Real Life Minimalists: Kay

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, Kay tells us how minimalism has given her a new perspective on life, as well as the freedom to embrace any opportunity.

Kay writes:

Me and minimalism had a late start because throughout my teens and early twenties I was a conspicuous consumer who didn’t know any better. Money was earned to be spent and things were in the stores to be bought. It was time and life experience that brought me closer to simplicity and I only wish I’d have known then what I know now. Less is so much more than more.

First and foremost, to me minimalism is about freedom, both mental and physical. By only possessing what I need to comfortably survive I am free to move on a moment’s notice and this type of freedom is priceless. More than that, minimalism also provides me with clarity in all areas of my life; from the organization of my inbox to taking proper care of the things I choose to own, it’s nearly impossible for me to feel overwhelmed. I’m also able to see right through advertising and live a more spiritual and fulfilling life.

That old proverb – the best things in life are free – is right on the money. A hike through the country side or a dip in the ocean costs nothing and feels an infinite amount better than handing over my debit card to pay for a purchase in a crowded mall. I was programmed to believe that things will make me happy and it was only when I consciously overrode this command that I realized what life was all about.

By becoming a minimalist I was able to clearly identify the things that truly matter to me – kindness, family, knowledge and experiences. I now direct my life in a way that enriches these elements as much as possible. I hope that one day society will be able to shift its emphasis from more to less but in the meantime it’s inspiring to read about the small community of us aspiring to live minimalist lifestyles. I do still have a lot to learn and recognize that life is a constant journey but I feel safe in the knowledge that when I do have to make a sudden turn I won’t have anything holding me back.

{If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

Related posts:

  1. Real Life Minimalists: Miss HK
  2. Real Life Minimalists: Sarah
  3. Real Life Minimalists: Sunny

22 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Kay

  • Andrew

    Kay – I couldn’t agree more re: “A hike through the country side or a dip in the ocean costs nothing and feels an infinite amount better than handing over my debit card to pay for a purchase in a crowded mall.” My parner and I have been on a journey into minimalism for a few years now, but it was when we got our precious dog three years ago that our minimalist drive kicked in further. Watching the pleasure she gets from exploring the countryside, walking along the beach, etc. enhanced the enjoyment we got from those things, too. We can sure learn a lot from animals!

    • Kay

      I completely agree.

      Pets (or all animals actually) really help put things in perspective. They are so happy just being in nature and need nothing material to make their lives complete. Plus they are a joy to observe too :)

  • Helen

    Hi Kay

    I’ve just read your post; what a wonderful way to start a Monday morning.

    I love your outlook and philosophy. It’s very inspiring and I was nodding my head in agreement to everything you had to say.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Helen :)

  • Anne

    Thankyou Katy -your post is truly inspiring. I wish I’d found my way to this philosophy earlier in life – at nearly 60 I’m finally beginning to free myself of clutter of all kinds.

    • Anne

      Many apologies – Kay, not Katy!

      • Kay

        Thank you Anne.

        I personally believe that everything happens for a reason. In all stages of life, we learn and grow when the time and circumstances are just right.

        Turning to minimalism is actually a huge challenge because it goes against societal norms and expectations and we minimalist deserve much more credit :)

  • Diane

    Wonderful post! Isn’t it nice that it’s never too late to learn. I’m still downsizing and enjoying selling what I can and giving away the rest. I’ve helped fill the kitchen cupboards of a cousin and now a co-worker — a great way of recycling.

    • Kay

      Thank you Diane.

      I also find the process of downsizing incredibly therapeutic. Getting rid of things that are unused or just unnecessary seems to literally increase the quality of the air in my home.

  • Hi Kay,

    You are clearly an intelligent and articulate woman; your story is beautifully written and inspiring. It’s funny that it can take some of us a very long time to finally become enlightened and then it’s a lifetime’s work to shed the old ways and embrace the new.

