Once upon a time, there was a girl (I use the term “girl” loosely) who enjoyed shopping and surrounded herself with many beautiful things. She often forgot what she had and spent many hours managing her possessions. She spent her time cleaning, organizing and maintaining the endless wardrobe, books and kitchen gadgets. She often felt overwhelmed and guilty about all her things. When she wasn’t taking care of her things, she was working very long hours and it was okay because it helped her pay for more things. One day this girl separated from husband and she began to move her things from a nice sized two-story home to a little ohana rental close by. She filled up her hatchback multiple times but still left many things behind. Yet, when she was done she felt shocked to see how empty the big house looked.
Girl moved out of the big city to Maui and she gave away jackets, pencil skirts, silk blouses and other things that were too dressy or too yuppie for small town life. She was a bit sad when she moved. She missed her friends, her dog, her tennis class and her spinning on Waikiki beach. Her lifestyle was now very casual and she found she needed more casual things. She started to gain weight and then began to miss the size two version of herself. She found she needed larger things. So she bought more things, casual things, in a larger size.
Girl started a blog and moved into an 800 square foot space that she and her dad had designed to fit all her things. She stayed up late writing, editing pictures and learning. She couldn’t get enough of content. Content that taught her about design, art, tech and pursuing happiness made her heart sing and long for more. She received a camera for Christmas and took photography classes and found a new passion. Exposure, aperture and shutter speed became part of her vocabulary. One day she realized she was buying fewer things. When she did buy, it was with intent and mindfulness. She debated over a large cappuccino mug for weeks because she already had one cappuccino mug and that seemed to be sufficient. She wanted photography gear but one item at a time, over time, was enough. One had to learn how to use gear and so the initial thrill of acquiring was long lasting. Girl preferred to write about things and cared much less about owning things. Living a creative life was the antidote that had been missing all these years.
Yes, this girl is me and I’m finally ready to embrace living with less. I only want to own things that have a purpose or make my heart sing. I’ve been embarking on a personal minimalist project but do know it is unlikely that I will ever become an extreme minimalist that we read about on the web. I don’t plan on counting the objects I own or wearing the same dress every day or living out of a suitcase. I do plan to live a high quality life with good design but on a smaller scale. I’ve been writing in a journal my thoughts and reasons for embracing a beautiful life with less and I’m ready to approach these changes with some structure and I’m ready to share with you. These are the areas of my life and things that I’ll be working on:
- Personal Finance
I’m not setting goals in terms of time or number of things I’ll eventually own. This project is about evolution, not revolution, one minimal step at a time.
I will be blogging as I work on mini projects along the way. This is not about de-cluttering or organizing but about paring down and simplifying. Although in certain areas, some organization is needed as well, particularly with my digital life (photo files are out of control to say the least). There also may be some areas where I may purge and purchase some new things that will be simpler to manage in the long run (linens is the one area that comes to mind).
Will I still blog about things? Yes, I will still blog about beautiful things, good design and objects made with love. A love of good design brings a greater appreciation for the things we do choose to own.
This month I will be joining fellow blogger Eden from The Road to the Good Life in her Mindful Consumption Challenge. You can read more about the challenge on Eden’s blog.
You can also read another Maui blogger’s take on her own approach to minimalism, Ihilani of SoPupuka. Ihilani’s story is different from mine but yet I could feel a connection with her reasons for embracing a minimal life.