Minimalist Mondays – starting the journey

Minimalism. It’s the new organic, the thing to be – the hater of stuff.

Now, I don’t  hate stuff, just for the record. Though it gets on my nerves with its penchant for being everywhere all at the same time. I didn’t jump on this bandwagon mainly because I figured you’d have to live in a bark hut to be a true minimalist – and that was not going to happen.

This journey began in August.

We packed up our 29 foot Jayco, put the kids (next to each other, of all the horrible things!) in the backseat of the Tundra and headed out for 3 weeks of seeing the West. A week or so into this trip, I realized that life was so amazingly simple. We had just the kitchen items we needed – nothing extra, we got groceries when we were running out, we did laundry when we needed clean clothes, and tidying up the camper was simple. The kids each had a plastic shoe-box with their special items so “cleaning up” was putting their things in their box and putting the box on their bed. My “desk/office” was reduced to my backpack. Everything I needed to write, blog, read or be creative was right there. The kids even had a dedicated cupboard just for their creative pursuits: tape, crayons, coloring books, glue, scissors, blank paper, and lots of books to read.

Simplicity.

We soaked up the majestic beauty all around us as we lived life as a family of 5. Sometimes that meant a child throwing a fit as we sat around the picnic table at our campsite because they didn’t like what was on their plate. “My dear child, you will not die because you don’t like what you have been given to eat tonight. You will control yourself and remember gratefulness – and that your fit will not get you what you want. Now or ever.” These are the moments when I’m tempted to (and sometimes do) hang my head in frustration over their choices instead of looking into the blue eyes across the table and know we’re in this together.

Real life follows you whether you’re camping or not. Just keeping it real.

Eventually, we turned the truck to face East and I began to count down the days until I had my beautiful house once again. The experience of minimalism was going to pay off in other ways I could hardly fathom.

Fast forward to Labor Day. Backpacks are ready. Clothes and shoes are carefully chosen. Then off we go to a family get-together to celebrate summer ending and fall beginning. Conversation seems to come back to houses and property – which in itself isn’t all that unusual as I’ve married into a family of builders and carpenters. But I tune in gradually because my husband seems to be interested in one house specifically.

— Oh. I should explain something here. My Engineer always has his eyes and ears out for deals and the next step for our family. His careful forethought has been such a gift to our family! So while we love our home and especially the kids schools, he is always thinking about the “what if…”. It used to unsettle me, but I’ve learned to love it about him. —

So, back to the story.

With his sister looking around for houses, one came up that didn’t fit their family but really piqued my Engineer’s interest. So right then – in the middle of the celebration – we hopped in the truck with his dad and went to see it. My exact words before we left were: I don’t want to move simply for the sake of bigger and better. Our home is perfect for us and a lot of people live in a lot less. To up and move our whole family to a different house and different schools simply for a bigger house is  completely unnecessary.

Then I saw it. Gorgeous log cabin with a wraparound porch, fully insulated workshop, and a massive custom-built fieldstone fireplace set just off the main road on 2 wooded acres. The look on his face told me everything I needed to know. He could see himself retiring here one day.

At first, I struggled to see the inside as he saw it. Decorated in 90’s clutter country, she had stuff crammed into every available orifice. Add in the wallpaper that covered each room and I could’ve sworn the walls were inching closer to me. The master bedroom was a loft that overlooked the fireplace but it was carpeted in 90’s maroon carpet even into the bathroom! This house could be really great but wow, did I have a lot of work to get it there. It made me long for our clean walls and simple home we already have. Maybe that should’ve been a clue.

To be continued… Look for Minimalist Mondays – Vol 2 next week.

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