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Minimalist Living Changed My Life

Minimalist Living Changed My LifeImage: by Bryon Lippincott (my hubby)

I might get a bit teary-eyed in this post… ever since I had kids I get teary at a lot of things…

The truth is, now that I look back, our change to a minimalist living has made such a huge impact in our life.

Not as huge as my faith that tells me I am saved and have value, or my amazing husband who loves and believes in me,

…but right up there after that. 

We were living a fairly normal life, just struggling to stay ahead (or at least not fall behind), trying to stay out of debt, and trying to survive till bedtime with our two kids.  It seemed that this was just what life was about.

But when we really started to question if we needed everything in our life things started to change…

I am not going to say we live a perfect life now, or that we never get stressed, or that I never lose things, or that the kids never fight.  But at the same time we can now say that we are very happy with our life.

The Minimalist Lifestyle Difference

Money

Money is always such a big thing.  It doesn’t seem to matter how much someone has, they still spend lots of time worrying about money.  We often wish we had more too (… this is just normal) but money has never been a huge worry since we simplified.

I would love to say that when we cut back we were instantly rolling in money… but that wasn’t the case.  I think it was a miracle we discovered minimalism when we did because shortly after we downsized my husbands work also slowed down.  Part of it was a slow-down we chose.. and some of it wasn’t.  Because of our minimalist living we were able to still spend less than we made.

But, except for some slow times at the beginning our minimalist living has allowed us to buy a new car (and pay it off in 4 months), and take a roadtrip the last 2 years for about 5 and a half weeks each.  Without having the extra money we could save each month and having the low living expenses when we are gone, we would have never been able to do this.   … and we make right around average income in this country so I really believe it is possible for others :)

Family

I love living close to my family.  I love that, no matter where in the house Bryon or the kids are, I can still talk to them and usually I can also see them.  I love working on my writing while the kids play on the floor.  I love doing the dishes while watching Bryon work on the computer or play with the kids.

Sure, there are disagreements but I know my kids and all of us get along better because we live close to each other instead of being able to run off and hide.  We all learn to be more patient with each other and to share… pretty much everything.

Being a tight family and really connecting with my kids is something I have always really wanted to do.  It isn’t something that comes easy for me.  I know that living arrangements can’t make this happen, but I know it does help.

House work

Hello!  This is a huge one!  It is one thing to take care of a house for myself… another thing to be picking up after a construction worker husband (who is really good about helping when he is around), but it is something entirely different to keep up with the house with 2 kids as well.  I have no idea how people do it with more kids… kids create a lot of work!  I know the kids should be helping, and mine are starting to get to an age where they can be a help, but it is still work getting kids to help with house work (if you have kids you understand this).

I have a small apartment to clean instead of 2000 square feet with a garage and full yard.  That is a huge difference!  I can get the spring cleaning bug over breakfast and be done going through the whole place, all the closets, cupboards and have time to wash the windows by lunch… not that the spring cleaning bug hits often.. but it has happened once or twice.

The amount of stuff I have to buy, sort, put away, organize into labeled totes, hunt for, fix, clean, hide, pack, or replace is so much less. When we had our house we would have to designate weekends to get caught up on the yard, or the basement, or the garage, or the kids bedrooms but not any more.  Now all that time is ours!

Personal Growth

I know there isn’t a direct relationship between personal growth and minimalist living, but minimalist living does allow a person to have more time for it.

It is my birthday this weekend (I am turning 33) and it is so fun to look back on the last year of life.  In the last year I have released 3 books that I have loved working on … except for the editing part.  I have had a chance to work on my blog and meet so many other really amazing people online.  I have had a chance to spend lots more time homeschooling my kids and watching them develop a love of reading (and now for my daughter, writing).  We have spent to many weekends exploring and have created so many memories.

I have had time to read books I often didn’t have time to before. I have started learning to play the piano. I have finally gotten into a habit of doing yoga.  …I even did some public speaking… which was really terrifying.

Through all of it I feel I have learned so much more about life and about myself.

My husband has had time to do amazing things with his photography and work on building it into a business.

