I don’t recall the moment that I decided that I had had enough of buying things that didn’t make me happy. Or the moment that I realized that the reason that we never have any money was because we spent it all on stuff. Or the moment I decided that all the stuff that I had carefully, and carelessly, accumulated over the years was just weighing me down. But in that moment, a minimalist was born.
Yes, my house still has way too much stuff in it. And we still have a lot of debt. And if you looked at my life, you wouldn’t recognize me as a minimalist. But inside, I am. Because we are no longer adding to the stuff and the debt. We have items leaving our house most days of the week, never to return, because I have sold them or decided to donate them. We think carefully before making new purchases, and we try to buy used whenever we can. We are more mindful about our impact on the environment. And most importantly, I no longer define myself by the things that I own.
So today, I would like to thank some of the wonderful, inspirational people who got me started on this path. Because even though I have a long way to go, I am happier with the direction of my life that I have ever been before.
Tammy Stroebel had the “good” job, the “nice” home, two cars, and all the right things. She and her husband chucked it all to be happy, and now live in a “tiny house” near Yreka, CA. I love her book You Can Buy Happiness (And It’s Cheap).
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are two friends from Dayton, Ohio who had six-figure corporate jobs, big houses, lots of stuff, and were miserable. They gave it all up to find the happiness that they were desperately seeking. They are both writers, and tour the world speaking about minimalism. They were recently featured in Time magazine. They blog at www.theminimalists.com. I have several of their books as well.
Joshua Becker was the first minimalism proponent that I stumbled across in my online quest for knowledge. He is a husband and father living in suburban Arizona. One day, he got tired of his stuff keeping him from living the life that he wanted to live. He got rid of all the excess and found that he had more room for the things that mattered, such as his family and pursuing his passions. He quit his corporate job and now works for a non-profit. His books, Simplify and Clutterfree With Kids, literally changed my life.
Read more about Joshua and his amazing journey here.
The Non-Consumer Advocate
Katy Wolk-Stanley is a member of The Compact and buys nothing new. She works to educate others about the global and environmental cost of constant consumerism. She blogs at thenonconsumeradvocate.com. Read more about Katy here.
Courtney Carver was diagnosed with MS in 2006 and knew she had to make a change. She got rid of most of her stuff, quit her stressful job, and simplified her life. Now she offers classes and coaching to help others, so that they can find happiness through simple living. Her book, Living in the Land of Enough, is wonderful.
Mr. Money Mustache
Mr. Money Mustache never bought into the idea that we have to buy stuff to be happy. Rather than buying the bigger house and nicer car, he instead invested all his extra money. He was able to retire in his mid-thirties and now lives on his investments with his wife and son, pursing his interests and passions. He stays home with his son, and generally does whatever he wants. Find out more about Mr. Money Mustache here.
For me, all of these people redefined what it means to be “successful”. Success is not about the great corporate job, the big house, the two cars, the pile of stuff. It’s about being happy and healthy and pursuing what you love.
Honorable Mention: No Sidebar
No Sidebar is a weekly email newsletter written by Brian Gardner, Allison Vesterfelt and Melissa Camara Wilkins. I just recently discovered this blog and have found its articles insightful and thought-provoking. Two of my favorites are about finding your calling and minimalism.
Honorable Mention and a Special Thank You: The House of Hepworths
I wouldn’t be here today, writing about minimalism, if it were not for Allison at The House of Hepworths. Allison is not a minimalist per se. She writes a DIY blog about home improvement, which is fantastic, by the way. In one of her posts, she mentioned Joshua Becker’s blog, Becoming Minimalist. I clicked over, and found a whole new way of life. So a special thank you to Allison, both for helping me get my house together, and for the wonderful recommendation. And also for tell us about Shark Bites – man, I love those things!
There are many other people that I haven’t mentioned yet here, who are part of the minimalism and simple living movement, such as Leo Babauta at zenhabits.net, Brooke McAlary at www.slowyourhome.com, and Francine Jay at www.missminimalist.com, among others. All these people have advice to offer to help you along your path to simpler living. And all have been inspirational to me. I hope you find them inspirational as well.
I own, on Kindle, and highly recommend, all the books mentioned in this post. If you would like to support these fine writers, you can click through to Amazon from the links in the post. As an Amazon affiliate, I will receive a small commission that helps pay for this site. Thank you!