Real Life Minimalists: Leesa

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, we hear from Leesa, who tells us how minimalism is helping her redefine the role of consumption in her life. Read more of her thoughts and experiences on her blog.

Leesa writes:

My Minimalist Life…
May not look like yours. While moving began my journey in earnest, the truth is that the change in mindset began a couple of years ago. Sometimes I am slow to the party. My truest inspiration can be summed up in a few words from my best friend, “We spend the first half of our lives accumulating and the second half purging.” Over the past few years I’ve voraciously consumed all I could find on minimalism. While I’ve always liked smaller spaces and been fascinated by stories of those who have gone to the extremes it has been over the past 2 years that my own minimalist choices have gained definition. The biggest lesson for me in this journey is to accumulate with purpose. A move over the summer of 2013 into a smaller space was a wonderful exercise in evaluating and purging all of my “stuff”. Thanks to bloggers like Miss Minimalist, Be More With Less and Rowdy Kittens I have re-defined and rehabilitated my relationship with consumption.

For me, like for many, my consumption was part of a larger emotional crutch issue. The same one that defines my struggles with food. Five years ago I faced the demon of over eating and started on not a diet but a different life course. I recognized my problem, accepted that a permanent fix was needed and that nothing would happen instantly. Now I am 90 pounds lighter. Maybe THAT was actually the beginning of my minimalist journey.

In the interim, I continued consuming but switched my focus from food to things. Always a shop-aholic I now had weight loss as my excuse to buy new clothes. Then I began to realize that my consumption was like a drug addiction, the more I bought, the more I NEEDED to consume to maintain the high. While my weight loss was admirable I now needed to face the bigger problem and re-define what brings me joy and where my focuses should be.

My journey is not over and I have not spent too much time trying to analyze my issues. As my spouse says often, “It is what it is”. For now, I am learning to identify my triggers, reduce my stress through less “stuff” and to make my own happiness by experiencing my life with all of its joys and sorrows.

Learn more about me on my blog, Leesa Lives Life (http://leesalives.blogspot.com).

{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.}

14 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Leesa

  • mrs Brady Old Lady

    Ouch….. so true…

  • Diane

    Congratulations on the weight loss — not an easy thing today with all the food around us, commercials and magazines. As well, best of luck on continuing with minimalism — it is rewarding to realize that we can survive with less. I’m the complete opposite of a shopaholic (I hate shopping and when I have to, I’m in and out of the store just to buy what I needed) but I can understand the lure as I love entertaining and reading so my weaknesses are kitchen dishes and tools, and books. I have a friend who has dishes for every type of cuisine (Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, and Greek)and I used to envy her for her amazing collection of plates, bowls, serving platters and glasses for wine (red, white, champagne), oozo, saki,and margherittas. I used to envy my brother’s numerous floor to ceiling bookcases filled with books, picture frames and knicknacks. But it ended when I started moving from apartment to apartment and then from city to city. It is so nice now to be able to travel light!

  • Thanks for sharing Leesa. I took a peek at your blog too and so appreciated all your bullet points. Over the past year I’ve finally been able to let go of some the sentimental and inherited items that don’t fit my life. It’s been hard, but good too.:) Blessings on your journey.

  • Thank you for all the kind responses!

  • Julie

    I loved this post Leesa. You write with an authentic voice. Thank you for writing this piece,
    I appreciated it.

  • Layla

    Haha! I did it the other way around.
    Congratulations on approaching the asymptote of getting over your eating thing & cluttering thing.
    I, too, am finally at a point where I’ve got a whole array of self-soothing activities that aren’t harmful/excessive and some happiness brought on by magic and acceptance.

  • Congratulations on the weight loss :)
    I too think that eating and minimalism somehow are connected as I started to do something about both kind of at the same time. Maybe it is because both are the easy-to-see and easy-to-notice result of some deeper issues? I wish you the best of luck for both of them!

  • Congratulations, Leesa. You make such a good point about buying being an emotional crutch. I think this is true even for people who aren’t shopaholics.

    I’ve never really enjoyed shopping but yet somehow acquired too much stuff. Books, especially, I would buy books when I was feeling anxious or sad or felt my life was out of control (you can fix that by buying a book telling you how, right? LOL). Also little things picked up on vacations or other memorable events.

  • You rock Leesa! Way to go on the lifestyle changes. I theme that I thought about when reading your story: just as weight on our bodies can weigh us down, the same is true with our minds and tangible goods. The more we have to maintain, store, replace, etc., the greater the stress becomes on our minds!

  • wow! I love this post! This is very very inspirational and I can totally relate with you. (I too should loose weight, I’ve always wanted it, but it’s like I was cursed to be overweight.) I like what you said that ” we spend half our lives accumulating, and the other half, purging.. ” that is perhaps true to my case too.. I spend 5 years hoarding yarns, now I’m on my 2nd year trying to use up and purge my stash lol ahahahah It’s also very enlightening to see this line: “the more I bought, the more I NEEDED to consume to maintain the high” —- It’s makes perfect sense why we tend to buy more and more of a lot of things…thank you for sharing your thoughts… yes, there is a trigger somewhere that you need to find out or realize for yourself.. I hope you find it soon and I wish you luck for your minimalism-journey!

  • Tina

    I’m so happy for you with that amazing weight loss. I realized after I’d gotten rid of lots of things that there was too much of me. So now I write down what I eat each day to eat less. thanks.

  • Tina

    I am very good at clearing out clutter. Not so good at weight loss but I keep trying a little at a time. There is so much I don’t need and so much excess in most people’s homes, we could each furnish another home with our cast-offs. I keep one change for each bed in the linen closet. I know people who keep 3 or 4 changes. I like to see a lot of space around each thing and know there is room for plenty more.

  • Tina

    I like the idea of “Travelling light”. The more we remove, the more we find to remove. My next area will be the bins of winter hats and gloves in the closet. I think there are 2 hats that haven’t been worn in years. I have a pair of heavy gloves I seldom wear. Two down coats are leaving, too.

  • I have 2 pairs of jeans and 2 pairs of black slacks. I have a gray shirt, a black shirt, a tan shirt and a blue shirt. I have 2 blue cardigans, a purple shawl, a tan shawl, a red cardigan, a black cardigan and a gray one. I have 4 sweatshirts and 6 T shirts. I wear various combinations of these items all year. I fight a continuing thankless battle with my husband who wants to buy a lot of things that don’t go with anything else he owns. An orange sport coat. A pair of turquoise slacks. I tell him to wear odd colors in his shirts or his ties. After 45 years, I am sorely tempted to just give up and let him wear whatever he wants.

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