Thoughts from the Land of (Extreme) Minimalism

So here we are.

If you ignore our storage unit in Michigan (as we are unlikely to even have the means to bring any of that stuff down here), we are unquestionably living minimalistically.  We sleep on mattresses on the floor, we own 3 bowls and no plates, my wardrobe consists of 5 outfits, and we probably actually do have less than 100 possessions per person (unless you count each of Rob’s tools).  We’ve “arrived.”

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The funny thing is that it isn’t that important.  We don’t call ourselves “minimalists.”  In the end, we weren’t decluttering just to declutter.  And we’ve done larger things, than get rid of most of our possessions.

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Oh, minimalism has had its benefits.  It is an important part of the picture.

Minimalism:

  • Has drastically reduced the amount of time we spend on housework.  We spend about 45 minutes a day, managing possessions.
  • Has increased our mobility.  When we’re ready to move on next time, it will be much easier.
  • Has decreased the financial stress that we face, as well as the stresses of maintaining possessions (home repairs, etc.).
  • Has decreased the number of decisions that we have to make in a day, thus reducing mental strain.
  • Has decreased our overall stress load, which has allowed me to begin to recover from years of chronic stress.

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However, minimalism is only one part of the picture–it is not an end in itself.  The reason that we love our life right now, is not just because we don’t have a lot of stuff.  Here in the city, we’re living both a simple and joyful life.

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We enjoy many simple pleasures, on a daily basis:

  • Sipping coffee with Rob, in the mornings, on the balcony.
  • Enjoying fresh, organic food.
  • Discovering the next adventure that life has in store for me, in my new job.
  • Driving over crazy overpasses, with ease.
  • Challenging Beanie to a round of Mario Kart (yes, we bought a Wii!  Hey, we’re living intentionally…we have our reasons!).
  • The daily ritual of getting the mail, which always has surprise packages for us!
  • The weekly ritual of doing the laundry, and the different people I meet on the way.
  • Grilling out by the pool.
  • Daily evening swimming trips.
  • Rob’s newfound fame, as he rides his tall bike around.
  • Excursions out to go sight-seeing in our new city.
  • Library day.
  • Evening walks, when everybody has come outside, to feel to cooler air.

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Our future plans have not changed.  So don’t be relieved that we have “settled down,” or be concerned about what we are doing next.  It’s good to have a destination, but we are not rushing the journey.

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We’ll get a boat when we get a boat.  It might be soon, or it might be Moonraker next summer.  Does it really matter?

We’re enjoying our present, and letting the future surprise us with whatever it has to offer, when the time comes.

33 thoughts on “Thoughts from the Land of (Extreme) Minimalism

  1. Hey Bethany!!! So happy for you and the fam that settling in has been good and fun for you. Minimalism really does take a load off so you can breathe and thing and enjoy what is right before you waiting to be enjoyed. Hope the first week of school is smooth and fun one!!!

  2. Hi Bethany….I liked this post a lot….it just feels like you are relaxing a bit into your new life (and yeah that doesn’t mean you won’t go on from there) and are enjoying what you have and where you are RIGHT NOW! Isn’t that the best part of a simple life? Being grateful for what’s in front of us and learning to appreciate the small things are some of the most important things we can share with one another. ~Kathy

  3. It sounds like you are already settling into a new life there. I am glad the transition is going so well for you. Good luck with the start of the school year!

  4. This is lovely – the sentiment, the realizations, the peace and the wisdom. I so relate. We sold our 4000 sq foot home in Colorado 18 months ago and have been living very simply in an RV – with a front porch that changes every few months. Who knew life could be so rich and so simple?

    • Years ago we did the same thing and I was so happy. Tried to convince my husband that we could live in an RV forever, he didn’t want to, we ended up buying property and building a great big house, way too much work for me and too much work to pay for everything. One day, I will live in an RV again.

  5. Loved this post. I’ll never be a minimalist either. I like my creature comforts and my stuff is mostly in boxes in a rented garage. I too have another move yet to go. But I like the simplicity of so much less. I lived out of suitcases for 2 years sleeping on family’s sofa’s or futons. What a trick for an old lady. But I learned so much from the experience. Have seriously pared down. More will go and has been going but I want a bigger life in terms of experience, not smaller. We each do things so differently and that’s as it should be. Keeps life interesting.

  6. Enjoying simple things in life is my favorite thing to do. Some people love expensive vacations or shopping, as for me, I love having a healthy breakfast on my patio with my hubby or taking a long walk in a desert. And I would not change it for anything!

  7. I totally agree minimalism isn’t the point, rather its a tool for our journey and helps us to live a meaningful life.

  8. I have to frequently remind myself that there is no “minimalism finish line” where all the sudden at some point I will have arrived- it is more of a life journey that ebbs and flows as I wander along.
    It sounds as thought your family is really enjoying the moment- I love it.
    We have a Wii also. Our family likes to play Mario Party.
    Katie

    • MP is on our wish list! 😉 Right now, it’s Super Mario Kart, all the way. We have to practice it, so we can challenge our familes when we come up to visit for Christmas!

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