Follow Our Dreams

For years (well, really since we got married) we have dreamed of traveling and living overseas for a while.  We have finally realized this dream by moving to China several weeks ago.

Minimalism has helped with:

  • time-to look for possibilities
  • money-we aren’t in debt and have created some other income sources,
  • stuff-I don’t know if I would have ever thought we could pack up and store all our junk, and what about the house?

You don’t dream of traveling?  That is fine, no matter what your dream, minimalist living can help :)

Sometimes I downgrade the minimalist idea.  Looking back it just seems like a no-brainier and not that hard.  I just writing about getting rid of extra stuff…  it seems like such a little thing.

But when I look back, it is amazing the difference it has made!

How has minimalist living changed your life?  How do you plan on it changing your life?

22 Comments

  1. You know, some things were expected, like housework being easier. But, like your family, living in close quarters has made our family closer as well–and that was a surprise! I think it’s really changed our family dynamic.

  2. I love this post! Thank you so much for sharing. I am having an awesome time following your book too. I would say we are “Minimalist-Lite”. We didn’t start out with much to begin with due to money constraints, but I feel like minimalism has freed me emotionally from feeling like I am not good enough because I don’t have lots of stuff.
    My husband is a freelance musician, and his primary instrument (s) is percussion, so due to the nature of his job I don’t know if we are true “minimalists”. We have a lot of instruments, but it is nice our son gets to be surrounded by and make music.

    And don’t you love being able to plug the vacuum into one outlet and vacuum the whole house (for us, minus the bedroom and music studio).

    Anyway, Thanks again! Good luck in China!!

    Kate

  3. I loved reading about all the ways you’ve grown this year.

    Living simply has helped me to be fully at rest in my soul. When I look back to the years before I began simplifying, my spirit was unsettled. Now, life is peaceful. Following Christ and living simply go hand in hand. :)

    Happy birthday, Lorilee!

    • Lindsay Lindsay

      I couldn’t agree with this more! :)

    • Hannah T Hannah T

      I agree so much with Amy Von Borstel…
      I am in much need to simplify my home right now. We have collected so much stuff in the last 8 years that it’s sickening.
      I like having less, I just need to get back to that state.
      I love her statement that: Following Christ and living simply go hand in hand. Soooo good.

      God bless you and thanks for your inspiration!

  4. Karen Karen

    Great post. I have been practicing “family size” minimalism since 2008. You described very well what it can do for someone. I have learned so much about myself! My house is 1800 square feet with a full basement but I can still let it totally go (like when my hubby and I had the flu a couple of weeks ago) and can get it back in shape in no time at all! Everything has a home so it is easy to straighten up by putting everything back where it belongs. We also homeschool and it is no problem to have spur of the moment get togethers with friends. A better description for my lifestyle might be homestead minimalism because so much stuff that I have held onto is used in the preserving of food-canning and freezing and animal related stuff. By the way, I started piano lessons at age 36 and took them for 4 1/2 years! Have fun with that!! Keep up the good work!!

  5. Nancy Nancy

    God can save to the uttermost anyone comes to Him in truth. That’s not hard to believe When you think about the fact that He is our Creator and that He died to save us from any sinful thing that would separate us from him. No one loves you more and no one ever could. I believe that each one of us is created uniquely special in God’s sight, with a special purpose. There is so much that we can learn from the experience of others but so often we lose when We take our eyes off Jesus and pattern our lives by the ideas and values of other people. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Lorilee

    • Hannah T Hannah T

      Wonderfully stated!

  6. Happy birthday!

    We’ve been in the same large house now for 11 years. Prior to that we moved 3 times in 4 years. Moving had a way of decluttering our life in many respects, but after 11 years and raising two children, we have acquired things that were once used but now are not. We are fairly consistent at regularly giving things away, but there is still plenty of things that are stored that haven’t been used in 12 months (which means they are likely to not be used again.)

    In another 18 months we’ll be empty-nesters. Then we’ll have a moving / decluttering decision to make.

