The Practice of being a Minimalist

Nine months ago I got rid of 50% of my personal things.

It wasn’t easy and I thought I was going to miss all those things I ‘desperately needed‘ when I bought them. Oddly enough, I don’t miss one thing I got rid of.

give away

Since January I have also implemented a ‘no new things‘ rule simply because I still have way to much stuff. After getting rid of half of my clothes, my closet is still full. I still have shoes I never wear. Crafting supplies are still gathering dust.

Then we started the hey-this-could-be-easy-at-least-that-is-what-the-internet-says project of replacing our flooring. For some reason when you have to move every single thing you own a few times over, you tend to find a new home for it in a place that is not in your home.

Books, linens, pictures, kitchen gadgets, DVDs, and a bunch of other stuff has slowly left my house.

Less gives room for more – more life.

Thursday at 4:30, I got a text from my husband letting me know our one and only car threw up its hands in protest and clearly stated it ‘had enough‘. While driving down the Yellowhead, it literally just stopped working. Momentum helped him coast to the shoulder and wait there until I arrived and then the men from AMA came to put out yellow cones and flashers to haul us to Bob’s for further assessment.

When your car dies on the trans-canada highway they come quick and bring friends!

When your car dies on the trans-canada highway they come quick and bring friends!

I arrived on the scene with help from a friend and we unloaded all the random things from our car into her’s and off she went home for the weekend when the tow truck arrived.

Helpful people rock.

My husband and I climbed into the tow truck with me as the jam in the sandwich and arrived at Bob’s just in time to hand our key over, get our car backed into the lot and break a ten so we could ride the bus to our meeting at 7:00.

Purse, lunch bag and random things from the office dangled off my body as we walked the 3 kms to the nearest transit centre.

Not forever long, but long enough in crappy shoes!

Not forever long, but long enough in crappy shoes!

Luckily I didn’t wear my 4 inch heels, but I was still in sandals that were not made for walking. By the time we arrived on scene of the busses, blisters were forming on the balls of my feet.

Riding the bus is good for the soul.

We met the most amazing family from Mexico City who came to Edmonton to chase a dream and were off to parent-teacher night for their son who was just entering Kindergarten. Spanish was tossed back and forth and I was inspired by a little boy who wanted to help people by being a firefighter when he grows up.

As they exited the bus both he and his sister waved goodbye and I audibly said ‘Bye!’ and probably scared a few passengers. It didn’t bother me; I am rather used to scaring people now and again.

We sprint-walked to coffee and were only a few moments late.

My little car is dead as a doornail and probably shouldn’t be revived. This means we are sans-car right now and in search of a car to help us motor around the city.

We have been married 13 years and only ever had one car so grocery shopping today meant I got to bike there and pack up my backpack full of things I still needed for the week.

Is it just me or does everyone look horrible in a bike helmet?

Is it just me or does everyone look horrible in a bike helmet?

Luckily only a few things were required.

You would never guess who I ran into while unlocking my bike!

The little family from Mexico City.

We talked about scooters, ice cream, lovely fall days and how back to school night went. When you pause in life you get to experience more and meet awesome people who are chasing down their dreams, sometimes more than once.

Life happens. Who you are while it happens is what matters.

As of this moment, I am down 100% of my cars and am still happy. After all, I have legs which can easily walk 3 km, access to a fabulous transit system, friends who offer to give rides without batting an eyelash and new found friends in my neighbourhood.

Somehow I know if I hadn’t started the process of lessening the grip my stuff had on me over 9 months ago, I couldn’t have faced my car completely breaking and having to find a new one with so much peace and joy.

The practice of being a happy minimalist in one area has spilled over into others. I don’t need a car, but I am very blessed to have one.

  • I didn’t know my stuff owned me until I started giving it away.

Give your stuff, love, joy and encouragement away and you will have more than you ever had before.

Do you own your ‘stuff’ or does it own you?

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  1. Well this one I can speak to. Five years ago I gave away a house full of furniture, my jeep, and most of my clothing. I just never bought into the “dream” and felt I was living a lie. I had felt that way for some time.

    Rather than scale back, I just let the pendulum swing the other way. I was partially able to get away with this because I had no debt — and that is where the real freedom is.

    Five years later things haven’t changed too much. I live in one small room of my fitness studio (which also has a full kitchen), and I am walking or bike riding distance from anything I need in the small town I live in.

    I miss certain things, but I don’t lose sleep over my lack of anything. When I visit friends though, with large houses, fancy cars, and all the “toys”, in truth I get a little ill — it just seems to much, and all those trappings come with a price.

    I get capitalism, and understand economics fairly well. But somehow, at some point capitalism and economics became false pseudonyms for success, and that I will never understand.

    As a young man I was made aware the story of Dorian Paskowitz. He remains a formative figure in my life… (use the google)

  2. Yovella Glabella says

    The longer you go without material items that you don’t need, the easier it becomes to be content with what you have.

    Last year I cleared out the bottom of my closet I was so upset to find unused items, some of them still in the original shopping bag with the receipt! I tweaked an inspirational quote and made it applicable to my own circumstances here it is:

    40 pairs of shoes and 30 bags!!! At what point did I need all this material stuff? De-cluttering is an eye opener.

    6.19-21 “Do not store up on earth treasures like shoes and handbags where bunions and bad shoulders develop, and where women envy and judge. But store up for yourself treasures in heaven, where consumer debt does not exist. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Yovella Glabella Version)

    Anyhow… that’s my long winded answer to your question. What I’d like to get rid of now, is the extra fat hanging around my midsection. I am more than happy to give that away to anyone looking for some extra abdominal fat. I’d love to be a minimalist in this area!

  3. I swear, you seem to be always where I am at the same times!!!
    Husband and I are on a quest to minimize as well. Though, I admit, I am going through it slowly. I seem to get overwhelmed when I get started. As a result, I’m doing a 15 minute or one thing a day rule. Usually, it winds up being more and longer, but giving myself a weird permission to not have to do it all at once seems to help. =)
    We’re hoping to eventually go super minimalist – we’re building a tiny house on wheels, gypsy vardo style. Of course, we’re one year in and no where near finished, nor do we know where we’ll go with it once it is, lol.


  4. I saw you walking down Jasper Ave today…you and your cute face carrying all your belongings…longing for a lovely car just to get you from A-to B..I honked and waved but you were in Donloree world! lol…We should get together for a coffee…I would love to talk to you about competing in the INBF!


    • Oh hilarious! I probably looked stressed and intense as well – I hate it when I am totally in my own world. 😛 Coffee with you is a giant YES! Hooray! Consider it done – email coming shortly.

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