Real Life Minimalists: Kishore

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, Kishore from India tells us how he discovered minimalism, and the progress he’s made in decluttering. I love hearing from minimalists around the world!

Kishore writes:

Kishore

Hi. I’m Kishore, from Chennai, India.

This journey into minimalism has been and is still a very exciting one. I’ll keep my story short and simple.

It struck me during my 20th birthday, that I didn’t need any of the presents I got. And most of the possessions I had were either too unused, or just kept for the sake of memories. That was when I realised that I had a lot of clutter in my life. It was everywhere. My digital life, social life, personal life, my goals, my clothes, my stuff, basically everything. I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t know what to do. After a long time thinking, I decided to get rid of all the things I didn’t need.

It was and still is a tiring and sometimes painful process. Here in India, it is sometimes tough to convince your parents about something, especially about minimalism in this age of consumerism. I thought I was alone in the world. That was when google helped me. I found out about Francine here, also Joshua Becker, Leo Babauta and also ‘The Minimalists’ Joshua and Ryan. I felt relieved that I had some company somewhere in this world.

And thus started my journey. I purged my clothes first. Threw away anything and everything I didn’t wear quite often or never. Then came books. My god I had so many of them, especially PDFs. It took a while to get rid of most of the story books (I now have just the Harry Potter collection). And I also had to throw away a lot of academic books too. Of course throwing away doesn’t mean literally. Just donating or selling. Likewise I had to deal with the movies and music in my laptop and my smartphone. The more I pared down to what I needed, the more I realised I had so much useless stuff in my life.

Decluttering and simplifying is a gentle slow process, it can’t be done in a day or in a week. It takes its own time. The more you do it, the more you’ll learn about yourself, about what is necessary rather than simply having for the sake of having.

Right now, am living with two pairs of jeans, two pairs of pants, a couple of shirts and t-shirts, a clean laptop (I can ask my friends for the movies instead of keeping everything with me), a simple phone (ditched the smartphone, it only makes you dumb), a kindle, and a couple of more stuff. It’ll take some time to reduce my clutter at home (am in a hostel right now) but yes, it’ll happen eventually.

Am happy to know that there are like minded people around the world, though people around me think am crazy/stupid. Glad to be a part of a community.

Decluttering is simple. Keep what you need, delete the rest. Chip away all the unnecessary until you are left with only the essentials.

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists: S.

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 S., whose post radiates the peace she’s found in paring down.

S. writes:

S.

I am a single mom who was tired and stressed and just didn’t seem to have the energy to keep up with everything that I thought was needed to keep things going. I struggled at stressful jobs so I could afford to pay the rent and provide 2 separate bedrooms for my son and I. I worried about work clothes, gaining weight, what makeup to wear, going to night school, just being able to keep food in the fridge, and gas to commute to work. It seemed like the more I acquired, the more there was to worry about. Then I read an article about a woman who works in Manhattan, where grooming for work was a two hour regimen every morning. As a sort of social experiment she went for a month and wore no makeup, the same comfortable outfit each day, and wrapped her hair in a scarf. She described how she never felt so free. No worrying about her heels or pantyhose. Just able to enjoy, observe and be totally present in the moment. This I thought is what I want.

So I am a minimizer in progress. I have paired down to a one bedroom apartment, my son gets the bedroom I sleep on the couch, which is perfectly comfortable. I have cleaned out my closet and so many of the things I was hanging on to. My wardrobe has been paired down to 2 pairs of leggings, 1 black and one gray, a pair of black flat shoes, 1 pair of black flip flops, one pair of jeans and one pair of shorts, a couple t shirts in neutral colors and I have never been happier. I have learned to love my face without makeup and do feel so much less self absorbed and more in the moment. I am still working at this but know I am on the right path. I have learned to try not to covet things, and believe as the Buddhist philosophy teaches, desire is the cause of suffering. Buddha truly was onto something here folks, when we let go of things, we open ourselves up to peace.

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists: Andrea

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 meet Andrea, who looks back over her last 40 years and offers a wonderful perspective on living lightly.

Andrea writes:

I may be one of your older minimalists, having been married for 40 years to a wonderful man who totally agrees with the minimalist way of life. We not only live minimally, but eat minimally and use our natural resources minimally.

