“We’re minimalists now. We’re selling our house.”
I knew this would shock some people. I knew that not everyone would understand but I wasn’t anticipating the level of criticism we faced. We didn’t think our decision to have 5 books instead of 50 would personally affect anyone but it did and it does. We are still occasionally met with eye rolls, skepticism, and overall judgment when we talk about our minimalistic lifestyle. “Why don’t you just buy it?” … “What will we do for Christmas?” … “Where will you sleep?”
At first these questions really upset me. I was deeply hurt every time someone made a not-so-subtle jab or joke that came from the same people who said they supported us.
Clay and I ironically think that you’re the crazy ones for not being minimalists but we also don’t judge you for your shopping spree.
So we’re a year into our minimalism journey, and the number one thing we hear now is “Okay, so you’ve donated a lot to goodwill, that’s great! But did you sell your house?”
The short answer is, no. Our tentative plan was to sell our house in spring of 2016 but the real estate market got crazy. Had we sold our house, we would’ve ended up paying almost the same mortgage for a smaller house while losing money in the process. Financial freedom is one of the biggest reasons we became minimalists, so to sell our house and lose money would defeat the purpose of our whole agenda. After all the hype we didn’t actually do the one thing we said we would.
I know that’s disappointing. I know you wanted to hear that we sold our house and we’re now living in a whimsical house on wheels while traveling the country with our 2 kids and lovable golden retriever. I was disappointed too. I would much rather blog about that whimsical house on wheels than report back with the less exciting reality that we’re still living in a brick ranch with yard work and a family of groundhogs living under our deck.
We didn’t do the one thing we promised we’d do. We felt like frauds and failures. But eventually we realized that just because we weren’t living the #tinyhouselife didn’t mean we weren’t minimalists. There were so many other victories and accomplishments to celebrate. The freedom we felt from having to work harder to supplement a lifestyle neither of us really wanted, financial control, a house that’s (almost) always clean and tidy without any work, the organizers and tidying systems that became obsolete, closets that have room to breathe. I could sing these praises all day. In just a year we already have tangible results and our bank accounts are thanking us.
I stand by my promise that we won’t judge you for your shopping spree tendencies, but we might still pat ourselves on the back when we compare your closets and kitchen cupboards to our own. It’s not that we are pointing our fingers from our minimalists pedestal. It’s simply that when we’re in someone else’s house and their bookshelves and closets are full, we realize that ours are not.
But that doesn’t mean we’re perfect. Clay and I recently opened up our own kitchen cupboards to do another round of purging. I admit our heads were big at the time because a few months before we had swept through the kitchen and got rid of 3 huge boxes worth of stuff. We thought we were so thorough the first time, except we weren’t.
So many different ways to drink wine: 8 stemmed wine glasses, 4 stemless acrylic wine glasses, 6 stemless wine glasses, 4 small wine tasting souvenir glasses, 2 champagne flutes.
“I had no idea we had that many wine glasses!” and even though I knew we had to go cold turkey on our glassware addiction, I still found myself justifying why we needed them for entertaining and “just in case.”
Later Clay pulled out a bundt pan from the cupboard. “Have you ever even made a bundt cake in your life?!” I defended myself trying to convince us both that we should keep it.
I like the idea of being the kind of person who makes pretty bundt cakes, but in the 4 years I’ve had that pan, the only thing I used it for was for cutting kernels off an ear of corn. So the sooner I’m able to be honest about who I am and who I am not, the closer I am to letting go of and moving on to something else. That’s what minimalism is. Cutting out the excess to make room for what’s really important (like muffins).
So we didn’t sell our house but maybe we still will someday, or maybe we’ll just stay in this house indefinitely. We don’t only own one plate, and sleep on the floor. But we don’t have 24 wine glasses anymore. We admit we have a long way to go, a lot to learn, and a lot to let go of, but we have come a long way even in a year, and it’s finally starting to show.
UPDATE: Read about some of our other victories in minimalism here.