Episode 053: Accidental Minimalism

Episode Transcription

Have you ever unintentionally become a minimalist? That's exactly what happened to Diana in her early twenties. She was a recent graduate, moving from the snowy region of Michigan to sunny Colorado, and only took what she could pack in her tiny car. But it didn't last long!

In this episode, Diana shares when she went from being an accidental minimalist to being overwhelmed with stuff.

We'll also discuss:

  • Diana's story about her move to Colorado.
  • The "need" to fill our empty spaces with stuff instead of having empty rooms.
  • How clutter isn't just physical.

What can you expect from this podcast and future episodes?

  • 15-20 minute episodes to help you tackle your to-do list
  • How to declutter in an effective and efficient way
  • Guest interviews
  • Deep dives on specific topics 

Find Diana Rene on social media:
Instagram: @the.decluttered.mom
Facebook: @the.decluttered.mom
Pinterest: @DianaRene

Are you ready for a peaceful and clutter-free home? Watch my FREE training video "Kiss Clutter Goodbye" to learn how it's possible! And find all of my resources here.

This transcript is auto-generated. Please excuse grammatical errors.

Diana Rene:  

You're listening to the decluttered mom podcast, a podcast built specifically for busy moms by a busy mom. I'm your host, Diana Rene, and in 2017, I had my second daughter and it felt like I was literally drowning in my home Okay, not literally, but I felt like I couldn't breathe with all of the stuff surrounding me. Over the next 10 months, I got rid of approximately 70% of our household belongings and I have never looked back. I kind of feel like I hacked the mom system and I'm here to share all the tips, tricks and encouragement. Let's listen to today's show.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the decluttered mom podcast. I am actually recording this podcast in my car, sitting outside a Starbucks right now, because I was thinking about this story. I wanted to tell you and I was like you know what my girls are with the babysitter. I have some time. My car is mostly quiet. It's a little hot because I had to turn off the AC, otherwise that's all you would hear, but hopefully the audio is okay and my producer on here doesn't hate me for doing this in my car.

But I really wanted to share with you about this story, when I accidentally became a minimalist earlier in my life and how I went from that to accumulating so much stuff really easily. And so when I was gosh, how old was I? I was in my early 20s, I had just graduated college. I moved to a new city to start a new job and the night that I moved there I actually met my now husband on the phone, which, let me know, send me a DM if you want to hear about the story of how I met my husband, because it's a really random wild story that anytime I tell people they're like what, how did you guys end up together through this entire story? So just let me know, dm me, tell me if I should go into this on my podcast. But I talked to him on the phone the first night I was in this new city, my first not my first real job out of college, but my first job. That was not a startup. I actually worked for a startup in college for my junior and senior year and then I continued working with them for I don't know, maybe six months or so after college and then, as soon as that job ended, they actually got sold. I got my first real job where I went into an office and I worked in ad sales for a company in Grand Rapids, michigan. So I moved to Grand Rapids. The first night in there I meet my husband on the phone and then we end up dating long distance for about gosh, I want to say a year and a half. And then I moved from Michigan to Colorado, where he grew, he was born and raised in Colorado. That's why I'm here now.

So that was about 15 years ago that I moved to Colorado and I I never in my life had anticipated even visiting Colorado, if I'm being completely honest, much less living here. And now I love it. I do love the state, I love the mountains, I love having the mountains as like my backdrop, the backdrop to like my daily life, and it's amazing to just like go to the grocery store and walk out and that be your view. It's very different from Michigan, where it also is very, very sunny. Here. So it's sunny like 300 days a year and in Michigan it is not really sunny most of winter. And so I remember when my husband and I were dating long distance, he would come visit me and it would be like the fourth day he's there and he's like I feel depressed because the sun has not come out since I got here and I'm like what, that's not normal, like I just that's what I grew up with. So moving to Colorado or even just visiting him and seeing that like it can be really cold out and still be sunny is a complete game changer for mental health and all of that. So there are only two things, okay, three. There are only three things I miss about Michigan. Number one I miss the lakes. Number two I miss my family. This is in no like particular order. I have two brothers and their family is back in Michigan, and so they are number two, plus my grandma and a couple other extended family members. And then number three is cider mills. I miss cider mills. If you're from the Midwest, you know what I'm talking about. We don't have those here, and I spent the first like five years I lived here desperately trying to find the same experience as a cider mill here and it does not exist. And so I really miss those things. And we are actually going to go to Michigan this fall to visit family and I want to go in the fall so that we can go to a cider mill and my girls can experience the joy of a cider mill. So I have gone on like 18 tangents so far and I'm going to get back on track.

