Real Life Minimalists: Jane

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, Jane from Australia shares her minimalist journey with us, as she embraces life as a new mom. Check out her blog to read more.

Jane writes:



Hello everybody! My name is Jane, from Sydney, Australia and I consider myself a minimalist-in-training.

I grew up in what appeared to look like a display home. My mother threw everything out, including things that meant a lot to me. It annoyed me and I still hold a grudge from when she got rid of my high school assignment on our family history.

My partner’s upbringing was a bit different. Some people (us minimalists) would describe his parents as hoarders. When we moved in together my stuff slowly accumulated. I became a teacher too and had it in my head that I had to keep every resource possible.

All my stuff came with us when we moved into my partner’s grandmother’s house after her death. Her parents inherited the house and her belongings. Before she died, shopping was a major hobby of hers. The house was full of clothing, handbags, shoes etc., a lot of which was never worn. She also didn’t throw out much. When tidying up the laundry cupboard I found seven bottles of window cleaner alone.

Some of her stuff was given to people but most of her stuff remained. Her parents were reluctant to let anything go. We boxed most of it up and stored it in the garage and basement. We lived with the rest of it and used her furniture.

I found it relieving when I discovered minimalism. It was exactly what my life needed at the time. I was a stressed out mess. I started decluttering my own things. My clothes, my books, my teaching stuff. I then focused on the grandmother’s belongings. The problem was they didn’t belong to me. “You can’t get rid of anything without asking Mum”, my partner told me. I asked my mother in law a few times to come and have a look but it was never a priority. I got rid of the things that were obviously junk. Some of her possessions that were originally in good condition were stored so badly they turned into junk. I donated other stuff that I knew wouldn’t be missed, like old blankets. The rest continued to sit there. It frustrated me.

After three years in that house we moved into a small apartment. We didn’t take much with us. Another family member moved into the house after us. All the things we left behind are still there in the garage and in the basement.

I have recently had a baby and moved into a three bedroom house, our home. We didn’t buy extra things for our home apart from what Bub needed. When I do need to get something I look for it second hand. I am determined not to let my stuff build up. Sometimes I slip up and have to get back on track. It’s slightly more challenging with a baby but I do not want to burden Bub and any future grandchildren of mine by having to deal with excess. (I don’t want to be extreme like my own mother though, I will cherish the things that are important to Bub and my family.)

Apart from less things, I also have less stress. Minimalism has given me more time and freedom. It has allowed us to live off a single income. We don’t spend as much time cleaning the house as I once did. I even found time to start a blog. It is mostly my experience of becoming a mother but some posts relate to minimalism and simple living. If you can relate to my story please check it out. Thanks for reading!

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists Update: Minimal Rose

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 bring you this update from Minimal Rose, who was originally featured three years ago. I think it’s a wonderful example of the happiness that the pursuit of simplicity can bring.

Minimal Rose writes:

Here I am, living in an exquisite and historic Pacific Northwest coastal town. While I’m not quite living in the ocean front cottage I had envisioned, I’m very content. These past few years I have had the honor of living in the garden apartment of a delightful older couples’ home. We trade off caring for each others’ cats as needed and looking out for one-another. What a blessing it has been in safe cozy home and neighborhood at an affordable rate in a very pricey rental market. And what a comfort it is to know this kind couple is nearby and ready with kindness at a moments notice.

While I do have my choice of big box stores nearby, I am blessed to live in a town that has maintained their small businesses. In fact, due to our growing popularity, we’ve managed to have many new home-grown shops arrive. We have a shoe repair shop, a butcher shop, a small co-op, many decadent restaurants and pubs, and many varieties of second hand, antique, and trendy/luxurious new options. Not only that, we have a thriving community of intellectuals and artists, and of course regular festivals and activities to celebrate.

I have found myself continuing to work on streamlining my life (as this is very much a forever project). I read and loved Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. However have found that I’m still working on all categories simultaneously. I’ve been very committed to Dave Ramsey’s approach to financial management and eagerly watch myself get closer to financial freedom.

