Real Life Minimalists: Kelly

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 delightful story from Kelly. After purging their excess possessions, she and her husband found themselves open to a wonderful new possibility: parenthood!

Kelly writes:

Kelly

Kelly

My minimalist adventure may have begun the day I first saw a picture of the Tumbleweed tiny homes. Those homes became like an adorable 3D puzzle to me. What do you really need and how can you make it all fit together? Eventually, I went on an organization ideas Pinterest bender. Then, I found Miss Minimalist and Marie Kondo. Do I use it, do I love it, is it beautiful, does it spark joy? With all these pieces of the puzzle finally coming together I set about to bringing my life in order.

One day a career opportunity knocked at our door that would have required us to pack up and move (potentially several times). Super excited I set about thinning things out. Purge purge purge. And then the opportunity fell through. It was a crushing disappointment one that left us in a huge vacuum. What now? Who are we? Where are we going? The slate was confoundingly blank and the lack of direction was disorienting. So I looked around at the treasures that hadn’t been purged. Bright colored treasures from our trips around the world full of cheer and whimsy. I looked at a bedroom that was now completely empty. What were we going to fill our life with? Was it finally time…? Was it finally our turn…? Could we really, maybe possibly, consider having a BABY??!!!?!?!!!!

And so we embarked on our next adventure…parenthood!

If we hadn’t cleaned out the things we didn’t need and that weren’t really even us anymore we might not have realized that our life could open up to an entirely different and truly much desired possibility.

The first website I peaked at while secretly considering pitching the baby idea to my husband was a minimalists guide to baby stuff. With all my new found open space I wasn’t super keen to fill it with junk and suffocate us. When the time came I carefully went about curating a baby registry. I would look at an item, think about it for a while, measure it, visualize where in my house I could keep it before adding it to my list. Now at the parenthood 7th month mark I can happily report that all the baby related items have a purpose, a place and are much loved. Now if only I can get over the sentimentality of wanting to save it all for eternity….

{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: M. C. Starbuck

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 hear from M. C. Starbuck, a former packrat whose decluttering transformed her life. Read more about her experience on her blog.

M. C. Starbuck writes:

M. C. Starbuck

M. C. Starbuck

As a packrat for so long, I thought getting rid of stuff would only lead to regret and frustration.

I’m so glad to finally see that I was wrong!

I began getting rid of clutter at the end of 2014, so I’m finally starting to see some of the long-term benefits.

Of course I saw an impact on my day-to-day life immediately. I felt lighter and empowered to make other positive life-changes.

As I got rid of possessions, I learned more about myself and my fears. I had to overcome many doubts. I had read about other people experiencing this, but it’s so different living through it yourself.

My favorite thing about having gotten rid of clutter is that once I decided I was open to the possibility of getting married, I ended up meeting an amazing guy who is very tidy and organized.

He’s in the military, so I’m thankful that the messiness of my past won’t affect our future in a negative way. Instead we can both encourage each other in owning less.

It’s such an important aspect of our lives that I’m really not sure how it would’ve worked out for us if I hadn’t already begun my journey of becoming clutter-free. I would’ve been so embarrassed and taken years to get to a point that he could tolerate the amount of my possessions. But I’m so grateful we’ve been able to decide to get married with no major issues like that holding us back.

I used to have quite a different view of clutter. I saw it as a necessity for an enjoyable life. I love colors and creativity, and my hobbies and collections can create a messy life. Plus, I can always find an excuse for not cleaning since I’d rather focus on people and relationships than the state of my home or car. Now I see how all of that can go hand in hand.

But the only reason I had decided to start giving stuff away is because I wanted a tiny house, and now I’m not even going to live in one! But I get to reap the benefits for the rest of my life.

I started reading so much about tiny houses in my pursuit of building one, I even attended three tiny house workshops. And the message I kept hearing along with that was how freeing it is to own less stuff. The tiny house community always gave simple, practical advice along with their stories. So I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try.

As a free spirit who loves having fun at anything I do, I didn’t expect to stick with it for very long. I figured the excitement would wear off, and I’d get bored with it. But instead I’ve found ways to make decluttering fun for me.

I’ve been sharing my story from the beginning at mcstarbuck.com, where you can download (for free!) the beginning of my upcoming book, Packrat to Clutterfree.

{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: Pamela

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 Pamela, who tells us about her step by step journey to a more minimalist lifestyle. She writes about frugality on her blog.

