I am not. Since marrying, our 680 square foot home has gotten bigger and smaller. Since marrying, our home has gained more “things” than it’s probably seen in all its life. My husband has more clothes now that he has ever had since I’ve known him. He currently has 5 tee shirts, 2 dress up shirts, one pair of pants and one pair of overalls. His shoe collection is limited to a pair of boots, a pair of sandals, and a pair of snow shoes.
The reason I’m listing this is to emphasize when I say minimalist, I truly mean, he keeps his items to a minimum.
We are constantly donating items in our house. Monthly we get rid of items. Usually it is clothing for the girls. When our first daughter was about to be born, we were graciously overloaded with bags upon bags of clothing. We still have a lot of that clothing that our second daughter wore and is wearing. We also donate a lot of books the girls outgrew or toys that were given to us.
I am not a minimalist by any sense. When I moved out of an apartment I had in my twenties, I left there with 9 kitchen boxes.
The girls’ outdoor gear *may be* an overload. Definitely to my husband. Marlena owns 3 pairs of snow pants, two snowsuits and 2-3 fleece. Primrose has two pairs of mittens, endless amount of hats, a snowsuit shell, a warm full body jumper, snow pants, a fleece and a poofy coat with one handmade scarf. They get wet. We need emergency supplies in the car. What if friends come over? You can never have too much outdoor gear. (Unless you don’t have places for it 😀 )
I find joy in having “backup” items for when I/we have guests. A joke in our house is “It’s for the guests!” because we never have guests, yet for some reason I still imagine we will.
But I am frugal. This is not to be mistaken with cheap. Cheap can kiss my ass. I will pay top dollar for quality items. I have a keen eye for liking the most expensive things. 😀 I actually think that my eye is trained to see quality and therefore, the price usually reflects that, although we know a lot of shit items can be costly. The definition of frugal is: “sparing or economical with regard to money or food and simple and plain and costing little.”
We are very often mistaken for poor because of these qualities. We value these qualities in ourselves. It is part of our heart make-up. At its core, my husband’s minimalism and my frugality stand for a healthy living. We are doing this for the health of our family, our minds, the environment, laborers, resources…..the list is really endless. When we pair down our wants and our desires, we are naturally happier people. When we can pay attention to how our instinct to consume can become negatively impactful, we start to have a change of heart.
A couple who lives on our road sent out a mass text that they were moving and had to get rid of everything ASAP. So we naturally thought of some items we could use and inquired about them. They happened to stop by and we were able to hear why they were moving and in such a hurry. The family is being affected by mold in their home and they are refusing to take ANYTHING. My husband, being the kind, compassionate, empathetic person he is, was expressing how heartbreaking this must be for them; they have put so much effort into their home, their dream of living here off the land shattered…….He mentioned how he can’t believe they have to get rid of EVERYTHING (even silverware, outdoor materials……etc)
When these people first moved here we had dinner with them. We got to see the inside of their home, and in a small office room they had this incredible desk. It was the woman’s grandmother (possibly great grandmother?). My husband immediately thought of this item. “Oh my gosh, your grandmothers desk even?!”
The woman responded to his empathetic, heartfelt distress for their family by saying, “You couldn’t afford my grandmothers desk, it’s $10,000!”
Eeeeeeeert! Tires screeching in my mind. I’m sorry, what did you say? She then proceeds to tell us that she knows we have mold in our house because standing inside of it, she doesn’t feel so good. She begins going around to the windows saying, “Yep! There’s mold in here too! I knew it!”
We were offered a job from her, selling her things when she leaves. We would make commission of course.
I don’t need your shitty job or your moldy life. We could afford to buy the desk, thank you very much. Thanking God every day for our decision to pay off our property to leave us debt free. We have one debt, our brand new car, that we could also pay off completely right now if we choose. We have been saving our money to buy a new piece of land somewhere. (Mexico is always calling :P)
I am a pretty defensive person. I tend to take things personally. And by this point, I had to leave the group and take my youngest child to the bedroom where we sat until they left.
It really impacted me. It made me understand why my values in frugality and my husbands minimalism are so strong in our family. What a miserable life. To be all consumed with material that you cannot even recognize a human heart connection trying to be made. Instead it drifts by the ears to lay somewhere fallen behind and the only thing present is greed. “What can I get from this?” “How am I going to recover from this great financial loss?” “It’s devastating us financially!”
There is a lot of emotion tied to materials and things rather than people and dreams.
I recommend everyone watch the movie Affluenza from PBS. It’s a one-hour television special that explores the high social and environmental costs of materialism and overconsumption. I am sure you can find it at your local public library in the United States. I know it is at the Homer Public Library.
Living this way has really made our lives much more rich. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.