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, Jana tells us how a new pair of shoes ultimately led her down a simpler path. I think many of us can relate to this kind of “light bulb moment!”
Hi there! I’m so inspired by the amazing transformations reported on by such a number of brilliant people on this site; it’s incredible to me that so many people have radically changed their thinking in order to free up their lives.
My own journey toward a more minimalist lifestyle began about four months ago. For a long time, I’ve been one to spend the last few dollars in my account on something pretty and shiny, to give myself a ‘treat’ and prove to myself that I was worthy of lovely new things. From the reading I’ve done in the last couple of months, it turns out that I was by no means alone in this kind of attitude. While there were a thousand better ways to use the money, or even (imagine this!) leave it in the account (you’re kidding, right?), I had myself fooled into thinking that having something new was the answer to my feelings of lack. I know, Filling-A-Void 101, right? But, it was what it was.
The moment of revelation came when I spent money on a beautiful pair of shoes that I most definitely did not need. My partner commented, “Really? More? You don’t wear the ones you have!”
And there it was: light bulb moment. He was right. He is right. I don’t wear the ones I have. And, I have too many to store so some are in boxes under the bed…in our house, which was full to the brim with stuff. So, there began the quest to simplify. I decided to get myself to a point where I love everything I own, and I have enough space around each item (figuratively and literally) to see it and appreciate it in my world.
I started with the areas over which I had autonomy: my clothes and my shoes. I sold several pairs of shoes and some clothes online, and began to donate things to charity. Suddenly, when my wardrobe contained only things I loved, I found that choosing outfits was easy. I have not suffered with “I have nothing to wear” for a few months now; in fact, I find myself looking forward to ‘shopping my wardrobe’ because I’m encouraged to try new combinations. I’m confident in what I wear and I love the chance to dress up, rather than worrying about it somewhat, as I had before.
On the finances front, I must have made the decision to simplify just in time, as a windfall arrived that dramatically improved things for me and I didn’t want to go and spend it on things! There’s more to it than that, too: I now venture into shopping malls with specific lists, or not at all. I find myself almost repelled by shops, until I have a specific mission to go into them. I’m not distracted from my shopping aims and am not tempted to impulse buy, because I don’t want things to clutter up my home and I’m focused on financial simplicity. My switch in thinking has meant that buying a home will be possible within the next year, which is incredibly exciting for us.
I’m working on simplifying in our home too, although my life is a team event and I don’t get to make all of the decisions by myself; my partner understands what I’m trying to do and he is very supportive, so we’re making excellent progress. Our relationship is better; we don’t argue over my mess any more because I don’t make any!! So, that’s a win-win!
Anyway, the purpose of this post is really to say thanks so much for all of the brilliant sharing that happens on this site: you’ve inspired me enormously and my life is better for it.