    My story is very similar to yours, my first dollar flew out of my tiny hand the moment my eyes landed on a lovely set of wooden stacking apples…that was the moment the consumer in me was born. While I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist in the most extreme form, I do now embrace the philosophy of less is more and am passionate about having a good relationship with money.

    Thank you for sharing your story because letting go of things can be like ripping off your arm to some. I’ll bet Anne, who also commented here, feels like that. I know my mother does.

    • Kay

      Hi Ree,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      I’m also not an extremist by any means because at this point in my life it just does not feel right and I’m content with the ongoing balancing act instead.

      Money is such an important tool in life and I’m so glad I now leaned to treat it with respect, albeit a little behind schedule!

      My mother would would most definitely be in agreement with yours :)

  • The lie that material things will make us happy is insidious and harmful. I am so very happy for you that you have overcome. May you be richly blessed with less forevermore!

  • beautifully said, Kay: More than that, minimalism also provides me with clarity in all areas of my life; from the organization of my inbox to taking proper care of the things I choose to own, it’s nearly impossible for me to feel overwhelmed. I’m also able to see right through advertising and live a more spiritual and fulfilling life.”

    I completely agree. When I have too much stuff, I get overwhelmed easily and do not want to spend time at home.

  • Amanda

    I was nodding my head all the way as I read through your post, Kay. I think minimalism is the result of my mid life crisis. I am loving my journey. Thankyou for sharing.

  • Kay

    Thank you.

    I also get overwhelmed easily and minimalism now feels so natural because I dont ever want to feel like I’m being suffocated by stuff. Its quite ironic how minimalism actually results in the opposite to feeling deprived.

  • Katy

    I too, identified with the phrase “it’s almost impossible for me to feel overwhelmed.” Before I simplified, I remember feeling completely overwhelmed and always behind on my tasks. Minimalism has been a key weapon against overwhelm. It’s so liberating!!

  • cynthia

    As a minimalist, I just relocated, moved into my apt this bedroom and was still overwhelmed with stuff. After downsizing from a 4 bedroom and driving a 17 ft van, paying for storage and moving it twice I was overwhelmed that after 3 years of downsizing I still had so much stuff. So I put in an ad for craiglist Free and gave away 3 bed, stereo system, chairs and the rest. NOW I am where I want to be. Crazy? No, just desperate to be free of stuff. The only things that stick out like a sore thumb are my china cabinet and china. It’s the mother in me that is hard to let it go. But now I bike, walk and bus and live car free and am really free. Like what you said Kay, we are free to move on a moment’s notice, nimble and able to be quick. You are right that that is priceless. And having only the things that matter and few of them make it easy to care for them and enjoy them so much more. Congrats to you!

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I love the idea that you are able to change direction in life easily because there is nothing holding you back. For so many years, I felt that something was holding me back, and discovering minimalism made me realise I was chained to consumerism, which explained why I wasn’t getting where I wanted to be.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

  • Amanda Everett

    Thank you for your comments. I’ve noticed on this website a battle between home ownership and renting; some claiming that by renting you can “move on a moment’s notice”. I don’t know where these people live but in my province (and a few others I am aware of), you have to give 60 days notice before you can vacate your rental lease. So, no, you don’t have the freedom to move on a moment’s notice. As for the burden of ownership, it took me 5 days to sell my parent’s condo; took my parent’s 1 week to sell their house; my brother 2 weeks to sell his duplex; my neighbour 1 week to sell his condo. I could go on but I think everyone gets the point.

  • Beautiful post! “First and foremost, to me minimalism is about freedom, both mental and physical. ” thank you for posting about this.. I totally agree with everything you said..

  • Greg C.

    @Amanda Everett: I think it means figuratively/relatively, insofar if you don’t have lots of stuff to pack away and move then it is an easier process. As for selling property, then it is pretty obvious that there are going to be LOADS of variables. Properties in Florida are taking many months – if not over a year – to shift in many cases!

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