My 3rd Anniversary – Looking Back…Yet Moving Forward

27 February is my 3rd anniversary. Of what? Discovering minimalism? Life simplification? How exactly is it defined?

I don’t think it can be defined.

(photo taken by Joanne Wright 23 February 2012)

I’ve posted before about how it all came about. It was just another day, my 9-month-old second-born and I took a walk to the library to pass some time. I wasn’t feeling great at the time, for a variety of reasons.

It all started with a little bit of decluttering. The reduction in the amount of ‘stuff’ about made me feel better.

Then I started spending less money, consuming less, and generally doing less.

I was reading blogs about minimalism and life simplification, feeling more inspired by the day.

Then it became a habit. I’d started to simplify my life and momentum began to build.

Today I am a very different person I was to 3 years ago, even though I probably was always destined for the simple life.

Now I do a lot of things less, but I also do some things more. The things that I believe truly matter, that I truly care about.

It’s a clichΓ© I know, but ‘life is a journey not a destination’. I’m pretty sure I’m on the right track for me and mine.

How’s it going for you? I’d love to hear more about where you’ve come from and where you’re headed – Please share!

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{ 66 comments… add one }
  • sharron February 27, 2012, 1:00 pm

    Am still not sure of what i discovered but it certainly was life changing. i de-cluttered everything in my life, from my make-up right the way through to my social life. I knew i was unhappy the way my life was going, too much consumerism, not enough time for the things i really valued. When i look at my life now i know exactly what it was i was searching for-Me.

    It was like once i had cleared all the crap from my life and stripped it bare i could finally see what i wanted out of life. I made a concious effort to only put things back that i valued, i had wanted a career all my adult life but couldn’t pursue it, i felt i didn’t have the time or the energy and was always making excuses as to why i couldn’t do it. With all the debri removed i had no reason to not pursue it. That’s where i am at this time, pursuing it and decisions being made that are out of my hands, but that’s fine, i’m all about the journey too πŸ™‚

    I still have a few things that i would like to simplyfy, i have certain family members that if i see too often or for too long, make me squirrelly, i don’t like them, i don’t agree with their opnions and generally don’t like the way they treat people but with family it’s hard, i don’t want my children missing out on relationships and where i cut out my toxic friends in my life a while a go i really can’t do it with family. I’m really blessed with my children, all of them are independant, happy, loving and are making their way in the world. I think my husband is one of the best Men alive (shhhh don’t tell him) but how do i cut those aformentined people out of our lives without isolating the 5 most important people in my life?? It isn’t just about me afterall. Answers on a postcard πŸ™‚

    Phew that was quite deep for a monday afternoon, sorry Jo!! Your doing great job and one of the things i love about you and your blog is your attitude and the fact you keep it real!! I’m off to have a looksey at that very first post!!

    Keep it up girl, your amazing!!

    Sharron x

    • simplybeingmum February 28, 2012, 10:10 am

      Thanks so much for sharing this insight Sharron. It was a fantastic and very welcome first comment to this post. We’ve followed a similar path – my make-up too had an overhaul πŸ˜‰
      I’m constantly learning. Something that I’ve learnt since starting down this path is acceptance. I thought I could ‘fix’ anything and everything in life. I can’t. It just leads to frustration. Ultimately we have very little control.

      • sharron February 28, 2012, 6:38 pm

        Reading back my comment it sounds somewhat contradictory, i found myself but i’ve yet to put a name to the whole process, perhaps it’s minimalism but i’m not entirley sure. I only know that my life seems to make sense now and some areas have become more complicated and others gone for ever.

        I too used to suffer from trying to ‘fix’ things. People would come to me in time of crisis, i would take on their problems and do my best to make it all better, ultimatley feeling frustrated with the end result. It would completly zap me of my reources leaving nothing for the people who matter the most too me. A major crisis for myself in 2007 left me ‘needing’ help. There was very few people around for me. Lessons were learnt. As you say we have very little control, and that’s jut fine!!

