When Sporty and I sold almost all our stuff in 2008, living a minimalist lifestyle wasn’t the goal.
The truth is, we didn’t even know the term existed.
All we wanted to do was make moving house easier. Beyond that, we had no aspirations.
We never suffered from cluttered house syndrome, but we did have too much stuff. Way more than we needed, anyway.
Moving house is stressful for most people. On top of the emotional baggage that often comes with leaving your old home, it’s also hard work. All that looking for boxes, packing and unpacking and whatnot.
I mean, aaarrrggghhhh, right!?
Our first post-downsizing move was blissful. I’d still rather have spent the day sipping cocktails on a sunny deck, but compared to what it was like before…this was a cakewalk.
We assumed that would be it in terms of perks —and we’d have been quite happy if it was— but things changed for the better in other ways too.
We hopped off the hamster wheel, stretched our legs and looked up. We noticed the world around us for the first time in what felt like forever.
These days, living a minimalist lifestyle is normal for us. We can’t imagine what it would be like to own a house full of stuff.
When we talk to friends (especially ones in the throes of moving house), we’re always super grateful for having discovered such an easy path to happiness and contentment.
I’m not saying our friends aren’t happy (most of them are), we just can’t comprehend why they would voluntarily complicate their lives like that.
Particularly when they could quite easily pare their belongings down by half (or more) and still not come close to wanting for anything.
Yet Another Benefit to Living a Minimalist Lifestyle
Living a minimalist lifestyle comes with numerous benefits. Along with helping you get your finances in a straight stripe. It reduces the amount of stress in your life and it makes you happier and more sociable.
Apparently people who live in cluttered houses don’t invite their friends over.
While nice to have, those are all fairly obvious. They’re the kind of benefits you’d expect from taking a less is more approach to life.
But the further along we get on this journey, the more we realise the perks are just going to keep coming.
Maybe not as often as when we first set out, but pitch up they continue to do. Sometimes in the most unexpected of places. Like at the dentist, for example.
A Clean Bill of Health at the Dentist
Last week I went for my slightly overdue annual dental checkup. A bike accident in my late teens left me with some weak spots in my mouth, so I’m always a little on edge when I go.
We’d recently made the decision to switch dentists and this was my first visit with the new guy. I was a little nervous to hear what he had to say.
“Wow, you have a really healthy mouth,” said Dr. Deks.
It wasn’t what I was expecting, but I accepted the compliment graciously.
“Gnnnppphhhh.” I responded.
Continuing his inspection, he prodded at my teeth with his fancy laser pen, checked my glands and massaged my jaw muscles. Grunting his approval as he went.
“What’s interesting,” Dr. Deks said when he was done, “is that I can see evidence of teeth clenching and gum issues, but it’s clearly a thing of the past.”
He was notably impressed, causing me to puff my chest even more.
In retrospect, it made perfect sense. I used to be a very reactive and stressed out person with some decidedly unhealthy habits.
I smoked, drank too much coffee and consumed more sugar than is reasonable for one person. Of course my mouth health would bear the brunt of that.
I was so busy reveling in my gold star bill of health that only later did it dawn on me that I’d actually dodged a bullet. If we’d never sold our stuff, I could very easily have ended up toothless.
The lesson? Never underestimate how much living a minimalist lifestyle can do for you. Decluttering your house is just the tippy top of a very large and extremely attractive iceberg.
It’s just a pity I didn’t see Dr. Deks in December, as it would have made a great addition to our annual Minimalist Year in Review post.
Oh well. Hopefully I’ll remember to include it in this year’s review.