Have you ever wondered how the concept of “less is more” might relate to your life?
I wondered this for several years. As a professional organizer I had helped plenty of people in their 60’s and 70’s minimize and downsize for a transition to an easier to manage lifestyle. I viewed it as a stage of life transition, as opposed to a lifestyle, adoptable at any age. I’d certainly never helped anyone my age downsize. In 2015, my husband and I were only 49 years old, but we were confident that having less would allow us to experiment with living a life more closely aligned with our emerging values of a healthier lifestyle, simplicity, a smaller carbon footprint and a more minimalistic existence.
I read a lot about simplicity and minimalism while contemplating this shift to a more minimalistic lifestyle, starting with the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. This book, which focuses on living a more purposeful, focused and intentional life struck a chord with me. This is what we were after! We were also wanting to own and care for less, so I read a lot of books on the topic of minimalism. The idea of a stark white room with two chairs and a lamp made me nervous, but I reasoned that there must be degrees of minimalism.
What I learned through my reading and exploration is that minimalism isn’t an absolute and is actually defined by the individual doing the minimizing. Author James Altucher minimized himself down to 15 items, which was way too minimal for us. The Minimalists traveled a road towards minimalism that was still too extreme for our comfort level. The idea of minimalism we most closely connected with is that of Joshua Becker and his family. He terms it rational minimalism, which he defines as finding a style of minimalism that works for you and your family.
After purchasing a much smaller house in the city and with the goal of rational minimalism in mind we began the process of releasing. In the end, we estimate that we released over 60% of what we had owned as mid-life suburbanites.
Though minimizing ended up being a challenging process, the result has been more time for what we love to do and who we want to be in this phase of our lives.
What would you choose to have less of in exchange for more time, more experiences, and more connection with others in your life?
If you know you’ve got too much crammed in your life to truly enjoy what life has to offer, contact me and let’s discuss partnering to explore where you’re at now, where you could be and what the path looks like to get there.