Instead of owning a lot of unnecessary exercise equipment, my husband jogs everyday. He is 62 and in supreme health. I walk our dogs and run on the local high school track for my exercise. My health is also excellent. We eat vegetarian and we keep our cupboards and our refrigerator/freezer lightly stocked with groceries that we rotate and use quickly as not to waste. We had a problem with mealy worms years ago because we kept too many boxes of cereal and other grain products that the little moths got into. We had to throw out tons of good food and we decided then that it is a huge mistake to “load up” on sale items just to be “safe”. Safe from what?? I used to collect cookbooks, but rarely used any of them…when I would open a cupboard, the cookbooks would come raining down on my head. How foolish was that? I can get any recipe offline. There are millions to choose from.

My husband used to keep every receipt from bills, accounts, etc…now, he keeps one small box of receipts and purges those regularly…all of the paper trash was never necessary. And, I speak from long experience. We share one closet that holds all of our shoes and clothes on hangers. I set a small baby-changing table inside of the closet to stack our folded sweaters and shoes and scarves on. I found out that I did not need 70 pairs of shoes many years ago. We do not have a garage, a shed, a basement or an attic, so everything that we own HAS to be kept under our 3 bedroom home’s roof. Our children have their own homes.

I used to be a big time collector and had to force myself to purge and purge, but I was heavily motivated to live a minimalist life after watching every episode of Hoarders and Hoarding:Buried Alive. I kept every episode taped on my DVR and watched them repeatedly…I still watch the reruns to keep motivated. My sons accuse me of “hoarding” hoarders shows! Thank goodness for DVRs! No old VCR tapes in this house! I find that we can just as easily get any book from our library than to collect books like I used to do. I let the libraries “hoard” my books for me now. I have given Goodwill and other charities literally tons of clothing, books, appliances, toys, linens, etc. We kept just enough dishes and flatwear to have a couple over to eat. If we want to have more over, we can always use decorative paper plates and plastic cutlery.

All of our friends live such hectic lifestyles, they rarely even find the time to eat at other’s home any longer. Their calendars are packed with commitments and activities…We learned how to say NO long ago to commitments that our hearts were not in. What a relief NOT to have to go to jewelry parties (I have enough, thank you) clubs, ballgames, etc. We go to these events only if we truly desire to do it, not because we feel like someone will get mad if we don’t. There are many motivational books out there on how to say NO and also great books on minimalism and decluttering, as we all know from reading these blogs and resources.

We have constructed our lives to be carefree and calm through living a minimalist lifestyle. My home is now neat, clean and spacious and we love it! Speaking from 40 years of experience, you DO NOT need all of those items that you THINK you can’t live without. Begin to live a clutter-free life in all areas of your life and see what a huge burden is taken off of your shoulders. Let your home and your body breath a huge sigh of relief!

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists: Brianna

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 Brianna. Inspired by stories of RV living, she and her family have done some dramatic downsizing. Please visit her blog to read more about how minimalism has changed her life.

Brianna writes:

About eight years ago I stumbled onto some blogs about families that travel full-time living in an RV. I loved reading about the simplicity of RV living, even with children. All of a sudden I was struck by the contrast of my own reality. My husband and I, our two children, and my father were renting a large suburban house that we had stuffed to the brim with Stuff.

I began reading everything I could about small living spaces. RV living wasn’t a reality for us but I spent some time figuring out what it is about that lifestyle that had captured my heart so completely. Of course the traveling would be phenomenal, but more than that was the simplicity.

At the time, my husband was working non-stop and I was busy homeschooling our children, running the house and waiting tables part-time. The idea of less was thrilling. Less furniture, less dishes, less clothes, less toys, etc. I decided to try to live as close to that as possible. With my family on board, we had a huge yard sale and moved into an apartment half the size of our house. It was fabulous! Since then we’ve moved twice and are about to move again, this time to an Intentional Community.

Minimalism is a constant process for me because things creep back into our lives constantly, and I keep finding new ability to let go of more. I have taken big strides in the last six months bringing me even closer to my goals of living happily with as little as possible. The feeling of freedom, calm, and gratitude every time I let go of more is wonderful. I have shared my passion for minimizing with my friends and family and really love watching more people realize how life changing it is to live with less.

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists: J.

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 thought-provoking contribution from J., who wonders: what to do after decluttering? A decluttered life is like the empty cup I talk about in my book—full of potential, but with what do you fill it? Please share with J. what you did with your newfound space (both physical and mental).

J. writes:

Dump the STUFF and then what?

