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, I’m pleased to feature Evelyn (and her beautiful family!). She blogs at Smallish, where she explores intentionally living small: in a small space, with a small footprint, within a small budget.
We stumbled across minimalism like it was an interesting smooth rock on the side of a rough hiking trail. We picked it up and admired it, stuck it in our pocket but have yet to say that we “own it.”
My husband and I began downsizing over two years ago when we first found out we were pregnant. It was important to us not to put our kids in childcare; I wanted to stay home with our new son. But meeting that goal meant me leaving full-time work, which in turn meant living off of one paycheck. Instead of going into debt to make up the difference to maintain our lifestyle, we evaluated our lifestyle. We chose to live small in order to live fully.
That hot summer while I was pregnant with our first boy, we rented out our cute little house. We sold or gave away half our belongings and moved into a tiny 450 sq. ft. basement apartment across town. Minimalism was an added bonus, a sideshow of sorts to downsizing. We just couldn’t fit all our stuff into our new home so we brought only the basics. (Or so we thought. Even now we routinely purge unnecessary items to claim more living space.)
Two years and two kids later, we are happy clams in the home we affectionately call the Shoebox. Sometimes it still feels like we own way too much stuff for this little space, but we are learning what it looks like to lose attachment to things. It’s a work in progress, like most of life.
I wouldn’t quite claim the title of “minimalist” quite yet; maybe “reductionist” fits us better at this point. We’ve learned that great freedom can be found in living intentionally with less stuff. We’ve also discovered that minimalism is not always a one-time decision. Often it is a daily choice, a moment-by-moment battle to be content with less. We are realizing the joy of owning fewer things, the freedom of living small. And it suits us just fine.