As you can tell from the title of this blog, I am a minimalist. So what is a minimalist and why is it such a big thing right now? A minimalist is a person who owns very little. They are people who find freedom in owning less. Now, this does not mean you can only have under this many items or that you need to get rid of everything you own. Being a minimalist means that you look at everything in your life and make sure that it is useful to you or brings you joy.
So how did I become a minimalist? I think we need to go back 11 years to when I was in high school. I had the amazing opportunity to go on a school trip to Italy, so my parents got me signed up on a credit card I could use while in Italy. Not a big deal, I had saved up plenty of money from working to be able to afford to go on the trip and to be able to buy stuff while abroad. Now fast forward a year, I got to go to the West Edmonton Mall for the first time since I was five years old. This was a big deal for me I was so excited. I was also in a phase of buying everything that I thought was cute. I would buy the best name brand stuff I could find. I had a shit ton of clothing and I redecorated my room quite frequently. I remember going to West Ed and every store that I went into, I purchased something. I was in heaven! I remember going back to the hotel and just admiring the amount of stuff that I had bought and playing with all the new things. All of the things that I bought were purchased on the beautiful credit card that my parents had given me. Fast forward to my university years. I now had $5000 dollars worth of debt on my credit card and was still purchasing every cute thing I saw. To fully understand how bad my spending was I need to tell you that I made $20, 000 within a 4-month span of working at a mine. I had nothing to show for it. I had literally spent it all on material possessions. I also still was swimming in my credit card debt.
Slowly I eventually did work off my credit card debt. It took a while but I did it! This did not really change how I thought about purchasing things though. I would still buy cute little things that would make me happy for about a week. Then in a month, when I would “re-organize” my room, I would discard many of the things I had purchased just a few weeks before. This was an endless cycle. Then I started hearing about Marie Kondo’s “life-changing magic of tidying up”.
Now to be fair I never actually read the book. I just kept hearing about it and kinda got the feel of what it was about. It was about making sure everything you own brought you joy. So I did more and more research finding many different resources and stumbling upon two people called The Minimalists. I read all of their books and listened to their podcast. It finally clicked in my brain that I was spending so much money on things that really didn’t matter to me and not on things that do matter to me.
Over the past few years, I have been forming my definition of minimalism, which won’t be the same as anyone else’s, because I defined it to what I feel applies to me. I find that now after going through this process, that I am very conscious of how I spend my money (except on food, because I fucking love food). It can take me returning to a store three times to convince myself to purchase an item that I very well need. For example, when I first moved out I knew that I wanted a blender to make smoothies and I had found one. It had everything that I wanted except it was probably 50 dollars more than what I was anticipating. I literally walked around the store thinking if I should buy this blender, I even called my partner ( who did not give a shit about what blender I bought) to see if I should get this blender. It was a solid hour later and I bought it and took it home. This blender is probably the most used appliance (aside from fridge and stove) in our kitchen.
The point of the story is because I consider myself a minimalist, I have completely changed my view on spending. I look for things that I really need and know that I will use, and then check again that I really need it and then probably again. Instead of putting money into something that will sit on a shelf in my condo, I spend that money going out for patio beers or going on a trip. Ultimately people in my life matter more to me than material things, so I want to focus my resources to make memories with the people that matter to me.