What you really need to become a minimalist (and feel free to write this down) is a nice, solid, good old-fashioned nervous breakdown.
I’ll be honest. I did not follow any rules when I minimized my stuff. I started with the two areas which were driving me the craziest and I continued from there. I was ruthless, some may say reckless, others would say “Nay, she was POSSESSED!”
I have no regrets.
What Led Me to Become a Minimalist
Possessed may not be too far from the truth. Have you ever felt as though you’ve lost control of a situation? Your finances? Your weight? Your identity? Your damn mind?
Perhaps all at once? Perhaps now?
I felt every one of those losses of control six months after the birth of my second child. Here I was with two happy, snuggly children who were supposed to make me feel fulfilled and I was too busy/tired/overwhelmed to give in to those little moments they offered me. Instead, I was cleaning, collecting and putting away, fretting over bills, and I was just about to throw in the towel on the idea of losing a single pound of baby weight.
If I could have eaten and spent my feelings away I would have but I was out of money and I couldn’t afford to go up a size.
Instead, after what felt like a year of cleaning up the same mess, I gathered all the toys that my children barely touched and packed them away in the car to drop off at Goodwill. After I added knick knacks and what I cleaned from my closet, I ran out of room in my sedan and had to fit the rest in what would be 5/6ths of my husband’s Buick Enclave.
My husband was understandably nervous…or he would have been had it not feel for the apparent relief on my face. He even added a box or two of his own. That gesture might have been to appease the beast.
What I Changed
I needed to take control back of several things all at once. There were some things that I would have to change over the long haul (my finances, my diet) but what I could control right then and there was what had been bothering me on a daily basis. I figured if I could make some money and burn some calories along the way then I was sitting pretty for my other goals.
We eventually excavated enough donate-able material to have a garage sale. We got maybe $200 from it. It felt official that we had been collecting junk all these years. Afterwards, we called up family to see if they wanted some of the stuff we were giving away. Aside from a couch and a couple of baby items one relative took home, we had no other biters. Here was solid confirmation that our treasure was trash. So we got rid of it. Then we got rid of more. Then we developed some rules. Then we developed a budget.
So there. That’s how I became a minimalist. It’s been peaches and cream ever since.
Rules: Three is the Magic Number
- We don’t buy anything new unless we are replacing something worn out
- We stick to our budget (this requires you to develop one and I recommend following Dave Ramsey’s method for this)
- If one thing enters the house, another three items leave until we reach a point where that no longer seems necessary
So, first I would recommend a nervous breakdown. However, if you worry that the tea-kettle-like whistle coming out of your ears will make the neighborhood dogs bay loud enough to wake the children…
If you want to become a minimalist and you are in need of a task that you can get started on NOW: Start Here
Author’s Note: It is entirely possible that I am still going through a sort of early mid-life crisis. I did shave most of my head and start a blog so that could be a sign.