Marianne and I have been blogging buddies since I first joined the community, she writes over at A Life Set Free – so sit back, enjoy her story and head over to her place to find out more… Over to Marianne…
Faminimalism – Marianne’ s Story from A Life Set Free
When I was 22, I moved from New Jersey to Colorado with everything I owned in my car. (Ok, not everything, I left a lot behind at my parents’ house, but everything for my life moving forward). I had a ’89 VW Jetta, so you can imagine I didn’t bring that much stuff with me.
Soon after I arrived in Colorado, I moved to the mountains to live the ski-bum life. I lived in employee housing, which was pretty much a glorified, furnished dorm/apartment that I shared with 3 other people. I made close to minimum wage and I spent all my days snowboarding, partying, and hanging out. Life was good. It was easy, it was minimal, and I was broke most of the time.
Fast forward about four years and I am living in Boulder (a smaller city) and engaged to my now ex-husband. I had just started my very first “real” job as a web designer and was making a somewhat decent salary at that time. By this time, my fiance and I had slowly begun to accumulate more stuff. We had furniture, we had decorations, we had collections, and we had kitchen stuff. It was around this time that I started to shop more for clothes. I used the excuse that I had a “professional” job now, so I had to look professional (even though everyone at work mostly wore jeans)!
By now, I started to acquire an addiction for clothes, shoe, and home shopping. It was never anything extravagantly expensive, but it was a lot. This addiction lasted quite a few years and I managed to accumulate quite the collection of stuff and debt. A wedding for 100 people didn’t help either.
The problem is that I didn’t see anything wrong with this way of living. I thought this was what everyone did. We were getting married and so we needed to have a house that was decorated nicely and we needed to look good when we went out or went to work. We had to impress everything with our wedding decorations because that’s just oh-so-important, is it not? This is what you do as an adult, right?
Sadly, the answer is yes. You thought I was going to say no, didn’t you? But actually, this is what most adults do. They go out and buy stuff to live up to that life that we see every day in magazines, television and movies.
Now of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s right! (Now that’s more like what you wanted to hear isn’t it?) No of course not, but it’s so easy to get sucked into that lifestyle when EVERYBODY’S DOING IT.
Well then, some of us wake up one day and ask “What is it all for? Why do I spend every day at a job I hate, away from friends and family, just to seemingly make ends meet??”
Unraveling the Mess
Then slowly but surely, bit by bit, we try to unravel the chaos. And that’s where I’m at now. I’ve just woken up and I’m starting to unravel it. Last year, my new fiance and I decided that we were no longer going to buy just stuff. We only buy things that we need and we are trying to get rid of all the junk in our home. I will admit, we haven’t gotten very far yet on getting rid of the stuff, but at least we’ve stopped the flow coming in. I’ve just begun reading Tanja Hoagland‘s 30-Day Clutter Bootcamp and it has so much insight on how to get rid of your stuff!
And I believe that’s step one on the path to minimalism.
Family, Children and the Environment
This is a post about Faminimalism right? Well, you may or may not know this, but we are trying to have a baby as we speak. I’ve thought a lot about how we will instill the ideals of minimalism into our children and I think it’s just about setting an example and explaining why we do things the way that we do. I am lucky that we are starting out with the ideals before we have children so that we don’t have to undo years of consumerist-training.
Bea at Zero Waste Home seems to have succeeded at this quite well. Her family’s lifestyle goes way beyond just minimalism. She feels that they need to make the smallest carbon footprint they can and I agree with her. After all, what’s left after we use up all the earth’s resources? I hope I can follow in her footsteps towards raising a minimalist and zero waste family in the (hopefully) near future!
Marianne blogs at A Life Set Free about eliminating the constraints of debt, stuff, location, and the status quo. Her latest series is getting to know the people who make a difference in our world.