Real Life Minimalists: Sara

Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words (click here for details).

This week, we have a wonderful submission from Sara, who shares how minimalism has enabled her to pursue her passion of writing. Check out her blog to read more!

Sara writes:

Sara

I came to minimalism accidentally. Or so it felt at the time.

I was never a clutterer, but I definitely kept my fair share of “stuff” around. It was after I met my partner, and combined households with her, that I looked around and realized we had too much stuff. My minimalist journey started with a few books on simple living and an intense fascination with the minimalist blogs I read daily. When I focused my eyes on my own living space I knew something needed to shift. And that something was “stuff”.

A major declutter ensued. I began blogging in the first few months, and immediately felt two things: incredible relief from the yoke of possessions and an amazing amount of interest/support from my community.

As months passed and I sold/gave away/donated furniture, clothing, books, CDs, jewelry, artwork, dishes, and everything else unnecessary (which was a lot), a much more subtle shift occurred. Minimalism left the surface and spread deeper: I established a more committed yoga practice, took up meditation, and re-embraced my creative life. I’ve always been a creative person, and writing has long been my expression of that. Suddenly, without stuff to purchase, clean, store, and maintain I had plenty of time to write. And write I did. Last November I began a novel, and almost a year later, I’m proud to say I’m close to finishing (the first draft of) it.

For most of my twenties I struggled through building what I thought an “adult-life” should look like. I was supposed to have furniture. And a good wardrobe. And bookshelves full of the tomes I’d read. And a nice car. And a good job. There was no place for my creativity in that lifestyle. No place for what truly mattered in the face of societal expectations.

Giving all of that up has been an incredible journey. It’s hard for me to decide if what is most amazing is where it has taken me or where it hasn’t taken me. I thought I’d travel more. I thought I’d downsize to a smaller house. Neither has happened. What has happened is a profound sense of well being and belonging in my life as it is. What has happened is the courage to pursue a life goal (writing) that feeds my soul unendingly.

I’ve embraced the simplicity of minimalism—the ease with which I can now inhabit my space and my waning desire for “more.” From that simplicity has grown a profound appreciation for what I have. From minimalism has grown a life that suits me, a life I am proud to live. From an uncluttered home and clean closets to a daily writing practice and a novel. Heady stuff, minimalism is.

{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.}

23 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Sara

  • You get my vote Sara- keep up the super duper work x

  • So encouraging Sara! Isn’t it amazing how “adult expectations” weigh us down? Your post makes me question why we allow age to dictate the sort of life we should conform to. Wonderful and uplifting, thank you. :)

  • “For most of my twenties I struggled through building what I thought an “adult-life” should look like. I was supposed to have furniture. And a good wardrobe. And bookshelves full of the tomes I’d read. And a nice car. And a good job. There was no place for my creativity in that lifestyle. No place for what truly mattered in the face of societal expectations.”

    Sometimes you’ll see words that really do make you think, and really do inspire.

    Well said.

  • Yeah! Congrats. I have found a bunch more time for writing too (that I didn’t expect to be doing). Good luck with your novel. Just finishing the first draft is super exciting!

  • Wonderful and inspiring piece – makes me want to start more decluttering immediately. Good luck with your novel, Sara!

  • Angie Hall

    Well said, I mean, well written! I love this story. I, too, have let life and the things I’ve acquired crowd my desire for a truly creative life. Your story has inspired me! Best wishes with your novel. I hope to do the same soon. But first, I am planning to continue the months-long decluttering I began when I started reading Miss Minimalist. So, thanks for your post! God bless you.

  • I completely agree about minimalism giving you more time. The trick is to spend that time doing the things you value, not wasting it.

  • I totally agree about it giving you more time and I fully well intend on using that time to create the best ‘me’ that I can be :)

    Inspiring post, Sara! Thanks for sharing.

