Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Inspired by Minimalism

During my pregnancy I had been watching a vlogging family on Youtube- and I was struck by how "little" they seemed to have. Their house was almost completely bare, save for a couple of mattresses on the floor of their bedroom, and some giant beanbag chairs in their living room.

I assumed that they may have been in the process of furnishing their home before I realized that they consciously lived that way. I didn't understand it at first, but the more I watched them, the more I realized that they didn't have an empty house at all. Instead of furniture and possessions however, it was filled with- fun, love and space for imagination and creativity. While owning more and having fun, love and imagination etc, are not necessarily mutually exclusive- I could see how letting go of the need to keep up with the Joneses would allow for more room (mentally, financially) to focus on experiences, health and the relationships with those around you. Their open living room allowed for their daughter to run around carefree and cardboard boxes were transformed into play houses or furniture when needed. Watching them, I sensed that perhaps they stressed less, and enjoyed life more than I did. While Youtube vlogs are definitely an edited "reality", I still felt like they were on to something, and it would be worth it to try to curb my spending, and assess what my real "needs" were.

Though some may deem that lifestyle extreme, I thought it was refreshing to see. When it is commonplace to see those around you driving fancy cars, living in expensive homes, using the newest model phone, or even eating out every other day- it's understandable that one may start to feel the urge to keep up. It's also easy to see how stress, or feeling like you don't have enough, can creep up on you when you when you find that you simply can't keep up!

And so, I've decided, why try to?

While I am nowhere near the level of minimalism that that family has adopted, I have made efforts in evaluating my needs and wants, and decluttering my home. I've made small changes, but with letting go, I've already felt a difference in my life.

When my smartphone died, I dug out my old blackberry and have used it since instead of purchasing a new one. I've also gotten rid of my data plan and have found that in addition to saving money, I am also more "present". I'm no longer constantly checking Facebook or emails and can give more attention to those around me.

I no longer buy clothes every other month to keep up with trends. In fact, I don't even remember the last time I bought something for myself. By giving shopping up, we've found that we head to the malls a lot less and instead explore the city around us!

I have gone through my house and tried to sell/donate anything that I know I have not used in the last 6 months- knowing someone else will benefit from something that would otherwise be gathering dust at home is a good feeling. Plus, my house is less cluttered!

I don't spoil my daughter with the newest gadgets or toys (nor do I deprive her) but I try to be sensible with what I do purchase for her. Besides, there are many articles that demonstrate how having less toys can be beneficial like this one.

It has absolutely been an eye opening experience. While we pay not be "minimalist" enough for the purists, we think we've found a good balance that works for us.

Let us know how it goes if you try it out!

-Sally
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