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I started practicing minimalism, how our life has improved and what we have discovered

Feb 4, 2019

A while back I posted a little bit about minimalism. I know quite a few people said they’d like to find out more about it. So I wanted to share our experience and how we have adapted it into our lives.

I remember that when I read my first book about minimalism, my life was changed in many aspects. I felt so ready to embrace it. So if you are looking for a great minimalism lifestyle book, you can find the book by clicking  HERE.

I felt as if my eyes were opened to a new kind of life that was a lot simpler and didn’t involve feeling deprived all the time.

See, with all the things that are thrown at us it’s easy to feel like we don’t have enough. The sweater we may have worn a few times it’s no longer all over the web. The brand new object from the store is now just taking up space. It’s nice to leave the house and purchase something to make ourselves happy. Our brain releases a rush of dopamine whenever we click buy or purchase from a store. It’s the reason why we go back to shopping over and over again. To find that rush of joy.

So when I first learned about minimalism I decided to go at it full force. I didn’t shop for a very long time. I decluttered my whole house. I realized how many products from grocery stores I didn’t need. I stopped purchasing multiples at the store of certain items hoping to use them later.

I basically wanted to only purchase the bare necessities and be lighter. I wanted to have less things with me when we travelled. I wanted a cleaner car with less objects in it, especially since we had little children with car seats and strollers. I wanted my drawers and closets to have mostly what I used on a day to day basis. I wanted to be able to walk around the home and not have as much furniture to dust. I wanted to be able to easily clean surfaces as well or mop without needing to move from the floor so many vases, chairs, furniture, rugs, toys, etc.

I became obsessed with seeking to have a very clutter free home. I searched for 1 good picture on my walls rather than many all over the room. I no longer sought out to fill every wall and corner in my home with objects. Buying and returning can also be extremely time consuming. Having a clutter free and clean home also allowed me to feel more at peace in my home. There was less maintaining to do and more time to sit and read a book or play with kids.

I wanted the kids to learn to find joy from over aspects of life rather than spending a lot of their time at stores and going shopping.

Over time, I had to slow down a little bit. For me I had to slow down with wanting to constantly declutter and get rid of things or with being maybe a little disappointed when I made a new purchase. I had to find what was our balance and what would work for us long term. The decluttering eventually slowed down as well.

I also learned that I always  want to think long term plan when purchasing things. For example if I know I’ll buy a home in a year, I won’t buy decor until then because I want to do it in the new space where I know my pieces will go well with the style of the home. Now that I am an adult I knew I won’t outgrow my shoes and hopefully my clothes either, so I started purchasing shoes that are made in Italy, handcrafted, more luxurious, and meant to last a lifetime and maybe even pass down to my daughters, or resealable online at a great value.

I no longer make leisure trips to craft stores  just to buy a new frame or some seasonal decor if I look around my home and I know it’s already fully decorated.

I avoid shopping just to shop. If I go to a store I try and plan ahead what I will need, rather than walk around seeking to find something fun.

I am more minimalistic with the groceries we buy. I get our staples and I have trimmed on a lot of unhealthy snacks and foods that I know we don’t really love. Even for our long term food storage, I stopped buying cans of foods that never get used. I purchase instead our favorite rice and flour only for example. Or even our favorite chocolates and crackers. Pantry staple items that will get used under any economy.

I try and wait an extra day for groceries if I know I can make due with what we have that way I won’t make the food I already have spoil. We tend to eat the newer stuff right away if we already have it at home.

I am very picky with the clothes I buy too. This one is one area where I don’t have a desire to own maybe only 30 pieces of clothing. But what I have done is try to get one boot of one color for example, and make sure it’s a style that will go with the rest of the clothes I have. I try to get more staple pieces as well rather than having  two jeans the same color and style for no reason. If I get an item that’s a current trend, I’ll get maybe one.

I focus on wearing my clothes on repeat and being ok to put  some wear and tear on them, rather than having lots and lots of items that I will barely wear. I don’t want lots of items that will soon go out of style before I have even enjoyed them and rotated enough through them.

When it comes to clothes, I envision myself a year or two from now looking back and thinking how I usually always ended up feeling sick and tired of my clothes. Or I remind myself that most likely many of these clothes may not be in style. I want to know that I won’t have to get rid of my whole closet or I won’t have so many items that I’ll wonder how and why I ever bought them. I want to have to get rid of just a few items.  I never enjoy when I get rid of clothes and I go back and think of how much I have spent on everything I own.

I am learning it’s easier not to click buy, then to get rid of the damage if I don’t truly love something. So try and get more classic pieces.

I have stopped chasing every object that comes my way and wanting to have it all. I have learned now what I truly love and try to only stick to owning those things. I no longer own multiples of every kitchen gadget and I avoid buying all the trendy tools for cutting and slicing. I bought myself for example one good set of knives from Germany and I have a food chopper for when I have to cook larger quantities of food with vegetables. I know there seems to be a slicer or tool for every fruit and vegetable out there. I have picked my 3 favorite ones and I use my favorite knives for every thing else.

Before I felt this desire almost to have it all. To store it all for someday. Or to have it just in case. Now I have made peace with those thoughts. I know there will always be enough clothes and that things will be ok and I tell myself that it’s ok to give my excess to others instead. Every time I am hesitant about giving something away I think of the much good that it could do.

I made it a point to keep one bin in my storage room for anything that we needed to donate. Whether it is for  the clothes our kids outgrow, extra kitchen items, unwanted toys and gifts from parties or the school gifts. Things we appreciate, but don’t need. Every couple of months we donate them to refugees or donation stores.

Letting go of these things was hard for me at first. I actually felt that I was being wasteful. Now I remind myself that I am giving to those who need more than me.

Last but not least, we often count how many objects we have around the home. I tell my kids to put away 10 things when our home starts to get hectic.

When their drawers are starting to be filled with rocks, papers, and all sorts of trinkets I remind them to pick their , let’s say 5 favorites, and donate the rest to a better place.

We have also been more minimalistic with our Christmas list.

Last but not least, one of our mottos has been, better 1 expensive good one, than many cheap unsatisfying ones. Our kids for example only wanted 2 really big things for Christmas this year. And we went for those. I almost felt I was being a bad parent. But they were absolutely satisfied with their presents.

I try and do the same for myself. I would rather save and get my favorite boots that cost more, than get a couple of so so ones at a discount store.

While I will never have an empty home with only 100 objects. And while I try not to obsess with being minimalistic, I love that I have learned that I can be free of the things I own. And I could let them go at a moment’s notice because my memories and my joy truly doesn’t have to be attached to them. But rather my husband and my kids are what matters most.

I am slowly detaching my identity from my posessions. I have learned that I am now capable and more willing to leave my things right away if we had to move or travel to pursue a dream, a cause, or anything we may feel we need to do.


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Serena Essuman

   

Serena Essuman

   
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