Minimalist lifestyle started a little different for me than probably most people. I was just as materialistic as the next person in LA (I even have a sin-purse story to go with it). In 2012, I read “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess,” which initially convicted me so much that I started seven months of fasting, and I journaled each step of the way starting with this post. Then in 2014, I read More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity by Jeff Shinabarger. This book had such a profound impact, that I also wrote about it here. There are limited resources, and the more I own means less for someone else. There are enough resources for everyone, but the disparity between the haves and have-nots is why we have such a big poverty issue in this world. This is when I started rethinking everything I own.
We were never wealthy. In my mind, we were never poor either (although some family members may beg to differ). Growing up, I lived in an apartment (section 8 housing) most of my life. I often took public transportation after school in Los Angeles in junior high and high school. I technically qualified for free lunch at school though I never took advantage of it. However, I always felt that I had everything I needed. And when I wanted something, I worked extra hours at my after-school job to make extra money to buy whatever I needed. My dad is actually a hoarder (my aunt tells me that the war generation is often hoarders). It has always bothered me that he was such a hoarder. However, he would always tell me how blessed we are to have a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, a car to drive, etc. I’m grateful that my dad has instilled a sense of gratitude for the things I have since I was little.
After I read More or Less, I started to take the minimalist lifestyle seriously. My dad’s values kept ringing in my ears. I have everything I need, and I’m blessed. I don’t need to buy more books. I don’t need to buy more makeup. I don’t need to buy more purses. It’s been a journey, and not an easy one. But it’s been really stretching and growing me.
Here are additional reasons why I continue to pursue a minimalist lifestyle.
- When I went through 7 months of fasting, I experienced the freedom of having less. It took the stress out of worrying about what I was going to wear, what I was going to eat, or what I was going to purchase. I learned that having less brought simplicity that I enjoyed.
- “Is this a need or a want?” became a filter before every purchase. This approach made me more conscientious of my budget. I learned that I would rather spend money on experiences instead of things, and I have no regrets. I also find myself saving more money in general.
- I have become very aware of all the waste I produce. I know that I am just one person, but I have a conviction that I need to do my part to reduce waste and consumption. A minimalist lifestyle has made me more aware of my environmental impact, and how I can contribute.
- I experienced the death of all four of my grandparents. Each time, I was reminded that you can’t take material things with you. They are all perishable and temporary. This realization has also made me want to invest my time and resources in people and experiences and not things.
I currently live in a 525 sq ft studio. It’s the smallest space I have ever lived. Maybe it’s because all my stuff is crammed into a small space, but I still feel overwhelmed by the things I own (although there are things I love such as my air fryer and Roomba). I’m still on a journey, and I’m still learning. Although I haven’t shopped for clothes in 9 months (thanks to the pandemic), I am convicted to downsize my wardrobe even more… so that’ll probably be my next blog.