When I first started my minimalist journey, I would see so many minimalist kid rooms or toy rooms that were sparse and immaculate. This made me feel like I wasn’t doing good enough considering that my kid’s room’s didn’t look like they fell out of the pages of Pottery Barn and the fact that they were usually a mess. In my declutter “fits” I would often (and I’m not proud of this) sneak into their rooms and start putting toys into bags for donation. If I didn’t see them play with the stuff, then it had to go! However, times have changed drastically. While my kiddos are still required to keep their rooms clean, for the most part, they are off the hook when it comes to minimalism and decluttering. Here’s why.
It is absolutely crazy to think that it has been 5 years since we officially purchased our downsized house! There have been so many small victories and lessons to be learned throughout this journey and I love sharing them with as many people as possible. The thing is, you can try to tell people…you can try to prevent them from making your same mistakes and even though they might side-step some things, chances are they will find new, different mistakes to make. Even though that may be true, I still wanted to take this time for you and for me to share 5 of the biggest lessons (and mistakes) I have learned during the last 5 years living the simple life.
Back when I started my minimalist journey, I had begun reading in books that talked about how a lot of times we attach ourselves to things. We can attach to titles we are given, people, and of course, our stuff. At the time, everything in my life felt wrong. It felt like I had attached myself to all the wrong things and I was so desperate to break free that I just started decluttering and letting go of stuff. Like I was in a sinking ship and the only way to survive was to start tossing stuff overboard. The more I let go of the more I was forced to face my true self. No more covering up big problems with shiny toys. Now looking back, I can see so clearly how filling our homes and lives with more in an attempt to create a rich fulfilling life can leave us broken and far from the life we actually want.
Way back in the day (like 6 years ago) when I decided to stop being a compulsive spender who deeply lived with a YOLO mentality to a frugal, financially wise budgeter I wish someone would have told me that these two things are basically next-door neighbors. On my journey to better understand money, I went to the extreme opposite of the person I had previously been. The funny thing is that now I realize the opposite was still pretty much the same. Do you know how they say there is a fine line between love and hate? Well, as it turns out the same is true for being a compulsive shopper and a total cheapskate. I’ll prove it.
You know that movie, Groundhogs Day? Where Bill Murray keeps living the same day over and over again until he gets it right. It’s kind of funny, the lessons stick with you, but what’s really freaky is that so many of us are actually doing this. We fall into habits that are destructive to our health, finances, and families and even though we so badly want to break the cycle, we just keep repeating ourselves. This is what my life with spending felt like for way too long. Month after month I would plan my spending weeks before payday. I would get so excited about everything I could buy. If it was for the house, I would tell myself, “I just need this one more thing and then I’ll have everything I need.” Eventually, I started to realize, there was always just one more thing I needed. One day it occurred to me…my process never worked. I never got any happier. Why was I buying stuff I didn’t need? Even worse, what was it that I was really chasing? If happiness couldn’t be found in stuff…how was I supposed to find it? Here’s what I’ve learned.