        Sharron x

  • sharron February 27, 2012, 1:00 pm

    Am still not sure of what i discovered but it certainly was life changing. i de-cluttered everything in my life, from my make-up right the way through to my social life. I knew i was unhappy the way my life was going, too much consumerism, not enough time for the things i really valued. When i look at my life now i know exactly what it was i was searching for-Me.

    It was like once i had cleared all the crap from my life and stripped it bare i could finally see what i wanted out of life. I made a concious effort to only put things back that i valued, i had wanted a career all my adult life but couldn’t pursue it, i felt i didn’t have the time or the energy and was always making excuses as to why i couldn’t do it. With all the debri removed i had no reason to not pursue it. That’s where i am at this time, pursuing it and decisions being made that are out of my hands, but that’s fine, i’m all about the journey too πŸ™‚

    I still have a few things that i would like to simplyfy, i have certain family members that if i see too often or for too long, make me squirrelly, i don’t like them, i don’t agree with their opnions and generally don’t like the way they treat people but with family it’s hard, i don’t want my children missing out on relationships and where i cut out my toxic friends in my life a while a go i really can’t do it with family. I’m really blessed with my children, all of them are independant, happy, loving and are making their way in the world. I think my husband is one of the best Men alive (shhhh don’t tell him) but how do i cut those aformentined people out of our lives without isolating the 5 most important people in my life?? It isn’t just about me afterall. Answers on a postcard πŸ™‚

    Phew that was quite deep for a monday afternoon, sorry Jo!! Your doing great job and one of the things i love about you and your blog is your attitude and the fact you keep it real!! I’m off to have a looksey at that very first post!!

    Keep it up girl, your amazing!!

    Sharron x

    • simplybeingmum February 28, 2012, 10:10 am

      Thanks so much for sharing this insight Sharron. It was a fantastic and very welcome first comment to this post. We’ve followed a similar path – my make-up too had an overhaul πŸ˜‰
      I’m constantly learning. Something that I’ve learnt since starting down this path is acceptance. I thought I could ‘fix’ anything and everything in life. I can’t. It just leads to frustration. Ultimately we have very little control.

      • sharron February 28, 2012, 6:38 pm

        Reading back my comment it sounds somewhat contradictory, i found myself but i’ve yet to put a name to the whole process, perhaps it’s minimalism but i’m not entirley sure. I only know that my life seems to make sense now and some areas have become more complicated and others gone for ever.

        I too used to suffer from trying to ‘fix’ things. People would come to me in time of crisis, i would take on their problems and do my best to make it all better, ultimatley feeling frustrated with the end result. It would completly zap me of my reources leaving nothing for the people who matter the most too me. A major crisis for myself in 2007 left me ‘needing’ help. There was very few people around for me. Lessons were learnt. As you say we have very little control, and that’s jut fine!!

        Sharron x

  • Lauren February 27, 2012, 5:00 pm

    I have always been a minimalist. I remember being about 7 years old and my grandmother was insisting I had a collection of something, as that’s what you do. I was upset by this as I had NO desire for stuff. Eventually she picked something for me and just started buying them. I spent about a year shoving them up on a shelf and pleading her not to buy any more. Eventually she gave in, and the shelf came down.

    I think it’s gotten more extreme as I’ve gotten older though. DH and I went through a period of moving at least once a year, often hundreds (or thousands) of miles each time. You just can’t keep stuff unless you’re prepared to pay to ship it everywhere. Which I’m not. When I last moved back to the UK three years ago, I had a normal sized suitcase and one small box of “precious” things. That’s it! And believe me, I debated on the box as I couldn’t decide if it was really worth shipping. The box is under the bed now, still undecided. Maybe one day it’ll go…

    • simplybeingmum February 28, 2012, 10:05 am

      Hey Lauren – well done for sticking your ground (even as a 7-year-old!). I do believe you can be born minimal – I have a friend who says from early on she organised and chucked stuff to pass time.
      As a recovering sentimental hoarder I’m going to defend the box under the bed – one teeny tiny box can’t hurt πŸ˜‰

  • Lauren February 27, 2012, 5:00 pm

    I have always been a minimalist. I remember being about 7 years old and my grandmother was insisting I had a collection of something, as that’s what you do. I was upset by this as I had NO desire for stuff. Eventually she picked something for me and just started buying them. I spent about a year shoving them up on a shelf and pleading her not to buy any more. Eventually she gave in, and the shelf came down.