Simplicity has lifted weights from my shoulders. My landlady and her spouse, who had reconnected later in life, have 20 kids between the two of them! We have discussed how different an equation that is today in this modern age. My thought is how much our expectations have changed from the mid 20th century to the early 21st. Though there is much culture shifting recently, we have tended to want our own rooms/space, our own vehicles, and to create our own image through stuff (especially technology). Not only that, we want a lot of it! All of it! It reminds me of something I heard and embraced the year after I wrote my first post for Miss Minimalist. There was a story that lead up to the phrase “I wish you enough”. I had been going along wishing loved ones “everything”. But “everything” is never enough. To have “enough” is everything.

I’ve been helping my significant other simplify his own life (let’s just say 5 generations have imprinted the house that he is living in now), supporting my mother in her own letting go process (she has decided to clear out some clutter as she works toward healing emotionally and she hopes this will carry through to provide some healing to her physical health), and watching my sister move, rent, foster (and fill her life with “everything”). And of course, trying to remember in the process to take care of my own needs and well-being so that I can remain the kind, compassionate, and supportive woman I strive to be.

In the process of simplifying my life in the past year, I moved to a new job and work setting. I’m grateful to be working in an environment originally established and run by nuns. I take great joy hearing and seeing “simplicity”, “compassion”, and “excellence” take shape throughout the organization.

As Brooke McAlary of Slow Your Home says “love people, use things”. I always feel happiest when living those values. Although, I think compassion and care should be present when using things as well. In true Kondo style, I like to imagine my “things” want to be as cared for as I wish to be.

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists: Dan

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, Dan tells us how he practices minimalism not just with regards to possessions, but in his daily life and work routines. (I’m all about efficiency myself, and love the idea of streamlining business matters!)

Dan writes:

So I’ve been a minimalist my entire life, I just wasn’t aware that minimalism was a “thing” until a couple of years back.

I had always strived to remove clutter, both of items and in my writing, work and personal life. The idea was that less things to think about, the less stress I would have and the more I could focus on the important things in my life.

As I write this I own 99 total items, I recently got to 101 (which is the most I have ever owned due to a trip to Las Vegas and buying clothing out there (hat and flip flops). But now that I am home I have thrown them away and committed them to the memory banks.

Minimalism works for me across every single area of my life, some examples:

  • I choose from 5 of my favourite meals for every meal, so 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners, this allows me to have a fairly simple and healthy eating routine, although I’m not too strict on this, I’m happy to go out for dinner and eat takeaways when the opportunity arises.
  • In my decision making, I don’t concern myself too much, I make a decision and then stick with it, no regretting decisions with me, I just make one and move on.
  • I don’t concern myself with small problems, I understand that I can’t control the world and people around me, so allow things to happen without worrying about them, did my favourite team lose a game? Oh well, maybe next week, is my girlfriend mad at me? I’m sure I haven’t done anything too wrong and she will forgive me etc etc I like this video from David Foster Wallace, it keeps things in perspective that you don’t know the situation of other people, so try to not judge them based on a single interaction
  • I run my business in a manner that is extremely minimal, I offer a single service that is part of whole, by choice, this allows me to focus one one aspect that can be controlled. For this service I have developed systems and processes to remove myself as much as possible from the everyday running, this allows me to spend my time doing things that I enjoy while rarely working and still making a very good income. This is all a bit geeky but it works for my lifestyle.
  • I have a similar approach to my personal relationships, if I think about somebody then I make contact with them, either with a quick phone call or a text, facebook etc this means that the people that I care about the most (and therefore think about the most) get the most contact from me. This has allowed me to maintain some very long relationships with people who I can’t see regularly and have lost touch with our mutual friends.
  • Activities are the same, if I want to do something and it’s possible both financially and timewise then I go and do it, while inviting all of the people who I would enjoy it with to come along. This can come across as very spontaneous but really I just think, I want to do it, so I see if it’s possible and then do it. Things like a recent trip to Las Vegas for my 31st birthday, planned the day before.

All in all minimalism has helped my life in so many ways, it is hard to pin down a core concept that has had the biggest effect, but the part that I kinda like the most is the freedom that I have based on my financial situation, the amount of time I am required to “work”  and my ability to sustain long term relationships from a distance.

Oh and the fact that I can fit the majority of my possessions in a rucksack, means that if I decide to move to Nicaragua tomorrow i can do just that, in fact…..

