The last change that has happened in our family this past month of February is our quest to becoming minimalists. Yes, you heard right--minimalists!
At this point, you are probably wondering why we would chose to live in such a way (that or you are wondering what minimalism is), but let me break it down for you. Here is how this lifestyle change came about.
So one day while I was uploading videos to youtube, I got a bit distracted and starting subscribing to a few new channels. One of these was Richie & Natalie Norton's Ruckus List channel (about a couple inspiring people to live life wide awake while also sharing tips on how to become a successful entrepreneur yourself) and another was Earthy Andy's channel (a Vegan who shares her colorful and delicious recipes with the world, as well as monthly health challenges you can join in on if you wish).
Well in the process, I came upon another channel that got my attention, Jinti Fell. I think her videos popped up because she is another popular Vegan YouTuber, but anyways, her videos popped up and I decided to watch a few.
I soon became very intrigued with this woman's lifestyle: how she was living in a van, how she was eating Vegan while living in a van, and especially how she was living as a minimalist. One video stood out to me in particular. It was a video of her minimalist wardrobe of 20 items, but before she shows that she explains why getting rid of your crap is so good. And there was something about that video that really struck a chord in me. I included the video below, but I just wanted to point out the parts that really stood out to me first.
She talks about how having a lot of stuff can clutter our lives and how clutter in our life equals clutter in our minds. She talks about how time consuming stuff can be; like how cleaning our stuff takes up a lot of time, for example, and how if we didn't have "stuff" to clean we could use that time and energy towards something else.
Something else I really like that she pointed out was that minimalism isn't so much about not having things, it's about getting clear on what's important to you and then getting rid of everything that doesn't support you and that vision. She says,
And wow, hearing that just sounded so good and appealing to me. My mind seriously started floating away, wondering what that must feel like and how amazing that must be. I mean, I'm sure part of it is the way that she talks about it too; she just seems so sincere and happy and free. I don't know how to explain it, but what I do remember is how nice everything sounded and how desirable it seemed to me. Immediately I wanted in on it.
So if any of this sounds even slightly appealing to YOU and you have a few minutes to spare, I'd highly recommend watching her video yourself. It is not very long at all and you don't even need to watch the whole thing. Just listen from the beginning to about 4 minutes in. (If you also want to hear her wrap it up, the end is from 12:45 and on.)
But yeah, this was my first real exposure to minimalism. Later that night I talked to my husband about it and he really liked the whole idea of it too; he was onboard! I was surprised at first, but then I realized he was just taking into consideration our situation (as was I).
At the time things started getting a bit crazy in our home. As I said before, I had recently gone back to work and Spencer was also commuting for work (plus we have four kids), so the place was starting to get messy. Next thing you know, we had piles and piles of laundry stacked up in the corner of our hallway. We would chip away at it little by little when we could, but by the time we would get some of it cleaned and sorted, another pile would be there in it's place. But hey, at least we were trying.
Fast forward a little and lo and behold another huge change happens in our family: homeschooling. And once that started it was all out the door. The "trying" that was happening before soon became non-existent. The one or two piles of dirty laundry turned into many piles. It became so bad and overwhelming that instead of trying to attack it, we left it. Too overwhelmed and busy to do anything about it, the clothes remained and got worse by the day.
So although I felt like I was winning in daily life: working, single Mommy-ing, kids schooling, kids extracurriculars, kids work, feeding our family, church, finances, and fun, the one area I couldn't keep up with was the home. I just couldn't stay on top of it and in the moment, letting it be always seemed like the better option to me; the other things were more important and always came first. So that's what life was like for a few weeks there. That's what life has been like.
So you can probably imagine the feelings I felt when hearing this. To know that there was a better option out there seemed amazing. Isn't it crazy how things randomly fall in to our lap at just the right moments? There couldn't have been a better time for me to hear this message and share it with my husband.