  • Sara, if you are interested in smaller dwellings, you must visit Kent’s blog – Tiny House Blog – http://tinyhouseblog.com/. It is my favorite blog. I’ve subscribed to your blog and I look forward to reading your posts. Good Luck to You!

  • Beautifully written, Sara! I enjoyed your words about how minimalism has blessed you with a life that is shaped uniquely like you that you can live with “ease”. Good on you for questioning whether society’s expectations and accoutrements were what you really wanted, or if there was something better for you.

  • Elizabeth

    Very inspiring Sara. You sound very much at peace with yourself and your life. I agree about societal pressures and you were fortunate to only adhere to them while in your 20’s. A lot of people ride that hamster’s wheel for a lifetime. Unfortunately, our society lacks initiation rites to advise us and carry us into adulthood. Instead, many of us rely on a consumer culture for guidance.

  • Good for you Sara!

    “There was no place for my creativity in that lifestyle. No place for what truly mattered in the face of societal expectations.”

    This says it all. You have to keep subtracting stuff out of your universe, to allow the freedom to do stuff you’ve been longing for. It’s a great feeling.

  • Good for you! It’s so FREEING, isn’t it? Jeff cited the quote that inspired me the most as well.

  • Debbie

    Loved reading your comments! I related to so many of the same things you mentioned.

  • JBear

    This is really inspiring, less clutter more creativity is my motto for 2012. And thanks Miss Minimalist for all your insights and good luck with your non-digital life

  • Sara, thanks for sharing your story. As someone who makes a living as a novelist, but who is constantly distracted by the things around me–“that fireplace is ugly, the coffee table needs to be replaced, I need a new dress/shoes/bag/haircut for this book tour”–I can see how removing clutter from one’s physical space would lead to much greater creativity and peacefulness. And not only removing clutter, but also ceasing to acquire clutter, which can be a terrible black hole of time.

    A couple of years ago we moved to a larger, quieter house that I thought would be a much better environment for writing, but furnishing said house, decorating, painting, etc. has greatly delayed finishing my next book! While I now have my long-wished-for room with a view, my increase in space and peacefulness did not lead to an increase in productivity. Your story is inspiring–you can keep the home without being bound by its contents.

  • Thanks for sharing a great post. I am sure most people would find it really difficult giving away their furniture and other worldly possesions. As a lifestyle choice I think minimalist living would definitely lead to more calm and inner peace. I guess you just have to make the choice and stick with it.

  • […] Minimalism has its downsides my friends. For a creative, it can be a very imperfect philosophy. I’ve embraced it, and I’m okay with its flaws. I get frustrated, that’s true, when I have moments like yesterday morning. […]

  • I love reading all these encouraging comments! I’ve moved my blog over to http://www.sararauch.com. Come visit me there!

  • […] Minimalism has its downsides my friends. For a creative, it can be a very imperfect philosophy. I’ve embraced it, and I’m okay with its flaws. I get frustrated, that’s true, when I have moments like yesterday morning. […]

  • Tina

    We just gave away another 2 big bags to Goodwill. I thought of buying my son some shirts they had for $1.50 each that looked like they were new. Then I realized that if my son wanted T shirts, my husband could give him some of his extra shirts. We also have more books to give to the library. I want to empty at least one bookcase and maybe two. We keep decluttering but we must have a lot of stuff.

  • Tina

    Still giving away a big bag or two every week. Recently, I gave away a big bag of stuffed bears I had been keeping for years. I kept 2 to use for holiday decorations. I am trying to grow more Christmas cacti to give away next year as gifts. They are sitting on my counter in detergent bottle caps.

  • I give away bags of things every week. Dishes, plants, greeting cards, magazines, and I donated a painting to an auction but it didn’t sell so I’ll give it away. I have more than I need and I seldom buy anything. When my DH and I were working, we lived on about half our income. We were able to retire early as soon as our youngest graduated college. By buying very little, we go travelling. Friends spend lots of money on their purses, clothes, hair and finger nails. I think that is sort of silly.

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