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Why I Am a Minimalist


Everything in life is temporary. When it rains, it eventually stops and the sun comes out. When we go to sleep, it is just for a while and then we wake up again. A bad day is just that: temporary! We start all over the next day with new hope that this day will be better. When we examine our lives we need to remember our time on Earth is not guaranteed. We have no guarantee that there will be a tomorrow. The only assurance we have is of this moment now, this day now. When we grasp this way of thinking it makes it easier to let go of the excess baggage we all have in our lives. When you look around your life and what you see overwhelms you it is time for you to embrace change, a change that can help you in all aspects of your life. A primary cause of unhappiness is disorganization, often inside our own minds. If we look to what is causing the disarray it is oftentimes our own living space. It is our office with unnecessary papers that we need to throw out or file, it is our car with garbage or things that just collect and stay there, it could be our closets which overflow with items we want to keep, our bathrooms with too many products, or how about that kitchen, do you have tons of excess everything that gather dust and sit for years on the same shelves? If so, it is time to become uncluttered! Time to get rid of the possessions that you never use! It also could be a habit of buying too much ‘stuff’ just because the bit of happiness we get with something new takes us away for a while from discomfort, sadness, a stressful day, boredom, the addiction of needing to have the latest trend. I gave this up when I moved to Colombia. I no longer go anywhere to just ‘window shop’, I always have a purpose when I enter a store along with a list of what I need. I am a minimalist and I am proud of it! A person who lives minimally does not live in poverty or without beauty. I think my Villa and the surroundings show this.10917359_779044682161600_7268934190294602342_n A minimalist has just decided to get rid of the chaos that surrounds them in their personal space. We don’t feel the need to have the newest car, but a car that is functional for our lifestyle. We don’t feel the need to have the latest clothes, or fashion of the moment, our phones do not need to be the latest development  shown on social media, we have no need for the paraphernalia being fed to us constantly. We keep only the most special possessions that mean something to us and we make the space we live in functional and clear of debris. We do not let our property overtake our lives; we live our life based on what we actually need. Starting with our living space! If someone enters my home, they will see the areas of living free of unnecessary clutter. My favorite pieces of art, including my collection of African pieces and Highwaymen paintings are main focus points. I brought only my favorite items with me to Colombia. I have a Pie Safe from the 1700’s that I bought when I was in my twenties. A fabulous piece used for storage here at Villa Migelita, just like it stored pies so many years ago.blog photos and hummingbirds 001 I love this Pie Safe, it brings to me a sense of timelessness; and that is what you need to look for when deciding on what to keep and what to let go of. That is what minimalism is, our personal space filled with really great memories, but done in such a way that the house looks put together without too much of those trendy space fillers that only gather dust. So how do you do this in your own life?

First of all just let go. Do you need those dishes that were your grandmother’s passed down to you? I had them and I sold them before I moved. They were not my taste, they were someone else’s taste. Do you need the dishes you picked out for your wedding long past? If they sit in a break front not being used you should sell them. You should sell or donate all items that gather dust and have not been used in the last 6 months; including clothes. If you love framed photo’s of your family, you should make a special wall for your favorites and then have all the others put on a Zip drive. You do not need all of them on your walls and tables. Make photo albums if you prefer, but take away all the many items just filling space. I did this before I moved and believe me when I say I am not reminiscing about anything I no longer have. The most significant thing is eliminate clutter and your life will feel more peaceful. The point being you gather freedom when you let go of the consumer culture we are fed daily through television and internet. You want to make all parts of your life peaceful and stress free. Think about how easy it will be to keep your home clean without all the furniture that you have bought to store the items you don’t need and no one even looks at. My house here in Colombia is large, but the rooms are kept simple and the cleaning is not a long process. I enjoy my time outdoors hiking in the mountains, or sitting by my lake watching the sunset in the evening with my animals all around me. We tend to give way too much importance to things and not enough importance to the life we live and the natural beauty that surrounds all of us. Minimalism is a way of life all of us can embrace no matter where we live. We just need to let go of the priority we place on stuff and use this thought process as a tool to free our lives of the excess so we can focus on what really is important. If you clear away distractions you can create something incredible! I like to think of the Villa Migelita suite as my incredible personal space. I have a bed, soon to be made large chaise lounge, two end tables and a television.bird singing 011 The bathroom has a huge closet for clothes, and bedding including much-needed blankets for the cool nights. The room is quite large, but the space is free to enjoy the views of the mountains seen from the glass walls. You do not have to give up style to be minimalist, you need to give up things you do not use nor need. It is that simple. It is that easy. It is a way of putting yourself and your needs before the needs society has filled your head with.

Being minimalist does not mean giving up really nice things. I have lovely furnishings, but not in excess. I have made my space filled with the best of the best. That is all I want. I also must emphasize that I have very little debt. That will be the subject of another blog, but minimalism includes living a debt-free lifestyle too. First though, look around you and get rid of the things that are unnecessary in an environment that will create peace. That is the first step. If you cannot do it yourself, hire someone. There are many out there who can be hired to help you unload. It will be money well spent. Remember minimalism is about quality over quantity. Spending money on someone to help you achieve your goals will be money well spent. Now I leave you with this thought, everyone has a different idea of what minimalism is; you do not have to give up your iPhone or iPad, you can still enjoy luxuries like great sheets, beautiful clothes, manicures (everyone knows I love my great manicures who follow Villa Migelita), a nice car, beautiful antiques or paintings. It is about making your life simpler, and yes giving up some things to enjoy the other things you love more. That is a start. Now I say go for it. Look around your space and make a change now. Remember to be kind to yourself, this is about your peace. If you have to do this slowly then do it slowly, if you cannot let go of something then put it aside to decide later, but start to make small changes. Small changes can then become medium changes and then you will be where you want to be. Remember it is all about your own personal freedom. You are the reason I am writing this blog. Let me know how you do in the comments below. I am there for all of you with anything you want to ask me. I was not always this way. I was always organized but never minimalist. So don’t be hard on yourself, just try to start the change and be consistent and determined. Remember this; “Minimalism is a tool used to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.”

