This is the story of why I decided to become a minimalist. It’s not an overly-dramatic story laced with heartache, sorrow and a longing for a greater purpose in life. It’s a story about making a conscious decision to do more with less. Simple as that.
It was a Wednesday, I remember it vividly. I received an e-mail alerting me that a package was waiting for me at the front desk. It was the 4th package I had received that week, each box advertised ‘Amazon Prime’ on its light brown exterior. There was something different about this package, though. I had absolutely no clue what the hell it was!
What had I done? I had so many packages coming to me that I couldn’t even remember what I bought? As I walked to the front desk, I searched my brain trying to recall what I had purchased. As I turned the corner, I saw a box sitting on the desk. Sure enough; ‘Amazon Prime.’ I grabbed the package and headed back to my desk. What could this be? It’s wasn’t big. Definitely lightweight. I tore the tape down the center and opened the cardboard flaps. It was a Kindle… My third Kindle.
The Decision to Change:
Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t own three identical Kindles. I’m not a crazy person. Each had their minor benefit or enhancement. One was super compact, I could take it anywhere. One had a larger screen, so I can see more of the page. This new one, the one I received that Wednesday, was backlit. Three devices serving the exact same purpose.
This is when I realized I needed to change something. Funny enough, I was just finishing up a book called, ‘The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up‘ on my large screened kindle. In a way, it was my introduction into the idea of living a minimalist lifestyle. I had often de-cluttered my apartment, but the de-cluttering I was doing was just ‘organized over-consumption.’ Buying these things didn’t make me happy like I thought they would. It’s true what they say, you can’t buy happiness.
I did some research on minimalism / essentialism and created a short list of why I wanted to adopt the lifestyle:
- Less shit to clean (and clean around)
- Less laundry to do ( I hate laundry!)
- Decrease my anxiety and stress by eliminating clutter for good (A clutter free space = a clearer mind)
- Free up time in my days (its insane how much free-time you’ll have. No clue where it comes from, but it’s true!)
- The idea that every item I own is special and chosen for a specific purpose. (Pretty great feeling)
- Become more conscious of my purchasing habits (Utilizing the one-in-one-out rule)
- Save Money / Pay of Debts (A great benefit to minimalism)
- Eliminate waste / lessen my global footprint (One World)
The Art of Letting Go:
As I started to minimize, I felt the stress and anxiety melt away. I donated the smaller, less valuable items (clothing, trinkets, plates, silverware, etc) and sold the tech and larger items using Craigslist (television, my second bike, old iPads, those three Kindles, etc). Not only was I minimizing my apartment, I was making money in the process!
(I just want to take a moment to clarify something here: In no way was I a ‘hoarder’ like you would see on TLC. Most would say I was already living a minimalist lifestyle. For me though, I had a lot of duplicate items & possessions I could happily part with.)
I am not going to go through everything I minimized in this post, I’ll cover this in my minimalism post series, but let me give you some quick examples:
- 20 pairs of socks (leaving me with 7 pairs)
- 7 plain white t-shirts (leaving me with 5)
- 12 plates (That I replaced with one camping plate)
- 6 mugs (leaving me with 1 mug)
- 6 bathroom towels (leaving me with 1 bath sheet, one hand towel, & one wash cloth.)
- All silverware (replaced with 1 fork, 1 spoon, & 1 knife.)
And so on.
I am living a bit more extreme than most minimalists, but I am afforded that opportunity by being a single dude living in small apartment. My choice to adopt this lifestyle could not have worked any better for me. I have found that minimalism, in general, promotes a healthier lifestyle. I am eating better, reading more, getting outside more, and just loving life more.
So there it is! The story of why I became a minimalist! Are you a minimalist or thinking about adopting the lifestyle? Let me know in the comment below!