I don’t have a minimalism based blog, but minimalism is reflected through all of my work (you might even notice it in my writing), my business site is very minimal in design and pages, and my marketing blog explains a lot of the processes I use in my business.

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists: Tamara

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 pleased to feature Tamara. She tells us how her goal to pay off her house inspired her to simplify her life in so many ways.

Tamara writes:



Hello, my name is Tamara and I started my “minimalist” movement 6 years ago with the idea to pay off my house before age 60. I started with reducing my expenses. This included vigilant reduction of household expenses including utilities, groceries, gas, etc. Air drying clothes, using a bucket to catch water during my shower to water plants, not wasting food etc.

I then had a garage sale and sold some items on line and realized a few months later that not only did I not remember what was sold, but I did not miss it. For every item I brought into the house I made a promise to get rid of an item. If I saw a new skirt on sale, I stopped and asked myself ”which one do you want to give away?” Frequently my answer was none, I liked and wore what I had in my closet, so I ended up not buying the new one.

Next I went through the kitchen and gave away or sold any item I had not used in the last 6 months. No mini muffin pan anymore, no problem, I just won’t make mini muffins for my next brunch but will make a coffee cake instead. I continued this practice throughout the house. I gave away several bags of seasonal decorations. I found one simple beautiful fall decoration on the table set the mood just as much as several dozen around the house.

Last but not least I had a large estate sale, sold 2/3 of my household “stuff”, the car and rented the house and took off to volunteer and travel for 6 months throughout Europe! I am having the best experience ever! Oh and did I mention that I did pay off my house! When I return after my travels I plan to move into a much smaller place with just the minimum of things needed for a great life.

More is less- I have a more exciting, fulfilled life with less stuff.

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists Update: Sacha

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 we have an update from Sacha, who was first featured in July 2015. She tells us how some difficulties over the past year have actually changed her life for the better.

Sacha writes:

In July 2015 I wrote about the ways I tried to incorporate minimalism into my life, getting rid of stuff when I moved house and my personal Doomsday Prepping tendencies.

Quite a bit happened since then. Due to a reorganisation I lost my job. So… that personal doomsday I used to fear, turned out to be a reality it seemed. But…it wasn’t a Doomsday at all, I was ok! I saw it as an opportunity instead of a threat. New Year’s Day, Birth Day, Independence Day rolled into one instead of a Doomsday. All the people around me have been a very big influence in this process. How long are you going to be hanging on? How long are you willing to sell your mental and physical wellbeing for a job and the required travel time? Wouldn’t you have more time to enjoy life if you didn’t have 12+ hours of travelling each week? My goal was to find a new job close to home, max 30 minutes by bike. The commute was getting too complicated to be ‘stressless’ with the ever present danger of trains getting cancelled.

Now I have found a new job in my home town and I am enjoying my time off before I start my new job at a great company and pretty nice future colleagues. I have been sending loads of things to goodwill since most things were getting on my already frayed nerves. I have been getting rid of old striped wallpaper and replaced that with plain white walls. I have bought mason jars for my rice, sugar etc to replace half open packages. I have been rediscovering my artwork again. My bedroom is a white haven with my colourful collages lined up against one wall. I have started two Instagram accounts to minimize photo albums and maximize the fun I have looking at my photos regularly and venting my quirky view on the world around me (I have a personal one and I have one for my scarves).

I have been working in my garden a lot, started yoga and eating better and better after attending a Salutogenese workshop, giving workshops on how to make scarves, connecting with kindred spirits online and offline and I have three little ladies in the garden now (I kept one of the chicks that hatched last year) and I have been trying to go ‘zero waste’… well…. ‘less waste’ to be more accurate, I am trying to ‘brew’ my own kombucha. My happy hippy inner child has a happier outer adult now since the difficulties I faced over the last 12 months turned out to be a godsend in hindsight. I am finding out that I have built in rose tinted glasses.

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists: Linnea

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 happy to feature Linnea from Sweden, who tells us how moving often, and welcoming a little one, has inspired her to live lightly. Check out her blog to read more of her thoughts.

