Minimalism is officially defined as: a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity. I think that the official definition isn’t exactly how we use the word minimalism in our current culture. As the Minimalists state “Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom.” For us it gave the freedom to move across country, across a town, and the eventually enabled us to travel full time with only the necessary objects.
For Mark and I minimalism started with packing up all of our belongings and moving from our home in Kissimmee to an apartment in Phoenix with two cars, three people, and a dog. That experience allowed us to really go through all of our objects and decide what was important or useful enough to make the cut to be packed across the country. That started a process in me to really prioritize items that have emotional value or that I use daily over items that I may use someday.
In Phoenix we created our space with a minimalist decor style and spent time looking for furniture we loved, that was high quality, and had a low environmental impact.
This system allowed us to find amazing pieces that we will have and use for the rest of our lives in every home we find ourselves in.
Then after a year in Phoenix we moved to a very small apartment in Tempe and has to let go of even more access items that we had deemed important during our first move. For me this was very freeing because I had less objects to worry about and misplace, plus it opened up living space to be lived in instead of used as storage. During this time I found out about our local Buy Nothing group. I gave so many of our old things to people who wanted and would use them instead of the gable of donating them to maybe just be thrown away.
The real test of our minimalist journey was the move from our tiny apartment into our converted Van. Not only did we need to decide the value of items coming into the van with us, but we needed to choose the value of the items we wanted to pay to store, such as our furniture. We gave up our bed and frame, anything we had gotten at an IKEA, and many decorative items in order to fit our lives into a tiny storage unit and a van.
Everything in the van has a purpose and is used often and everything in the storage unit will be used when we live in a home again. We have lists of everything we have, things we want to upgrade or purchase, and we don’t hold onto anything we no longer use.
Our wardrobes are very minimal and fit in just two small drawers each in the van, with winter and summer clothes rotating through storage. Every clothing item is high quality and picked to last us a long time and most of them have been second hand and any others bought from ethical companies.
Minimalism is so much more than just cutting down on physical possessions. It is a state of mind and existence pursuing freedom and happiness in your lifestyle. Not being cluttered in your head with the items around you as well as pursuing meditation and ways to reduce anxiety in your life that isn’t related to objects.