Anyways, about a week later we got together with our friends, the Leung-wai's, and told them about the new lifestyle we were going to start living, and to our surprise, they had recently incorporated it in to their lives too! They had already started the process and had already gotten rid of their kids toys, and (coincidentally) at that point, that was what we had done too! I guess great minds think alike and somehow we all had been drawn to this new life of minimalism at the exact same time.
Anyways, my girlfriend recommended I watch the video that she had watched, so I got the link from her and watched it on my next layover. I watched both that and the documentary on minimalism found on Netflix (which weren't short by the way) and wow, I was even more convinced of this lifestyle and thus even more committed to creating a minimalist lifestyle for OUR FAMILY. It just really opened up my mind to a whole different concept of living; one that equals an even better quality of life.
I posted the video below if you are interested in watching that too. It is by Joshua Becker of becomingminimalist.com. It is a bit long, but I do highly recommend at least listening to his story on how he became a minimalist, which is at 5:30, as well as his thoughts on work and how the term "work" was created, which is at 41 minutes. It is seriously so intriguing and really got my wheels turning. I had no idea that that was how “work” was created. Definitely worth the listen.
The other part I wanted to point out was the definition of minimalism that he and his wife came up with themselves. After discovering all the different types of minimalists out there, they came to realize that there is not just one cookie cutter version of a minimalist, but that there are many types. What one minimalist does can be completely different from what another minimalist does. What one minimalist believes can be totally different from what another minimalist believes. SO (as I just mentioned), they decided to come up with their own definition of minimalism, which is:
Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.
Again, “Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” Don’t you just love that? I really love that. What is distracting us from what is most important and what is helping us accomplish what is most important? And not just in the context of possessions, but in our whole life! These are the questions we really need to think about and then make changes where necessary.
Joshua Becker’s Video:
And the LAST thing I watched was the minimalism documentary on Netflix. It, too, is long, but if this is something you are seriously considering, I'd recommend it as well. Especially since the focus on this one is different from what I've already mentioned before. Besides minimalism it focuses a lot on tiny homes, as well as Project 333, which I find both fascinating and desirable. Never have I desired to have a small home before and actually wanting to own less clothes never crossed my mind before, but NOW I want it more than ever. It's so interesting how life's perspectives can change so drastically depending on your situation.
So if you haven't heard of Project 333, it is the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months and get rid of everything else. And that 33 includes jewelry and shoes!!! Crazy, right? But the documentary touches on a few peoples experience with that and I was seriously so amazed. My husband and I liked it so much that we decided we want to take on the 333 challenge. We are excited and will keep you updated on when we start that and how we do. Luckily there is already a blog post out there that explains just how to create this "capsule wardrobe." I haven't read through all of it yet, but I definitely will when I am ready to start. The link to that is found here.
And that is it! THAT is the last of the big changes that has happened in our family recently. Can you believe all of that change came about in ONE month?! (Going back to work, homeschooling & minimalism.) I can hardly believe it myself, but there it is. We have already incorporated minimalism in to our lives, but we are taking it slowly; one step at a time.
Something Jinti recommends is starting with one room at a time or even just one drawer at a time as to not get overwhelmed. So that's what we did. We started with the kids room first (their toys specifically), then one day my husband went through half of his closet and I went through one drawer. Then another day he went through the other half of his closet and I went through another drawer. So we are just tackling it slowly whenever time allows. It definitely hasn't been a fast process for us since we are so busy, but slow and steady wins the race and we are doing what we can, when we can. And it has honestly been great so far! We are loving getting rid of things and it feels so good to know of a better way and to have actually started incorporating that in to our lives.
Lastly, I wanted to share one last video of Jinti explaining how to get started. Honestly, I'd just go straight to 7:55. Its a short and sweet message that'll be sure to get you on your way to minimalism without feeling overwhelmed by the task. (If this is something you'd like to do, of course.)
I really hope you enjoyed this post. Please let me know if you have any thoughts on this, if you've ever considered this lifestyle before, or if this was your first time hearing about it. As always, if you have any questions for me, I'm interested to hear. XO!