Life Lessons from Mom: A Mother’s Thoughts on Minimalism

Hey there, Laura.

As your mom, I figure I can offer my comments to your thoughts on minimalism here.

Brava, for embracing this minimalist philosophy early in life and may it inform all your decisions.

I have recently finished a purge, not my first and probably not my last, of things I’ve accumulated over 57 years of living, and does it ever feel good! It was daunting looking around a 3,000 square foot house and wondering how much of the furniture, books, photographs, clothing, etc., etc. would have to be sacrificed as we transitioned from a family of four to three females living in a 1,500 square foot apartment.

That was the first and hardest hurdle. Then, as your sister then you left home, there was another divestment of belongings and associated memories. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it!

Lessons I’ve learned in the process:
  • I had to be emotionally ready to tackle the job. When it was the right time for me, I had bursts of energy that lasted, at most, two hours at a time. When my focus started to wander, it became harder and harder to decide between keepers and trash. That’s when I stopped for the day.
  • Be patient with and kind to yourself. Most of my stuff I had for a reason and it’s hard to part with something you’re bonded to. It takes time to say, “Goodbye”.
  • If you really, really can’t keep it, take pictures as mementoes and then lovingly place it in the garbage bag or, send it to a new home at the local donation centre.
  • Celebrate every accomplishment and milestone, whether it’s culling a small jewellery box or an entire closet of outdated clothes.
  • So, now I’m left with the real treasures.
  • Most of them are used daily or at least visible so I can appreciate them. And, fewer things mean less dusting and cleaning – YEAH!
  • Those still in storage, are organized and easily accessible.
  • I have a greater appreciation of the wonderful things that add joy and meaning and beauty to my life on a daily basis.
  • I feel light of heart now that I don’t worry about the great mass of belongings that for years have followed me across the country.
  • I’m spending less money now than I used to because I think twice before buying something. I ask myself: Do I really need this or am I buying it to fill some emotional space? Would I rather put the money towards something that will have lasting meaning for me, like a trip or visit to an art gallery? Where will I put this thing and how often will I have to dust it?

Mom and Minimalism

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