2014 is a year I will never forget. So many events and experiences stand out in my mind, among them is living as a minimalist.
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Recently I began reading The Joy of Less by Francine Jay. In the first couple pages she talks about a scenario of having an amazing opportunity to move across the country, but not going because you are too bogged down by stuff.
Oddly enough, my husband and I did leave all our stuff behind to move halfway across the country. During Matt’s 4th and final year of Optometry school, we lived in 4 different apartments in 3 different states within 8 months. And I was pregnant.
Our first rotation was in Amarillo, Texas. We packed up our apartment where we lived for two years and put nearly everything in storage. Everything we needed had to be packed into our sedan.
That was tough to do. Somehow we got an air mattress, bedding, our clothes, the pricier cooking utensils, two laptops, and a printer to fit in that car. We decided we would buy any other necessities when we got to Texas and donate it all before we left.
Through this minimalist journey, I’ve been reflecting on our 3 months of extreme minimalist living. Today I’m sharing what I learned from living as a minimalist for 3 months.
Lessons I Learned from Living as a Minimalist
1 | Stuff is easily replaceable
We bought a cheap set of dishes, cheap appliance stores, a dinky desk, folding table, and two lawn chairs when we arrived in Texas. The thing is, we pick out all these nice items for ourselves, when anything can get you by.
2 | It’s easier to keep things tidy
Since the only furniture to speak of was a dinky desk, a folding table, two lawn chairs, and an air mattress, cleaning up was easy. Thank goodness, because I was not feeling great. (Maybe being a minimalist is great for pregnant women with morning sickness.)
3 | Some items are absolutely essential to comfort
The item I missed the most was our couch. How I longed to just walk in the door and throw myself down on something comfortable!
4 | You can only sleep on an air mattress for so long until…
By the end of 3 months my pregnant back was feeling that air mattress. I was so happy to travel just so I could sleep in a normal bed!
5 | You spend more time traveling
When you live with nothing, you have time and money to explore the world. It was our plan to begin with, but it was nice to experience the world rather than mope around in our smelly little apartment.
6 | When you have nothing, you look for community
We went to Texas with no connection to anybody. I did my research and found that one of the parishes was starting a group for people our age. Our very first meeting we met two awesome couples and other young singles who took us in right away. We are so grateful for their friendship and still think of them often, wishing we lived a little bit closer.
7 | You look for reasons to leave your home
I think this may be more because I couldn’t stand the awful smell of our apartment and that there was nowhere comfortable to sit #pregnancyproblems, but we tried to get out all the time. We viewed some beautiful sunsets, explored the canyon, and hung out with our new friends.
8 | You don’t buy frivolous items
Since we needed to get everything back home in one car ride, we didn’t buy many things. We asked ourselves those minimalist questions such as, “Is this something I need?,” “Do I have a home for it?,” and “Will this be a blessing or a burden?”
9 | Instead, you look for experiences to look back on
We jumped at every invitation our friends gave us to join them for sushi (in the Panhandle?), bowling, and the musical in the canyon.
10 | Relationships become the focus
Being away from home and our support systems also allowed us to really become dependent on each other as a couple. We also had less chores and less stuff to car each for, so we had more time to spend with each other and our new friends.
11 | Faith is important
The ability to go to the same Mass being celebrated back at home really made things feel less foreign and strange. After getting to know the community, we felt as though our new friends could be easily transplanted back in our home community. It felt like home.
Our life in Texas was truly unforgettable with the lessons we learned and the people we met. The whole experience still remains vivid in my memory, probably because it was so unlike any of the other places we lived.
For 3 months, we were minimalists. We had nothing except each other and the excitement of our first child on the way.
Living as a minimalist has it’s perks, but taken too far can become a burden. Today we are trying to find that balance between too much and not enough.