So I, my husband and I dated long distance for a year and a half. We decided that you know, we're going to really like see if this is the real deal and we need to figure out if our relationship works, living in the same city, not just across the country, and so with our specific life situations at the time it made the most sense for me to move from Michigan to Colorado, and so I at the time was nervous about it. I was going to drive here in my little tiny Saturn ion that no longer exists, and I did not have the money for a moving truck, and so I decided that I was only going to move out here with what I could fit into my tiny Saturn ion. So that's not much. Saturn doesn't exist anymore, like they don't make cars anymore. But if you are familiar with Saturn's, the ion was just very it was a very small sedan. So I was in the driver's seat. My mom drove out with me so that I wouldn't have to do it myself, because it's like an 18 hour drive and I would have to stop somewhere overnight and all of that. So she drove with me. So the whole front of the car was off limits as far as like stuff. So I had to fit everything in the back seat without blocking our view while driving, and the trunk, and that's all. That's all I brought. I sold or gave away all my furniture and I only brought what could fit in this tiny car, and so when I got here, I was essentially a minimalist. I did not have many worldly possessions to my name anymore because I was essentially starting over out of necessity financially, because it made no sense for me to pay to have those things that I just didn't really want. It didn't really even like them. I was like I'm not going to pay to bring those things out here when they're not like important to me, and I will just like I will find a very cheap furniture store or like look on Craigslist or whatever. I need to do when I'm here to actually furnish my apartment, because my husband and I did not live together before we were married. So I came out here and I rented a one-bedroom apartment and so I had to figure out what to do. My husband's my now in-laws had an extra couch that I could have, and so they, when I got here, I moved in, they brought the couch over and then I went to a furniture store that has really inexpensive furniture and I got like a table to sit at, I got a very small TV, I got a bed and I'm trying to think I'm like racking my brain. That's all. That's all I bought.

And so I had this apartment and I had very minimal furniture. It was very minimalist. It was. There was no decorations, there was no extra seating, it wasn't even a full couch, it was like a love seat. I lived like that for probably three to four months because, again out of necessity, I hadn't found a job out here. I had saved up just enough money for like two months worth of rent and bills. I then just had to figure out and get a job quickly so that I could pay for life, and so I finally got the job. I think I got a job maybe like four-ish weeks after getting out here. This was the other thing. You're like, diana why didn't you secure a job before moving to Colorado? Well, that's a great question. Let me tell you, nobody would interview me if I didn't have a Colorado address on my resume, and I so. Then I started putting my now husband's address on my resume and I got an interview and like the lady like chewed me out when she found out that I actually lived in Michigan and had put his address and she was like that is not okay, that is unethical and like laid into me and I was like, okay, well, maybe it is. I was just trying to like express that I am 100% for sure going to be moving there and I will move there right when you need me if I get this job. But in her opinion that was not okay and so it scared me from doing that, moving forward and so, spoiler alert, I did not get that job. I started putting my address in Michigan and it just people didn't want to hire you if you were in Michigan because of the level of job I was looking at. It wasn't like a executive position, right, it was like entry level type things right out of college. Because, again, I had only had about a year, year and a half of like actual experience post college at this point and I was in advertising sales in Michigan but I was looking out here in all different types of sales, and I ended up getting a job in payroll sales where I would go to different corporations and try to convince the people who ever worked at the front desk to let me talk to the CEO of the company and sell them on our payroll system.