This story begins as most of these do. I was a young woman. I spent 2 years in the Army and needed very little. The Army not only told me what I needed, they made sure I had it, and life was peaceful.

Then, as life unfolds in the usual way, I got married and began to create a home. This is where the “stuff” begins. We were young and had not much money, so we happily ‘made do’ with what we had, thinking we were rich! As time goes by, over time, well you know…a house bursting at the seams with “stuff”.

Forty years later, I am sitting (alone) in a house with a lifetime of “stuff” and I think…”time to do something else”. So I did. Sold one house and moved that stuff into this one. Then I began selling a LOT of the stuff…gave away some of the stuff, and threw out some stuff. I am now down to about 20% of the original stuff. It is more than enough, and currently I am having a hard time deciding which stuff still has to go, as I want to dump at least 25% more.

During this time of ‘lightening the load’ I found Miss Minimalist, and jumped on board to not only purge a LOT more of the household stuff, but also the clothing. (I couldn’t face the clothing until the wall to wall furniture was thinned out). The clothing is now down by 75%, and you know what? I can’t really even remember what is  missing! Sometimes I think, “now, where is that red belt” kind of thoughts. I look at the belt rack (with only 4 left) and know it is gone…and happily choose one of those instead.

Sounds perfect, so far, doesn’t it?

During this time, I also paid off a HUGE credit card debt. So, I have minimalized the debt as well.

Here is the situation: I lost my job, and have little income, but I can get by on it as my house is paid for. Apparently people over 60 are unemployable.

Here is my issue: With my debt paid off, and my ‘stuff’ reduced, I wonder. “Where am I?”

I don’t want to go spending money and get in debt again…but I sort of have nothing to do. I am sort of looking for my ‘prize’ that I guess I thought was there, at the end of the accomplishment!

I have a Kindle, and sometimes read books, but after a while, I get bored. Most of my friends have either died or moved away. I have no family. I joined a MEETUP group to meet some people, and I didn’t really have a good time, plus I had to pay for a meal. I gave it up after 4-5 tries.

Where I live it is either too hot or too cold most of the time, to go out. I have seen all of the museums and local attractions so many times, I could give the tours…so tired of that. I am a different nationality than most of the people here, so we have little in common. They are friendly enough, but they do not want to be ‘good friends’.

I tried volunteering at a couple groups, but found that gas money and having to buy lunch out somewhere, plus they want the volunteers to also give them money…made me feel like a chump. It was like having a job and not get paid for it, but they still have the same expectations. I can’t work at a job that costs me money to do it, that makes no sense. I think volunteering is not for me.

I spend time with my little dog. We took some classes and go almost every day to the park, but there must be more to life than that.

Most of the time, I am surfing the web and I have over 2 million points at Khan Academy.

I don’t mean to whine, but I really am at a loss of what to do.

So many readers here are joyfully telling of life at the end of the rainbow. I would like to find that too. I would love some suggestions! Is anyone else in this same situation??

{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.}

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.}

Real Life Minimalists: Kevin

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, Kevin from Ecuador tells us how his new minimalist mindset has changed his life in so many ways. You can hear more about his experiences by following him on Twitter.

Kevin writes:

Kevin

Hello. My name is Kevin. I’m 26 years old from Quito, Ecuador.

I apologize for any mistakes in my English.

I just want to thank you because since I started to read your blog really changed my life completely.

Initially to start reading your posts I was upset with me, although at first I did not know why, then I realized it was a kind of envy because I wanted a freer life without much disruption. I was tied to my stuff, my bills and the image I had bought. I was paying a supposedly perfect idea of life.

I’m not a minimalist at all, I rather consider myself someone who enjoys being minimalist. I have reduced my belongings. Many times I was obsessed with the number of things I had but then I realized that this is not necessarily the goal. Although it remains an interesting challenge, perhaps to learn a little more about yourself.

The process itself was much easier because I read experiences of many people and many blogs.

I started to realize that I was tied to many things and also kept my feelings. All this to stay in my comfort zone. Now things are different.

I started first remove the things that had for some time thought: “Sometime I’m going to use” and saw that there were clothes that I had not worn in years!

I gathered all my clothes and analyze if it’s something I really only use it if I have it or because it was a gift.

I stick with things you really need, it does the job and ensure quality that will last me a long time. Finally I learned to prioritize quality over quantity.

