Over the years I was married, my husband and I had accumulated a lot of stuff and it was a year ago that my family had minimized our belongings to 3 large luggage, right before we left for Canada. Most of our things are sold, given or thrown away. As you can imagine, the process was very stressful because I have that feeling of attachment and that was very hard especially letting go of my collectible items.

Now that we are here in our new home country, starting from almost nothing and learning from the past I don’t want to go through that stress again so I started to read about minimalist and essentialist. What I read really made sense to me and has been very effective. This is so far I learned and continually learn/improve on every day:

1. Buy what is needed.

In our time now we see a lot of tools for almost everything you can think of. It is very tempting to buy, but is it really needed? That’s the question I always ask myself before I buy something. It’s amazing how marketing strategy works, they will make you think that you need the item that they’re selling so you can trick your brain that you need to buy it for the convenience of making it do the hard work for you. But convenience has always a price whether it’s money, time, space (storage or emotions), or energy (including the after care). For me, having these considerations it helped me lessen my spending or the time and effort in maintenance. With this, I choose to put something in our house with only useful and necessary materials.

2. Less stuff in the house doesn’t necessarily mean emptiness.

In our culture nowadays we get that pressure you need to own certain stuff to make your house lively. Or when you invite a friend over the house and they would see only a few furniture they would ask, “Did you just move in?”. Initially, my thought was the house is so bare, looks empty and sad. But later on, I realized having this much of a space enables me to think clearly and focus on the important matters because I have lesser distractions and lesser clutter.

3. Learn how to say no.

I think anybody can relate that when you move to a new place friends and family are there all the way including giving you stuff they don’t need anymore that they think it will be useful for you. Believe me, that was very stressful I was like torn apart. I wanted to stick in being simplistic and within our color palette and at the same time I don’t want to hurt their feelings if I would say no to them. Luckily, my husband was kind enough to say no to them and we get to explain that we want our space to be simple, less stuff and the idea of choosing a minimalist life. And we are glad that they respect that, so when they would offer something again I don’t feel bad anymore if I get to say no on their offer if it doesn’t align our goals in regards to our space.

4. Choose experience over material possessions.

Material possessions give only temporary happiness and are not very lasting. I have been there trying to be updated on what’s latest out there and collecting those cute collectible items that I don’t necessarily need. Buying stuff on impulse is very exciting and addictive that can give momentary happiness and most of it was only a waste of time, money, and at times regret. Instead, invest in something that will give you experiences such as travel and adventure this will give you new perspective and lifetime lessons. And for me as a parent, I have that cherished moments shared with my kid that I can talk about in the years to come.

So far I have been loving our simplistic way of living and I’m continually learning every day. At times it’s very challenging, but revisiting my goals and lessons in the past keeps me align to this way of living. I also find Greg McKeown, Essentialism The Disciplined Pursuit of Less helpful for me in many ways that improve how I think, making wiser choices and live a happier life.