A Minimalist Journey

My journey began in 2016 with the sale of my own 4 bedroom home, followed by clearing out my parent’s condominium in Florida and large split level home twice in the Midwest.  I then spent the next two years living with my parents caretaking, with my stuff in boxes in storage.  Recently, I relocated across the country and made the decision to reduce my belongings and downsize as I prepared to move into a small two-bedroom condo.  Having gone through the process of selling, sorting and giving away items so many times over the past two years, I realized that the more stuff I had, the larger my burden was.

Although I had shipped my belongings from the Midwest and downsized considerably, when I arrived in southern Florida, I was informed by the trucking company that my belongings were delayed and would not arrive for almost two weeks, leaving me to live in an entirely empty condo with no bed, table or chairs.  At first, I thought it would be ok, a minimalist adventure, something that I had wanted to do for years, so I mentally prepared for minimal living.  I had a few dishes, one pan, five tops and five pants and one pair of shoes that had developed a hole in the toe that I would wear for the next two weeks.

In the beginning, the emptiness felt like freedom, but then the stark white walls and ceiling began to feel like a hospital as I had nothing to make me feel grounded.  I love color and earthy things like plants and rugs, so I tried to embrace the emptiness although I had moments where I struggled to feel at home, as I had no sense of belonging or personal items to make it my own.

Over time, I started to enjoy the simplicity of not having a lot of stuff to clean or pick up.  Life became easy and effortless in my newfound space.  I cleaned and reused the same dishes for each meal, I reused my towels, I only had a few items in my closet and the space became liberating to me.  I was no longer focused on stuff but spent my time focusing on meeting new people and engaging in activities that were meaningful to me.

Then the day came when the truck driver called and said he would arrive at 8:00 am the following morning.  I was excited to get my things back and missed my furniture.  The truck arrived on time and the driver and workers started to unload.  With each and every load of boxes that they carried in, I started to feel my energy drain and a heaviness settle over my soul.  After several hours of carrying in boxes of all shapes and sizes, the small two bedroom condo became crowded and filled to the ceiling.  I had even downsized before I came but had not realized how small the condo was.  I started to feel suffocated and quickly missed all of my open space I had been living in.

When the movers were done, I signed on the dotted line and picked up a yoga matt that wasn’t even mine.  Somehow not only did I end up with a household full of stuff, but I also had other people’s belongings as well.  I felt the heaviness physically and felt like I was living as a hoarder.  I knew that I couldn’t keep all the boxes, nor did I want to, but I didn’t want to even think about opening them or touching them that day, so I left the boxes alone and went outside for a long walk, mainly to get away from the stuff.

I later made the decision that I did not want all that clutter and that I had spent too much of my time accumulating things in the past.  The stuff had to go, so I made the decision that I would not spend any more time shopping.  If I brought something new into my house, something else would have to leave. I had briefly spent a week living a minimalist lifestyle and had grown to love the freedom and ease it brought me.  The next day I began to open boxes and with some help, I was able to donate all of my unwanted items which included kitchen appliances, dishes, candles, artwork, clothes, shoes and other unneeded things.

I came to the conclusion that although I wanted to live a simple minimalistic lifestyle, I also needed to have a few of my own belongings to connect with or to help me feel grounded so I decided that a few larger pieces were needed, but a lot of the smaller items that had no significance would have to go.

My personal situation was still somewhat in transition as I searched for my place of belonging.  During this time, I applied for a job in Arizona.  I decided that if I was offered the position, I would have to cut my belongings in half again, as this would mean shipping my belongings over 2000 miles, a costly and expensive trip.  So box by box, I began my journey into minimalism and felt lighter with each box that I unloaded and left my home.

At this moment, I do not know what my future holds or what direction it will take me, but I do know that wherever I go, I don’t want my life and home to be filled with stuff, but want it to be filled with people, love, peace, joy, and happiness.

If you decide to begin the journey of minimalism, let me help you take the first step.  This journey may not be easy in the beginning, but through the process, you will learn about yourself, become free from the past, and find that your life becomes lighter in ways that you could never imagine.

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10 comments

  1. my one life. today · May 25

    I love this blog post. It reminds me of my own minimalism journey and the stages I went through. Every time I thought I was nearly done my preferences changed to even less stuff and I was able to part with even more. And I’m not talking about taking it to the extreme, as some people do, and only own what fits in a backpack or a capsule wardrobe. I agree with you on this one that it’s nice (and necessary for me) to have personal things around that create a sense of home and belonging. I do wonder, though, what another move would do to my leftover stuff. I suspect something similar as your move did to yours. Hope your personal transition works out the way you hope.

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    • karoleeblog · May 25

      Thank you! It sounds like you have gone a simliar journey. I just spent a couple of hours going through boxes and taking things out and taping them back up to think now, I need to get rid of more. I have been attached to things in the past and learning how to let go. I know that if I had not moved, that I probaby wouldn’t be getting rid of anything. As I reflect on what I have purchased I see a lot of waste now and unnecessary collecting of meaningless junk. I’m not looking forward to spending days of opening boxes, but I need to lighten my load. Thanks so much for sharing your journey!

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      • my one life. today · May 25

        I can relate, it also always hurt my stomach when I saw how much money I had spent on stuff I didn’t need or even like that much from hindsight. It cannot be undone but I have changed my buying policy to a 100 percent yes. Meaning that if I do not like something a 100 percent, love it, that is, I do not buy it. Works well for me.

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      • karoleeblog · May 26

        That is a great plan to have. I have learned that when I buy something, if there is any hesitation at all, that it means no, I shouldn’t buy it, but after packing and sort boxes still. I see how much money was wasted and that buying or accumulating stuff was a waste of both time and money and from now on, will be wiser with both my time and my money. I like your 100 percent plan!

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      • my one life. today · May 26

        Yes, exactly! Hesitation is a great indicator of ‚no‘.

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      • karoleeblog · May 26

        I eventually learned that if I hesitated that my intution was saying no, sometimes I listened to that in the past and sometimes i wouldn’t, but now its a no first!

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  2. phoenixraay · May 26

    Great post, I love the minimal lifestyle. I am trying to incorporate it more into my own lifestyle.

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    • karoleeblog · May 26

      Thank you! What drives you to want to be a minimalist or to live a minimal lifestyle? As I continue to open boxes from years ago, I wonder, “Who is this person?” I don’t relate to who I was accumulating to much junk, and find the process making my life lighter in many ways!

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  3. heyelsale · May 29

    love this! 🙂 Having so many stuff is kind of draining in the end, it’s better to shift our energy to do something more valuable than this

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    • karoleeblog · May 29

      Thank you! Yes, all the heavy material stuff really does drain us in many ways. Reflecting back I spent too much energy on accumulating stuff that doesn’t matter or have any true significance. I think the accumulation and time spent actually took time and energy away from authentic happiness. I like what you said about shifting the energy to something valuable. So true! Thank you!

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