Minimalist Priorities

I’m a homebody, there is no place I’d rather be than home.  As a child I loved sitting under the big weeping willow with a book and the wild strawberries I found along the trunk of my tree yet as a teen I was always on the go.

weeping willow

When I moved into my own home at eighteen I found I wanted to be at home more than I wanted to be out. My friends were always welcome but I began to turn down offers to go out. One day a very close friend asked what was up, why didn’t I go out any more.

It was only then that I reflected on why I preferred to be at home and the answer shocked me. Living with family the rules felt confining. Don’t put your feet up on the couch while you read; make the bed before breakfast; the bathroom is shared so get dressed, dry your hair etc in your bedroom.  If I tried to read in the living room, being the only reader in the family, others didn’t understand it meant I wasn’t in the mood for conversation at that particular moment.

Having my own home I could do anything I wanted. I could put my feet up if I wanted, if I was chilly I could bring out a blanket to curl up with – something not allowed in the family home because it made rooms look messy. It turns out the teenage me was going out every day because I didn’t feel our home was flexible enough to allow me to be myself. I didn’t have a say in how I lived under that roof.

I thought maybe I would outgrow my desire to be at home once the novelty of making my own rules wore off, instead I came to realize I was most comfortable at home.

I was a homebody, that fact wasn’t going to change.

If I was going to spend most of my time in and around my home I needed to set clear priorities on how I wanted my home and property to function to benefit my needs.  I prefer an uncluttered, minimalist home where the home is filled with just those things I need to be happy.

But what makes one  happy? For me it’s the pile of books from the library, the extra blanket or two that I, or company, can curl up with, and my craft supplies. I don’t  keep a huge stash of craft supplies but still it’s one thing you don’t hear a lot about when the subject of minimalism comes up.

My kitchen is also different from other minimalists. I don’t have a lot of dishes, bakeware, or utensils but I grow and preserve the majority of my food so in my kitchen you will find the basic amount of canning supplies. Because I eat a whole foods diet there had to be room for the many mason jars filled with legumes and other staples.

The counters are clean and ready for meal prep, the only item that resides on the counter is the water filter we use religiously and a bowl of fruit.

On the other hand my kitchen is lacking in many of the basic amenities most people associate with a stocked kitchen. I sold the large side-by-side refrigerator that came with the house and have a dorm-sized fridge and a chest freezer which is just right for my needs.  You won’t find a toaster (do I really need to burn bread to enjoy it?), a microwave, or a mixer to name just a few appliances.

Would my kitchen be considered minimalist?  Yes, because minimalism means holding on to just those items that makes one happy and letting go of the rest.

Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.

~~Harold Kushner


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