How minimalism helps in times of crisis
This is a guest post from Marie, a reader who wanted to share what motivated her to jump into minimalism. It’s in times of crisis when we realize how much minimalism really eases stress.
Hi, I’m Marie and I am a recovering over-packer.
Show of hands, anyone else?
Packing used to be my nemesis. I would make piles upon piles, without putting anything in the suitcase, crippled by what I thought was indecision. (and what I now know as too many choices, aka too much stuff!) I would try to pack for every scenario- what if my bathing suit strap breaks? What if I get lint on my dress? What if I need triple the amount of underwear? (I wish I was kidding haha!) The trouble with this packing “style” is that I would arrive at my destination disorganized and overwhelmed by options.
Well, a few months ago my packing habits took a drastic turn and lit the spark of my minimalist journey. It started with a text that my sister was seriously ill and her husband far away. I felt a punch in the gut “Go, now!” I bought a plane ticket and packed the smallest bag I ever had. I packed one backpack with one outfit, one pair PJs, one pair of shoes, and a few toiletries. That’s it. FREEDOM.
No checked bag, no sore back.
I wore that backpack running through the airport, racing my sister to the hospital and walking blocks of hospital corridors. I had no idea how critically ill she was and that I would be spending nights in the hospital. But I had everything I needed and didn’t have to worry about leaving my sister to find my suitcase etc. I learned so much from this experience, here is the summary:
Traveling is much less stressful and logistics are easier with a light, small bag
I can get ready in the morning quickly with fewer choices
I don’t need as much as I think I do!
If any of the crazy scenarios happen, there are stores! But nothing like a giant coffee spill even happened, haha!
So how did this trip spark my minimalist journey at home?
I experienced that peaceful exhale feeling of living life without being physically and emotionally weighed down by stuff.
I thought “wow! What if I had this peaceful exhale feeling opening my closet every morning? Walking into each room of my house?”
The answer is YES, YES I CAN. YES, I CAN BE AT PEACE IN MY HOME. This is where I am now. Daily letting go and embracing peace. Less is truly more.
I spent 6 days in the hospital with my sister and she is doing wonderfully now! I am so thankful to see her well again. I never would have imagined learning about minimalism through a crisis!
P.S. Special thanks to Rachel for her gentle wisdom and guidance on this beautiful journey.
A note from Rachel:
Minimalism gives us so much freedom, and it is definitely an eye-opening experience when it comes to a crisis situation and seeing first-hand what it’s like to not have to worry about stuff.
Many people struggle with the idea of “what if I need it?”
My favorite way to address that fear is to follow the thought all the way through.
In Marie’s story, she recognized that if she needed something while she was away, she could easily purchase the necessary item, even if that meant another outfit.
When we base our decisions out of fear, we limit ourselves a great deal.
It’s very clear in other areas of life: If we’re afraid of being hurt, we won’t get into a serious relationship. If we’re afraid of failing, we won’t push ourselves to get out of our comfort zone.
But when you are decluttering your home, those fearful thoughts disguise themselves as common-sense.
In the United States, most things we need are very easy to come by. There are stores everywhere and people are selling items online. It doesn’t take much effort to find the things we feel we need. It doesn’t take long for the “just in case” items to fill a spare room, garage or even a storage unit. And then we’re spending money on maintaining these extra items, and energy shuffling them around if we need access something else in the room.
Instead, put your chin up and determine, that you aren’t going to allow fear to make decisions on what the atmosphere of your home is going to be.
You are going to make the decision and move forward. Just like when you are faced with a marriage proposal- If you love each other, and are ready to commit to each other, the “what if it doesn’t work” thoughts are pushed out of your mind.
Push the “just in case” thoughts of stuff out of your mind and like Marie said, experience that peaceful exhale feeling of living life without being physically and emotionally weighed down by stuff.
Thank you, Marie, for sharing your story!
Great post! My pastor would call this the poverty spirit – get it now and keep it because you may never have the chance again and then when you need it what will you do? My sons are beginning to see how great it can be to have less too. Actually being able to see all my clothes is amazing! Going away last week I took the smallest bag I have – and still took more than I could wear in 4 days. But I’m getting there.
That’s great Cathy.
I am learning to embrace this, but still have a ways to go.. My house -despite years of flylady -has a way to go…but back to packing, yes agree with the choices mentality-I am a prime culprit of that. I suffer with struggle of indecision, and yes too many choices in this country. But we can choose to live in simplicity when we ultimately trust the Lord for our needs. Amen and thank you for sharing…
Fantastic post and spot on from a gal who travels often. Less is really liberating and allows me to be confident in my choices. I’ve found most people don’t even make an effort to look put together when traveling and no one really ever absorbs what we wear. So I plan a few good outfits and repeat them!