Why I decided to live with less

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Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.

I think this sums up nicely why I decided in 2013 that I wanted to live with less stuff.

I tried consumerism, I tried fitting in with what everyone else around me in a similar situation was doing, I tried being many different things to many different people and guess what? I got the same result: anxiety, a lack of satisfaction and a tonne of frustration.

One night I remember thinking aloud “There’s gotta be a better way, there’s gotta be more to life than this”.

It took another 6 months of soul searching to discover what this “better way” was, and even when I found it I wasn’t sure it was going to be the answer to all my problems. But that’s the beauty of life: trying different paths, not having a map or a plan or any idea but just going with the flow and seeing what happens.

When I discovered minimalism as a way of living through blogs such as Miss Minimalist, The Minimalists, Be More With Less and Becoming Minimalist, I felt a sense of relief to find a community of people who realised that there is indeed more to life than what we have been conditioned to believe, and it was through the sharing of their stories that I was inspired to create a major change in my life.

I began like most people trying to simplify their lives: tackling the physical stuff. The clutter. The crap.

I felt nearly every emotion possible while decluttering the stuff in our house, from anger and confusion, to happiness and melancholy, and some of my thoughts were:

“Where did all these mugs come from?”

“Do I really need five of these when only one will do?”

“Someone else can get more use out of this.”

“What the hell was I thinking?”

“I’m just going to get rid of it and not think about it.”

“I don’t know if I’m ready to part with this.”

“What if I need this one day?”

“But it was a gift from {insert name}, what would they think if they knew I was throwing this out?”

“Far out, I forgot I even had this!”

The whole experience of decluttering was a real eye-opener for me because I caught myself thinking the silliest and most irrational thoughts that were mostly related to fear- fear of what would happen if I let go of something, fear of making the wrong decision or fear of what would be left of our home once the decluttering was completed.

Looking back now, I was only scratching the surface of a simpler life when I decided to declutter our home because what has followed since then is a journey along a very new and exciting path for not only myself but for my family too. I initially decided to live with less stuff because I knew that all of the stuff I was consuming and holding onto in my life was not making me happy, but I had no idea that living a simpler life would give me so much more joy than any material item ever could.

A simpler life has given me more TIME.

A simpler life has given me an appreciation for the simple things in life.

A simpler life has strengthened my relationship with my husband and children.

A simpler life has made me less stressed, less anxious and less willing to live a life according to society’s expectations.

A simpler life has given me the confidence to try new experiences and challenges.

A simpler life has brought me more happiness.

If you are reading this but have not yet begun to live a less busy and more meaningful life through a minimalist lifestyle, I cannot make you change the way you live, I cannot tell you what to do with your life, but I ask that you reflect on how you feel about your life, your self, your relationships, your dreams. I ask that you consider that there may be a better way to do this, that there IS more to life than what you have been led to believe.

And if there is a little voice telling you to try live a more simpler and less busy life, to get rid of stuff, to say no every once in a while, to make time for those you care about- listen to that voice.

Go with the flow, and see where it takes you.

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7 Comments

  1. This has really made me think. I often feel overwhelmed with all the “stuff” we have in our house – it can actually be quite oppressive! I think you have inspired me to do a big cull next weekend 🙂

    Reply
    • Yes “stuff” can definitely make you feel that way, and you will find as you begin your cull you will feel even more frustrated with the stuff you own. At one point, I realised that the stuff we own ends up owning us. Good luck next weekend! I’d love to know how you go, so drop me a line!
      Natalie

      Reply
  2. There should be a moratorium on mug production. There are probably 20 mugs for each living person in the world. Seriously.

    On another note, we’ve been able to find things during our purging that have been missing. There used to be an old VW commercial here in the states about a full size spare tire. The first line is “Great day in the morning. What once was lost, now is found.” So whenever we find something, we say “Great day in the morning.” I was purging CD’s and found a disc that had been missing for YEARS. I had just given up ever finding it and was going to toss the jewel case. THAT we still had. The missing disc was in another CD that I pulled to get rid of. “Great day in the morning.” We’re still down a van key. I’m hoping we find it in the Christmas stuff since it went missing last winter a week or so after Christmas.

    Reply
  3. Ironically, I started a decorating blog a couple of years ago, and now am creating a minimalist blog through it. I have always loved pretty. It took a long time for me to realize this, but I can still have pretty, just have a heck of a lot less of it, lol! I am now going down the path of unbusying myself so I have the time for things that are really important to me, things that will count in Eternity.

    Reply

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