Our Minimalist Expedition.
Let's talk about minimalism.
It looks a little like less laundry and more yoga. Less organizing and more exploring. Less fighting over toys. More running wild outside. Less tidying. More storytelling. Less spending. Less working. Less obligations. Less distractions. More travel. More family time. More learning. More goals. More dreams. More intention. More gratitude. More growth. Stronger relationships. You get the idea.
Recently we decided to sell, rehome, and donate all of our things that do not fit in our one-per-person suitcase quota, as we pack up, pick up, and jet off to Europe. (Read my initial post about that here). This has left A LOT of stuff to rehome and has been an acute reminder of the impact all of this stuff has on our lives. I'd like to think that we are fairly minimalist, but in reality, not so much, because, you know, kids are hoarders by nature and we have 4 of them. Granted one of them is still crawling around, but she'll catch on soon enough. They stash things, collect things, don't put away things, and bring home endless amounts of handmade pieces of art that they all want to see displayed around the house. It's a daily struggle to keep things tight, but we do it. Kind of. Still with routine purges and paperless systems, there has remained quite a mountain of "treasures" to sift through in our evermore appealing pursuit of an extreme minimalist lifestyle, which I hear you, is not for everyone.
But consider for a moment how many of your life pursuits and dreams are crowded out by the mental, emotional, and physical drain of an abundance of material things. How much of your decision making brain power is wasted each day on the demands of unimportant decisions, like tackling random bits of clutter at every corner, or panning through an oversized wardrobe each morning? Energy used searching out something you've seen laying around a million times, but can't find when you need it. Emotions of angst expended on messes, and emotions of guilt on stacks of unworn clothes that are meh and only exist to remind you of how much money you unnecessarily spent on them. How much of your hard work each day is bringing you closer to your goals and dreams, and how much of it simply resets at a zero balance each new day, ready to command your services again without any payment back to you.
I mean, how much do we really need? Do we really need to be working more and more each generation so that we can buy way more than the last generation. Buy bigger houses with enough room to fill it with more stuff that we work longer hours to buy. Time spent shopping, and returning, and organizing, and paying companies to organize, and store, and the lengthy time spent selling things only to meet the humbling reality that our prized possessions hold much less actual value than we place on them.
In our home now we have limited space, and even after regular editing, our stuff is simply crowding us out! Quite frankly, a majority of it is not earning its keep. Very little of it brings me or my children (contrary to what they might think) joy, and quite they opposite, actually invites toxicity into our home. Fighting, coveting, misguided attachment, and for me, overwhelm and anxiety at the sight of it. I want to spend less of my life on things that tax me, and more time on things that fulfill me. I want simplified mornings with time left for reading, meditating, and making healthy breakfasts for my family. I want to conserve my brain space for important things like learning a new language, not choosing which outfit to wear.
I want my kids to place less value on stuff and things, but still value the things and stuff they have because it's not just one of an endless bunch.
I want them to get more enjoyment out of their free time instead of spending countless hours each week picking up unnecessary messes of unloved toys when their brains and bodies are simply too tired to do it. I want to minimize the stresses of unnecessary things so I can withstand the stresses of important things.
So we are paring down our life to all of our favorites. Things that earn their keep. Things that provide us with enough joy that they are worthy of being packed into a suitcase and hauled from country to country. And even when we are not hauling them around, are still valuable enough to occupy our energy and space. We are pursing a level of minimalism, or even simply a level of editing, that allows us to be more present and less distracted, inviting in more joy and peace, and making room for more places and people and pursuits. What does a minimalist lifestyle of a family of six look like? Well I guess we're about to find out! Our pursuit is in its commencement.