When you were a child, did you have a comfort object? Maybe a blanket or a stuffed animal that followed you like a shadow? Well, those days are long gone, right? Maybe not, could it be we are no different than our younger selves, we still have comfort objects. Did you notice that? I said “objects,” because when we were children, maybe we had only one. As we grew from adolescence to adulthood, we became comforted by numerous items, or worse. We became comforted by circumstances.
My family relocated from Ohio to Massachusetts a few years ago. My wife and I were both born and raised in Ohio. We spent very little time living outside a 200-mile radius. No matter what may lie upon the horizon it is never easy to leave behind what is familiar. No matter how bright the unknonwn might be. Familiarity is comfortable, and comfort is something we all desire above most other things. We find comfort in the things we buy, in our jobs, or in other people. But all of these things are fleeting. None of them are promised, and to have our comfort and happiness so dependent on them is dangerous, and illusory.
Time and space for you and I is limited. We have limited space in our minds to push new boundaries. We have limited room in our homes with which to live and store our “comforts.” And, we have limited time to earn financial freedom to purchase more space and objects to fill it with. It seems that we are living with so many limitations. How is one to ever going to be able to push new boundaries, have adequate space, physically and mentally, as well as have time for themselves? How is it even possible?
Space, we need to make more space. We are not out of room. Your computer isn’t running slow because you need to replace it. The computer is slowed because it’s weighed down with files. We have loaded our lives so full of things that don’t matter, that we have trouble finding room for the things that do. Our lives are slowed and labored because of the weight.
When we made the decision to sell our house and relocate, many understand the tsunami of anxiety that followed. Selling a home is nervewracking. It was purging time. This was our first house, and it was small 1400 sqft. This honestly was a blessing, how much stuff could there really be right? A Lot. Americans have mastered the art of meat and cheese, but that’s not all. We know how to cram an enormous amount of useless shit into small spaces. And we do. It’s kind of what we do. Really, we are killing it. By it, I mean Earth. Anybody know where I could pick up a spare ecosystem?
We made it! It took a large number of boxes, about 5 rolls of tape, 4 donation pickups, and a rental dumpster for the driveway, but we made it. The house was staged and ready for sale but wait. Wow, this felt good, really good. We have all had that feeling after you clean the whole house top to bottom. You feel at peace. Your surrounding feel clean, and hey, what’s that feeling? Your mind even feels calm. Like the wind that creates waves in the waters of your mind quit blowing. There is calmness. This is the feeling of living Modestly.
When you stage a house, you remove all remnants of yourself from the home. You don’t want the buyer to feel like they are walking through a sorry Airbnb. The goal is to make the buyer think that the house is neutral enough they can make it their own. So why is it that we feel more in love with our house when it is staged than we did when we were living in it?
Minimalism is about purging items, freeing space, eliminating distractions. The true power of Minimalism is in the feeling that it can elicit inside of us. Living modestly is a philosophy that seeks to extend this feeling perpetually, not only in space but in mind and body as well. Can you see? Why do we love staged houses, why do we love hotel rooms? We love these places because they are void of our excess baggage. The baggage that we carry with us wherever we are. Imagine the ability to perpetuate the feeling of walking into a fresh hotel room, or a spic and span house. Can you smell the freedom?
The house turned out beautiful. We learned many minimalist principals over the ten years living in a small house with two growing boys. My wife and I made that 1400 sqft feel like 5000, and we sold the house in 24 hours. After moving to Massachusetts we moving into a larger home, we needed it right? LOL, Guess what happened? We are human just like you. The laws of physics apply to me the same as they do to you. To stage our physical world is to stage our minds. In this production that is our lives we only get one show. It is up to you to determine what your production will be about. What will you populate the stage with? Are you going to put on a show, or will you spend all of your precious time simply buying props?
Live modestly, and live your best life. – A.C.