A while back I stumbled onto Rachel’s blog The Minimalist Mom. I didn’t have any real desire to commit to a minimalist lifestyle, but I definitely longed for a simpler, more conscientious and deliberate way of life. Rachel is a no non-sense and interesting person (she’s an “almost” Olympian even!) and her blog is packed full of practical information. Her & her husband have made a commitment to the minimalist lifestyle, and she can help you navigate your way to less: less crap, less debt, less stress. She’s not fanatical and she does spend money & do stuff, it’s not about not living, it’s about living purposefully & sustainably.
When I think about it, I don’t think I have that much “stuff”. I usually prefer experiences over physical things: a fantastic dinner with friends, a great trip with my daughter, attending live music events… But when I do look around my house, which is small by the way – I share a 1000 square foot condo with my daughter – it *is* full of stuff. I bought the condo almost 10 years ago, and it seems a lot has accumulated over that time… For the most part, I don’t or rarely use that stuff & I don’t even really see it anymore, it’s part of the decor. But you still need to walk around that stuff, clean around it, live without the extra space. And my brain knows it’s there and more importantly, it knows it doesn’t need to be there.
Back in April, the lease for my car was coming up. Having had a ridiculously painful sales experience when I signed it, I procrastinated so much that by the time the lease expired, I still hadn’t even looked at another car. That’s when I decided I would just not get a new car… yet. We’d had a warm and dry spring, summer was upon us an dI knew I’d be away part of the summer: perfect timing!
So since then, we have used the bus, cabbed & walked. And there have been so many fabulous and unexpected side effects:
- I am more organized: I need to know where I need to be and when to plan for how I will get there. When possible, I plan to do things that are located in close proximity at the same time.
- I am more deliberate: no more eating at the restaurant on a spur of the moment decision – ok, let’s be honest: it happens less ;)
- I save money: no more car payments, insurance payments, gas expenses, sticker renewals, etc… Even if we take a cab a few times a month, it’s still much cheaper.
- I waste less food: I know, I wasn’t expecting this either. But I take the bus to do groceries: that means careful meal planning so I don’t have to carry more than I can/need, which means less waste. Incidentally, my grocery bill is also much smaller. as I am much less inclined to go for impulse buys.
I always assumed I’d get a new car for winter, but now I’m not so sure. I think I might just sign up for a car sharing program. I’m happy, my wallet is happy and my fridge is happy. Why ruin a good thing.
I still don’t think I’ll ever be a minimalist, but I like the idea of simpler living.
Baby steps :)