Minimalism doesn’t always happen all at once, but can be a process. Here is part of my story.
Minimalism isn’t completely well defined, but I believe it’s more about what it means to you on a personal level.
I grew up as a pack-rat. I had lived with my mother and grandmother for some time and had witnessed the way they held onto possessions, and it seemed normal to me. Why would I want to get rid of anything anyway? Plus, what if I “needed” it later?
This way of thinking can be passed on, but seeing something different in the way others behave may prompt you to question the way you do things.
I’m not sure what prompted me back in 1999 to get rid of the first things I had ever gotten rid of (in my case my barbies that I never played with), but that moment marked the time my thinking shifted.
Little by little, I noticed I became more comfortable letting things go. A real change finally hit me around 2005 when I really started to look at my possessions again differently. I realized I didn’t “need” all this stuff, and I didn’t use some of the items at all.
I only got rid of about 5% of my stuff at that point, but it was a step.
Then I moved to college dorms the next year and felt very crammed in a small space. That year, I slowly began to go through ALL of my possessions and decide what meant the most to me. I donated many clothes, jewelry, and miscellaneous items. I might have gotten rid of 20% of my possessions at that point. I was happy to say that I felt much more free and light in general. I didn’t feel weighed down by so much “stuff” that didn’t matter to me anymore, and I had a cleaner room and work space.
2008 rolled around, and I had moved into a small room with 2 other people in southern California. Space was very limited! Before I moved in, there was no space for my stuff really. I was partly using my car trunk space as storage until I really began to go through my possessions.
It was not an ideal situation by any means, but it was my situation. One thing I can say though is that it really made me think about how much I owned and helped me question whether or not I really needed it.
I believe I ended up getting rid of more than 75% of my belongings at this point, and even more after I left in early 2010.
Just about everything I owned could fit inside my trunk of my little Honda Civic.
My life situations prompted me to change, as they do for most people. They test us and make us think. What has prompted you to think about minimalism and reassess your life?
If you liked this post, please feel free to read more of my other ones.