6.09.2014

aspiring minimalist


The first pangs of minimalism began nagging at me when my husband and I moved into a one bedroom apartment from a rented house the second year of our marriage. One kind family friend who was helping us move commented, “You sure have a lot of stuff for being a young married couple with no kids.” 

It was a harmless comment. Simply an observation. But for some reason it got under my skin and bothered me. I tried to put it out of mind.

A few weeks later, we found out we were expecting our first child. As more people found out, everyone’s first question seemed to be, “Do you have the nursery all set up?”

It’s a harmless question. One most people wouldn’t think twice about. But I took strange pride in the fact that we lived in a one bedroom apartment, and the “nursery” was a basinet in the corner of our room. We cleaned out our wardrobes of the unwanted and unnecessary to make room for her clothes in our dresser. I vowed not to purchase anything beyond the basics for the baby.

Due to people’s wonderful generosity, we got the bare necessities and more from baby showers. I rejoiced in the money we would save that first year, even as I scrambled to find space for the bulky items that accompany baby, such as swings, bouncy chairs, and high chairs. 

Almost 9 months ago, we moved into a slightly larger 2 bedroom apartment closer to Justin’s work. The move allowed us to reassess our possessions and get rid of a few more items that no longer fit in our lives. It also allowed us to simplify our lives by saving on gas and providing the opportunity to walk or bike to church and school.

As our daughter gets older, we are once again assessing what was helpful the first year of baby’s life, and what we could do without. The culling process is slow and painful, even as it liberates and lightens our lives. I am going room by room, cleaning out drawers and cabinets, making sell, donate, and trash piles. Days later I revisit the same room and get rid of more that I wasn’t ready to part with the first time.

It’s a process. I am aspiring to a more simplified life.

What is minimalism? Why am I aspiring to it?

To me, minimalism is getting rid of the excess to make room for the important. A trite example would be my jewelry. I got rid of 75% of my necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. What remains are the ones I actually wear. I feel less guilty for not wearing 75% of what I own, and accessorizing my outfit takes far less time. I can see and easily display the few items I have left. 

By no means have I arrived at a point where I can proudly claim to be a “minimalist.” It’s a process. 

I am aspiring to minimalism because it makes me grateful for what I do have. I am aspiring to minimalism because I want faith in God and serving others to be the most important things in my life, not my stuff. I am aspiring to minimalism to be mobile and ready to travel. 

It’s a process. I’m not there yet, but my goal is clear and I am slowly but surely working toward it. And so far, it feels great. 

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