Friday, May 9, 2014

A Minimalist Lifestyle

Without realizing it I've been making strides toward living a minimalist lifestyle. It began for me when I was in college and I realized I was putting all the things I owned in boxes twice a year and moving them. Moving forces us to look at what we really have, what we really use, and what we really need. Once I got sick of packing everything up it slowly began to change my buying habits. Whenever I found myself wanting to buy something I kept in mind I would eventually have to box it up and move it. 

These were just the seed that were planted and the real change took place when I lived in Morocco for two years. I started from scratch and had to furnish my entire apartment. I had very limited funds and knew I only had to make a place that would be comfortable for just one person. What resulted was truly just the essentials. I knew then how refreshing it was and truly realize now refreshing it is now. I remember being so happy with owning just two plates, two bowls, four forks and spoons, and two pans in my kitchen. One to eat off of, one for a back up while the other was dirty. There was no reason to have a cupboard full of dozens of eating utensils because I knew I didn't need them. 

I didn't have a lot of clothes because I wore the same few things that I was comfortable in. My living room had a couple of places to sit, an area rug, a desk, and chair. 

I continue to use my same college mentality when making purchases. How much space will it take up and how much of a pain in the ass will it be to move it? Answers to these questions prevent me from making a lot of purchases. 

I don't do well with clutter in my life and that is why I continue to live more minimally as time goes on. I don't purchase new clothes  or shoes often but when I do I have a rule. I must get rid of one thing that this new item will replace. In with a new pair of shoes-out with an old pair of shoes. When I purchase new clothes anymore I either like to buy something of high quality to ensure it will last or find something from a second hand store that rates to my standards. Gone are my days of buying lots of what I call "disposable" clothes. Ones that don't wash well, get misshaped easily, and we are way to quick to get sick of. 

To be honest "stuff" makes me nervous. It binds us down. It anchors us to one place. And for what reason? In our society success is measured by how much stuff you own. But it doesn't equal freedom and I refuse to buy into it.