Footnotes:
The last quote is taken from The Minimalists
You can find me everyday on facebook. Come share in my life in Colombia, South America at http://www.facebook.com/VillaMigelita
My website to visit is http://www.villamigelita.com

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Author:

I am an American who moved to Colombia to find peace after the devastating loss of my daughter. I bought and renovated a Villa, am learning Spanish, and writing as catharsis. This blog will be like my book with chapters. Each blog will be about my life and adventures. I hope you will enjoy the many new discoveries I am making every day about myself and another culture.

16 thoughts on “Why I Am a Minimalist

  1. all I can say is wow. I only wish I could give up my moms’ things. nope, can’t do it. i’ll let the kids do it .it would be so much easier if I could. all age can stink at times. I love your lifestyle. love wildlife and puppydogs. hugs, granny usa

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    1. Granny, I have my grandmother’s pedestal here, my mother’s cedar chest, and many lovely photo’s and an antique picture of flowers that all give me those special memories. I just could not keep everything! I understand that you are older and I would let the kids take care of it too. Love you!

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  2. So glad you are in my life. You keep such a positive outlook on life and kudos to you for doing so and paying it forward. No kidding, you will see me there someday. There is a place for you in San Antonio as well. Judy Alva

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    1. Yes Marlene, I learned that all the ‘stuff’ in the world does not give any peace…nature and animals do that for me. I live very nicely without too much. I have just enough and I am grateful for that. Love you!

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  3. A great way to live Michele! I still have a lot of “stuff,” but I always love to clean out and get rid of things I no longer use or that taking of space in my closets or stuffed in drawers. I will either do a garage sale as well as donate. I did recently clean off my coffee table except for one item to keep it from looking too cluttered and for my drapes in my dining room, I took off the swag and just let the drapes hang simply on each side and one panel in the middle. The drapes are semi-sheer so it was never dark, but without the swag, it feels more simple, clean, and fresh. We are going to repaint the inside of the house this year and I want it to be more calm and neutral. Your house is so beautiful with your wall of windows. No paint needed. 🙂

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    1. Sheree you are doing what I do when I start to see accumulation! It happens to all of us. I love what you did with the drapes! I would not put any in my rooms if I could, but some guests might want to sleep in and block the sunlight. I am sitting in bed right now listening and watching the birds as the day turns light. Nothing can replace that beauty to me! I now am in the process of moving my things to the 3rd floor. I will be donating anything I don’t use also. I know your house and it is very organized!

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  4. Colombia is a really beautiful country. I lived for one year in Armenia and was a teacher at a local international school. Amazing weather, you don’t need a heater or air conditioning, although it’s hotter to the south. Futbol, dancing and parties/fiestas, friendly people.

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    1. I loved Armenia when I visited. We just got two American neighbors here I El Meson. Colombia will soon be the next place to retire. You mist come visit Villa Migelita when you come down again!

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  5. Kudos to you,dearMichele! What a wonderful blog. I feel inspired to do better in this regard. Part of me is already there, but I have clutter of the mind that needs sorting. I thank you for your example and for your candor in “keeping it real”. Love you, my friend, and I look forward to meeting you one day 🙂

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  6. I wholeheartedly agree with your lifestyle, I am very much the same.
    I owned and worked in the cleaning business for 27 years; now retired.

    In later years, I refused work that required a lot of dusting of clients “stuff” cluttering their every surface. Office desks that were piled high or wide, never ever got touched!

    It is so hard to focus when there is so much stuff, it’s like my eyes just want to dance and dance. And so much added work to have to pick up each piece of their pretty “stuff,” dust it, then dust the surface, then find an empty space for this piece…

    Also too much furniture and “stuff” on the floors makes it difficult to vacuum underneath, it would wear me out too quickly having to lay on the floor to vacuum underneath. After all, you really should be seeing what your vacuuming!

    In my own home, I still hate to vacuum. But since I prefer to live in a clean home, it is a necessary evil I suppose. Our wood floors throughout are in the process of being refinished. So, I’m on the lookout now to get a good dust mop that will grab on to the dirt and keep it!

    When I do, I plan to donate my vacuum cleaners once and for all :-).

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    1. Ann-Marie I am sure you will love donating that vacuum! Here at the Villa we use regular brooms and then mop the floors, I have a vacuum for the tracks of the windows and it is used rarely . The floors and windows are the biggest area of cleaning, along with the kitchen. Even though the house is large it can be cleaned efficiently. So happy to hear you enjoyed the blog!

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  7. Thanks for your quick response! I’m hopeful that I’ll find an eco friendly mop that does not require having to mop too. Freshly refinished wood floors, or wood floors in general don’t like water. Or not every week anyway.
    Sorry, I realize that your blog has little to do with cleaning.
    That said, I like being a minimalist for these reasons :-).

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