So it was like three or four weeks after I got here I finally got a job. I started working, I think, like two weeks later. So then I started getting paid roughly two months after I moved here and I still remember the first day I got that direct deposit hit. I wanted to go buy things to fill my space. It was almost like I felt uncomfortable in my apartment because I felt like it was just so bare bones and like that shows me, number one, that I was never meant to be truly a minimalist, which you guys know. I've talked about that quite a bit. I don't consider myself a minimalist and that was like a good test, I guess you could say is that that was not like that was not a comfortable living situation to me. I did not walk into my apartment and feel like relaxed. I walked into my apartment and felt like it just stressed me out a little bit right, and so I found myself starting to buy stuff just to fill the space and I didn't even think twice about it. Why? Because that's what we do. We are almost trained to believe that, like if we have the space, it needs to be filled or it needs something there. And so I remember even I had this huge walk-in closet, like I had never in my life at that point ever had a walk-in closet. And I've noticed here in Colorado it's much more common for apartment complexes, like apartments, to just have walk-in closets. That was not my experience, at least in Michigan, but out here it's like every it doesn't matter like what type of apartment you're getting it like just so many of them have walk-in closets. And so it was my first time that I had that and I remember like hanging my clothes and like it, feeling like so empty, and I was like I feel like I need to, like I need some more stuff in here, and so I was like buying stuff to fill in this big walk-in closet, even though I didn't need to. There was no reason for it, it just felt like it needed things in it.

And I also remember I had like this really big linen closet also. So it was a one-bedroom apartment. It had a very small family room or living room area, it had a kitchen and like one tiny space for a table, and then it had a pretty decently sized bedroom with this ginormous walk-in closet, and then it did have laundry in the unit, which was very nice, and that laundry, it was like a laundry closet. That laundry closet had multiple shelves in it and then there was like a linen closet in the hallway. That was pretty big too. It just took, it just took up a part of the hallway and then a bathroom. So I remember also looking at the linen closet and feeling like I needed stuff in there too. And I remember looking in the kitchen and feeling like I like when I first moved in, I just went out and bought like plates and bowls and silverware and cups and like that. That was it, because I wasn't, like you guys know, I don't like cooking. Even then I did not like cooking and so but then I found myself like, oh, I have like six empty cabinets. I need to like buy kitchen stuff and I need to be a grown-up and I need to learn how to bake and I need to learn how to cook, even though I hate those things I hate cooking, I hate baking. But in my mind I was thinking okay, I need to be an adult, I need to fill in this stuff, and I think that we do that in all different phases of life. We move into a new space and if it's especially if it's bigger than before we feel like it's not okay to have an empty room, it's not okay to have an empty closet, it's not okay to even have an empty shelf in a closet because it looks and feels weird and uncomfortable, because that's not what we're used to. And so I basically went from being totally minimalist by necessity in this move to suddenly when my husband and I got married.

Um, it was about a year and a half after I moved here is when we got married and we got a condo together at that point and so I was moving my stuff out of there and I just remember thinking like how did I accumulate so much crap in this year and a half? Like it doesn't make sense. I'm the only one who lives here and I'm so stressed out packing and moving and that it should not be like this. And I just think that this is a really good lesson in just story about how, if we're not careful, it's the easiest thing in the world to just build up clutter for no reason at all, just so we don't feel uncomfortable with an empty space and that's something that I remind myself of often that you can start with, you can start over with basically nothing and it, like Blink of an eye, can turn into a cluttered mess again. And so, knowing now, what I wish I knew then is that I needed systems in place, I needed to work on my contentment, I needed to focus on not bringing in new things that were unnecessary and then also Having systems to release things once I realized they were unnecessary, and so hopefully, I wouldn't come into a situation like that again.

But if you are someone who is in a similar situation or you have a hard time with empty spaces, I want you to sit with that for a minute and ask yourself why like why am I so uncomfortable that I have two empty shelves in my Kitchen cabinet? Like why is that Uncomfortable to me? And if it is uncomfortable to you, then I want you to ask yourself Maybe can I just let this go for now. Can I just try this for a week and have this empty space and not try to fill it, and then you can make that a month and then you can say, okay, is there another space that I can make a little bit more empty and be okay with it, because I think when we learn to sit with it and be okay with it is when we can really start to focus on our contentment number one and we can also just challenge the beliefs that we have always had because of the consumeristic Society we live in.

So I hope this was an interesting story to you. I think about that little Saturn Ion, often dang. That was a good car. I wish Saturn still existed. But I hope this was a great episode for you. I would love to hear, tell me in my DMs. Tell me if you want to hear the story of how I met my husband and I will see you next week on the decluttered mom podcast.