(Pictured: Josh from The Minimalists, Becca from Minimal Wellness, Me)
post-divorce clutter nightmare
Toward the end of 2015, I knew I needed to make some changes, but I didn’t know where to begin. Post-divorce (a year prior), my ex and I had sold a 3,200 sq. ft. house and gone through the arduous process of moving far more than I should have owned at age 31. I then purchased a 2,400 square ft. townhome close to work for just me and my pup. It was beautiful – and too expensive for me… BUT it was spacious enough to hold all of the crap that I had accumulated in my 30 years of life, plus a great deal that my parents had collected over three decades of marriage.
Yet again, I had entered into a heap of debt for a home large enough to fit a ton of (mostly meaningless and unused) shit… a house that would take me as long to pay off as the number of years I had spent on this planet.
Nevertheless, I was glad to be in a nice home and close to work. But then my organization decided to move our office, and I realized that I had no close friends or family nearby either. I couldn’t easily see the people I loved and I was no longer close to work. After less than a year in the home, I decided to sell.
When I thought about selling the townhome, I cringed at the thought of sorting through all of the stuff that was neatly tucked away – in the garage and in closets and in attics (oh my!).
I had mastered the art of hiding the chaos and clutter just enough to forget about it… until I couldn’t anymore.
At the beginning of 2016, I hit a breaking point with the clutter. I somehow stumbled upon a podcast from The Minimalists while out on a walk to clear my mind. I was hooked immediately and fervently caught up on the podcasts I had missed. I began listening to them weekly and studying their blog.
I knew that their message, which was the complete opposite of they way I had been living my entire life, was exactly what I’d been longing for.
I began watching documentaries about intentional living, reading books and articles about decluttering, and investing time in learning more about minimalism. I became obsessed with the idea of getting rid of all the shit and moving into a small space that felt more manageable so I could focus on the things that really mattered to me. (I didn’t really know what mattered to me then, but more on that in another post.) 🙂
I began reevaluating the choices I had made, such as how I spent my time and who I spent my time with. I began eliminating the excess (and I had a LOT of it) by using strategies they shared, as well as others I found online and in other books and articles. Josh and Ryan’s message was the push I needed to make massive change, and I am forever grateful.
The shift was slow and I’m still working at it, but I now have a different job, home, car, partner and, most importantly, outlook on life. I am finally living a life that aligns more with my values (more on that later as well), and I owe a ton of that to The Minimalists and the minimalist community.
wanna learn more?
If you are unfamiliar with The Minimalists or the minimalist movement, The Minimalists website is a great place to start. A few other resources that might be helpful are:
- Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things (available on Netflix and other platforms)
- Minimal Wellness
- Be More with Less (Courtney Carver)
- Find your local minimalist FB group (or join the online minimalist community on FB)
- Becoming Minimalist (Joshua Becker)
I remember feeling completely overwhelmed and unfulfilled. I had no clue what was missing or where to begin making changes. There are so many people who have changed my life, and it just so happens that many of the most impactful are complete strangers.
If you are feeling stuck, perhaps one or more of the above resources can help. I hope that over time I might be able to as well. :-). Maybe take a moment to consider the following:
- What might you gain from letting go… of clutter… of a job… of relationships?
- How might minimalism inspire you to have less crap and live more life?
story behind the photo, if interested
Ever since I began listening to Josh and Ryan’s podcast, I have desired to go to Missoula. After all, they had toured so much of the country and gushed about the beauty of Montana (and they had created some damn inspiring content while there), so I had to see what all the hype was about. Josh and Ryan have since moved to California, so it came as a fantastic surprise that I caught Josh and Becca while he was visiting Missoula!
“You guys are the reason I’m here” is what came out of my mouth immediately… But I didn’t just mean they were the reason I was in Missoula. I meant in life. With their help over the previous two years, I had learned to let go of a lot and live a more fulfilled life (likely a lot more to come on this).
When I saw these two, I was able to express my gratitude for the first time in person for inspiring me in ways they can’t imagine- from my attitude, to relationships, to wellness, to intentionality… Their impact on me – and humanity – is immeasurable. Thank you both (+ Ryan and all involved in this community) from the bottom of my heart. ❤️
(Photo Cred: JFM – mad selfie skills)