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 Erin. She and her family transformed their lives by decluttering, paying off their debt, and pursuing a minimalist path. Surf on over to her blog to learn more about their journey.
Our journey to minimalism began in January of 2011. I got very sick with migraines and seizures and needed a change! I had too much stuff cluttering up our life. I was working the night shift in law enforcement, trying to keep up with our life, family and stuff! We needed to get healthy and get our life organized. I began blogging at www.healthybranscoms.com on our journey to be healthy and have less clutter. We wanted to enjoy life and not a life filled with stuff.
We began decluttering, blogging about each step and getting organized. I had several yard sales and sold everything we possibly could on craigslist. During this journey we did a program called War on Debt and we were able to pay off over $39,000 worth of debt in just 13 months! We learned to live with so much less and enjoy life so much more!
We also achieved a life long dream of moving to another state to be closer to family. Since we had already de-cluttered so much and sold everything that we could, this move was streamlined, efficient, and easy! We are now debt free except for our mortgage but we have a plan to pay that off in 5 years. I was also able to quit my job in law enforcement and become a work at home Mom. I love being at home with my kids in a great environment that isn’t cluttered. It makes it so much easier to work and be more efficient with our time. I went from working 40+ hours a week outside the home to 15 hours of work inside the home and making MORE money! This is what a clutter free and organized life can get you. Working harder and in less time.
Before we became minimalists, we wanted to buy a big 3,000-4,000 square foot home. That was our dream, to have a great big home to raise our kids in. We were previously living in a 1300 square foot home for a family of five and a big dog. And it was a GREAT home with an awesome layout. We just needed one more bedroom. So when we moved and were house hunting we KNEW that was not a goal of ours anymore. We looked at tons of foreclosure homes and some were 4,000 square feet. We quickly realized that we wouldn’t have even half the furniture to furnish these houses and we had no desire to maintain a home that big. So we quickly narrowed our search down to smaller homes and we found an 1,800 square foot home that was everything we wanted! And it is still kind of empty because we don’t have a lot of clutter but we love it! We love the open space.
Being a minimalist is just a way of life for us now. We don’t really know anything different. We don’t like “stuff” or clutter all over our home. We just love streamlined spaces. Our kids are so much happier too. People ask me all of the time how they can be like us. I always say start small. One idea I head of that is pure genius is filling forty trash bags in 40 days. Fill a bag daily and either trash it, recycle it, or take it to your local goodwill. After 40 days you KNOW your home will feel so much better. Then do it again until you get your home to where you want it. Everybody can take 20-30 minutes a day to fill up one bag. I probably couldn’t now because we don’t have much stuff but before we started living like this, we could have easily filled up several a day!
I heard on the radio recently that if you declutter your house by 40%, you decrease your household chores by 40%. Who doesn’t want to do less household chores? I can’t even begin to tell you how much Miss Minimalist’s book and blog has helped our family to be organized and live minimally. I also love Minimalist Mom’s blog as well and her books are awesome too. I love reading books and blogs on minimalism. It keeps you on the right track to avoid spending on useless things and to focus on what is really important.