Editor’s Note: This is a post in the series, Simplicity in Action. If you’d like to submit your story of how simplicity has worked in your life, please read more here. You can write about anything from decluttering a junk drawer to simplifying your diet. Let your small and big changes inspire others.
My journey with minimalism and simple living started almost 2 years ago. Honestly I can’t believe it has been that long, but at the same time I love it and can’t imagine my life any other way.
I am the wife of an amazing man (just celebrated our 10 year anniversary) and homeschooling parent to two adorable kids ages 5 and 8. We have always wanted to do our own thing and question society’s ideas but for some reason minimalism was something we had never heard of or talked about. We weren’t pack rats and we have always stayed away from debt so I always thought we were pretty simple. What we had was a 2000 sq foot house full of lots of clearance or garage sale bargains. My husband does construction so we had purchased a house that was in pretty bad shape and remodeled it just the way we wanted.
Then, during the winter of 2010-2011 my husband took work about 5 hours away from our house for several months. It was a great work opportunity, was 5 hours south (for warmer winter weather), and since I homeschool we packed the kids up and made it an extended ‘vacation’. I think that time will always be a fond memory for our family. Except for the fact that my husband had to work all day we had a blast. Hotels, pools, going out to eat, playing tourist, meeting new people – we have always loved travel.
It was during this time that we really got to thinking. We always said we had wanted to travel and do more with the kids but we didn’t have the money or time to do much of it. On top of that I loved taking care of a few dishes, simple meals in a hotel room, and minimal laundry and toys. The kids didn’t even seem to miss their rooms. Those few months gave us the time to think and the time to fall in love with minimalism.
When we got home we got right to work. We started giving away or selling (almost) everything. We hadn’t heard the term minimalist or even knew there was anyone else out there like it, but we knew what we wanted. By the end of March we had cut our belongings down by at least 50% and had signed our house away to another couple to rent. By the beginning of May we had cut down things even more and moved into a 2 bedroom apartment. After getting settled we started off on a 5 week road trip up into Canada and all down the West Coast of the USA finishing off at the Grand Canyon with backpacking down into the canyon and camping over night.
Fast forward another year and we have been totally addicted to the minimalism bug. We cut down our cloths with Project 333 and have now moved into a 1 bedroom apartment to save a bit more money for another road trip this fall.
All 4 of us share 1 closet, the kids have a box of toys for each of them. We have everything we need and love and lots of room to spare.
Minimalism has done a lot for our family. First it has taught us to think and make decisions as a family, what works for us is different than everyone else. This is what is beautiful about people – we are all different. Minimalism has allowed us to stay out of debt and still save money even when our income took an unexpected hit in the last year. It has brought our family closer together – locationally as well as relationally in our small living space. It has drastically cut down our environmental footprint as well as our utility bills. It has also freed up so much time that we can now spend on what and who we love.
I tell you, just like I tell everyone I talk to – Minimalism is amazing and totally doable as a family. Minimalism looks different for everyone who embraces it, but it can benefit everyone.
End of the year course announcements
- The next session of The Goodblog Project begins on January 7th. Work with me and learn how to write, blog and connect more intentionally. If you are ready to grow, learn and earn in a very genuine, honest, fun way, read more here or sign up to receive more information. This will be the last session until May or September 2013.
- If you are interested in dressing with less, the guided self-study Project 333 Quick Start Course is closing on January 8th.
- The Make Time and Create Space courses will be available with all the merry extras (books, video and audio lessons) until December 31st.