Pamela writes:

Pamela

Pamela

My journey to minimalism came about through a series of steps. Whenever I moved, I became more of a minimalist.

It all started with my first place after university. A 400 square foot apartment filled with heavy wooden, hand me down furniture. There were only two closets but they were stuffed full of things. Not to mention a ton of kitchen supplies and gadgets.

From there I moved into a furnished townhouse that I shared with a roommate. Phew I could get rid of all that heavy wooden furniture and the pesky kitchen paraphernalia. Unfortunately I didn’t get rid of the boxes and bags of stuff so I had to lug them up a huge flight of stairs to my new place.

From there I went housesitting. And the thing I noticed most about that move was all of those boxes and bags were being hauled back down all those stairs…and I hadn’t even used any of the stuff inside of them in the four years I had lived there!

So after four trips back and forth with my small car stuffed to the gills just to move it all, I started decluttering in earnest. I was so successful in my task that the next housesitting gig I went to, I only had to make one trip with my small car.

By the time the next housesitting job came along, I had even managed to get rid of the small car (Yippee!) So for that move, I packed a couple suitcases and called a cab! (Totally inspired by Miss Minimalist’s London move.)

What I have learned most from my years of slowly increasing minimalism is that: frugality and minimalism go hand in hand. It is incredibly easy to save money when you don’t need or want a lot of stuff. And with increased frugality comes increased freedom. The freedom to follow your dreams. The freedom to stay home and raise your child. The freedom to travel the world.

Whatever your dreams, they are much easier to achieve with frugality and minimalism is a HUGE part of that.

{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: Jennifer from Maryland

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, Jennifer from Maryland tells us how she’s created more space, time, and peace in her life. Check out her blog to learn more.

Jennifer writes:

Jennifer

Jennifer

My journey with minimalism began a few years ago. I didn’t intend to become a minimalist. I was a wife, a mom, and a teacher who was tired of being overwhelmed and exhausted all the time.

I had a very full life. But I was going through the motions, feeling like a hamster on a wheel, and barely keeping up with my family, work, and relationships. I never seemed to have enough time to get it all done, and when I did have time to relax, I struggled to be present and enjoy the moment. On the outside, I had it all. But on the inside, I was discontent and restless.

I believed that if I could just organize my home – once and for all! – I would feel happier. In my quest for organizational strategies, tips, and tools, I read every book about organization and decluttering I could find. And then I read The Joy of Less and learned about the concept of minimalism.

I was intrigued, and began reading everything I could about minimalism. I read about people who own less than 100 items, live in small houses, and travel all over the world. And while I didn’t really want to do any of those things (ok, maybe travel the world!), it was more than that. They all expressed a deep level of contentment and a liberating sense of freedom.

Around the same time, an illness forced me to evaluate my priorities. The effects of stress, too much stuff, and a packed schedule were taking a toll on my health. I knew I had to make some changes.

I started to create a different kind of life. A life where I decided how to spend my time. A life in which I was present for the people I love, with physical and mental space to think and create.

Instead of organizing my stuff, I got rid of much of it. I simplified my schedule, created a morning routine, designed a capsule wardrobe to reduce the amount of clothes in my closet, and made healthier food choices.

I am learning to love the idea of less (less stuff, less busy-ness, fewer obligations) in exchange for more. More peace, more time, more space, more freedom.

I feel like a new person – the person I was meant to be. I’m still working on it, but I’m shaping my life into a version of minimalism that’s just right for me.

I write about my minimalist journey on my blog, A Life Designed. If you are working towards a simple life too, please visit me there. I’d love to hear about what you’re doing and share ideas!

{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: Hannah

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 contribution from Hannah, who writes about why she adopted a minimalist lifestyle and the happiness it’s brought her.

Hannah writes:

Hannah

Hannah

When you search on google or YouTube “minimalism”, you’re bombarded with links to learn about the practices of 20-somethings who have adopted the lifestyle as the NBD. I fit into every stereotype of the 2017 minimalist: young, vegan, and (obsessively?) environmentally and financially conscious. The one way I believe my story sticks out is how I arrived at changing my lifestyle.

