So if you haven’t heard of the new documentary on Netflix called “Minimalism” I’m not sure where you’ve been. This documentary was released on Netflix this past December and it’s all about “The Minimalist’s” otherwise known as Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, as they set out on their book tour to promote their new book and movement all about what it means to be a minimalist. Take a look at the trailer.
If you know me, you know I don’t watch television much. Apart from family movie nights, I don’t find I have time to just kick back and watch a show or a movie. This is definitely a choice that I make…choosing to work at night, once the kids are in bed, rather than watch something. So for a movie or series to catch my attention and force me to put down my computer, it has to be something really intriguing.
“Minimalism” was one of those.
When needing to fold laundry recently, I flipped through Netflix and saw the documentary pop up in suggested videos. I was immediately intrigued and wanted to check it out. I really only planned to watch it as long as it took me to get through the laundry…thinking about 20 minutes.
Not only did I watch the entire thing, I even started it over again (about 25 minutes into it) after my husband came down so he could watch it from the start with me!
It was THAT good.
You see, while I would never call myself a traditional “minimalist”, I definitely know that I get the concept and have evolved over the last number of years to realize that less is actually more.
There was a time in my adult life where I was obsessed with name brands and the constant need for that “one more thing.” Our little apartment was bursting at the seams with stuff our first few years of marriage. We even had to rent a storage unit to help us house all of that really ‘useful’ stuff that was contributing to our lives in such a way that we would pack it away for years and forget about it.
This is precisely what this documentary talks about. How as a society, we have been taught the idea that more is more…that constant need for consumerism. The incessant journey for happiness that we think material possessions will bring us.
Let me give you a little bit of history about the homes we’ve lived in the last six years of our lives.
When our daughter was only three months old, we moved to Sudbury, Ontario and purchased this house. Considered a raised ranch, it had two parallel floors, that were completely finished, bringing the square footage of the home just over 3,000 square feet. Not only from the outside did it look grand, once inside, people often commented “Man, this house just keeps going and going!” We actually didn’t have enough furniture to furnish the entire home when we first moved in and so we found ourselves buying a lot the first year we lived there to fill the home.
What you don’t see in this picture is the side yard to the left of home, that also housed a 15×25 foot outdoor shed, making that an additional 375 square feet. And this shed was PACKED…in some spots, all the way to the roof, which was 8 feet tall.
Can you imagine that much STUFF??
When we moved to the Toronto area, the housing market was VERY different here and very quickly we realized that we would NOT be able to afford the same kind of house we had in Sudbury (especially considering we were going down to one income).
This is the house we bought in the Greater Toronto Area and still the one we currently live in. Yes, it’s a townhouse. We are the middle unit of five homes that are all attached. We share a driveaway with one neighbor and a front porch with the other neighbor. We lost over 500 square feet when we moved here, as well as the additional 375 square foot shed we had, bringing it close to 1,000 square feet lost. We lost a fourth bedroom, an enormous kids playroom and a large deck.
And you know what? I recently told my husband that I think we could even go SMALLER! Our first floor is technically our “basement” and then you walk up to the second floor where you will find the kitchen/living room/office and general “hub” of the home. But that basement/first floor is almost NEVER used by our family. Besides housing the laundry room and a third bathroom, we really only enter and exit the home through that floor and not much else (unless we have guests and that area becomes the guest room). So that is approximately an additional 600+ square feet that our family really does not use nor really need, in our day-to-day lives.
We have less “stuff” now than we’ve had in the last six+ years and yet, we’ve never been happier. In fact, we are constantly looking for ways to declutter, create more functional space and ultimately consume less.
The last few Christmas’ we have asked for less toys for the kids and rather asked for things like experiences and/or lessons for them. Even for ourselves, we don’t even know what to ask for because we really don’t need much. We’ve just realized over the years that more stuff doesn’t add more value to our lives. In fact, it often takes away from the quality of life by adding in anxiety and stress.
Just the other day, I posted a video all about how we organize the kid clutter by decluttering the home. Tip numbers three to five were all about removing things from the home, creating more functional play spaces and simplifying the clutter.
We still have a long way to go in learning to be more minimal, but this documentary was such an encouragement to keep trying to live with less and finding ways we can truly cut back and enjoy the things we already have.
If you haven’t given ‘Minimalism’ a try yet, I’d highly encourage you to do so soon!