Becoming Minimalists

by Kelvin Belfon

BECOMING-MINIMALISTS-Minimalism

It was the 2nd of January when Camilla and I arrived in Denver. The kids couldn’t wait to see their new bedroom. We were all excited to move into our new home! But after completing the initial walk-through and seeing the actual dimensions, I had one horrifying thought, “How am I going to fit all the stuff sitting in the moving truck into this townhouse?”

Renting a storage unit was an option; but it was also an added cost. The landlord, perceiving our plight, began showing us alternate storage in the basement. We had no fallback. This had to work.

While unloading the truck, one of the plastic bags tore and the contents, my CDs, scattered everywhere. One of the younger moving guys looked at me and said, “Dude, have you guys ever thought about going digital and not carry all these CDs around?”

It was embarrassing. I felt old. I’m glad it wasn’t my cassette collection that I disposed of the month prior to our move! Although I had burnt the albums unto my laptop; I still kept the discs…some, for over THIRTEEN YEARS! This incident led me to ask myself, “Why am I keeping around things I’m no longer using?”

So to make everything fit, the basement became the “dumping” ground. My mother, who flew in to help us unpack a week later, started organizing the clutter. Thinking I could do better, I re-organized it when she left. It took days. But when we needed something, usually stuck in the back, the mess returned.

This ended up becoming a weekly chore for me. It felt like I was always stuck in the basement. Keeping everything in order was taking my time away from Camilla and the kids. Then I had an epiphany. “Why not minimize instead of the constantly cleaning and reorganizing?”

I began researching online for ideas and stumbled upon Zenhabits and Becoming Minimalists. These bloggers totally inspired me so much that I couldn’t stop reading.

All of these events combined had a major impact on my thinking. My wife was also experiencing the same feelings. So, becoming minimalists was the lifestyle we embraced.

It’s been 11 months now and eliminating the excess has turned our home into a more spacious and attractive place. I can’t wait to see what more we’ll do as our thinking continues to shift.

What factors have motivated you to simplify?

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14 thoughts on “Becoming Minimalists

  1. Barbra says:

    This blog made me smile! I can certainly relate to carrying around the old things we enjoy so much it’s hard to get rid of them! Who knows? I might be inspired to donate some of those “they’re still so good -surely I’ll wear, use, recycle…. not!”

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Reading your comment made me laugh as well. It’s funny…this is the thought process we apply to most things in our lives. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Terri says:

    Oh, I so know the feeling! I have decided to simplify for a lot of reasons. I feel less anxiety, I want less, and I am paying off a lot of debt. Instead of wasting my money on buying crap to fill up my apartment, I’ve been spending the money on experiences, or just paying down the debt faster (more of the latter, lately.) It feels awesome to either sell something, or more often, to give it to someone who can use it. For my birthday a few weeks ago, my Mom asked me what I wanted. I was like “honestly, I have everything I need. I really don’t want anything.” It felt so good!

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Yes Terri, going simply does have it’s benefits. Less financial stress is a big one. I like some of the radical steps you’ve taken.

  3. Gillian Claudia Johnson-Baptiste says:

    I can identify with the dilemma you faced. I am currently in a similar position. Although I haven’t used some possessions in a long time, It is difficult to get rid of them because of sentiment or fear that I might need them one day. I have started donating items of clothing and have found pleasure in doeing so. However I still have a lot to do in the area of de-cluttering. I will check out zenhabits and becoming minimalists. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  4. Gabriele says:

    I had to downsize 4 times. Still doing it again. Because in a 500 SF apartment even a loveseat is BIG. I got rid of a lot of things but paperwork is still the biggest clutter. Well, out of necessity I will take care of this too. Let’s see how minimalist I can be…as long as I keep my kitchen stuff 😉

  5. Keren Olibrice says:

    I detest clutter, it clouds my thinking, breathing, and ultimately (in my mind) it’s just germs sitting in a pile waiting to be caught. So, whenever I see clutter, I quickly go through it, and trough out what isn’t of any use and take what is, to a donation spot. With my kids toys I tend to have an “out with the old in with the new” mentality. Whenever either of them is given a new toy I take away one that isn’t being used and replace it with the new one. The used toy (if in working/good condition) becomes a donation. That’s how I stay motivated, if it isn’t being used it’s clutter. Donated or through it out! Great Post!

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Thank you for your input Karen. I like the idea of donating our unused items. It’s either keep it in storage for years vs. giving it to others who are in need. I enjoy doing the latter.

  6. sunny says:

    I love it! (that you were able to minimize instead of continue to organize clutter).

    I keep reading FlyLady’s words about how you can’t organize clutter… and reading your story has it all make sense. Moving objects around wastes valuable time when one could just minimize most of it, find things more quickly, and breathe easier in the meantime. I’m in. Time to get rid of things I don’t use, need or love.

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Hi Sunny! Thanks for sharing your comment. It’s been a long process of organizing and re-organizing for me. In the past, I’ve bought new storage bins and shelves in an effort to keep things looking nice. The bins and shelves are all gone and I don’t miss the contents. No more organizing! My time is extremely valuable and I’ll rather spend it on more important things to me.

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