Friday, March 2, 2018

minimalist dreaming

In February DH and I took things a bit further, adding a bit of minimalism into the mix.

After kicking off this year's frugality reboot, suddenly we were hit with decluttering fever and have been on a mission over the past few weeks to get real with ourselves about all the stuff remaining in our storage spaces.

And so a steady flow of stuff has gone out the door - giant bloated garbage bags for charity pickups, all sorts of odds and ends sold or Freecycled (culminating with with a trip at the end of the month to the nearest Goodwill donation center in a car stuffed full of pricier things we got tired of trying to resell and no longer wanted to keep - including my old wedding dress). All of our storage spaces from the bedroom and coat closets to the toy storage benches to the space under the stairs in the basement and even the junk drawers have become very pleasantly sparse looking, and DH and I have both found it faster and easier to choose work outfits in the morning.

One of the first and most helpful benefits of this intense bout of clutter clearing that we've noticed is that there's been an even sharper drop in the desire to buy new things - desires we'd long struggled with, for months or even years - and the enhanced ability to resist impulses.

Another interesting side effect was everyone's sudden disinterest in watching TV - including kiddo. After the big Goodwill drop off just a few days ago, we picked kiddo up from school and she suddenly declared she was tired of watching TV and didn't feel like doing it tonight.

We were in shock, even more so when she continued to declare the same the next two nights in a row. We've also had a new goal of keeping the tablet games to a new minimum (even though they're slightly less passive than television watching), and she's had an occasional itch to play those when boredom starts to bubble up. But that's when Daddy jumps up to initiate some other activity or suggest a trip somewhere like the library. (All this has compounded to result in an unprecedented number of kids library books around the house. A photograph of her room at the moment thus would not make one think "minimalist" but at least unlike most stuff it was acquired at no extra cost beyond my taxes and with the temporary ownership in mind.)

So for us at least minimalism has served to compliment very well our pursuit of spending less in general, and has helped us to feel that four years after getting bit by the early retirement bug we can finally shift into second gear toward our frugal living and early retirement goals. This likely still sounds like beginner stuff to some of the frugal pros out there, but at least we've also kicked into higher gear the desire to declutter our minds with a nice long unhook from passive entertainment consumption, which feels extra awesome.

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