I analyze my belongings, the things I do and why I do it. And analyze my relationships as there were some it consumed me. Now I give more time to people who really accept who I am and enjoy a sincere friendship.

When I ordered my priorities and my consumption, my debts began to disappear. I started to have more money which still do not see it useful simply because I see no need to buy anything.

I feel that I wanted to help people and see that they have many problems in their life. Debt problems, money problems, relationship problems. And I wanted to help but I’ve noticed that people are very reluctant to change.

The single most difficult aspect for me was to change the food. It’s hard to eat healthy because my job there is only junk food. Sometime I wish you write some more about it if possible.

I leave thanking you for being part of my transformation in my habits and my new lifestyle.

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists: K.

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 have a wonderful story from K., whose experience living in Vietnam has inspired her minimalist journey. I love the description of her living arrangements–a reminder that most of us have an abundance of space and stuff.

K. writes:

K.

Throughout my life, I’ve always felt the desire to simplify. To me, a simple life meant the opportunity for clarity and focus. However, these thoughts and desires were buried underneath my ‘normal’ American upbringing, and only surfaced sporadically and mystically.

Growing up, I’d say I had an average amount of ‘stuff.’ I kept my belongings neat and orderly, but I wasn’t the best at giving things away, for fear needing it later, and/or for the desire to get the most out of something I already owned.

After grad school, I lived and worked in Vietnam for a couple of years. Having to pack all my necessities into 2 bags was the first real impetus for living out minimalism in my life. I felt liberated as I packed, realizing how little was actually needed of the stuff I had moved from apartment to apartment for the past several years. My minimalist soul was surfacing, but this time I was aware of it and wanted it to stay.

Living in Vietnam taught me many things about simple living, but the greatest lessons came during the month I lived with 5 Vietnamese friends in a ~200 square foot studio apartment. I was amazed by how seamlessly they kept a rhythm of life together with such limited resources and in such close quarters.  It showed me how little is needed to sleep, eat, clean, and even entertain in a living space. Most of all, I was amazed at how they cooked delicious Vietnamese meals with just 1 pot and 1 pan in their makeshift kitchen that consisted of a small propane stove and a ground-level faucet and drain (not even a refrigerator -fresh food from the market daily).

This past year I moved back to the U.S. and was highly motivated to maintain a minimalist lifestyle in my home country. It was perfect timing because I was living alone for the first time in my life and was able to start from scratch to set up my apartment exactly how I wished. I love my new space – it’s beautiful, simple, and peaceful. I am continually assessing what I have in order to keep only value-adding (whether in utility or beauty) objects in my life and home.

However, as we all know, minimalism is not just about less stuff. I mentioned that my real drive for simplicity was a desire for clarity and focus. Along with my move abroad, my minimalist desires have also been particularly strong in these past few years as I’ve been on an intense spiritual journey or ‘quarter-life crisis’. My hope is that getting the junk out of my living space – as well as my digital life, my schedule, and my relationships – can help focus my mind and soul on my pursuit of Truth.

I’m so happy to have found a community of like-minded souls on this blog and I love hearing everyone’s stories. I know that wherever my path takes me, the principles discussed amongst this community will continue to help enrich my life!

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists: Zsolt

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, I’m happy to introduce you to Zsolt, whose cultural upbringing has given him a unique perspective on hoarding and minimalism. Be sure to visit his blog to read more.

Zsolt writes:

Most of you people reading this have probably been lucky enough not to have experienced life in a socialist dictatorship. I was 6 years old when the political transitions happened in Hungary so I can’t say I have experienced it either. But the mindset that 40 years of socialism imposed upon society, didn’t evaporate from one day to another.

Under the socialist regime, the Hungarian standard of living was way below that of the American or Western European. Something had to be done to give people an illusion of prosperity in order to keep political stability.

One thing they did was they eradicated unemployment. Everybody had a job. Some kind of a job at least. A lot of these were jobs that had no purpose whatsoever other than making the statistics look better and keeping up the grand illusion.

The other thing they did was they generously overlooked people nicking things from work. Or in other words, they institutionalized corruption. Doctors got paid peanuts, so did hairdressers and waiters. But people would tip them, which would make up for the better half of their salary.

People who worked in factories took the products or tools home. If you worked in a paper factory, you’d take a bag of toilet paper home every day (whether you needed it or not) and trade it for car parts and tools with the guy who worked in a car factory or for eggs with the lady who worked at a farm. Many people run this to the extreme and opened their own shop in 1990 when the system collapsed to sell the stuff they accumulated from work.

