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?