Welcome Miss Minimalist readers! Thanks for visiting today. I write about my adventures in the world, my mind and my heart. Please join me on the many journeys that make life so rich and joyful. If you are interested in my Camino pilgrimage you can find the daily posts in the archives under May and June 2014.
For my readers go to http://www.missminimalist.com and read about how minimalism is one of my guiding lights that helps me navigate life and gives me time and space for exploration of all our beautiful world has to offer.
Minimalism—post from Miss Minimalist
From the outside looking in you would never guess that in my heart I’m a minimalist. You would never guess that minimalism is part of my daily philosophy, part of my way of being. When I was a new mother 25 years ago I realized that keeping things simple was the way I could keep the house clean, have time for my babies, have time for me and let me stay home with my children. Back in the 90’s there were some resources, Don Aslett, The Tightwad Gazette, Elaine St. James. Minimalism blogs didn’t invent the world of simple but definitely accelerated the movement.
I kept our lives simple living close to schools, choosing only a few outside activities, simple wardrobes, edited toys. I had lots of time to read and walk and help my daughters pursue their passion. Then came the big move. Three years ago we had a week’s notice to move to a family home. My husband’s and his brother’s businesses where on the property and my mother-in-law needed care. There was no choice but to move to a very large home filled with 60 year of stuff collected by people traumatized by the Depression and poverty in their past. Now I was traumatized by having to deal with so much.
I turned more intently to minimalism to help me survive a house that hadn’t been purged or updated since 1968. It was minimalism that helped me be ruthless in removing the truly useless, in uncovering the beautiful things that were left to be used and enjoyed rather than neglected. I gave away as much as a could to charity and friends and found the relatives that would cherish the heirlooms and made a vow never to do this to my children.
I got it almost all done when fate had me do it again two years later. My parents large house had to be downsized and moved in ten days. I purged and packed what my mother needed for her small apartment and then set up a family flea market so my mother’s beautiful things became cherished by her family.
For the third time I now have the basement cleaned out, the closets functioning, the kitchen tidy. I will never get to downsize to the little cottage of my dreams but I do live a scaled down minimalist life in the context of a seemingly non minimalist world. My clothes take up a small fraction of the walk-in closest so the rest of the space is a cozy home office. Many of the rooms are closed off and only need an occasion cleaning but are ready for large family and friend gatherings which bring us all so much joy. Our daily lives are in a few rooms that are clutter free and easy to manage
I don’t know how I would have managed without minimalism as my guide. I combined three houses into one in two years and lived to tell the story, to make the important and beautiful shine, to move the family forward into the future with the best of the past.
Minimalism helped me survive intense materialism by keeping me focused on the essentials and reminded me I wasn’t alone in my quest. The landscaping is simplified so my husband can easily mow the now park-like yard and uses the time as a meditation. I have the housework down to a couple of hours a week and don’t need any help. One daughter has very limited dishes and has conquered her messy kitchen. My other daughter has a micro apartment so she can walk to work. Minimalism has changed us all so we can honor the past and still live the life we like.
Two years ago my youngest daughter and I packed a change of clothes and walked across Spain on the Camino. Five weeks of life as a modern pilgrim with only the essentials, we will never be the same. Pilgrims carry only the things that serve their journey. My home serves my journey everyday, it is be a place of refuge for myself and others. Minimalism has helped heal the past of the trauma of lack and have transformed it into an abundant life.