    I think it’s gotten more extreme as I’ve gotten older though. DH and I went through a period of moving at least once a year, often hundreds (or thousands) of miles each time. You just can’t keep stuff unless you’re prepared to pay to ship it everywhere. Which I’m not. When I last moved back to the UK three years ago, I had a normal sized suitcase and one small box of “precious” things. That’s it! And believe me, I debated on the box as I couldn’t decide if it was really worth shipping. The box is under the bed now, still undecided. Maybe one day it’ll go…

    • simplybeingmum February 28, 2012, 10:05 am

      Hey Lauren – well done for sticking your ground (even as a 7-year-old!). I do believe you can be born minimal – I have a friend who says from early on she organised and chucked stuff to pass time.
      As a recovering sentimental hoarder I’m going to defend the box under the bed – one teeny tiny box can’t hurt πŸ˜‰

  • anexactinglife February 27, 2012, 6:24 pm

    For me it started when I stopped looking for a partner! I had been a single mom for 12 years and had relationships, but never found someone to “start over” with. I decided I’d better get on with the rest of my life. I got all of my affairs in order that I had been putting off, such as home renovations, savings plans, etc. I psyched myself up to live alone after my kid had finished school and left home, and I had accepted that. Well, lo and behold, a relationship happened along and I now have a companion on my journey! Both of us had been single a long time and had “decluttered” our lives before we met, so we are definitely on the same path! We have similar attitudes toward money and material things, which is essential.

    • simplybeingmum February 28, 2012, 10:03 am

      How inspiring! Sometimes we need to slow down and give ourselves space -this brings along opportunity. I’m so pleased to hear that you found what you were looking for.

  • anexactinglife February 27, 2012, 6:24 pm

    For me it started when I stopped looking for a partner! I had been a single mom for 12 years and had relationships, but never found someone to “start over” with. I decided I’d better get on with the rest of my life. I got all of my affairs in order that I had been putting off, such as home renovations, savings plans, etc. I psyched myself up to live alone after my kid had finished school and left home, and I had accepted that. Well, lo and behold, a relationship happened along and I now have a companion on my journey! Both of us had been single a long time and had “decluttered” our lives before we met, so we are definitely on the same path! We have similar attitudes toward money and material things, which is essential.

    • simplybeingmum February 28, 2012, 10:03 am

      How inspiring! Sometimes we need to slow down and give ourselves space -this brings along opportunity. I’m so pleased to hear that you found what you were looking for.

  • Diane from The Stripper Project February 27, 2012, 7:11 pm

    I am two whole months into a year long project on minimizing all areas in my life. It has been an amazing experience and I can’t believe how freeing it is! I LOVE leaving my house with another box of stuff to drop off at the thrift store and I LOVE having an appropriately filled and emptied fridge. I have been making gradual changes for the past couple of years, but this year is the one that has been dedicated to really making the leap. I think I was destined for simplicity as well πŸ™‚

    • simplybeingmum February 28, 2012, 10:01 am

      All the very best with it Diane – I have been over to yours for a peek. Keep going, it’s liberating… all the gradual work you’ve done so far is a great way to start…I did exactly the same, and still am.

  • Diane from The Stripper Project February 27, 2012, 7:11 pm

    I am two whole months into a year long project on minimizing all areas in my life. It has been an amazing experience and I can’t believe how freeing it is! I LOVE leaving my house with another box of stuff to drop off at the thrift store and I LOVE having an appropriately filled and emptied fridge. I have been making gradual changes for the past couple of years, but this year is the one that has been dedicated to really making the leap. I think I was destined for simplicity as well πŸ™‚

    • simplybeingmum February 28, 2012, 10:01 am

      All the very best with it Diane – I have been over to yours for a peek. Keep going, it’s liberating… all the gradual work you’ve done so far is a great way to start…I did exactly the same, and still am.

