Humor, Life

The Perfect Home

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.

GASP.

I know.

I KNOW.


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?

White and Red Wooden House With Fence

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?


 

Coins Inside Jar

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”?

 

29 thoughts on “The Perfect Home”

  1. I just watched the preview of the Minimalist on youtube; it looks like something we should all watch and apply to our lives, including myself.
    We DO have a big house. Now, it’s not so needed since the kids have moved out, but I still love my house (yard!) so much that I can’t let it go. Not yet anyway. Also, my kids don’t want us to let it go because I think secretly, they want it later on. 🙂 I’m praying it will be filled with grandkids one day. Also, we host all the holidays….but then again, if I didn’t have space, someone else could host? 🙂 HA. never.
    I do tend to hold onto sentimental items, but I’m getting better at getting rid of stuff lately. I’m not a fan of knick-knacks or clutter.
    Good lord, seeing those people trample each other for a new Iphone is so sad….WTF??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So it’s funny you say that because Anna loves the house we currently live in. This is the home she was raised in. So I don’t know that we could leave it.
      I mean it makes no sense to stay in it when the kids are grown but then I think, well when they bring their families for holidays and such, it would be nice. So I go back and forth too. It’s so hard. I understand. ❤️

      My mom and I had the conversation about sentimental items and how we both have a hard time letting go of things but I’m starting to slowly get away from that. SLOWLY.

      Yeah, I don’t understand that either. I think for me the biggest Takeaway of minimalism was the buying of new stuff. We just don’t buy things as much. Groceries, experiences, gasoline for the car, sure. Anything we buy now, is to replace not to buy in addition to. It’s so freeing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that you found positive during such a dark time. And I feel like it just keeps getting darker and darker. It felt like it was getting better and now it’s just getting worse.
    But this helps me see a light and for that I’m grateful.

    I am going to watch that documentary sometime this week with my husband and start getting rid of stuff. I just need to be lighter or something.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Kari. This post speaks to so much in my heart. It’s so wonderful and weird that we met through being DIY home bloggers and have ended up in the place we have. I suppose it makes a kind of sense–we are both still very interested in making a good home, but not in the superficial ways we once were.

    Just this weekend I discovered a whole section of ebooks in my library about home design, and I checked out Joshua Becker’s The Minimalist Home and another one (I won’t name) on organizing. The basic premise of the organizing one is: buy lots of bins, label them, and arrange things in rainbow color order. It doesn’t mention that the key part of organizing is HAVING LESS STUFF.

    I love having good organizational systems. I love beautiful aesthetics. I love calm and order (my brain NEEDS calm and order). I love function. I love having fewer things and loving all of them. I want quality over quantity. Like you, I want home to serve me and not the other way around. This is better not just for us individually, but for the entire freaking planet. I do visit Target and I do buy some things there and am grateful for it, but damn, there’s a lot of crap there that no one needs and that aren’t good for our world. Every time I go to a thrift store (which I do, in part to mitigate the impacts of Target), it’s so clear to me how much we don’t need all that stuff. The shelves are full of utter crap that no one is ever going to want again.

    The home I have now is about half the size of the one I lived in previously. Now, it wouldn’t work for the three teens and two adults that lived in that previous home, but it’s just right for me to live in all the time and for those others to be in some of the time. I love that I can actually get the whole house clean all at the same time (something I never felt able to do in the other house). I love that almost everything in it is either meaningful or functional (and often both). It is my refuge and comfort, which I’ve needed now more than ever. Minimalism doesn’t mean deprivation to me. It doesn’t mean we can’t have beautiful things. It means we don’t have anything but beautiful things (and that we broaden our definition of beauty).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES TO ALL OF THIS.
      My brain (and my soul) needs calm and order too, now more than ever. I don’t think this post would have been written or maybe even needed in any other year than the one we are currently living in. I just wrote to another friend who commented that, yes I do want to have the kids over when they are older and yes, I have saved some beloved items for them. But I don’t need to burden them with things I needed to have because I am learning that I don’t really NEED anything anymore. I need to be calm, happy, pain-free and surrounded by my loved ones. That is all I ever really needed in the first place and I don’t doubt you are very similar to those needs as well.

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  4. I want to check out this documentary. I love a good documentary. My kids think I am weird. Of course.

    I see people downsizing in our community as the kids finish high school. I hope to stil live in our house when there are grandkids. My hope is that there will be so many of us that we won’t want to give up the space. As far as stuff- not really my thing, although we have STUFF it is stuff kids outgrow and textbooks and birthday party crap that I like to pitch. If we are talking about wardrobe items. Well, I draw the line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Documentaries are my FAVORITE type of movie to watch! My kids think I am weird too.
      I just said kind of the same thing to Suz; I do want the kids to come back with kids and grandkids and husbands and/or wives and sit at the same tables we did and be here. So I am very torn. But at the same time, the stuff needs to go except for things like their beloved items like old awards, old dolls they loved, first lost tooth, etc.. I have saved those items in two bins we call “keepsake bins” that they will take with them when they grow up and they can do whatever they wish with them, no pressure to keep them. I just don’t feel the need to burden them with things when I grow old and they have the task of going through my basement. 😉

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  5. I have no trouble letting go of stuff at all! I’m sure I’d be shocked at all the crap we’ve accumulated anyway living here for 17 years if we ever wanted to pack up a move but I do try to clean out and purge often. I like less clutter and things– who really needs more stuff to clean and move and life around anyway? I often joke with my husband we SHOULD move just so we’d HAVE to go room by room and sort through everything!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I like to live like a turtle; with all the things I need on my back. 🙂
      I think it makes me nervous to have too many things around. Having less stuff makes me feel lighter and just freer. It helps my anxiety immensely.

