Real Life Minimalists: Bibi

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 so happy to feature Bibi. When I read her words, I feel like she is truly a kindred spirit in minimalism.

Bibi writes:

I’m Bibi.

Being minimalist for me means to be free of burden and trouble.

I think that I had it always in me this desire to be free of stuff. Already at a young age I was purging my bedroom and giving many things away, which made my mother crazy. And when I got my weekly pocket money, the same day I gave it away for sweets, saying that this money was a burden for me.

When we went on holiday, the first day I gave all my money away to feel free, but then some days later, when I saw some toys or souvenirs I loved, I was begging my mother to help me out with some money. Good that by now in my fifties I don’t do this again and love to have some savings in the bank account.

My husband and I had to move one year ago in a very small flat (43m2) and had to give much furniture away. Living in such a small place and not wanting to suffocate because of stuff, I continued to purge more and more.

A few months before our unknown move we bought a big couch in u-form. Now in our living room we have only the big couch and the TV on a small desk and one green plant.

My husband is not a minimalist at all, but I’m very grateful that he allowed me to reduce a lot of things. Only his holy TV and microwave and café machine are the things he needs to have around him.

We have steady guests and my husband loves it that they admire how relaxing our flat is because it is not stuffed with a lot of decorations and nothing on the wall. Even without a dining table, nobody had to starve when visiting us. Many enjoy to sit comfortably on the couch while eating. When we want to eat, we open a folding table, and voilà.

I love to read about minimalism, non-attachment and to put it into practice. All my personal belongings, like clothes, shoes, hygienic stuff, make-up, jewelry (1 pair of earrings and wedding ring) are fitting in one 19 inch luggage. I love to know that if for any reason I would have to leave quickly I just need to fill my small luggage and bye.

I don’t count the furniture as my stuff because if we would do according to what I love, we would live with much less, almost nothing, like monks or nuns. My happiness is in my deep relationship with God and with people, not in material possessions.

I love to have nice discussions, hugs, experiences. Having only few things gives me a lot of free time for amazing moments with beloved ones and meditation and bible studies.

I would like to purge more, but there is nothing remaining. I only have the things I need and love.

But I found a new area to declutter. I want to minimalize my eating habits. Before I drank a lot of coke, café, hot chocolate, and was eating every day cheese, meat, sweets. I was spending many hours cooking.

Now I started to simplify a lot my eating habits for the benefit of my health and wallet. When I am at home I don’t eat or drink any of the things above. I still have to cook for my husband and several times for our guests, but I’m choosing meals that are more simple but tasty and therefore need less time of preparation.

As for me, I’m very satisfied with fruits, veggies, rice, potatoes. And instead of café or coke I love to drink water and herbal tea. And eating this way made me enjoy the more what friends are cooking when we are invited.

I love it not to feel any attraction to material stuff. I love it to feel so free and to have so much time to spend on people and things I love to do. And I love to know that I have finally some savings and not like before living paycheck to paycheck.

I’m bubbling when I talk about minimalism because it has changed my life so much for the  better.

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

22 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Bibi

  • Sandy

    I just love this! She is a kindred spirit! Thank you so much for sharing, Bibi.

  • Brenda

    Bibi,

    I have always been a collector of antiques, but in recent years have been simplifying. I still have wall to wall furniture to deal with but have really reduced the small stuff.

    I laughed out loud when you said your husband only needed his holy TV, etc. what is it with men that they can’t live without TV????? I joke and say if my husband died, his body would not be cold before I called and cancelled the TV!!! I like peace and quiet and you can have neither when a TV is blaring for hours. I’m going to look into a wireless headset.

    I loved your post and your comment about being free from burden and trouble. That is what I desire as well.

  • Kindrid spirit indeed! Thank you, Bibi, for sharing your story! I am in the process of paring down my belongings. In the past few years, I’ve begun eating more simply and rarely drink soda anymore. When I do, it’s too sweet tasting. I am in the middle of donating a lot of my clothes – I am uncomfortable with how much I own (which really is less than most of my friends own!). I haven’t reached that “click point” yet for the right amount of clothes and accessories that will bring me joy.

    Thank you for the reminder to have nice discussions, hugs, and experiences!

  • Susan

    Mimi, I love what you said about minimizing food and beverage. This area seems to cause the most mental and physical clutter in my life, along with extra pounds. I would like to simplify by dropping the unhealthy and unnecessary, and add healthy habits (like a daily walk).

    Since you mention the spiritual side of life, I’ll add that finding a simple, no bells-and-whistles church has revolutionized our lives. Spending less time helping with the care and feeding of an unnecessarily complicated church leaves time to get out and actually “be the Church.” It’s wonderful.

    • Beth

      Susan, I really love what you said about simplifying in order to be the church. Seems like a lot of churches (mine included) are self-absorbed–people are involved in multiple Bible studies and multiple social events, but don’t venture outside their own walls too much to serve the community. I’d love to hear about how you found a simple church.

