Today we are going to take a break from home design, travel, and real estate, to chat about something bigger. Minimalism is something that Ty and I have have been talking about for a long time (you've likely heard snippets here and there on instagram). It's about time we share why we are so adamant about implementing this new "lifestyle," and discuss the change that it has brought to our lives.
Minimalism is no foreign concept. If you haven’t heard of it, then you must be some sort of anti-media, off the grid caveman. Now, we are not here to tell you that we got rid of everything we own, stuffed 10 belongings into a backpack, and are moving to a hut in Costa Rica. That’s not my style (unless you can fit a Keurig, curling iron, and Hunter boots in that backpack). Today, Ty and I are here to share OUR version of this trendy “minimalism” concept.
One concept regularly discussed in the Minimalism books and podcasts (which I highly recommend), is learning how to find your own “recipe." Some of you may be able to live with a backpack filled with 10 items, and wear the same black T every day; while others may need one pair of rain boots in every color. Both OK. Minimalism is about progress - taking what you have, and minimizing it at your own pace. It's about creating a new mindset.
Ty and I MAY have been two of the most materialistic, stuff-loving people on the planet. Ty had over 75 Ralph Lauren oxford shirts. I had a basement filled with furniture, paint, sand paper, and all kinds of crafty "stuff." I also had a closet full of clothes, mostly cheap Forever 21 purchases that had shrunk in the wash. We bought T-shirt’s or mugs as souvenirs everywhere we went. Shopping was a hobby. We always wanted.
January 2017, I came home from a long work trip away to find Ty sitting on the couch mesmerized by a program on Netflix (who refers to TV shows as “programs” any more? Apparently me because I’m 55 years old). Irritated by the lack of attention he was giving his long lost wife, I ignored the program and went to bed. The next day, Ty would not shut up about this new found concept. I didn’t like it. Ty was telling me it would be a good idea to start throwing away our stuff. UM, no thanks, and what is wrong with you. A few days later, I turned it on during an evening living room yoga session. Needless to say, I drank the koolaid.
People say opposites attract. Well, Ty and I are nearly the same person. One quality we share? No balance. We get obsessed with a new idea and our marriage revolves around that concept for weeks. We literally high five each other and simultaneously say “#TeamNoChill” when we get into what we call “the mode.” Yes, we are that lame. The documentary suggests you start in your closet and get rid of the things you don’t like. We thought it would be a better idea to start with every room, closet, storage unit, and cabinet. From excess socks to water bottles to pens.
Let me tell you, IT FELT GOOD.
Now, we own about 20% of the wardrobe we once had, and nearly no “extra” items in storage that we were keeping “just because” or “just in case.” Our storage room is forever limited to Christmas decor and necessary out of season things (outdoor pillows, bikes, etc). Soon, we will go deeper into this process, but today, I want to tell you how this new mindset has changed our lives.
The new sense of contentment that we have found is AMAZING. The process of purging creates an inner desire to want less. Truly. Before, I had a constant mental shopping list of things to look for at Nordstrom Rack or Homegoods. Now, I look at areas of my house and think, “Do I need all of this stuff?”
2.QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Ty has always had a bent toward quality items. Not me. Why buy one pair of jeans for $150 at Nordstrom when I can buy 5 pairs for that amount at H&M? I have learned to view every purchase as an investment. How long will this last? How long will it be in style? I’ve thrown out 12 pair of target leggings for 3 pair of Lulus. Now, I truly appreciate everything I own.
3. LESS STRESS
Less stuff = less to take care of. Less organizing, less rearranging. CLEANER HOUSE! Definitely one fo the greatest changes. We have loved spending less time with our stuff and more time with eachother. In fact, we have enjoyed a life of less maintenance so much, that it led us to move to a place half the size of our previous house! We downsized from a spacious 2100 sf, 3 bedroom house in the suburbs, to an 1150 sf, 2 bedroom condo in the city.
4. MORE TIME
We had no idea how much time we spent shopping until we stopped. We have had more time outdoors, more time for relationships, and more time to pursue creative ventures.
5. MORE $$$$ saved
Less spending = more savings. We are trying to tackle that student debt, and this new way of viewing possessions has propelled our “debt free” date!
6. MORE $$$$ made
The documentary does not necessarily push the idea of making money off minimizing, but it has sure made a difference to us! It’s no surprise that we like to travel. But how does someone who likes to travel also like to save money? This year, we have been all over the U.S. (22 states+ Canada in 12 months!). We fund ALL OF OUR TRAVEL via eBay, facebook, and Craigslist. Keep in mind that we ALWAYS travel with a budget in mind. We couch surf a majority of the time. We drive, use Amex delta points, or fly Spirit. We do many SHORT weekend trips. More on travel budgeting soon!
Ty has made $968 on eBay this month selling brand name clothing, and that is not an unusual monthly figure for his Ebay business. When we downsized to a small condo, we made $4500 on Craigslist/Facebook selling household items and furniture. This money has gone toward debt, and experiences. This has reinforced the process of deliberate purchases. While shopping, we have higher standards for the things we buy, and consider the headache that it might eventually be to sell the item should we no longer want it.
There you have it, a glimpse into our newfound minimalist mindset. We are constantly changing, and always looking for new ways to implement this lifestyle. We are about ready for another home "purge" now that we are settled in to the new place.
Because minimalism has made such a strong impact on my personal design style, I will likely be uploading more Minimalist blog post discussing this concept in regards to home design and home function. "Minimalist Mondays" will become a semi-regular thing here on HTD.
Thanks for following along! We hope this has challenged you to watch the documentary, purge your closet, or finally donate that kitchen gadget you got as a wedding gift but haven't used in seven years.
Hannah & Tyler
We are a home renovation and real estate duo currently sharing the renovation of our Holland cottage, along with flips and new builds. We created this blog as a resource for our readers, helping home owners, travelers, and future friends to learn how to renovate efficiently, and affordably!