Sunday, September 8, 2013

Less is More

Simple Is Beautiful

A few weeks ago, I had a very intriguing conversation with my brother.  He had been posting things online about the minimalist lifestyle, and I wanted to know more.  He sent me a few blogs to read and I became immersed in them.  I'm going to start off by saying, no I am not trying to become one of those people that has 2 pairs of pants and lives in a camper.  But I am trying to simplify my life and enjoy what IS important.

"Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.  When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."  -Lao Tzu

I think it all started when we moved back in June.  Packing your entire life into boxes makes you realize how much you have and how much you never use.  It was stressful.  I had anxiety looking at my life pile up in cardboard, wondering why I had half of this crap! Some of the boxes I literally hadn't touched in years!  Why was I holding onto it?  It wasn't bringing me happiness or good health in fact it was quite the opposite.  It was time to let go.

"Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."  William Morris

A few months passed and we were finally settled into our home.  I now had the time to finally begin my detox.  My brother told me the hardest part would be the start and he was right.  Where to begin?  I have a 1500 square foot home, packed with stuff and thats not including the basement.  I decided my closet would be the easiest place for me (weird as it is, I like weeding through my clothing so that felt like the natural place to start).  I took each piece and really questioned how often I wore it.  I had jeans I hadn't worn since college.  My dreams of being a size 2 again are just that, dreams.  WHY was I keeping them?  

"We go on multiplying our conveniences only to multiply our cares.  We increase our possessions only to the enlargement of our anxieties."  -Anna Brackett

As I made my way through my dresser and then through each closet (Yes, I have clothing in 3 closets in my house, that in and of itself is pathetic) I started to feel better.  I filled an entire garbage bag with clothing and shoes.  I posted some of my more expensive items on PoshMark (an online consignment shop) and have already made a few sales!  Although it was nice turning my "trash" into treasure, it was more than that.  I was letting go.  I was starting to "escape the excess".  The idea behind Minimalism is that when you strip away the nonessentials in life, you are able to better focus on the essentials and believe me, that's not my jeans, shoes or handbags!

"If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich."  -Lao Tzu

But that wasn't enough.  Friday night I found out there was a community garage sale at my in-laws and I didn't want to miss this opportunity.  I was on a roll.  I frantically (as Mike would say) rummaged through box after box in our basement and came up with a pile of everything from silverware and candles to picture frames, martini glasses and video games (half of which I forgot I even had) that hadn't seen the light of day in years.  I sold off what I could, profiting $78!  (not bad for a last minute sale)  Then we packed up everything that didn't find a new home and dropped it off at the Goodwill.    My brother told me, "There is something to be said for giving things away."  I am now officially one truckload closer to freedom.

"When there is no desire, all things are at peace."  -Lao Tzu

I know this is only the beginning for me, and I have a LONG way to go but already I feel the power I  have over my material things.  Now let's be serious.  I'm not trying to act like I'm never going to go shopping again or buy stuff for my family, that would just be silly.  But isn't changing your mindset the entire battle?  I have already stopped myself several times lately and asked, "Do I really need this?"  "Why do I want this?"  "Will it only make me happy for a few minutes?"  This new way of thinking has made me reevaluate need vs want and truly opened my eyes for the good.

"You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need."  -Vernon Howard

My husband keeps questioning my reasoning for all this.  He thinks I have a motive and to a point he may be right.  Should I save up my earnings from all my sales and finally buy myself the Louis Vuitton I've been waiting for?  (I'm already at $300...1/3 of the way there)  But isn't that exactly the point I am trying to make?  Instead of concentrating on what I can add to my life, I'm trying to concentrate on the progress I have made and the things I have that bring me pure joy.

"Simplicity is the ultimate form of Sophistication"

To end my blog, I want to write a list of things I do have that don't cost a dime.  They are MY essentials.  Things I am blessed to have and couldn't live without...

  1. My husband.  (Yes, for all you questioning my order, he IS my number 1.  Without him, I have nothing.)
  2. Case & Colt (in no particular order;)
  3. The rest of our family.
  4. Friends.
  5. Health.
  6. Career.
  7. The ability to exercise.
  8. Fresh Air.
  9. Happiness.
  10. Love.
***Thanks to my big brother Brandon for always trying to help me be a better person.

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