    I have worked at home for most of my kids lives, my DW is a homemaker, and we homeschooled our children. One is now in college. Needless to say, we’re in a transition.

  7. Hi Lorilee….WOW!!!! I am so thrilled to hear your story of living your dreams! You are an inspiration to us all for your willingness to be so courageous. It is so easy to be average and just do what everyone else is doing and far, far more rare to step out of the box and try new things. No matter WHAT happens with this adventure in China you will have amazing memories that will last a life time…and you are teaching your kids to be equally open and adventurous as well. Being a minimalist in China should work out pretty well and I’m already looking forward to hearing about your journey. Again, congratulations!

  8. Lori, good, good words! Yes, there are so many benefits to a simpler lifestyle that I know we never thought of before we set out. You’re right that it’s not Eden or bliss, but this lifestyle does bring with it a deep sense of satisfaction, doesn’t it?

  9. This is a wonderful post. I myself am starting to live a much more minimal lifestyle and it’s nice to see how it has positively effected not only someone else individually, but an entire family.

    Keep it up!

  10. Loved reading this! I have recently decided to dedicate my time and energy by engaging in a minimalist lifestyle. I am so very excited that I started a blog to document my journey. I loved reading how much it has impacted your life in positive ways over a long time frame. My boyfriend and I are about to pack up what we can fit into the trunk of his tiny 2 door scion and move to Colorado. We hope to start and raise our family there and I feel like I can accomplish all of that and more via minimalism. Not only that but I feel it’s so much better for our society as a whole. I wasn’t aware of how many others are beginning or have the same idea! Thanks for sharing your story. I look forward to reading more!

  11. dana dana

    I really love your post and I love to hear about how other people have changed their lives through minimalism. I like the idea of minimalism but I would have no idea where to begin. Do you have any tips on how you started and how you’ve kept up with it? I have 4 children all under the age of 7 and they have lots of stuff! It’s hard to keep up with it all. When my 7 yr.old would come home from school she’d have mounds of stuff it’s crazy. I can’t imagine when all my other kids go to school. Also I am a stay at home mom and only my husband works so saving money is crucial! How does minimalism help you save money? Thanks

    • Dana, that is a lot of questions :) There is a bunch of posts on the website about how to get started, any of the simple living challenges would be a good place to start and my book ‘Simple Living: 30 days to less stuff and more life’ was written as a starting guide.

      Minimalism primarily has helped us save money because we have spent much less for housing. It has also saved money when it comes to buying things like clothes, gifts, and other household things. Good luck!

      • Dana Dana

        Sorry about asking so many questions! But thanks so much for the quick reply. I will definitely check out your site and your book also. Thanks so much.

  12. Nino Arzon Nino Arzon

    Several Months ago my wife and I lived in a 2800 sf home with a 3 car garage and no kids. Once day I asked my wife if she liked the house, she said yes. I told her I felt the house was too large for us and all we had done is just accumulated a lot of junk we only used one or never used. I grew up in New York City in an apartment and somthing was telling me it’s time to de clutter, sell the house, find an apartment and live the life you always wanted. One without worrying about the yard, maintenance, HOA dues, insurance costs, property taxes etc. All that money we could save or use on ourselves (over 16K per year) Since then we have sold our home, sold all of our junk and are now starting our new lives together as Minimalists. It’s such a hugh load off our shoulders, we are now debt free, with more income than we know what to do with, and living the dream of taking care of ourselves. I’m 50 my wife is 47 and we are very happy. Thank you for your blog, you were the catalyst.
    Nino Arzon

  13. It was a great post.I think it is in nature of some people.we grow up all our life learning future,money,luxury is the key of happiness but we get tired of running behind them and then sit down for a while n think how much we had collected of these stuff n do we enjoy them as we thought we will ? No absolutely why not we just take a break and think what is important and make us happy so we can keep only those goals in life and dispose all extra illusions and burdens.

  14. Great post. It’s amazing I didn’t know much about the minimalist lifestyle until fairly recently. I was constantly stressed out about not making enough money, sinking into debt and not having enough time for my family. Minimalism has been the answer to many of my stress issues.

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