My journey from maximalist to minimalist took place because of a few small AHA moments. Here is what started my minimalist journey.

From Maximalist to Minimalist: What inspired my minimalist journey

I often find myself talking about my minimalist journey as if it all happened in one big, AHA! moment. The reality is, life had slowly been dropping me signs that minimalism was the right path for me. Had you told me this in my early 20’s I would have called you crazy. I was a shopaholic and proud of it. I was drawn to beautiful things, luxury cars and McMansion homes. There was always an underlying desire for more, more, more and I never once questioned it. Well, until I did…

My journey from maximalist to minimalist took place because of a few small AHA moments. Here is what started my minimalist journey.
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Minimalism didn’t come naturally

They say that our environments are a reflection of our inner selves and if that’s the case, anyone looking at my high school bedroom might have pick up on the fact that I was a little chaotic. While I always kept my room clean, it almost came across like a pop art museum crammed into 200 square feet. (I was lucky to have such a big room).

Because the wallpaper was plaid in my room (thank you 1970’s design), I made sure to cover it completely with movie posters and magazine cutouts, which left my walls a collage of all things 2000’s pop culture. To add more chaos to the matter, I have always been a naturally artistic person which is why my mom didn’t question it when I began stringing soda cans to my ceiling with fishing lure and a stapler.

Beaded room dividers, two beds, blow up furniture, and any knick knack that caught my eye. I had it all. Now I see my decorating choices as a desperate attempt to create an exterior that felt bright, exciting and colorful because inside felt like a big, ‘ol mess.

I tell you this because I want you to know minimalism didn’t come naturally to me. I wasn’t always someone who leaned toward having a little less. As a kid, and into my early adult years, I was leaning closer to what people call maximalism.

Our exterior is a reflection of our interior

As life got crazier, my cluttered bedroom became my fortress of solitude. It was my safe space, my sanctuary amidst the madness. But deep down, there was this nagging feeling of unease – like I was trying to block out the world with all that clutter. Turns out, it was a sign of something bigger brewing beneath the surface.

The fact that a cluttered environment speaks to our mental and emotional state is now something scientists are beginning to uncover to be true. Speaking from experience, I know for a fact that when my room was cluttered, I was simultaneously feeling it internally. Was it an inside-out job or an outside-in? I’m sure we could debate either way.

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Shopping = control

Like most maximalists, I continued to add to my collection by shopping whenever possible. Flipping through the hangers on the clearance racks were one of my favorite pastimes and nothing beat the rush I felt from bringing something new home with me. Of course, that rush only lasted an hour or so. A lot of people don’t think of shopping addiction as a true addiction. However, more and more studies show that the dopamine hit we get from shopping can be experienced very similarly to a high we would get from any other drug. While I’ve never done any drugs, I can tell you this is very much true.

No matter what went right or wrong in my life, shopping was my solution and I slowly began drowning in all the things I was bringing home. My first experience with buyer’s remorse was when I was 16 years old, but I continued the habit for another almost 10 years.

This stuff isn’t working

As I said before, life continued to send me little clues that I wasn’t really as happy as I thought I was when it came to having all the right stuff. It wasn’t until I had literally everything I ever wanted that I realized I had wanted all the wrong things.

I took a poll once in an online minimalist Facebook group I am a part of to see what sparked people’s minimalist journey and was surprised to find that there were 5 common traumas that people experienced that led them to minimalism.

For me, the loss of my dad and grandma were small hits to my big minimalism awakening that finally made me realize chasing stuff wasn’t working for me. Through a series of events, I had begun learning about minimalism through resources like Becoming Minimalist, The Minimalists, and through spiritual teachings by author Wayne Dyer. Somehow, no matter where I turned or what I read, the message of detaching from our possessions kept seeming to find me. I started listening by decluttering my closet.

The cleaning burnout

When I met my now-husband, and saw his tidy apartment for the first time, it was like a breath of fresh air. Seriously, the man knew how to keep things clean – I could literally see my face in his faucet.

There was one moment in particular that stands out, where he was walking into his bedroom and, as he passed by his discarded socks on the floor, he picked them up and put them in his laundry basket on the way. It was a wake-up call for me: cleaning didn’t have to be a Herculean task. For most of my life, I had been the kind of person who would walk past those socks for days, until there was a mound of clothes on the floor. Then, instead of cleaning, I would feel frustrated and overwhelmed by it all. From that moment on, I looked at tidying a lot differently.

However, after we had upsized our house and moved into what I thought would be the home of my dreams, I quickly grew tired of constant tidying and picking up toys. It seemed like I was always in search of a new organizational hack, or was consistently making donations at the local Goodwill.

The realization slowly hit me one day on my way to drop off donations after a big spring cleaning, If I am always dropping things at donation centers, I’m not actually getting anywhere. In other words, the clutter was winning. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be constantly having to do these massive declutter sessions, right?

From Maximalist to Minimalist: What inspired my minimalist journey

Downsizing our house

In August of 2015, I had my final AHA Moment. We should sell the house!

You see, after purchasing our large, dream home, we slowly started drowning in cleaning, bills, and the stress of maintaining all of it. More than anything I wanted to get back to being able to fully enjoy family time like we had in our smaller homes. It seemed like all we were doing was trying to keep up with a lifestyle and I no longer wanted that for myself or my family.

There was a very real fear in the back of my mind that worried what other people would think when we made the decision to go in the opposite direction most people choose to go, but I didn’t care. Downsizing to a smaller home completely transformed our lives in every way. We were able to get ahead with our finances, pay off debt, and it created the time and flexibility for me to learn to make an income from home.

After downsizing our house, suddenly, we were free from the shackles of excess stuff. Cleaning wasn’t a chore anymore – it was a liberating ritual, reclaiming our time and energy for the things that truly mattered.

Living with less

And there you have it – my journey towards minimalism in a nutshell. It’s been a wild ride, full of ups and downs. But through it all, I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty of living with less. So here’s to embracing simplicity and finding freedom in the uncluttered spaces of life.

If you love the idea of living with less, but have no idea where to start, I created an eBook that is designed to help you create a peaceful environment both inside and out. Click here to get The Gentle Art of Letting Sh*t Go.

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My journey from maximalist to minimalist took place because of a few small AHA moments. Here is what started my minimalist journey.

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