Linnea writes:



I discovered minimalism the summer of 2010 when I helped my parents to move while I was moving myself as well. My move was ok but theirs was quite overwhelming with hundreds of boxes that filled two lorries, one with a trailer, and I realized how much ‘stuff’ stresses me out. I also found an article about the 100-things movement among my dad’s books and as I started reading about the whole minimalism thing through different blogs ( included) it resonated more and more with me. I got rid of some of my own things, which I always loved doing for some reason (we moved every few years when I was younger, and when I was in my early 20’s it was every few months, and the first thing I did was always to start decluttering my things), but it wasn’t until about 9 months later when I suddenly decided to move from Sweden to Belgium and then New York that I took the plunge completely. I got rid of most of my things in a couple of weeks, packed a suitcase, and five months later I returned completely bitten by the minimalist bug and I’ve tried to keep things simple ever since. I only have a few pieces of clothing (about ten), I try to only have things that give me joy or that are useful and me and my husband live fairly simple lives. But I still find things to declutter and I always dream of owning less.

It’s not until now however that me and my husband had our first child seven months ago that I’m starting to realize the importance of only focusing on the most important things and not spending my time doing everything else. I have gotten quite good at keeping materialistic things to a good level for me, but I’ve had difficulties focusing only on the most important activities in my life and not wasting a bunch of time doing things that don’t matter as much. But now that I have a small person demanding most of my time, many things that I could easily do before, such as spending hours watching YouTube videos or reading blogs or obsessively checking Instagram all the time, have lost their importance and since I suddenly have much less “free time” I have to spend that time very consciously, only doing the things that are truly important to me.

When I first found out I was pregnant I slightly panicked at the thought of all the things people said you needed. But my main thought was that children has managed without tons of stuff for the majority of history and so would my son. We only have a few outfits for him, maybe ten toys stationed at different parts of the apartment and a few books he likes to read over and over and over.

And even though I considered our home fairly minimalistic it’s now that we are baby proofing and preparing for a crawling/walking baby that wants to pull and chew on everything I suddenly saw even more things that we could declutter or move around. To be honest I wasn’t too happy when my husband suggested we get rid of some things in the living room because I liked the way it was but after some thought and even more decluttering we now only have a couch and small table in the living room, freeing up a lot more space for our son to move around freely.

Life keeps changing and it keep me on my toes. Stress is still a huge problem for me but keeping things simple and pared down really helps.

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists: Ang

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, we have a wonderful contribution from Ang, who tells us how cleaning out her parents’ home has inspired her to live with (much) less. Surf on over to her blog to read more.

Ang writes:

Ang and Sporty

Ang and Sporty

My parents lived in three places their entire married life. My brother was born when they were living in their first apartment, I arrived in their second home and then we moved as a family to house number three. And that’s where they stayed for the next forty plus years.

When the time came to move our folks into a retirement home and sell their house, I had to face the task alone (my brother passed away in 2005). There was so much stuff I had no idea where to begin.

I felt completely daunted by the magnitude of what I had to accomplish, but in the end I just started. I knew the longer I put it off, the worse I’d feel. I was ruthless. Knowing my parents wouldn’t be needing any of the stuff again, I donated and threw away pretty much everything.

This was before Sporty and I became minimalists, but even back then I wasn’t very sentimental. I kept the family photos and a few small mementos, but that was it.

At the time I was too overwhelmed to even consider that it might be having an impact on me, but cleaning out my parents’ home proved to be the catalyst that set us on our minimalist journey.

A year later we were getting ready to move again when I suggested to my wife, Sporty (her name is Saskia, but what started out as a joke online has stuck), that we sell everything and move into a furnished apartment.

I said it in a joke to test the waters, but I’d actually never been more serious about anything in my life. I just couldn’t face the thought of going through the whole moving process (finding boxes, packing, arranging movers etc.) again and the idea that there might be a way around it really appealed to me.

Not so side note: Sporty and I tend to move a lot, so lugging a household of stuff around just doesn’t make sense for the likes of us. Yet for years that’s exactly what we did. Looking back we still can’t believe it took us so long to get rid of everything.

I’m lucky in that Sporty is a) even less sentimental than I am and b) always open to new ideas. The next thing I knew we’d listed all our belongings on Gumtree (the local version of Craigslist) and sold everything.

