Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My First Experience As a Minimalist

My first experience of being a minimalist came in the summer of “94. I loaded what I could get in my car and some more stuff in another friend’s car and headed out for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to live with some friends. There, in a 3 bedroom house, a couple of blocks away from the beach with 2 other roommates, I had my own bedroom, a closet, but no dresser and only a twin mattress on the floor to sleep on. I reflect on that time often as probably the most tranquil time in my life. I didn’t have much stuff. I worked, partied at night, and went to the beach on almost a daily basis. I didn’t know it then, but that summer experience would be seed for what is happening in my life right now.

Fast forward to the winter of 2012. My husband and I were having financial problems. I don’t remember the exact moment, but at some point during that time, I “stumbled” across this blog called
Becoming Minimalist. There I began to learn about a new way to look at money, and stuff. Minimalism, at it’s heart, is getting rid of the bad, so all the good can shine through. As I learned more about minimalism, I realized this was something I craved.

A well known quote that circulates among aspiring minimalists is “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”-William Morris. I also like what Jesus said, “Stop storing up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. Instead, store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust don’t destroy, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. Your heart will be where your treasure is.”- Matthew 6:19-21 

Minimalism looks different for everybody. What is important to me, will not always be important to you. I am a homeschool mom. We need crayons, pencils, paper, etc. But, I don’t need fourteen books on homeschooling. I also don’t need every piece of artwork from when my child was four. Because we are a large homeschooling family, working toward a minimalist lifestyle has become something very important to me, because there have been days I have felt like I was drowning in stuff.

So how does minimalism solve financial issues? You stop the inflow of stuff. Easy. Simple. While you are taking steps, to reduce the amount of stuff or clutter in your home, you stop buying stuff you don’t need. Examine every purchase. How long will you use it? Do you really need it? Can you live without it? Minimalism doesn’t mean you never buy anything again. It just means you get rid of the junk, so the good stuff can shine through. Make room for the important.

It has been twenty years this summer since those seeds for a simple, minimalist life were watered in my heart; I say watered because I think they have always been there. I have accumulated a lot of stuff. It is easy to do when you have a large family. I am slowly making my way out of it, so I can uncover all of the important things in my life. It is a life journey. I am not there yet, but we are on our way.

One last thing. When we start removing the unnecessary physical stuff in our lives, it impacts us in other ways, spiritually even. You see, that summer, in “94, when I went to the beach with just the stuff I could carry, that was the year Jesus sought me out and brought this sheep back home.

1 comment:

  1. What a great perspective! I'm starting to lean towards less in more in our home, and it's a struggle some days to purge when I think I'll *need* everything. Thanks for the encouragement to let go!