Somehow I still need to explain “voluntary minimalism” to people. They assume I have less because of finances and circumstances. Both of which are, to some degree, true. We live in a one-bedroom apartment, so we don’t have space for all of the Lego sets Katie would ever want, or all of the dead tree, non-electronic books I desire. At some point in the next couple of years, we’re going to have to move, so even if we had the space now I don’t want to have to move it later. Even if we had the money for stuff, I hate moving. Even thinking about it stresses me out. I’m currently happier with less stuff.
Why I’m Happier with Less Stuff
Once upon a time I worked in the corporate world and made good money. I had a tacky McMansion and a new car. Nevertheless, I was not happy. I did not find the work that I was doing to be meaningful. In fact, on the longest corporate job I did not consider the work I was doing to be ethical. The expense of maintaining the house and the cars made me stressed out. I felt trapped in the jobs because if I quit, how could I afford those things?
The pressure to conform was making me ill as well. When I tried to tell people that I hated my job, they told me that I should be grateful to have money and stuff. I had really wanted a small house in an historical neighborhood, something with a cute yard and character. People talked me out of it. I had loved my beater of a Toyota, which had almost 300,000 miles on it but was super-reliable and inexpensive to maintain. So what if the desert sun had bleached the paint off down to bare metal, and the vinyl upholstery was cracked? I got me from point A to point B, comfortably, consistently, and cheaply.
Save Time and Energy
Visual clutter stresses me out. I like a simple room. Knickknacks need to be moved and dusted. I like being able to find what I need easily, because I don’t have to wade through piles and drawers and bins full of stuff I don’t need. All of that takes time and energy. I’m also getting older and slowing down a bit, and I just want to relax as much as possible. I want calm, serene spaces. I want to sit down, not clean up.
Focus on What’s Important
What do I want from life? I know that I don’t want to feel as if I need to impress people. I want to be comfortable. A place to sit and write, a chair to sit and read or watch TV, a bed to sleep in. A kitchen that laid out well, so there’s a flow to working in it, is a bonus. A bathroom that’s not the size of a broom closet, so I can turn around within banging into the walls, is a joy. And on that point, this apartment beat the hell out of the McMansion. I could throw a party in this bathroom. You’d think that they could have sacrificed some of the square footage in one of the great rooms (plural) to make the master bath a bit roomier in the McMansion.
We need a bigger apartment, mainly because my business has outgrown the kitchen table. I need a proper desk, and an office to put in it. That’s a practical thing. I’m happy with fewer, better-quality things. Some nice clothes. I covet a specific pair of Dr. Martens boots. Rather than acquire stuff, I want to do things. I live in Europe, for God’s sake! I will never run out of restaurants to try. Nor will I run short of museums to visit. Who wants to be at home with stuff when there are so many places to be?
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After taking a hiatus to deal with some personal and professional necessities, I’m back to blogging regularly! All of the posts will adhere to the theme of simplify – create – thrive and living a simple, productive, and happy life. If you’d like to follow along, add your email to the box on the sidebar (if you’re on a laptop) or down below (on mobile) and hit that subscribe button!