Jul 10, 2019

Embracing Minimalism As A Family

So, my family and I have recently gone through a major life shift. One that's left us feeling more free, clear, and happy. Our relationships with one another are thriving more than I thought possible and our home has never been more of a haven than it is now. 

How? I knew you were about to ask that. Well, after my husband and I got married a few months back, in April, things started to accelerate for us. One thing lead to another and we found ourselves embracing minimalism. Yep. It's like a whole new chapter of life unfolding beautifully. 

A new way of thinking. (Credit: Unsplash)

The Great Awakening

The epiphany that opened my mind to "less is more" happened after I watched a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism. I had NO intention of starting a new way of life when I was browsing through movies that day. I mean, who expects to find such an eye-opener when all you had planned was couch surfing while binging on snacks? Not this gal. 

If you're on the fence or even just curious, I recommend that you check out Minimalism on Netflix. It expressed how I was feeling when I wasn't even sure how to describe it myself. Or check out their website directly, where they talk more in-depth about minimalism.

Needless to say, by the time I'd finished watching the documentary, I was an emotional wreck. I felt like something deep within me had been spoken to and brought to the surface. I wanted to get rid of all of the things that my family didn't need or use, but I was a little worried. Would my husband be willing to let go of so much in favor of a simpler life? Luckily for me, Hubbs was more than excited to join in. The kiddo? Well, she'd be fine. 

Time to purge and minimize (Credit: Unsplash)

Anyway, like I tend to do, I jumped right on board and started purging. I was actually pretty shocked at how much stuff that I got rid of. It's been a few weeks now since the Great Purge (as I'm referring to it as) and I'm still trying to haul everything away. Typical "me" behavior, I researched the living daylights out of minimalism AFTER I purged. (note the implied eye-roll here, peeps) Not that it made a difference, though. 

I spent days looking up all kinds of images, articles on how to let go of excess, downsizing, etc. I also learned that there were different kinds of minimalists. Did you know that? Well, I didn't. 

Here are the "styles" I've learned so far

1. The Essentialist Minimalist 

This group focuses primarily on "quality over quantity." Own less stuff, but choose items that will last.  Each item adds value to their lives and therefore they appreciate them more. They focus on what they NEED vs what they WANT. The Essentialists will usually have "just enough" and only what holds great value to them in their lives. 

2. The Experiential Minimalist

This group focuses on making memories vs buying "things." Often they'll be able to fit their life in a bag or two so that they're ready to jet-set off when adventure calls. The pursuit of happiness and the abandonment of materialism.  
3. Sustainable Minimalist

The eco-minimalist pursues a life of less consumption in order to reduce their impact on the earth. Green living and zero-waste are key: reduce, reuse, recycle. These minimalists find any possible way they can to reduce their carbon footprint on the planet.
4. The Mindful Minimalist

These minimalists cherish stillness of soul and work to keep mental and spiritual clutter to a minimum. Practices of quiet, mindfulness, stillness, and listening are all essential here.
5. Aesthetic Minimalist

This type of minimalism might be what first pops in your head — the super modern, chic, bare walls and counters with little to no decorations. It's not strictly about owning less stuff, but about having less on display. It's all about that fresh and clean lifestyle.

Less materialism, more value of life. (Credit: Unsplash)

Where I Stand

Out of these five types, I identify as the Essentialist Minimalist (ish). We have kept only the things that add value to us and what makes us happy. For my family and I, minimalism isn't about owning less for the sake of owning less. It's about owning less to have more. More free time, more family fun days, more peace of mind, and less time cleaning or organizing clutter. Less stuff, more life. 
For example, we LOVE movies. We're a movie family. We own hundreds of movies (not joking here) and that's after purging some. We plan on keeping our movie collection because those movies have meaning to us and are a core part of our family unit. Does having so many movies mean we're not minimalists? No. It means we've learned to keep what is of value in our lives and let go of all the rest. 

Our happy lil family (Image: All Rights Reserved)
Minimalism looks different for everyone. There's not really a right way, in my opinion. It's about finding what fits you. Maybe you don't fit into the types I've talked about and that's perfectly okay too. 

Let me know if you can think of another type of minimalism, tips, or advice! I'd love to hear from you.

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  1. I'm not quite to a minimalist level yet but I've definitely been purging clutter out of my house. My goal is keep only things that we will use NOW and not hang on to stuff forever simply because we "might" have a use for it someday. It's a long process but I think the results will be so rewarding.

    We are both collectors and will keep our collections even though they may not be useful per se. They bring us joy and we have great memories of building those collections together. As long they are organized and displayed they don't set off my "clutter sensor".

    1. Love it! I totally agree with the minimizing to purge unused vs minimizing simply to have less. I got rid of items I've been keeping around for a decade because they "might" be useful later. Idk about you, but jewelry beads aren't really worth keeping around for 10 years. Lol
      As soon as my mind whispered "what if we can use this a new way or in the future?" I'd snap back at it "Well, we haven't yet so, byeee."

  2. I hadn't realized there are so many types of minimalism. I don't know that I've formally embraced minimalism, but my lifestyle has been pretty simple for all of my adult life. I don't own a car, I bike or walk most places, and am *extremely* thrifty so I don't end up owning a whole lot. And what I do own is second-hand, oftentimes. Anyhoo. Some of this is simply being constrained by a budget, but I know that even if I could afford a car, I wouldn't want one. It would add complication to my life that I just don't want to bring in.
    The Essential Minimalist makes a lot of sense. It's amazing how little we really need. It probably simplifies your lifestyle a lot when you've pared everything down to the essentials.
    Great post, thanks for sharing your story.

    1. That's such a great and mindful way of living. It's honestly my favorite way. We still have a lot of stuff and many minimalist would say we're not part of their club, but to us we are. We don't have items stored/hidden away. What you see is what we have. We don't have to spend time searching for items, because I've done away with "hiding" places and storage bins. (to prevent build up again) We got rid of anything we're not using and any extra items. If I can get multiple uses out of one object, I got rid of another thing that did one of the jobs as my multi-use gadget too. Little things. I have noticed that having less to worry about absolutely creates bliss. I'm so happy you've found yours! <3