Have you ever watched the shows Hoarders or Storage Wars? Do you ever think about how the people in the shows acquired so much stuff? Now, have you watched any Tiny House shows and wondered how the people in the those shows have so little stuff? Which of these lifestyles appeals most to you? Minimalism and tiny homes are becoming more and more appealing to me. Here’s why…
Many years ago, while I was still a child, my mother unexpectedly passed away, A couple years after her death, my father decided it was time for us to move. My sister was going to be leaving to attend a college 2 hours away, I was going to be starting a new school and it just made sense for us to move closer to my school and all of our family members. We downsized from this 3 story, 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 2,400 square foot house into a small 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment.
Leaving my childhood home and the community I had grown up in was traumatic, but what was even more scaring was dealing the amount of STUFF we had filled the large home with. The home had 2 dinning rooms and 2 living rooms so it seemed we had 2 of everything! My parents had spent so much money on “quality furniture” that parting with these inanimate objects was considered “a shame”. If you ask me, what was “a shame” is how much money had been wasted on purchasing all this STUFF! In the end, we had a couple garage sales, family members took what they wanted, some stuff got stored in my aunt’s garage and the some stuff got stored at my father’s store.
About 13 years after this traumatic move my father retired and decided to move overseas. This meant he left with just some suitcases and boxes. I had to rent a Uhaul and move all of his remaining “quality furniture” into a storage unit. About 5 years and $10,000 later I told my father we had wasted enough money on storage and I would be emptying out his storage unit and letting Goodwill have all his furniture. Once again, I had to hear about the “quality furniture” and how it was “a shame”, to let it go.
Around the same time I sold his business which he had owned for over 35 years and when the real estate agent told me I had 30 days to vacate the premises once again I found myself emptying a space that had amassed decades and decades worth of STUFF! Office furniture, bookshelves, tools, ladders, etc etc… I let friends and family take what they wanted and everything else went into a dumpster I had rented. To this day, my father doesn’t like to think about all of the “quality items” I got rid of.
Earlier this year, my aunt unexpectedly passed away and her husband sold their home. I knew that this wouldn’t be an easy move for uncle because just like my father he was going to be downsizing from a 3 bedroom home with 2 of every room to a 2 bedroom apartment. He and his family had been in that home for over 30 years so they too would have decades and decades of STUFF. I knew from experience that their garage was packed to the brim because they had been storing items from our house in there. Over the span of a few days a few of my cousins and I showed up to help clear out the garage. We had to hear over and over about the “quality” of the stuff and how it was such “a shame” needless to say that once again after a garage sale and family members taking what they wanted, the majority of things ended up getting hauled away by a rubbish company.
I’d like to share a few nuggets that all of these experiences have taught me:
- Life is temporary
- We don’t take any STUFF with us, so don’t collect things
- Collect memories not things
- Live as if you’ll die tomorrow (because it really can happen that fast)
- Minimize your clutter and only keep necessities
- Don’t waste money on “quality” stuff that you’ll feel bad about parting ways with
- There is no need to buy expensive furniture
- Spend your money on experiences not things
- Be a minimalist
- Live in a Tiny Home
- It’s “a shame” how much money we waste on STUFF
- Rise above consumerism
- Leave a legacy of deeds not STUFF
My husband and I live in the smallest house by square footage in our neighborhood. I wouldn’t say we are minimalists but my experiences have taught me that everything I buy should be viewed as disposable. I have no desire to hold on to things for decades and if the opportunity to live in a tiny house presented itself tomorrow I would gladly sell or donate all of our furniture and live a more minimalist life in a tiny space.