I grew up in a family and a society of hoarders.

No big surprise, I became a hoarder myself. I’d keep things that I might use once every few years.

My rationale was that even though very rarely, I did use it, so I had to keep it. This way of thinking stem from my upbringing  - I can see that so clearly now.

A few years ago something shifted. I realized that if I only used something every other year, I didn’t really need it. And if I did, I could always get it when I needed it. I slowly started letting things go.

By the summer of 2013, I thought I had got rid of most of the stuff I didn’t need. I was wrong of course.

I was getting ready to go long term travelling in October. All I was planning to take was a carry-on bag, 10 kg of stuff. So I had to get rid of everything else.

I gave some of the stuff away and throw the really useless crap out. To my utmost surprise I still had a truckload that I thought I needed. I took the whole lot to my parents – they didn’t mind, they love stuff…

I’ve been travelling South America with the aforementioned 10 kg backpack for 3 months now and I’ve never felt so free in my life. This radical change has taught me that stuff takes up not only physical, but mental space as well. The less stuff you have the freer your mind feels. Not to mention the amazing level of mobility it affords you. I can pack up and be on the road in 10 minutes if need be.

Minimalism is freedom.

I’m not going home in the foreseeable future, but when I do I’ll go through the truckload of stuff I dumped at my parents’ house and get rid of everything I can. For good.

I’m done with being a hoarder.

{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.}

Real Life Minimalists: Sarah T.

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, Sarah T. tells us how she and her family dramatically downsized their home and streamlined their stuff. Surf on over to her blog to learn more.

Sarah writes:

One day I was as content as could be with all my stuff, and the next day I’d had it. We had moved from Florida with no basement, garage, or storage to Pennsylvania where our square footage was much more than records indicated. Since we bought the house sight-unseen, we really had no idea what we were up against. But while this 6 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 3 living room (no kidding!) house seemed huge at first, slowly but surely, we began to fill it with garage sale treasures. I had a hard time keeping the house clean, even before all the acquisitions, due to it’s sheer size. Later though, it was practically impossible.

I was done. I started a pile of items to get rid of in the basement bedroom (non-conforming, mind you- I didn’t count it as one of the 6). What began as a little pile in the corner eventually consumed an entire wall. It continued to grow and expand, eventually filled up most of the floor space and topped off at about 4 feet high. By the time the annual neighborhood garage sale rolled around, we knew we were moving to Iowa, and purged even more. Seeing all your junk lining the driveway is humbling. Fortunately, at that point, it never even crossed my mind that other people might show up shaking their heads in pity that all this came from one family. I just wanted to be rid of it. Between the sale, one full trip to the thrift store, and a pile of stuff on the side of the road for people to rummage through (which they do, I learned), we were rid of that roomful of useless stuff.

When we moved, we rented the same size truck we used from FL to PA. It was packed a lot tighter and we still left a few items on the curb that didn’t fit, but we did it. We continue to downsize and reevaluate stuff now. But one important thing I’ve learned is that the incoming stuff is just as important, if not more important, than the outgoing. That was our problem for a while. It was fun to purge, but still fun to shop (at garage sales, naturally), thus, we didn’t make much headway. It was an about face with our accumulation of new items that finally resulted in real progress. From my experience, that just comes with time. Just like learning to eat differently for better health, it’s a reprogramming of the brain.

Changing our relationship with stuff has been a fun and challenging, sometimes painful and discouraging process. We’re not die-hard minimialissimos. We have 4 kids and all their gear and still live in the suburbs. But this move was an intentional “downgrade” (by the world’s standard). All 1500 square feet of our home gets used. The full basement is wide open with plenty of room for the kids to run around and play during the cold winter months. Our second vehicle is my husband’s bike which he takes to work every day. We own things that accommodate our actual lifestyle- no more storing fancy dishes and tablecloths or trying to make a computer desk work for a laptop lifestyle. We do have a wide range of bikes in different sizes for our kids. We do keep the free plastic cups from restaurants and use them as our everyday tableware. We keep what we use and we use what we keep.

I blog at www.marchingtoourowndrummer.blogspot.com whenever I fancy. Not often. Just sometimes. I have a few posts on our downsizing, as well as the final push to pay off our mortgage.

{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.}