How a minimalist lifestyle changed my life

Crazy, stupid, lost their minds are among some of the words that were told both to my face and what I heard behind my back when we put our house on the market late last year with the plan to move to another place and rent.

What is minimalism?

To quote The Minimalists, Minimalism is removing the excess so you can enjoy the most important things. Minimalism is a lifestyle, its living intentionally and only possessing items that add value to your life. This is something that of course looks differently for everyone. What adds value to my life and way of living is likely to be completely different to you, because we probably have very different values and beliefs.

How did I find out about it?

While watching Netflix of course, because I wasn’t doing much else with my spare time. I found this documentary at a trying time, about a week before I was due to return to work after maternity leave, my 5 month old baby didn’t sleep, my husband was working in a high pressure role and I felt like I had no control over anything I was doing. My days were spent rushing from one appointment to another, usually not eating because I was so stressed out and convinced what I was eating was hurting my baby, when we did eat we were getting takeaway for dinner. Why takeaway? because you can’t put a reflux baby down and my husband was too tired to cook, we would eat, put the little guy down in the hope he might sleep 2 hours in a row, and then my husband would often return to work. We both knew it was only to get harder once I returned to work too. It did, We weren’t happy, we watched the documentary multiple times, listened to the podcasts every time we were in the car and come to the realisation that the “Australian Dream” was not for us.

Why did this help?

It was like a light bulb moment for us. Why did we feel the need to be hostage to a bank just to have a 4 bedroom house with a view that we never got to enjoy? Why did we feel the need to buy new clothes when the clothes we had really had nothing wrong with them? Basically we got caught up in what the world expected from us, rather than what we wanted from our lives. Minimalism helped us redefine our goals and life values and work towards them.

Our decisions

  • Owning a home for us was far less important than spending time with each other.
  • Owning a home in a town we no longer wanted to live, and had outgrown was not doing us any favours, we were complacent and resigned to live there forever.
  • Having debt was stressful and holding us back from being about to enjoy our lives
  • Removing excess items from our home meant adding value to those who needed those items more than us.
  • Not having to worry about organising, storing, cleaning all those extra things gave us more time as a family and to spend with our friends and extended families.

Looking back 12 months on from putting our house on the market

  • We have been able to take the little guy out of childcare and he gets to spend his days with his dad, and he so much healthier and happier for it.
  • We have zero debt! I will never have a credit card or home loan without a 50% deposit
    down again.
  • We have been able to support my mums medical treatment and pay for my dads funeral, something we never could have done a year ago without taking out a loan.
  • My husband has been able to find a work life balance that supports his health and creativity.
  • I have been able to continue following my career with the extra support my husband has been able to give me, particularly with cooking and cleaning.
  • We eat healthy again!
  • We get to move, when our lease runs out in a few months and experience new things. I am excited to live in a smaller house again!
  • I have been able to let go of any negativity I had towards relationships in the past, I no longer hold on to anger, jealousy or resentment. Life is too short, spend time with those you love.
  • I have found intention in my life, I have nothing without my health. My health means I can focus on my relationships, contribution, personal development and having some great experiences.

Conclusion

Minimalism has been a tool my family has been able to use let go of what wasn’t making us happy and find the things that do. Please know I do not hold any judgement to people who own their homes, having a stable roof, something to call your own is extremely important to some people and their values. However it isn’t for me right now. When I know where I want to spend 20 years in a row, it might be a consideration.

Minimalism has helped me deal with significant grief, often unbearable stress and has given me so much perspective on my life and how I am going to live a much more intentional life in the future. To The Minimalists, Josh and Ryan, you have helped me so much, you are extremely generous people, and especially Ryan, you gave up an hour of your time to help me at a time I was truly struggling, you gave me perspective, you gave me belief, and you gave me confidence to be writing this post right now. Thank You!

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