** Leah is a Minimalist Mama of two striving to lead a revolution of change in Motherhood by helping mamas set new, realistic goals for themselves that focus on the things that really matter- not “things.” You can sign up for her free email course, Decluttering With Kids, which will get you started on your path to Minimalism here. She blogs at www.MamaBearMartin.com or you can find her outside soaking up the sunshine while her little ones splash in muddy puddles.
OUR MINIMALIST HOUSE STORY
Our story isn’t unique. It starts out like many others. My husband and I met in our twenties (well- his twenties actually. I was still only18!) and shortly after we became college sweethearts. We fell in love and life fell into place. We got married, graduated with Bachelor’s degrees from the college that brought us together then he went to work while I stayed home as a homemaker.
Fast forward to three years later and we now have two beautiful children, a home and big plans for the future. There was a problem though. Maybe a few problems. On the day-to-day, I struggled to even get out of bed. I had terrible ideas flash through my head that I couldn’t control. I was drowning in housework. No matter how hard I worked our home was a place of stress and resentment to me. I found any excuse to leave home and visit friends or family.
Wrestling this bad attitude left me feeling unrecognizable to myself. Most days I went to bed ready to throw my hands up and walk away from everything we had worked so hard to accumulate. Why couldn’t I succeed at this? The Mom guilt was strong with this one.
BECOMING A MINIMALIST MAMA
One night during some late night Pinterest searching on creating small wardrobes for children I came across a blog about a Minimalist Mama who had a houseful of kids. Seriously, I think she had like 8 or something. Her Minimalist house was clean, but the part that appealed most to me was that her home was so easy to clean! Her family kept so little stuff that cleaning the entire house would only take them 30 minutes at best! In that moment I expanded my vision from just downsizing our closets to downsizing our entire collection of “stuff” that covered every surface in our home. I wanted a Minimalist house.
It was so logical. It made so much sense. Why hadn’t I seen this before?!? The less stuff a person has, the less stuff that can make a mess. a + b = c Simple math. By this point the combined stresses of postpartum depression, mom guilt and anger at myself for feeling like a failure were stronger than any attachment I had to tangible things. I started decluttering in our kitchen and the success I felt there led to a snowball effect that consumed our entire home in the months that would follow. I had found something I could believe in and that thing was called Minimalism.
BIG CHANGES BREWING
I stayed committed to my goal of creating a Minimalist house. Eventually my husband took notice of how much better our house looked, how much happier I was when he would come home from work and how easy the house was to clean now. We were halfway through watching the Minimalist’s documentary on Netflix one night when he paused the screen and said, “Can we go clean out my closet?” Absolutely. He was onboard. Since that day, Minimalism has been not only a way to make our home stay neat, organized and easy to clean, but Minimalism has become a new way of thinking about living for us.
Back at the beginning of this story I mentioned there may have been more than one problem. Now is when that comes into play. You see, we had a Minimalist house now, but once we took on this Minimalist perspective we couldn’t see anything else. Everywhere we looked there was too much. Too much excess, unnecessary junk. We realized what a problem consumerism had become for people around us- the people we loved most. And we realized how much time is being stolen from everyone- us included- to simply earn a buck to survive. We decided then that “the norm” wasn’t working for us anymore.
We’ve changed our plans for the future. In our future plans you won’t see a big house, fancy cars or luxury vacations. Thanks to Minimalism and this new perspective it’s given us our future plans include being debt-free asap, possibly selling our current home and building a modest farmhouse back home on our family’s ranch. We desire to live below our means, we want more time than money now, we want to be set free.
Suddenly life makes sense again. I will leave you with this quote from Joshua Fields Millburn, “Love people and use things because the opposite never works.”
-Leah “MamaBear” Martin