This spring, while I was working to overcome some mental health struggles, I started watching documentaries on Netflix. Bored one day, I watched the Minimalism movie that most of us have probably seen at some point. I didn’t put too much thought into it; I thought it was a cool idea, but I doubted that it was ever any information that I’d incorporate into my own life. Then one day I was enjoying a weekend from college in my and my aunt’s home (I must point out that she’s been on her minimalism journey before it became the latest fad). I took a look around and noticed how peaceful I always felt in that space. Every item, unless a decorative wall decoration or a vase of flowers here and there, had a function or purpose. Our home was clean and bright; there were no distractions, no excess of things to look after and focus our attention on.

I returned to my apartment at the end of the weekend and immediately noticed how loud my room felt. I opened my closet and saw clothing I rarely wore, old stuffed animals from before I learned to read, and gadgets I hadn’t used in months or years. I started wondering: maybe if I reduced the distractions, could I gain better focus consciously and subconsciously on improving my health and state of mind?

The next weekend, my aunt helped me to go through, painstakingly!, every item in my closet, my drawers, and my kitchen cabinets. We donated or sold at least 5 trash bags worth of stuff over the next few months. I cleaned up my diet, deciding to re-commit to veganism in an effort to simplify my diet, a choice that felt natural now that I was also cleaning up other areas of my life. I deleted 20 apps off my phone that I never used or I realized were unnecessary for me (the Starbucks app, anyone?).

While possibly cliché, I have never felt better or more at peace. The only way I can describe the change is that I feel my home, diet, and general life are simply less noisy. Everything in my bedrooms (both at home and in my college apartment) have purpose, make me smile, and involve no stress. There’s no clothing bombarding my wardrobe that makes me think “well, in 5 pounds gained or 10 pounds lost, this will fit perfectly!” Since my first big clean out, I’ve never had an issue trying to find anything; nothing is “hiding” anymore: my tank top is always on my second clothing divider, my lightweight jacket is in my duffel bag of winter clothes, and my phone charger is always in the left side of my family’s antique chest.

At first glance, you could easily argue that this seems a little obsessive, who knows exactly where everything they own is at all times? However, when you eliminate unnecessary, ill-fitting, or non-joy-sparking items from your life, it’s incredible how easy it is to keep track of everything. One really awesome thing that may also come out of this journey is the beginnings of understanding what you actually like. For instance, I used to have a makeup bag full of different products. A contour kit, eyeshadow palettes, more lipsticks than I could keep track of, and a bunch of half-used eyeliner. I never really enjoyed makeup that much, wore it only occasionally, and found it to always be more of a hassle than anything else. What changed after I went through my belongings? I discovered how much I love just the classic eyeliner and mascara combination! It’s become a fun part of my morning and when I’m feeling fancy, I put on one of the four lipsticks I have.

Nothing distracts me anymore from what I actually enjoy. I take less time to get ready in the morning because I only have clothing I love. I don’t agonize over the “good” vs. “bad” food choices because I only eat foods I want to put in my body and feel good about. I have never been happier.

{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: Upasna aka Comeback Minimalist

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, Upasna aka Comeback Minimalist tells us her story. She’s at the beginning of her minimalist journey, but already experiencing the freedom of living with less. Visit her blog to learn more.

Upasna writes:

Upasna

Upasna

I had a tough time managing my stuff in the past so I decided to explore more about Minimalism. 2016 was a bit harsh on me with limited money to spend. This is how having less money helped me learned that I can live well with less stuff.

While welcoming the new year, I set Minimalism as my motto to live by. I wanted to get rid of the excessive consumerism we all are gripped in.

As I was exploring more on Minimalism, I realized it’s not only about a capsule wardrobe or living out of a backpack but a lot more than this. I started jotting down the areas where Minimalism could help me simplify my life.

My research on the topic made me write my first E-book “A-Z of Minimalism”.

I wanted to explore Minimalism but the path was not clear. So, I decided to chart down the areas where I want to apply Minimalism and how to attain it. This is when this book took birth. With this I must say, I am not perfect nor I have experienced everything that comes with a Minimalist Lifestyle. I am just a beginner.

Not only stuff but I want to look into relationships with a fresh perspective and give them the meaning. I live in a joint family which makes things difficult but I am going slow.

Moreover, being a mother to a toddler poses some restrictions but I am keen to help my kid learn this life of freedom and away from excessive consumerism. I can say that a Minimalist lifestyle is possible with kids.

I once quit my MNC job to live with my family and now when I look through the eyes of a Minimalist, I mark it as the best decision of my life. I am glad that I found this simple way of living while I am yet to enter my 30s.