  • Susan

    So sorry; I meant Bibi!

  • Ah yes, the simple things in life, that don’t cost a dime, are so pleasurable like discussions and hugs.

    You might enjoy this video from a guy who started a ‘free hugs’ campaign:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4

  • Grace

    Thank you Bibi!

    I too have always benefited from minimalism in my 50+ years. Like you, I’m beginning to apply it to eating at home. I also prefer to use the money I save for security and sharing joy with others. I don’t measure my minimalism by the number of objects I have but the ease in which I live my life. What constitutes the ease is going to be different for everyone. It’s about finding the right fit. I enjoy hearing how others have found there’s.

    • Kathie

      Grace–I LOVE your expression of minimalism as defined by the ease in which we live our lives. So beautiful! I do feel a minimalist’s life is incredibly easy: there is more time for health through whole foods and activity; more time for passion and relationships; more time for talents and interests; and there is far less time spent cleaning and maintaining stuff. It’s a great life!

      I love that Bibi is BUBBLING about minimalism!! : )

  • Grace

    Oops “their’s”

  • Tina

    I have helped friends declutter for years. I ask when they last used something or what they were saving it for. When going through a closet recently, I found a big box of pristine 40 year old wedding invitations, with envelopes, reply cards, and enclosures. I suggested the lady keep 6 because if the guests replied now, they had missed the whole thing. We found lots of papers which were at least 20 years old. Bibi’s comment about living in a small space is so true. People fill whatever space they have available.

    • Karen T.

      Why not keep one invitation, to put in a nice frame with her favorite wedding photo? Then it can be enjoyed (and be a nice reminder of a wonderful day) all the time, and the rest of the clutter is reduced.

  • Karen T.

    Bibi, I really enjoyed your comments. I had to Google the size of your apartment (I think in square feet), lol. Now I have a better idea of what you’re talking about. My husband and I live in an apartment about 50% larger, but we could probably do with less.

    I’m inspired by your desire to simplify your eating and drinking. That’s where I am working, now that the rest of my life is simplified. It’s a challenge to change life-long habits (unlike the habit of only keeping what I use and love, which I have also done since childhood). Food was always a reward in my family, so it’s hard to separate soda, sweets, and high-carb comfort foods from feelings of love, acceptance, and belonging. My new challenge!

  • Viktoria

    Bibi,
    I absolutely love your minimalism journey. I am also inspired by your story and would like to also minimize my food habits. I also liked your description of money being a burden but a necessity in life. You statement that to you , minimalism means to be free from burden and trouble, I love it.
    Bibi, I would love to be you pen-friend. My email is scarletrose70@hotmail.com

  • Hi Bibi,

    I remembered the first time I decided to become a minimalist. My parents were also thinking that I was crazy. I purged my room of stuff that are just taking up space but have no use in my life. Sadly though, I couldn’t get them into minimalism with me. It is still all part of the journey.

  • Tina

    Our bedspreads are 16 years old and ratty because the cats sleep on them. We are going to see if the vet can use them. Otherwise, I will take them apart and give the batting to a friend who makes art projects and use whatever fabric is not ripped for other projects. Small pieces of fabric and batting make pot holders and place mats, etc. I read that the average American household throws out 82 pounds of fabric each year and it troubled me.

  • Thanks for the wonderful definition of minimalism. We have just begun our journey to a simpler life, but so far I REALLY love it. The biggest relief for me so far has been to just stop buying things. We were just spending money for no reason and I sat down and looked our spending one month and was like “what did we buy?” So we just stopped buying things. We set a budget of $150 a week for food, and we don’t buy anything else unless we really need it. I think the only thing we bought last month was batteries because my son was sick and the digital thermometer needed batteries. We’ve just been enjoying all the free things we can do together, and it’s such a relief to realize how little money we really need to be happy. The hardest part is going to be finding a reasonably priced place to live in Denver, but we’ll figure it out. The other minimalist blogs have been such an inspiration that I started my own, http://www.puravidamomma.com to keep track of our own journey to a simpler life. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Suki

    I really enjoyed reading your post. Like you, living with less stuff has lead me to examine what I eat and all the time and expense involved with meals and snacking. I have found books about “Mindful Eating” the most helpful. There is “Mindful Eating” by Jan Bays, “How to Eat” and “Savor” by Thich Nhat Hahn. “The Mindful Diet” by Duke Integrative Medicine. Thanks again for sharing

  • My daughter and I went to a bridal shower. The couple registered for expensive linens so we bought one bath towel. I also gave the bride a pin I got at a demonstration I went to some years ago. She sent me a picture of herself wearing the pin. I try to pick up small items from interesting places I go to so I can pass them on.

  • This is a very similar view to what I have. Getting rid of all my stuff was just the start for me. Beautiful article. Thanks for sharing.

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