Well, almost everything. It took a number of subsequent moves for us to pare down completely. But even so, we felt so liberated by the experience we ran around for weeks with these huge grins on our faces.

That was July, 2008 and we haven’t looked back or regretted the decision for a single minute. Three years later I had the opportunity to share our story at TEDx Cape Town. The response was incredible, I was amazed by how well the message was received by everyone.

That prompted me to start Mostly Mindful. In the beginning I wrote mostly about minimalism and decluttering. Sporty and I also eat a plant-based diet and try to live a sustainable life, so I began writing about that as well.

We’re known by our friends and colleagues as ‘those hippies’ because we cycle or walk everywhere, because we have a compost bucket that we take to the local city farm once a week and because we drink green smoothies for breakfast. (I think it’s the last one that horrifies them the most.)

We don’t think it’s that weird, but for a lot of people it’s a pretty bizarre lifestyle. It’s actually not. We live in town in a regular (albeit slightly small) apartment, we buy groceries at the mall and we go to the movies as often as possible. We’re also not averse to eating junk food occasionally.

I think what throws people is that we don’t own a car or a television and we have no debt whatsoever. We’re also really happy. Happier, in fact, than we’ve ever been.

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists: Wendy

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 Wendy, who tells us about her minimalist journey as a new grandmother. Her story is a lovely reminder of how minimalism helps us make room for what matters most.

Wendy writes:

Wendy's family

Wendy’s family

Looking back on my life, I always felt a twinge of freedom or lightness when I got rid of something that I didn’t need in my life. Now I am able to identify that as a desire to live with less.

My husband and I are in our 50’s, have four children in their 20’s, one son in law and a darling toddler grandson. Two years ago I packed one carry on suitcase and flew to spend time with our daughter and husband when their son was born. I realized I could have stayed the entire summer with the contents of that small bag. There was such simplicity in having just a few favorite outfits, jewelry pieces and shoes to choose from each day. If I’d had a footwear crisis I could have borrowed from my daughter as she does when she visits us! The time spent with our new family member was delightful in their cozy, small but efficient basement suite.

Upon arriving home I purged my wardrobe knowing for sure I wanted to live with less in that area of my life. Decluttering all corners of the house has come as well, although it’s just the tip of the iceberg. What I am finding, is that clutter and stuff is often many layers deep and unused and unnecessary items behind a cupboard door or stored efficiently are STILL clutter.

We are fortunate a Goodwill pick up is available in our neighborhood and our home is a frequent stop. I have adopted the mindset of what do I want to keep rather than what should I get rid of. What TRULY is adding value to my life?

Most likely these sayings are words taken from other folks, but I believe we cannot hear them enough.

Our grown children have boomeranged due to work, school, travel and other circumstances. Most recently our daughter, her husband and child lived with us for 8 weeks after they were evacuated from their Fort McMurray, Alberta home. They left their city with one suitcase, a photo album and a few special baby blankets.

For many days they believed their home and possibly their business were lost in the fire and the conversations around this event taught us many things. It was the relationships they mourned. Young families they lived life with were now dispersed around the country. This is what they missed. It was not about the stuff.

Any day now our lovely daughter is to give birth to their second child and my husband and I will make a trip to their home, miraculously spared in the huge Fort McMurray fire. We will greet a new grandchild. We are blessed.

As to the future, our journey towards minimalism will continue, but not without challenges. Our home is still a storage area for totes of possessions belonging to grown children who are not quite settled… My husband and I don’t always agree on what needs to be edited or eliminated… It’s also a home with many well-loved toys that delight children when they visit. Maybe my next story will be about Minimalism and Grand-parenting.

I can feel it already…

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists: Missne

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, Missne shares the inspirational story of how she pared down her stuff, and sees her move into a smaller place as “progress” (love it!). If you’d like to connect with her, you can find her on Twitter.

Missne writes:



I decided many years ago that having a TV wasn’t important to me. I’m a gamer, I’m a nerd – if I want to watch something, it’ll be on the computer. Ad-free. On my own time. And If I don’t have a TV, why do I need a couch? I only have a dog, and he’s happy without a couch. He’d be happy without a clock, too, but I’m not there yet.

The term minimalism came into my life through random browsing, searching for inspiration, feeling restless and frustrated with my life. I instantly fell in love with the foundation: Does it add value? No? Get rid of it.