{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: Priscilla

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 delighted to feature Priscilla. I just love how her story—and the Real Life Minimalists series in general—defies minimalist stereotypes, and shows how we can tailor the philosophy to suit our individual lifestyles. Visit her blog to read more of her thoughts.

Priscilla writes:

I am not a stereotypical minimalist as portrayed in the media: I’m not young. Nor am I into austere décor, black and neutral clothing, veganism, or posting YouTube videos. But all of these areas, meaning age, décor, clothing, food, and social media, have allowed me to define my own minimalistic lifestyle. And isn’t that what minimalism is about—each person defining what is important or useful to his or her own self and letting go of the rest?

Let me explain. I am an older woman, old enough to remember the art movement with simple paintings of bold color and spartan sculptures of bare metal that first earned the “minimalist” title. Now, as a lifestyle, minimalism has allowed me to push away the aggressive advertising and consumerism of my Baby Boomer generation and to live a simple, sometimes even spartan, life.

As to décor, the walls in my home relate back to those old minimalism artists like Truitt and Klein . . . not much there in terms of complexity and pattern. And yet even those artists used plenty of bold color. Yes, white walls allow natural light to bounce around, making white an excellent choice, but I enjoy the loud silence of strong color.

As far as clothing goes, before the advertising onslaught descended, my contemporaries and I grew up rotating through a small handful of outfits. This is ingrained and normal to me. When I chased after the Joneses in the 1980s, it felt unsettling and wasteful and financially just downright stupid. I am truly HAPPIER with a minimalist wardrobe. Where the stereotypical minimalist and I depart is in color choices. Like my décor, I enjoy strong colors–a shocking turquoise teeshirt or a cobalt blue pair of walking shorts. I am learning, however, to shop more wisely. When researching sustainably and ethically produced clothing, I found that my candy-colored clothes aren’t always the best choice for the planet. I suspect my next pair of walking shorts will be made of natural colored fibers from organically grown plants.

Speaking of plants, I don’t eat a plant based diet. I am a meat eater. The younger generation has challenged me to think of where and how my food is produced—something we never talked about or even THOUGHT about in the 70s when I was forming my cooking habits. Nowadays, I look for grass fed beef, free range chickens, and green packaging like reusable glass milk bottles. If I’m going to eat beef, I better consider the WHOLE animal. So I eat sausage (incorporating the less popular parts of the animal), and my “dress up” shoes are a nice pair of leather cowboy boots. I have family members and friends who are vegan or vegetarian, and I’ve come to understand their point of view; it’s just not for me.

The broad choice of social media pursuits is not for me, either. I don’t “get” Instagram. I don’t have a Twitter account. Facebook downright scares me, and I have neither the voice nor the desire to make YouTube videos. However, the old lady (that would be me) started her first ever blog this year, minimalistgranny.com, with the goal of reaching out and helping others find their own frugal and creative road to minimalism. Even though I’m a newbie blogger, I feel like I’m a 20th Century minimalist who has finally arrived in the 21st Century.

{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: Claire

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 Claire, who was originally featured in January 2016. I love hearing how my Real Life Minimalists have progressed on their journeys! Stop by Claire’s blog if you’d like to connect with her or read more.

Claire writes:

Claire

Claire

I wrote a post for Miss Minimalist about 18 months ago, and I wanted to send a quick update. I recently went on my honeymoon and took carry-on luggage only – hooray! It felt like a milestone for me – this is one of my aims in life. My husband and I felt so free coming off the plane with just a backpack and heading straight out of the airport :)

I thought I’d share some of the top tips I’ve learnt over the past few years about minimalism:

– When I come back from a vacation, I note down what I didn’t use on the trip. (Chances are, you wear the clothes you love and the rest end up at the bottom of the suitcase!) Next time you go away, try not taking those items. I bet you don’t miss them!

– We have a “donate” box in our apartment, where we put things we’re not sure we want to turn out or not. If we haven’t missed it after 6 months, we donate it. (Obviously we don’t do this for seasonal stuff.) This works for us because it’s not final – we can always take something out the box if we’re not sure, but it keeps everything in one place as well.

Take a picture of something if you love or want the memory, but not the item. That way you still have the memory, but you don’t have a closet full of things you have good associations with but never use.

– I didn’t get my husband involved at the start or force anything on him; I just started living my life a certain way. He quickly followed suit when he saw my tiny closet and tidy cupboards! It’s a personal journey so I don’t believe it’s something you can push on other people (however you can certainly demonstrate the benefits, haha).

