What I learned from Minimalism

A while back I posted a little bit about minimalism. I know quite a few people said they’d like to find out more about it. So I wanted to kind of share for us our journey and how we have adapted it into our lives.

I remember that when I read my first book about it my life was changed in many aspects. I felt so ready to embrace it.

You can find the book I read here.

I felt as if my eyes were opened to a new kind of life that was a lot simpler and didn’t involve feeling deprived all the time.

See, with all the things that are thrown at us it’s easy to feel like we don’t have enough. The sweater we may have worn a few times it’s no longer all over Instagram. The brand new object from Costco is now just taking up space. It’s nice to leave the house and purchase something to make ourselves happy.

So when I first learned about minimalism I decided to go at it full force. I didn’t shop for a very long time. I decluttered my whole house. I realized how many products from grocery stores I didn’t need. I stopped purchasing multiples at the store of certain items hoping to use them later.

Over time though, I did realize that I had to slow down a little bit. For me I had to slow down with wanting to constantly declutter and get rid of things or with being maybe a little disappointed when I made a new purchase. I had to find what was our balance and what would work for us long term.

What I ultimately learned is that I always want to have a long term plan when purchasing things. For example if I know I’ll buy a home in a year I won’t buy decor until then because I want to do it in the new space where I know my pieces will go well.

I no longer make leisure trips to hobby lobby just to buy a new frame or some seasonal decor if I know I already have enough.

I avoid shopping just to shop. If I go to a store I try and go with a plan and not just to find something fun.

I am more minimalistic with the groceries we buy. I get our staples and I have trimmed on a lot of unhealthy snacks and foods that I know we don’t really love.

I am very picky with the clothes I buy too. This one is one area where I don’t have a desire to own maybe only 30 pieces of clothing. But what I have done is try to get one boot of one color for example, and make sure it’s a style that will go with the clothes that I have. I try to get more staple pieces as well and not to have two jeans the same color and style for no reason. If I get an item that’s more so trendy right now, I’ll get maybe one.

I have been trying to buy less clothes too and put some wear and tear on them rather than having lots and lots that I will barely wear and will soon go out of style before I have even enjoyed them and rotated enough through them.

When it comes to clothes, I envision myself a year or two from now looking back and thinking how I usually always end up feeling sick and tired of my clothes. Or when none of these clothes will be in style. I thing of me then, and I want to know that I won’t have to get rid of my whole closet or I won’t have so many items that I’ll wonder how and why I ever bought them. I want to have to get rid of just a few items. I never enjoy when I get rid of clothes and I go back and think of how much I have spent on everything I own.

I try and get more classic pieces ultimately when it comes to clothes.

I try and wait an extra day for groceries if I know I can make due with what we have that way I won’t make the food I already have spoil. We tend to eat the newer stuff right away if we already have it at home.

I have stopped chasing every object that comes my way and wanting to have it all. I have learned now what I truly love and try to only stick to owning those things. I no longer own multiples of every kitchen gadget and I avoid buying all the trendy tools for cutting and slicing. I bought myself for example one good set of knives from Germany and I have a food chopper for when I have to cook larger quantities of food with vegetables. I know there seems to be a slicer or tool for every fruit and vegetable out there. I have picked my 3 favorites and I use my favorite knives for every thing else.

Before I felt this desire almost to have it all. To store it all for someday. Or to have it just in case. Now I have made peace with those thoughts. I know there will always be enough clothes and that things will be ok and I tell myself that it’s ok to give my excess to others instead.

Every time I am hesitant about giving something away I think of the much good that it could do.

Another thing I often do is keep a bin at all times for donations. Whether it’s outgrown clothes or toys from fast food places or class parties. Things we appreciate, but don’t need. And every couple of months we donate them to refugees or donation stores.

Letting go of these things was hard for me at first. I actually felt that I was being wasteful. Now I remind myself that I am giving to those who need more than me.

Last but not least, we often count how many objects we have around the home. I tell my kids to put away 10 things when our home starts to get hectic.

When their drawers are starting to be filled with rocks, papers, and all sorts of trinkets I remind them to pick their , let’s say 5 favorites, and donate the rest to a better place.

We have also been more minimalistic with our Christmas list.

Last but not least, one of our mottos has been, better 1 expensive good one, than many cheap unsatisfying ones. Our kids for example only wanted 2 really big things for Christmas this year. And we went for those. I almost felt I was being a bad parent. But they were absolutely satisfied with their presents.

I try and do the same for myself. I would rather save and get my favorite boots that cost more, than get a couple of so so ones at a discount store.

While I will never have an empty home with only 100 objects. And while I try not to obsess with being minimalistic, I love that I have learned that I can be free of the things I own. And I could let them go at a moment’s notice because my memories and my joy truly doesn’t have to be attached to them. But rather my husband and my kids are what matters most.

I have learned that I am now capable and more willing to leave my things right away if we had to pursue a dream, a cause, or anything we may feel we need to do.

Love, M. Serena Essuman

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