You might have seen me mention this before, but our family is on a journey to simplify our lives. One thing that’s been happening for us is that we’ve been on a major house-hunting expedition. And guess what…we found the house! You know what? It’s NOT what we expected to fall in love with. Here’s why. It’s much larger than we expected. And if you know any of the dogma of the minimalism/simple living it’s ‘Thou shalt not live in a big home.” At least that’s something I’ve assumed. So, as a result I’ve had some feelings of guilt falling in love with a big home!
As I was reflecting on both my excitement and my guilt this morning, I decided to look into some of the pioneers (Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus) of the modern day minimalism movement and came across this. They said,
“So what is this minimalism thing? It’s quite simple: to be a minimalist you must live with less than 100 things, you can’t own a car or a home or a television, you can’t have a career, you must live in exotic hard-to-pronounce places all over the world, you must start a blog, you can’t have children, and you must be a young white male from a privileged background...OK, we’re joking—obviously. But people who dismiss minimalism as some sort of fad usually mention any of the above “restrictions” as to why they could “never be a minimalist.” Minimalism isn’t about any of those things, but it can help you accomplish them. If you desire to live with fewer material possessions, or not own a car or a television, or travel all over the world, then minimalism can lend a hand. But that’s not the point. Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.”
I’m a minimalist in the sense that I am searching for more freedom and more love. I want to live mindfully, be present, and notice the little things in life. To me, it’s the path to grateful and full living! So, here’s why I am a minimalist who chose a larger house:
1) Covid changed our needs
If I were to pick a home pre-covid, I would have picked a tiny home. And in some ways I still would, yet when I sat down and tried to really picture us in the space, it wouldn’t work. Covid created the need for both my husband and I to work from home (probably long term), which means we need our own separate space in the home, with closed doors. I also plan to start my own practice, so the home also has a private office with a separate entrance. Can you relate? Has covid changed your needs in your home?
2) I like to host, and picture having many family & friend gatherings
I’m about to throw another popular buzzword on there…it’s hygge. Hygge is a Danish word that means you focus on the simple things in life. If you look up the word “Hygge” online, it’s usually associated with making a cozy home, free of clutter, and filled with candles and books. Hello! Does that sound dreamy or what?! If that doesn’t sound amazing enough to any of my fellow book lovers, a common element of hygge is also focused on relationships. Hygge means potluck meals, game nights, and enjoying/investing in friendships. YES. That’s what I’m going for. I picked a larger home because I wanted the space to have all of our family and friends in one place. I grew up with a home that was great for hosting, and I desired an ability to have a home that could be a gathering space filled with much love.
3) Simplicity means something different to me
While I love living with what’s essential and not buying excess, I learned in the process that simplicity took on a different meaning for me. Alan and I found ourselves in a fork in the road with this decision. Either we could pick a small home, more “simple” for now that would force us to pair down items, with the potential to outgrow and move again. OR, pick a larger home, be a better investment (better for my “numbers” husband! ) and never have the need to move because of space concerns (or work from home ability). When I started thinking about the practicality of a smaller home with no closet space on the first floor, my clutter free ideal was questioned. When I also started wondering if we’d be able to fit a baby bouncer when we add another child to the mix, I started wondering if I was living in the ideal of what others say work for them as a minimalist and what actually works for our family. One key point I go back to time and time again is that simple living is NOT about feeling deprived. AND, just because you have a bigger space does not mean you can’t pair down your items. But the biggest reason I got a bigger home was because the idea of not moving again, having a long term home for our family, felt like the most simple option.
When I work with clients I often urge them to drop their rule books they have been carrying around either handed to them from family expectations or from societal nudgings. It makes me think of our spiritual journeys. Although we can follow dogma from different religious strands, the true transformations often take place when we really allow our hearts to be transformed. Basically what I’m saying is that this home search has been an opportunity for me to practice what I preach. I had to lay down the rule book and pick a home that felt right for our family. And you know what? I don’t regret it one bit! Happy rooting, everyone.