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  6. I will definitely be looking at the website, Becoming Minimalist. I think one we’ve all disovered during this Coronavirus, is that we don’t need as much stuff as we thought we did. I was telling a friend last month that I don’t miss shopping at all. I did go to HomeGoods a few weeks ago to look for curtains for the window well in the basement family room and a summer throw for the couch, but neither item worked and I had to return them. I now re-purposed an old throw for the curtain (it looks shabby-cool, ha ha) and I’m using an old, folded, colorful quilt on the couch.

    We’ve never been the “keep up with the Jones’ ” type. We bought this small house 30 years ago and it served us fine raising two kids. We saw a lot of of our friends moving up to bigger houses when they had kids and several of those friends hit hard financial times (job losses, etc) ended up losing their homes. So I’m glad we stayed put. And other friends that are now empty nesters like us are still in their huge four-bedroom, three-bath homes and are wanting to move yet again because they want to down-size. We were asked the other day by a relative what we’re going to do when Brian retires in five years – will we stay here or move into a townhouse? We told her we honestly don’t know. Something we’ll have to play by ear. This house is not too big for just the two of us – it’s actually just right, as one spare bedroom is a guest room and the other is Brian’s office. The yard is small enough to easily maintain. The only thing I don’t like is having a basement (wasted space; only accumulates junk) and not having a dining room for entertaining space.

    Thus all said…I still need to work on clearing out more stuff in the basement and one of mine and Brian’s summer projects is cleaning out the garage!

    Thanks for the motivation.
    xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So Mike IS a secret hoarder LOL. I have to go behind him and throw things out otherwise it would get out of hand. He is a product of two hoarders. Their home is FULL of stuff and he knows that is something we will have to deal with someday. I mean, they aren’t an episode of Hoarders, bad but they do have trouble letting go of stuff. But he is good about me getting on him and he does let me go through his stuff and give away things.
      Sometimes what he doesn’t know I get rid of, won’t hurt him. BUT I don’t touch his garage or the golf stuff. That is off-limits.
      I love your house, by the way. Your antiquing and your decorating is the perfect amount if that makes sense. Your style is perfect and makes me feel calm. 🙂

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      1. I can relate to the husband not getting rid of stuff. 😉

        Your comment about my house is so sweet and kind and gives me good feels. Thank you so much. I love your house, too and your style of decorating. It’s welcoming, light and fun. How you had it decorated at Christmas was just beautiful.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Aww, thank you. When this is all over, I can’t wait to get together again and go to each other’s homes. That’s the one thing I miss most. Going inside other peoples houses. ❤️

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      3. Right? I’ve only been in three other homes – my neighbor-friend down the street (we sit across the table from each other), my mom and my aunt.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I generally don’t have a problem with getting rid of stuff…my husband on the other hand…

    I have realized during this time is that I don’t really miss “shopping” just “shop.” This in and of itself is keeping unnecessary items out of the house (well, The Husband still brings in food that we definitely don’t “need” at that particular time though). As the mood hits, I continue to purge and compiling a growing pile headed for Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity.

    Thanks for the links, I’ll check them out (and may possibly send one or two to The Husband; which he will promptly ignore.).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I thought I left a comment, but maybe I didn’t?!! Anywhoo…I love this. I’ve moved A TON since I was kid and I just don’t have an emotional attachment to stuff. I regularly and ruthlessly purge. I also HATE shopping. Though I always have a wishlist when it comes to books, yarn, and gardening so I don’t know that I’m really truly a minimalist as much as stuff and clutter and knick knacks make me itchy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I moved a lot as a kid too! Maybe that’s why I don’t have an emotional attachment either? I never thought about that. But I don’t like change and I think that is because of moving a lot.
      I do collect plants though but don’t feel bad because they make me happy and help us breathe, so it’s all good. ❤️

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  9. Oh I’ve trouble letting go of stuff. I was taught to “waste not, want not” so that has translated into a lifelong struggle with letting go of objects and memorabilia. I like stuff, but it needs to be the *right stuff* for me to feel centered and whole. Sadly much of what we have in our basement doesn’t do that.

    On top of that there’s the never-ending problem of how/where to get rid of stuff. Right now Goodwill is closed, the Restore isn’t taking donations, and St. V de P has a waiting list for pickup. There is no way to let go…

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    1. Check your Goodwill! Ours is open, so yours might be as well. I just dropped off two bags yesterday.
      Of course, afterward, I ran to Target to pick up groceries and got four votive candles but they were unscented and I NEEDED them for the table where I am writing the book. I NEED INSPIRATION. 🙂

      I agree with the “waste not, want not”; my mom and I discussed that a while back. She struggles with that at times too. Holding onto things of her mother’s even though they had different tastes. It is an emotional thing for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I checked our Goodwill earlier this week. Not open for dropping off stuff AND now saying they won’t take furniture when they do open. So there’s that.

        I relate to your mother’s emotional thing. I have it, too. I know why I behave like I do, but cannot overcome myself, yet. *meh*

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      2. No, you’re making me laugh out loud. I’ve done that, btw. Painted old dining room chairs, then put pots with flowers onto the seats. Very cute, for a few years before the wood rots.

        Liked by 1 person

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