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, Celeste tells us how her packrat family, the financial crisis, and a number of moves inspired her minimalist lifestyle.
I made the decision to go minimalist about a year ago, but in hindsight it was something I always wanted without knowing it. When I was younger I always dreamed of living in a hotel, I found them so relaxing and efficient and stress free. I now realize that was because they aren’t cluttered with STUFF!
My family are packrats, they are incapable of getting rid of things or recycling them. The mess drove me so crazy that when I was 15 I actually got my own bathroom and set up a tea kettle in my room and basically barricaded myself off from the rest of the house! I did however have this one terrible habit of clothing/shoes/handbags/jewelry shopping. I did not manage to kick that until this year.
At 17 I moved out and due to several unfortunate incidents over the years both for myself and immediate family I ended up moving around a LOT. More then 5 times a year I would drag my stuff from place to place spanning Scotland, Germany, and Holland. Finally at 25 I got a stable job and apartment and got the opportunity to ‘make’ my home. There was only one problem, after years of moving, giving up stuff, losing things, or having to sell things to buy my next meal I had no desire to fill my new space with ‘things’ that I would build up an emotional attachment to. I had lost everything and it was liberating. I could streamline my goals and chase any opportunity that came my way. I had learned about the environmental impact of our consumer lives and didn’t want to be a part of it.
So I bought some functional, plain, but still stylish second hand furniture that I absolutely needed (bed, sofa, drawers for my clothing) but kept it really simple to maximize my space. I went through my wardrobe, decided what I wanted and for the rest made a huge donation to the charity shop. I got rid of the nik-naks, duplicates, and unused items in my house. I switched from paper book to eReader and love it! There days I get a buzz when I find one more thing I can do without!
The financial crisis hit me and my family VERY hard, I had no idea how to budget and had to learn very fast, but now thanks to minimalism I have figured out what I really want and pulled myself out of debt with no outside help. I feel less stress and free from ‘want’.
I still have my wish list but it is now filled with travel plans and experiences rather then ‘stuff’. It was the best decision I could have made and I don’t think I will ever look back!