If you are like me when I first heard of minimalism, you are probably curious about how minimalism really works. I thought of empty houses and museums right? Could the concept of minimalism ever be practical for real people? And I also wondered, would it seriously solve any of my problems...the two big ones being TIME and MONEY?
When I started this journey, I had three children ages 5, 3, and 1 years old. My amazing, hard-working husband had a job that took a ton of his time and I was doing different side gigs to help make money without having to compromise raising our children. In the almost 7 years since I started that journey toward living with less, I have given away 500 + bags to charity and 10 huge pieces of furniture. And yes, we still have couches to sit on and live in a "normal" home (see the tab market HOME TOUR). And I wondered if it was worth the time and money of giving it all away....
What I wanted in the beginning was some sanity in my home and life. What I gained has completely blown my mind.
As I peeled back the layers of 6 tubs of scrap fabric I was never going to use and mismatched dishes that I hated, I slowly and painfully and ironically questioned the sanity of "why am I doing this? It's taking forever!" I felt it was my penance for having allowed all this junk in my house in the first place. I felt like God was punishing me! Stuck in my basement or head-first in my disaster closet, I felt like I was being punished and miserable for allowing other people to determine what I kept in my home. I determined that I would change. My thinking was the problem. And then, the miracles happened...
Suddenly, small miracles. I could find my keys. I could find my shoes and purse every single day. Items had a permanent home. I could see progress. The anger and overwhelm that had plagued me slipped out of my heart and mind quietly leaving like an unwelcome guest finally told to go. The children were happier. With every bag gone, the burden began to lift. And I got my time. Seriously, I wish I could yell this from the mountain tops....everything took less time!! Can you believe it!? So simple yet so revolutionary for me. Less time to do dishes, laundry, cooking, and kid chores. Less time looking for things. Less time sorting and putting things away because there was simply less things to put away. Halleluiah!!
Then, another miracle happened. Opportunities opened. I had the time to work on our investment properties and triple our rental income in about 4 months by adding additional units. I had the time to really get to know our tenants who became dear to our family. They would feed our kids grapes and cheese while we chatted and changed furnace filters. Seriously, who does that? People with time. People with time invest in other people!
Because of the compounding impact of minimalism, I also was able to work with my husband and start another business helping families and business owners with financial education and game planning. I found all my skills from the corporate world brought much needed help to underserved communities in our area where financial mentorship and hope is truly needed. And because I had the mental clarity and I was spending less time with "stuff," I could spend more time serving people. That simply makes my heart sing.
In terms of exact numbers, I have on a consistent basis saved 20+ hours per week compounding by donating all those bags of very useful items. 20 hours X Years of Freedom = So Worth It!
As far as money is concerned, saving money is one category. It regularly saves us about 50% of our household budget by choosing a minimalist lifestyle. But that's not all, not only do we SAVE more money, we have CREATED more income as well. By being free to work on our businesses, I estimate that the amount exceeds double my salary in corporate world. It's significant. And I am still raising my children rather than commuting into the city.
And although I am a huge advocate for Creating Minimalism, I am also a realist. This will take work. It took giving it all away to find the life I was looking for all along. May you find your best life as well. Blessings for your journey!