I haven’t always liked being a minimalist. I didn’t understand what it was and to me it meant that you must be either poor or homeless if you are doing it. You must own less than 100 things and travel to Europe with only a backpack?
The thought of that would just make me of think of two things: homeless and having to rewear your dirty underwear.
We all also have our defining life stories. One of mine is that the reason why I try and change my clothes a lot and not always wear the same outfits it’s because someone made fun of me in high school once for wearing the same outfit two days in a row to school.
He pointed it out to everyone around us and just started laughing. Now that I think about it not a lot of people laughed or cared about what he said.
It wasn’t until recently that I started reading minimalism and I fell in love with it.
I am not obsessed about it. I am not a 100% true minimalist. I like variety still and different things. I like the principles that stand behind minimalism, though.
It started this past year. David and I started to feel that we were heading exactly where the world would expect us to head.
Buy a house, grow your business, eat at nice restaurants, stay at expensive hotels and go shopping whenever we felt the urge to.
Being that I wasn’t raised like that and that I come from a different, less materialistic and less financially prosperous culture, I was starting to feel really uneasy with that.
I love shopping. I love a new outfit. But I would often tell my husband that I didn’t feel ok with how my life was becoming. Constantly buying a new outfit, constantly shopping, constantly going bigger and higher.
I didn’t like also how it didn’t feel like quality time when we were spending Saturday at the mall. I also knew that stats always say that your children are bound to do more of whatever you did or taught them.
If you are the parent that tends to slack a little bit at something, then your kids will be proned to definitely slack at that one thing. For example, if our parents slack going to church a little, we’ll be primed to slack going to Church a lot.
So if my parents taught me to shop in moderation, and I was shopping this way, how much will my kids be into shopping some day? My parents sacrifice even to be an example at the time, made it easier for me to try and want to be the same way for my own children.
Does that mean that I will never shop again? Absolutely not. But as I read more about minimalism I remembered how it is to shop in moderation, and doing it for the right reasons. Not just to show off all my friends how nice my new clothes are.
I am trying to go shopping now because I am purposely needing that item. And careful when thinking of need. And when coming to material pleasures, trying to set a reasonable goal and not be too excessive with what I buy.
Another aspect of minimalism that I love, is the part where you learn to let go of things. I used to think that by holding on to things that meant I was being frugal and not wasteful.
I loved a deal, and if someone was getting rid of something nice and offered to give it to me I would usually take it. I hate throwing things away in the garbage that will sit in a landfill for millions of years. The poisonous gases and chemical… I also come from Italy and my parents’ generation was born right after World War II.
My grandparents always had that mentality of keeping things just in case World War 3 ever started. While I wasn’t as concerned about it, I am sort of wired to constantly feel the need to save in case hard times fall upon us. In case there is another Hitler or Mussolini or another atomic bomb.
I try and control those fears. But minimalism has helped me to understand that I truly don’t need as many things even if those horrible times were to happen, and to realize that it’s ok to let go of what we have.
It’s ok to donate what we don’t use and give it to the rest of the world. After all we are so far away from poverty in this country.
The world average salary is less than $18,000 a year. Our country considers poverty at a way higher income level than that.
The last aspect I love of minimalism is the part where you come to terms with the amount in number of items that you need for different areas of your life.
For example, when I truly think of what my kids and I personally need even for the next year in clothes, I know that my personal number could even be 5 outfits a week. Truth is we own so much more than that. But being conscious of it and counting as many things I have, helps me stay grounded and not constantly shop without a reason.
Those are just some of the reasons why I love minimalism. I’ll probably talk about more things later, but this is the geist of it for right now!