On Being A Minimalist by Lois Hewitt

My actual and entire wardrobe. I never have to guess what to wear!


My days of hoarding and compulsive buying seem to be over. I say that knowing full well I could slip back into old ways at anytime.  Every purchase is weighed now against cost, storage space needed, percentage of actual need and what I already own that has to be donated to make room for this new item.  It has taken the fun out of shopping, which is a good thing.  I racked up massive amounts of debt “having fun” shopping only to feel guilt and regret after the high diminished.  I have embraced being a (almost) full-on minimalist.  

In the beginning, it was just about the money.  I was spending way too much on absolutely unnecessary things.  Why would two people need three sets of dishes?  Does anyone using the bathroom really care if all the towels and accessories match?  Oh, how much time and money I spent on having some sort of allusion of outward perfection while the reality was that I was drowning inward. Things stopped being just things to have and started to own me. I worked multiple jobs and was always scheming for ways to pay for all the stuff.  My life was not mine but it was owned by the 20 plus creditors I owed.  I was miserable, so I would shop to feel better then have crushing guilt over the most recent purchases.  I then went through a stage where I could not even buy necessities for fear of incredible remorse.  My life was killing me….

Then I lost all the stuff.  All the security blankets and false self-esteem symbols that I built around myself were gone.  I was lost and miserable. Then the sun came up and I saw a brand new life in a brand new light.  I was now free to live without outward hindrances.  I left Ohio with a suitcase and some items I thought I would require to live. Then as I was on the road those items found new homes with other people or in the gatbage. The more I moved the less I needed.  

Here I am a little over two years later. Getting ready for another move and evaluating my current possessions.  I, honestly, acquired a few more things than I wanted to, but all paid for with cash.  It’s not much, but I am culling everything I have accumulated over the last couple of years. I did good, but have a few things to donate. And a few sentimental gifts from people I’ve met, which I will keep.  When it’s all said and done, I do not ever want to go back to my mega-consumeristic ways.

One major byproduct of this lifestyle is now I have the ability to actually help others with time and money. Before I was always so busy trying to make a buck and always short lots of bucks that I could not ever help anyone. I just couldn’t. The freedom is astonishing!

I know it’s not for everyone, I am not advocating that it is. But for me, it was the best decision ever forced upon me.  I thought I would miss the things, but now I can hardly remember what those things even were.  Peace, for me, is not owning much. It keeps my life in perspective. When I was drowning underneath all the things, I had no perspective.  Now I see how those things hindered my life and my progress to becoming the person I wanted to be. I was holding on so tight to the stuff, important things slipped through my fingers. Today I can reassess where I am in a short time and that has allowed me to finally grow. 

The worst thing in my life, losing it all, has been one of the most important changes in my life. Today, I can truly say that I am blessed.

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