  • Megyn @MinimalistMommi February 27, 2012, 9:27 pm

    I’m an inherent minimalist who tried out other lifestyles only to come back to minimalism full-force. I realize now that I like the aesthetics of put together outfits or decorated homes, but when it comes to my home or wardrobe, the less I have, the less I have to take care of. Thus, I have more time to care for the things that I do love, like fostering pets or jumping on our trampoline. I think what I’ve realized is that there are aspects about other lifestyles I like, but I can still be a minimalist and true to myself while incorporating bits and pieces. It’s slowly but surely coming together (although most would say our house is barren lol).

    Congrats on three years! Can’t wait to see what else is in store πŸ™‚

    • simplybeingmum February 28, 2012, 9:59 am

      Hey Megyn – you seem to have it sorted! To have tried other options and to come back to minimalism must mean it’s for you! The older I get the more I’m starting to realise that your true nature wins out every time!

  • Megyn @MinimalistMommi February 27, 2012, 9:27 pm

    I’m an inherent minimalist who tried out other lifestyles only to come back to minimalism full-force. I realize now that I like the aesthetics of put together outfits or decorated homes, but when it comes to my home or wardrobe, the less I have, the less I have to take care of. Thus, I have more time to care for the things that I do love, like fostering pets or jumping on our trampoline. I think what I’ve realized is that there are aspects about other lifestyles I like, but I can still be a minimalist and true to myself while incorporating bits and pieces. It’s slowly but surely coming together (although most would say our house is barren lol).

    Congrats on three years! Can’t wait to see what else is in store πŸ™‚

    • simplybeingmum February 28, 2012, 9:59 am

      Hey Megyn – you seem to have it sorted! To have tried other options and to come back to minimalism must mean it’s for you! The older I get the more I’m starting to realise that your true nature wins out every time!

  • Cheeryshirley February 27, 2012, 10:31 pm

    We are just beginning…new concept really. Not sure how strongly we’ll embrace it, however, we ARE beginning and anything is good, right? Right? πŸ™‚ You are incredible! Thanks for showing us so much of your life, thoughts, ideas, family life, and yes, pictures of that amazingly clean fridge! Hugs! Cheeryshirley

    • simplybeingmum February 28, 2012, 9:56 am

      Thanks Cheeryshirley, and good luck with your journey! (and that clean fridge)

  • Cheeryshirley February 27, 2012, 10:31 pm

    We are just beginning…new concept really. Not sure how strongly we’ll embrace it, however, we ARE beginning and anything is good, right? Right? πŸ™‚ You are incredible! Thanks for showing us so much of your life, thoughts, ideas, family life, and yes, pictures of that amazingly clean fridge! Hugs! Cheeryshirley

    • simplybeingmum February 28, 2012, 9:56 am

      Thanks Cheeryshirley, and good luck with your journey! (and that clean fridge)

  • Carla February 28, 2012, 1:42 pm

    Congrats!! I find you & your blog very inspiring, and you’re one of the few that I subscribe to via email. (A high compliment! Hahaha!!!) I’m continually working on decluttering & simplifying, I’m sure that I have a ways to go, but at least i’m a work in progress!! πŸ™‚

    • simplybeingmum February 28, 2012, 4:52 pm

      WIP for me too! Loving your new look blog – anyone reading this please head on over to Carla’s place!

  • Carla February 28, 2012, 1:42 pm

    Congrats!! I find you & your blog very inspiring, and you’re one of the few that I subscribe to via email. (A high compliment! Hahaha!!!) I’m continually working on decluttering & simplifying, I’m sure that I have a ways to go, but at least i’m a work in progress!! πŸ™‚

    • simplybeingmum February 28, 2012, 4:52 pm

      WIP for me too! Loving your new look blog – anyone reading this please head on over to Carla’s place!

