This past weekend we had friends visit us from Florida whom we had not seen since we moved from there a half dozen years ago. And as we were giving them the tour of our new home state of Maine, I found myself sharing lessons we had learned on our minimalist journey in the meantime. So I thought it might be useful to share them here in the hopes of helping all of you with your own journey toward living large with less. In no particular order here are some of the top of mind lessons we learned along the way:
You are not your stuff. If we are not careful, items we own can become idols in our lives. The curation of our collections can lend itself to fetishizing some things, i.e. Apple devices such as iPods, iPhones, iPads, etc. I enjoy my gadgets as much as the next guy, but I try to remind myself that life was good before I got them and I could survive without them.
Limits are your friends. Adopting limits re: stuff enables us to stop the flow of it into our lives. For example, limiting the amount of an item we own works wonders, e.g. identifying a couple of our favorite drinking mugs, etc. keeps us from buying others unnecessarily. One of my favorite feelings in the world is walking into a store knowing that there is likely nothing I need there.
Experiences trump expenditures. The linchpin of our journey was getting rid of our library of several hundred books. I used to not be able to walk out of a bookstore without buying a book. Now I realize that I’d rather read less and live more. I still read a ton of books each year but I no longer feel the need to own a text in order to learn its lessons. And it is much easier to move without our weighty tomes.
Leverage the leasing lifestyle. In my humble opinion, ownership is largely overrated. I understand the argument for it but in our experience fixing the overhead costs of big ticket items such as housing and transportation has enabled us to move and travel more freely and lightly. For example, when the economy tanks again or a noisy neighbor moves nearby, we are free to explore alternatives unavailable to the less flexible.
These are but a handful of the many lessons we have learned since embarking on our journey of living large with less but hopefully they will help move you closer toward experiencing the bliss of traveling more lightly through life. Take my word for it: there is no substitute for lessening your load, both physically and emotionally. But you don’t need to settle for my word, glean from our journey and go experience the incredible feeling of living with less stuff for yourself!