Becoming a minimalist - part 1

It was never my intent to become a minimalist. It wasn't something that I dreamed about as a little girl, "When I grow up I'm going to have a perfectly organized house with minimal furniture and just enough clothing to last me a week." Alas, that is me. It's been a journey for me and what started as enforced minimalism through sheer economic hard times has now turned into a quest for simple living. 

Six years ago, I moved to Jerusalem, Israel to be a missionary. Before I left my hometown, I sold or donated just about every item that I owned besides clothing - it was a true going out of business sale. Louis Vuitton handbags, Chanel sunglasses, Williams Sonoma kitchen gadgets, cutlery and dinnerware.... all that was left were 4 suitcases of clothing that I hauled across continents; if only I had known about the 10-item wardrobe back then. After I cleared house, I never felt so free. It was as if a burden that I had been carrying a long time had been released. The truth is it was a physical burden. All the furniture, clothing, and stuff had weighed me down. I felt so free from material things as I embarked on my new journey in life. I still remember that feeling to this day; it's a treasured memory for me.

William Morris said it best, "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." This one quote has become the war cry of minimalists everywhere and it's honestly changing the landscape of materialistic America. It's now considered chic to downsize, and eliminate square footage and wardrobes. It almost feels like people are bragging about trading in their square feet for a minimal lifestyle and apartment to go with it. 

But what does all this minimalist jargon mean and how does it translate for the average American. I'm married now with kids and I have a house with some beautiful things in it. There is a balance to this way of living and I have what works for me. My experience has taught me that minimalism looks differently for each person. There is no clear cut definition, 10-step process, or even a meeting to attend to achieve the status and label of "Minimalist".  One only needs to follow the promptings of the heart and let Mr. Morris' quote be a guide. For we are only on this earth for a short time, let's not make it about cleaning, keeping, and storing our stuff.