The less I have, the more I have
I get emotionally attached to things. Like old, useless, junky things. I’ve never been a hoarder or a big shopper, but I’ve always a very difficult time throwing things away.
But after moving several times over the past 5 years, I’ve had a lot of practice in letting things go. I’m much better with it now. My journey into being a minimalist has taught me a lot, and I can’t imagine my life without the values I have today.
It was only a few years ago my partner and I decided to take a road trip around North America, and the only things I could bring were whatever would fit in my duffle bag.
It is an oversize duffle bag, but still. It was a huge adjustment.
At the time, we were living in a 5 story house at the time. It’s just the two of us and our dogs. We barely used any of the rooms in the house.The rest of the house was just a waste; something extra to clean on a Sunday.
We had to get rid of it all to be on the road — kitchen gadgets, furniture, clothes, books. It took me weeks to go through it all. At first, it was painful.
But I also noticed something else: the more I got rid of things, the lighter I started to feel.
Preparing for that road trip marked the beginning of a new path for me.
It was around this time I was introduced to the idea of a minimalistic lifestyle after watching “Minimalism” on Netflix. That’s the catalyst — that’s what inspired me to start living with less.
Serendipitously, it was only days after I watched the documentary that I ended up chatting with a stranger about minimalism. The conversation started when he mentioned he’d been a minimalist for over 20 years.
“In my home I only have a futon, a coffee table, and a barbecue. My coworkers came over once and said I live like a serial killer” he joked. The conversation was fascinating.
What are the chances? Only days after watching the documentary that introduced me to minimalism I met a complete stranger with decades of experience practicing it. I had to pick his brain.
Our conversation was fascinating, and he helped me realize two very important things.
Firstly, minimalism is not just about stuff. It’s a commitment to a lifestyle. It’s not about what you physically have, and it spans across all aspects of life: school, work, home, — even fitness.
“I’ve got my workouts down to a 45 minute science” he said. “I want to be able to get the most done in the shortest amount of time. It’s about value.”
He shared how he found that minimalism is applicable to relationships too. It’s not about having the most friends, it’s about having the best quality friends.
The second thing I realized was that minimalism is not about “living with less”. It’s actually about making room for more.
Doing the shortest, most efficient amount of work to allow for more play. Smallest circle of quality friends to allow for more meaningful interactions. Spending less money on clothes and gadgets to have more money for experiencing life and travelling.
There is a lot of societal pressure to keep accumulating. There is always a temporary high from spending money, and then you’re just left high and dry. For me, there’s nothing worse than that feeling like you’re constantly grasping for something just barely out of your reach.
This small conversation gave me a clearer sense about what it means to be a minimalist. It challenged what I had believed about it before: that minimalism is about scaling down and getting rid of everything. It’s not. It’s about only having things that truly bring value to your life. If you can’t use it or you don’t love it, it’s got to go.
I hadn’t thought about that conversation in years. I won’t say minimalism came naturally to me, but after that trip and over time it’s just become a part of my life.
I only buy what I need or brings me absolute joy.
Instead of having a closet that’s overflowing with clothes, I have a small closet of clothes I love and wear all the time.
Instead of having a big home filled with new things, I have a small home that has everything I need.
I enjoy life more, because I never find myself looking for the next thing.
And even though I have very little material possessions, a small closet of clothes, and just a few friends, they are all quality to me, so I enjoy them that much more.
And that’s what it’s about: having more.