I love the website Becoming Minimalist. I stumbled on it a few months ago when the quarantine first began and it has been a find for me.
Over the past four years, I have slowly morphed into a minimalist lifestyle and the coronavirus has definitely helped me attain my minimalistic attitude.
It started when I watched this documentary in the fall of 2016:
What is a minimalistic lifestyle you ask? In a nutshell, it’s living with less shit in your possession.
After watching that documentary, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I told my friend Rebecca about it and she couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then over the next four years, I adopted it slowly to the point where it has become a lifestyle.
It has been during a pandemic where it has served me best because it is now when I can’t really shop regularly that I don’t really miss the act of shopping.
Oh sure, I miss the act of getting out of the house but I don’t miss the act of buying more things.
Shopping isn’t fun now. Have you been to Target lately?
It sucks. It really does.
I live in Illinois where we have managed to keep the curve down but it has come at a cost and that cost is that going to Target to shop for fun stuff is like going to prison to shop for groceries. I mean, I’ve never shopped at a prison for anything but I have a vivid imagination of how that might go. (I realize prison doesn’t sell stuff; I’m being funny. We need to laugh)
I mean, I AM NOT COMPLAINING. I am complicit with how my state is handling things.
Finally, something Illinois is good at, for God’s sake.
But there are arrows on the floors, there are rules and regulations, there are masks and plastic shields, and worst of all?
You can’t drink your Starbucks drink and shop.
But it’s okay because I just don’t need any more things for my home. Even though I am inside of it more now than ever, looking at stuff isn’t what I need, isn’t what fills my bucket and that is powerful.
I was reading a post on the aforementioned website a few weeks ago titled The Perfect Home and it made me think, what is my kind of perfect home? Am I living in my kind of perfect home?
When I first began writing here over ten years ago, I wrote weekly about crafts and making ugly things into pretty things, taking dollar store cheap things and making them look like fancier versions of themselves. I bought lots of things and filled my shelves and mantels and counters with knick-knacks.
I now know that I was buying those things to fill a void that I could never fill.
It was over the years that I realized that the less I had, the better I felt rather than the other way around.
I didn’t need things, I needed people and experiences.
My husband was working long grueling hours away from his wife and young children, time I desperately needed him home and I was filling the voids with crap from stores and he was working hours to pay for it.
Now, it wasn’t that he was working hours to pay for just those items. There was still the mortgage, the cars, the pool passes, and on and on. We couldn’t break that cycle just yet, but the knick-knacks, the extra things around the house, the brand names, and the extras that we didn’t really need, those did go.
I wanted to be freer than we were living. I didn’t want to be living for the paycheck, I wanted the paycheck to be living for us.
Watching the minimalist documentary was enlightening and also heartbreaking.
WHY do we need to fill our lives with stuff? What is WRONG with us? Why are we so impressed with other people’s stuff? Why do things make us so happy?
It is in 2020 when we are making decisions that are hard and critical to our future. We have always wanted a simpler life than the one we are living in.
Mike and I have never fit the mold of “suburban family”. I mean, we love the life we have here in the Chicago suburbs and we love our neighbors, our town, the life we created with our kids here.
But it’s expensive to live where we do and we don’t live in a fancy rich area, it is genuinely tax-expensive to live ANYWHERE in the Chicago area.
We don’t need to have the space we do as the kids are growing up and we rarely use the basement other than for storage (that I am slowly eliminating), but we are paying monthly for space that we don’t use. Why?
Why does my husband drive one hour and ten minutes ONE WAY to work a 12 hour day so that he can pay for space that we never use? For a backyard that he can only enjoy two days a week (when the weather is nice, that is).
It’s questions like those and many more that we were sick of trying to answer. And it was during a pandemic that we had to finally answer these and many more tough questions.
Was the home we were currently living in the perfect home? If it means do we love it for the way it has taken care of our family for the past 15 years? Yes. it really is.
But is it the perfect home for where our future is headed? No, it probably isn’t.
Does that mean we will move tomorrow? No, but it does mean that downsizing is imminent and welcomed. More stuff is not what we need. Less really IS more and if this pandemic has taught us anything it’s that life is short, things are just things and people are to be treasured.
Do you have trouble letting go of “stuff”?