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 we have an inspiring contribution from Chris, who explains the steps she’s taken to simplify her life and reduce her carbon footprint.
Although I’m late to minimalism I’m a work in progress. I’ve been on the outskirts of it for years, telling my friends and children not to buy Christmas, birthday, etc. presents; if they had to “buy” me something they could make a donation to Heifer International or a charity of their choice.
I was the first person in the county we lived in to drive a Prius, and believe you me, I was the brunt of many unpleasant comments and jokes, until of course, the price of gasoline went through the roof. I retired in 2010 and we were lucky enough to sell our very large house in upstate New York, most of our possessions, and moved to a much smaller home in Florida (1,000 sq ft).
I’ve made a concerted effort to scale down everything about our lives. When we purchased our home we put in solar hot water and the most energy efficient air conditioning system available at the time to keep our monthly expenses. All of our appliances were energy star to conserve energy (which I am a huge believer in). I can’t think of the last time I purchased new clothing; I get all of my clothes now at local thrift stores, much to the chagrin of my relatives and family.
Although my husband doesn’t quite share my enthusiasm for minimalism, I have to say he’s come a long way; he realizes, for the most part, that a lot of things don’t have to be purchased new to be useful. I’m working hard to improve our health in a more non-traditional way by taking herbal medicine classes which already is paying off by decreased prescription costs. This year we planted a vegetable garden, but this is definitely a learning process for us as we are so not used to gardening in the heat of Florida, but I now know a few things not to do next year when we plant it again.
We will never live in a “tiny house” or be looked at as experts in the field, but I want us to be role models for our children and their children. I would like to at least be a positive topic of discussion with our family and neighbors when they discuss our quirkiness and make them think twice about living a life of unadulterated consumption and thinking about their carbon footprint – as I said, I’m a work in progress.