Real Life Minimalists: Melissa

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 meet Melissa, who tells us how her family’s new home inspired them to embrace a minimalist lifestyle.


Melissa & family

Melissa & family

Melissa writes:

My husband and I began our minimalist journey last year when we bought our first house. When we walked into the solid log home, we fell in love. It was staged minimally for showing, and we adored how the gorgeous wood walls and architecture took center stage. We knew that filling it with all of our belongings would destroy that beauty.

In the month before we moved in, we took load after load of items to Goodwill. We realized that once we got rid of the stuff, we no longer needed storage furniture for it. We gave away dressers, shelving units, storage containers, and hutches. Our belongings were at least a thousand pounds lighter on move-in day.

Our new house includes a 1600 square foot garage. Yes, larger than many houses! When friends visit, they exclaim over the empty space and suggest things we could buy to fill it. But we see potential in the space, not in the items that we could store in it. It is a space where my husband can spread out his woodworking tools during a project. It can become a playground when our daughter wants to run, dance, and cartwheel during cold or rainy weather. We can do messy crafts, exercise, and play party games. We want to use that space to do things rather than to own things.

Six months after our move, we are as in-love with our new home as ever, and we owe much of that to our commitment to minimalism. We stick to a rule of “one item in, one item out,” and we often tip the scale drastically towards “out.” We have a donation box in the house that we add to daily. Other than the dresser that my husband and I share and a dresser for our daughter, we stick to the storage that the house provides: closets and cabinets, many of which have empty space. We have not added a single shelf, and there is nothing under the beds. After experimenting with a season of Project 333, I now dress full-time with a capsule wardrobe, which has been a liberating experience.

More than a reduction in belongings, discovering minimalism has launched a monumental change in our lifestyle. We no longer shop mindlessly, we don’t browse, and we don’t expose ourselves to advertising. We allow our own experiences tell us what we need in our lives instead of outside forces telling us what we should want. We have formed the habit of routinely questioning an item’s usefulness in our lives, and getting rid of it if it doesn’t serve us. When we are able to eliminate the unnecessary, we feel freer, lighter, and healthier, as if our lives are trees and we have pruned off the dead branches. Too much stuff is a burden we don’t ever want to bear again!

{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.}

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