Minimalism came into my life a year ago when we moved from a too large house to an apartment that, as it has turned out, is exactly the right size for us.

I imagined that decluttering and downsizing would be a difficult and disruptive process and wondered how we would let go the possessions we’d acquired over two life-times.

In the end, the process proved easy, even enjoyable, as we let our treasures go to our children and grandchildren. Things they didn’t want we relinquished to the community through the amazing informal organisation, Buy Nothing. Strangers were delighted to receive all kinds of things they could use. We also donated to charities.

Neither of us is a natural hoarder, and we’ve downsized and decluttered a few times. We still had an overabundance of possessions that we didn’t need or use. In our former, separate lives, we moved houses more times than I like to think about. But this move, quite possibly our last, was seriously different.

If we were to move to an apartment we had to downsize and I wondered how John would like it.

Little did I guess that the process would be so liberating or feel so creative. I never expected to enjoy minimalism as a way of life. It may not be everyone’s choice, but I love it.

Minimalism as life-style

Minimalism does not mean randomly throwing out everything. Instead, it means careful culling so that we can enjoy the things we value. Part of the process means we let go things that distract us from what we enjoy. Choices about what we own are considered and intentional rather than random and impulsive.

This way of living is different for everyone, but it centres on keeping only those things which enhance your life, whatever they may be. There’s no one way to live a simple life, and no ‘look’ that goes with it.  But it does mean removing possessions that have a negative impact or which no longer add to your quality of life. 

Ten unexpected results of minimalism

  1. We have more freedom, happiness and opportunity for personal growth. Because we have less to clean and maintain, John spends more time painting and I also have more time to pursue activities that interest me.
  2. We live with things we love and use our lovely things every day. There’s nothing austere about our apartment. It’s both pretty and comfortable, although simple and uncluttered.
  3. With fewer possessions, there’s more space and better storage.
  4. Because there are fewer things to move, dust and clean there’s less housework which is easier to do.
  5. Cupboards stay tidy with things in their proper place.
  6. Getting dressed is a breeze because there are fewer clothes. They fit. I like them and they go together.  
  7. The need to buy anything on impulse seems to have dissipated. We spend less and enjoy more.
  8. There’s much less waste. We buy fresh food as we need it and throw out very little.
  9. Better meal planning has further improved our already good diet.
  10. This way of life has brought with it a sense of serenity and peace.

Next steps

After twelve months, I’ve discovered more things we haven’t used and don’t need or love. Decluttering and gifting becomes a way of life, one I’m happy to pursue because its many rewards.

10 replies on “Minimalism and ten unexpected results”

    1. Hi, Jan. How wonderful to be moving into a caravan! I would really love that. All the best with the downsizing and your travels.

  1. I downsized when we split the house into two. Victoria is far more ruthless than me and when they moved here she has already decluttered. As for me, my downsizing meant passing on excess furniture to the family. Unfortunately, I still have boxes of possessions out in the stable. Perhaps this will be the year I sort them!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Sue. Splitting a house in two sounds like a good option if it was too large for you, but I wonder if it was a painful decision and time? We passed lots of furniture to our families, too, and to friends. I love it that some of our things were useful for them. As for your still having boxes to sort – even after the major down-sizing we undertook, after twelve months living here I’ve discovered that we don’t really need four good tablecloths and two picnic clothes. Time for another session!
      Good luck with sorting your boxes!

  2. You are very hip and on trend Maureen – I hear everyone who’s cool is doing this! “Does it spark joy? No? Out it goes!”
    So glad to hear you’re enjoying your clean, pared-back lifestyle (and also to hear via Facebook that you can see clearly again, wonderful news!)

    1. Oh, wow, Fiona! My new glasses are working! I hear they are right on trend!

      Not sure about the Mari Kondo hype, though. It just seems that living simply is a good option for John and me. So far, it’s working well, and we don’t feel at all deprived. If we want or need something, we don’t hesitate to buy it, and that feels good.

  3. Such lovely rewards, Maureen. I am busily accumulating things and accept this is my stage as I help my mother sort her home! Life’s joys come in unexpected bundles and one day I know I’ll sort, give away, send to museums and libraries the treasures I’m the keeper of.

    1. Yes, the rewards are plentiful, Susan, thank you. And for me the process, on the whole, was interesting and enjoyable. I think John found it harder than me when we first started, but gradually realised that he would probably never need gardening tools and hoses and stuff when we had a balcony instead of a garden.

      If you ever want to or need to downsize, I’m sure you’ll work out a way to do it that isn’t painful. I fully understand your role as the family historian and keeper of mementos. I loved reading about them in your blogs, but you’ve stopped writing about them. Hope to read more soon, especially in relation to your new novel.

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