  • Apple February 29, 2012, 12:07 pm

    I’m like Lauren, a (kind of) minimalist from birth. However, when we had our second child, we decided to let minimalism overtake our life and work, not simply our home.
    We left the rat-race (ie. suburban living and working at a multi), moved to a small house closer to the city to a lovely neighbourhood, and started changing careers. Five years later I can say I am contended and relaxed. Even though I work part-time, my husband works full time, we both are studying, the kids have a after school activities, play-dates, I can’t say we are busy (in the kind of “mad-busy” sense of the word). I even have time to attend a book-club, and to meet up with girl-friends regularly. Life is simpler somehow. We only spend time on things we enjoy and want to do, We don’t feel guilty not contacting people who we haven’t really been friends with for a while anyway, we don’t pressurise ourselves just because some of our friends live in bigger houses or have all the new techno-gadgets, In fact, I am really getting a kick out of looking at all the things around me I do NOT want and need. πŸ™‚

    ps. tell me when you want a vegetarian recipe, Jo.

    • simplybeingmum February 29, 2012, 12:45 pm

      Hey Laura – sounds like you’ve got the balance just right!
      As for the recipe – as soon as you get chance please as I need to increase my repertoire … Had my very own Twilight moment this morning. I said the ‘V’ word outloud…’Vegetarian’ – I’ve said it now (to the window cleaner) so there’s no going back. Cheers me dear! ps Laura this one’s for you after saying R-Patz was too young for me haha!…Please excuse me – my strange sense of humour always raises it’s head when I’m feeling a little under the weather! (absolutely love the Carter Burwell score playing in the background)

  • Apple February 29, 2012, 12:07 pm

    I’m like Lauren, a (kind of) minimalist from birth. However, when we had our second child, we decided to let minimalism overtake our life and work, not simply our home.
    We left the rat-race (ie. suburban living and working at a multi), moved to a small house closer to the city to a lovely neighbourhood, and started changing careers. Five years later I can say I am contended and relaxed. Even though I work part-time, my husband works full time, we both are studying, the kids have a after school activities, play-dates, I can’t say we are busy (in the kind of “mad-busy” sense of the word). I even have time to attend a book-club, and to meet up with girl-friends regularly. Life is simpler somehow. We only spend time on things we enjoy and want to do, We don’t feel guilty not contacting people who we haven’t really been friends with for a while anyway, we don’t pressurise ourselves just because some of our friends live in bigger houses or have all the new techno-gadgets, In fact, I am really getting a kick out of looking at all the things around me I do NOT want and need. πŸ™‚

    ps. tell me when you want a vegetarian recipe, Jo.

    • simplybeingmum February 29, 2012, 12:45 pm

      Hey Laura – sounds like you’ve got the balance just right!
      As for the recipe – as soon as you get chance please as I need to increase my repertoire … Had my very own Twilight moment this morning. I said the ‘V’ word outloud…’Vegetarian’ – I’ve said it now (to the window cleaner) so there’s no going back. Cheers me dear! ps Laura this one’s for you after saying R-Patz was too young for me haha!…Please excuse me – my strange sense of humour always raises it’s head when I’m feeling a little under the weather! (absolutely love the Carter Burwell score playing in the background)

  • CazH83 July 4, 2013, 8:26 pm

    Loved reading this, I don’t have much “stuff”….when I first lived with my husband he was shocked to see that I’d turned up with a suitcase and a box. He said “where’s all your stuff?” I replied “I just don’t have that much” and it’s still like that now, I’m constantly decluttering!

    • simplybeingmum July 5, 2013, 10:16 am

      You’re a natural-born-minimalist I would guess? I bet you’re super-organised also! Lovely to have you here!

  • CazH83 July 4, 2013, 8:26 pm

    Loved reading this, I don’t have much “stuff”….when I first lived with my husband he was shocked to see that I’d turned up with a suitcase and a box. He said “where’s all your stuff?” I replied “I just don’t have that much” and it’s still like that now, I’m constantly decluttering!

    • simplybeingmum July 5, 2013, 10:16 am

      You’re a natural-born-minimalist I would guess? I bet you’re super-organised also! Lovely to have you here!

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