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On Becoming a Minimalist

Before I met my son's new girlfriend, he warned me, "Mom, she's a Minimalist. So, don't be trying to give her stuff." I had in mind a definition of Minimalist as art. I dabble in art, so I thought he didn't want me to offer her my art supplies. "Don't worry. I won't."

While getting acquainted I learned a bit of her childhood, her impressive education and her struggles to travel 2,000 miles to the west coast and settle in. As usual, I have an excessive amount  of "stuff". So I asked her if she needed some linens. No, she would use her sleeping bag. Then as I made tea and sandwiches I thought she might want some mugs. I was politely told, "No, thank you".

One thing I was painfully aware of was that this girl's poverty kept her dressed shabbily. I had some nice jeans left behind by my growing teen niece in the closet. Could she use them? She politely nodded and I enlisted my son to get them off the high shelf.

That is when he explained her definition of Minimalist. I couldn't grasp the concept that this young woman lived her life with two changes of clothing, slept on the floor in a sleeping bag and had a serving set for one in her little kitchen. And I just never got why she preferred to go barefoot all the time! To save her shoes?

It's been nearly a decade since my introduction to the concept. I've realized in many ways, I have been on a path leading me towards adopting the possibility of Minimalism. Most of my life has been one series of stripping belongings down to low levels, picking up, packing and moving, even as a youngster. As a new bride with a husband in the military, I moved a total of nine times in five years. I've had lots of experience preparing for this time in my life to tone down the overabundance of my "stuff".

And so my journey on becoming a Minimalist begins.

Wish me luck!


  1. This was interesting to read. I too am on the road to minimalism. It's surprisinly hard to do though ~ as for some reason getting rid of "things" is hard to do.

    I regularly give stuff away, re-cycle it to charity shops and sell some via local table top sales. I am slowly letting go of a lifetime's possessions ~ but have a long way to go before I am truly minmalist.

    Of course I don't intend to be as minimalist as your son's girlfriend ~ my ambition is just to surround myself with what I need to live and just a few decorative things but do away with clutter (and the need to dust it!)

    I recently sorted through my shoes and wardrobe and pared it down (re-cycling items to a local charity shop) ~ the truth is I only actually wear clothes from a small range of my favourite items. So the items I gave away were just taking up wardrobe space.

    I believe becoming minimalist as you get older is a good thing ~ it's a sort of "letting go" of material things ~ often accompanied by a of developing one's spiritual side.

    I supose death is the ultimate letting go. After all, there are no pockets or wardrobes in a coffin.

    Jan xx

  2. You took the first step, no shoes or socks LOL
    I have too much "stuff". I'm thinking of having a yard sale this month to get rid of some of the stuff.

  3. I bet it'll be a good experience!

  4. Jan, With the young, I think, they are more maleable than someone like me. I'm accustomed to thinking wants are needs. And certainly I want to sleep on a bed, have sheets and blankets. My need is comfort.

    Linda, I do have a tendency to go barefoot in the house, but not because want to save from buying shoes. Though, I just read where elders fall and injure themselves because they don't wear sturdy shoes. So my becoming a pure minimalist is out of the question.

    Ciss, I think it will be a good experience, though, by looking at a few sites last night, it looks like, for some, I won't be doing it "right".

    Thank you all for your support!


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