– And one that is sometimes hard to deal with: most of our possessions are linked to something deeper. For example, I realized that I kept books because I wanted them to say something about me: (“Look how well read I am! Look at my Russian novels!) :) It takes courage, but sometimes looking at your life and beliefs can help answer questions about your possessions. My friends know me and who I am – so why do I need to show off what I’ve read?!

The main thing I appreciate so much from my minimalist journey is how freeing it is. Putting things in our donate box feels so good! I would recommend it to everyone :)

I hope these tips help other people and remember – minimalism is such a personal thing. Do whatever feels right for you :)

And good luck on your minimalist journey!

{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: 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.}

Real Life Minimalists: Ashley

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 story from Ashley, who tells us how she discovered and embraced her inner minimalist.

Ashley writes:

I suppose I discovered that I had been something of a minimalist all along one day at the Apple Store. Grimacing as I note that my phone automatically capitalizes the store name, imbuing an element of respect that I do not emulate, I reflect back on the day that I had wanted to “check into that whole phone upgrading thing.”

My boyfriend and I drove the forty minutes to a mall big enough to support an Apple Store. In our locality, distance is often measured in time, due to the reality of nothing besides the Dollar General being in close proximity to our town.

(Side note: I had to manually capitalize Dollar General. Perhaps another subconscious reminder that the wealthy program us to recognize their concepts of respect and status?)

We walked into the melee, he more confidently than I, observing the unsatiated hordes pawing at tethered devices and ogling watches through the clear glass display cases. A young man tapped our names into a device to wait for attention, a second noted our concerns, and (much later) a third came to offer assistance.

He inquired as to our phone services as though judging us in accordance with an unseen ranking chart, asked about features that sparked interest, all the while noting that we both were somewhat taken aback and lagging in response times. On the Apple clock, it seems as though a moment of thought cannot be afforded the customer.

After the first wave of an overwhelming desire to flee subsided, I animated instantaneously. No, I am not on social media. No, I do not intend to start. No, I don’t download the apps for every store I visit in the hopes of easing my shopping experience.

If it could give a Star Wars type hologram voicemail I’d be interested, however. The gentleman was not amused.

Within five minutes, he had an estimate of which device would best suit our needs. They were approximately 1000.00 and 800.00, respectively.

I asked the question that had been already cast aside twice. “How am I billed? If I am not upgrading through my carrier, what happens?”

He happily jumped to his most eagerly anticipated part of his spiel; that is, he proudly discussed the company’s liaison with a third party bank that offers lines of credit to their customers. “Where is it? I want to go to there.”

“Miss,” he patronizingly sighed with a slight glance upward as though begging for patience, “it isn’t a brick and mortar bank, per se. You can’t simply walk in, as you stated. It’s just the wave of the future.”

“Would this go on my credit report?”

The gentleman stopped, mouth slightly agape, stammering that he had not had that question before. Four microphone relays later, the answer is yes.

I walked out. My boyfriend, who up to that point wasn’t especially eager to upgrade simply because he is “cheap,” asked me what happened.

I will not go into debt for a phone. I will not jeopardize the future of my credit report over a device that is outdated almost as quickly as it lands in my hands. And, God willing, I will manage my affairs well enough that I won’t have to worry about my credit report at all.

Up to that moment, he had known that I was inclined to donate things regularly and shop very little. He often laughed that he would be the next thing carted off to a charitable cause. It was this day that we both realized that this structure of belief, my worldview, ran far deeper than a few garbage bags of clothing. I had been the person who had failed to upgrade the television I was given in 1991 until 2013, both because she had become part of the family and because I was out adventuring too much to watch it regularly anyway. I had been the person who could give generously and regularly and find ways to not just make do, but make the best of it.

Recently, at the request of a close associate, we went to look at a large house. It would be a quick sell and we would stand to gain instant equity from the transaction. I went along, with an open mind, but within the first few moments he was thanking the seller for their time. I had just whispered to ask why there were two kitchen sinks. Honest question–I grew up humbly and had never seen this.

“I didn’t realize until I saw you standing in the middle of that ridiculously giant kitchen that we are both minimalists now. Let’s just stick with what we need.”

I never thought minimalism would have a contagious effect, but it has found us both certain that we can downsize our belongings to fit in the house he already owns, save a great deal, and embrace a future wherein we chase our dreams rather than dodging those bills.

{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.}