I grabbed a trash bag and went over my desk. Filled the trash bag, grabbed another one, went for the next area. Filled three, grabbed a big plastic bag instead. By the time I had excitedly minimized away five trash bags and three big black bags, I stopped and looked around me, hoping to be impressed with my results – and realized that a) I couldn’t really remember a lot of what I put in the bags at all, and b) my place was still not the spotless, white and chrome perfection I had seen in the inspirational pictures.

Huh. How is that possible? The pile of bags I just filled took up a third of my living room! Where was all the space I had envisioned? Where was the peace and calm? Where was my gosh darn white leather couch with the casual-not-so-casual artsy blanket draped over the edge like in the pictures?

When I last moved house, I decided to go all out. Be callous with your items. If you don’t feel anything about ‘em, ditch ‘em. If you don’t like ‘em, ditch ‘em. If they’re broken, ugly, far into a cupboard, or in a drawer – ditch ‘em. We ended up making two trips to the recycling station, but just one to my new apartment.

“So how big is your new place?” Smaller than the one I left. People get taken aback: why would you move into a smaller place? Can’t you afford progress? This is progress to me. So much better. Closer to work, next to a park, emptier. Cleaner. Calmer.

I have everything I need. If I didn’t, I would have noticed by now. Getting rid of the items I didn’t use also meant noticing the items that still fill a purpose.

I have a beautiful silicone funnel that is designed to look like a lily, which happens to be my favorite flower. Now, I’m sure a lot of people would simply think: why? But I know why. It’s because I need a funnel often enough to own one, and I want one that makes me happy, that adds value to my life beyond simply doing a chore for me.

To me, that is minimalism.

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists: Christa

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 happy to feature Christa from South Africa, who explains how a housing transition made her fall in love with small space living.

Christa writes:

My Minimalist AHA-Moment

The idea of small space living has always appealed to me. I remember as a singleton buying books on the subject, feverishly doing research on campervan living and imagining a life by the sea – something along the lines of the Joshua Kadison song ”A little trailer by the sea – you the cat and me”.

Then marriage and life rolled along and with it came the trapping of stuff. Loads and loads of stuff. Doubles and triples of things you never even knew you needed when two lives become one.

Fast forward the milestone birthday of my husband. The Big 50. We decided to celebrate this passage of life with a cruise to the Mediterranean. With this coincided the sale of our house and in our minds we boxed up everything, kept clothes and living essentials aside for a summer cruise holiday and a summer work wardrobe, and promptly moved in with my parents while waiting for the house transfer to go through and for the house renovations to be completed.

Needless to say, six months down the line we are still living with my parents, in a 3x3m room while dealing with all the trials and tribulations of an illegal squatter who refuses to move out of our house, and the pleasures of renovating the cottage and office in the meantime.

The light at the end of the tunnel is fast approaching as the renovations are heading for completion, but the best we took from this experience is how little we actually need to live on. It has since turned winter and we had to pick up a winter jacket and jersey or two from storage (I am sadly still looking for my boots), but guess what? We are absolutely fine and are coping with the suitcase full of clothes and shoes we originally packed for the summer vacation and few days of work.

I can’t wait to move into the new house and tackle the endless boxes of clothing and shoes. I can’t wait to follow the KonMari method of holding the piece of clothing up and asking myself if I truly love it and if it will add joy to my life. We have downsized and have moved into the one bedroom cottage on the property in the meantime, but with all the little luxuries you can wish for: a real fireplace, an alley of a backyard filled with hours of sunlight. Big Eucalyptus trees grace the front entrance and our big daybed has already found its place underneath. The TV hasn’t been hooked up yet, but spending time with the Great Dane, Border Collie and Maltese Poodle more than makes up for the mindless energy spent on flipping between channels with still nothing much to watch.

I may still be a virgin at the minimalist mind set, but as many things in life it takes one step at a time. Sometimes it takes a total shake up of not being able to live in your own home for six months to integrate into a new system of doing and believing.

I don’t recommend the same route we followed – it’s nerve wrecking on the best of days – but be on the lookout for your AHA moment. It may be hidden under the seven pairs of jeans.

{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.}