

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