Minimalism is all the craze today. Much like my MC Hammer beach pants in elementary school, the word “minimalism” could just be a fad, but I do believe the concept of minimalism is here to stay.
What is minimalism in a nutshell?
To me, minimalism is saying “no” to good things so you can say “yes” to the great things.
And that is what’s so tough about minimalism for us. Developing the discipline to let go of good things. A house that we easily could have lived another 20 years in. Kitchen appliances that work perfectly fine, but no longer used. T-shirts that have memories tied to them. RVs. Cars. Shoes. Anything and everything we’ve owned has been asked the question of “Are you a “great” item or just a “good” one?” I’m sorry about this sentence Mrs. Pecora (my second grade teacher). I have no clue whether or not all those quotation marks are where they are supposed to be.
Saying “no” has always been tough. But if saying “no” helps me bring what’s most important front and center, I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Especially if the payoff is big.
Here’s 3 reasons I believe it’s worth it to say “no” to good stuff in your life.
You Can Say “Yes” to Higher Quality Stuff
Yes, I know we are Less Junk, More Journey, but we’ve still got stuff. We just try to make sure that stuff can do multiple things or at the least it is high quality enough that we don’t have to replace it crazy fast.
My laptop for example. For the majority of my life, I only bought PC products. Who in their right mind would pay for a Mac computer that is twice the price when they both operate at the same speeds? However, when computer could no longer edit video like it claimed. When my PC laptop’s battery lasted half as long as it claimed. When my PC laptop crashed, practically begged for viruses, and had to be restarted multiple times a day because who knows what was running in the background, enough was enough.
I bought a Macbook Pro laptop and haven’t looked back. For the price of this laptop I could have bought a PC laptop, a PC Tower, and probably still had money left to buy a couple of monitors. But I’m happy with the trade off.
My point isn’t that a Mac is better than a PC. There are times a PC will do what someone needs and its worth it to save that bundle of money. My point is that there are times when saving money can cost you time. And time wins out on the good vs great scale every time.
You Can Say “Yes” to Relationships
Saying “no” to that higher paying promotion could open the doors to more time with your spouse or family. Will you have to relocate? Will it require more time at the office? And its not just about about time at the office, its about what you bring home with you. Will you be more stressed at home as a result of your new job?
When we started RVing, part of the plan was for Marissa to cut back from working full time at the hospital as a nurse to an as-needed basis. She could basically put in what hours she wanted to work and if they needed her, she would be called in.
It was tough to say “no” to the full time position. We lost the insurance. We lost the security of knowing how much money she would make a month. However, we said yes to more quality time together. Yes to a less stressed Marissa. Nursing was stressful and the more she worked, the more often she brought her work home emotionally.
Now when Marissa is home, she is not only present physically, but present mentally. Hensley gets her attention. I get her attention. We can enjoy each other as a family.
Saying “no” to the full-time position took more than just a notice to her boss. We also gave up a car. A house. Pretty much all of the stuff in that house. It was tough to say “no” to those things. But looking back we know it was worth it for our time together.
You Can Say “Yes” To Chasing Your Dreams
Do you have a dream? Travel the country? Start a business? See the world? Spend more time with the grandkids? Sail full time on a boat?
Yes, this is Disney, but I still love this song
I believe all of our dreams are made easier with minimalism. It’s much easier to backpack in Europe if everything you own is in one small storage locker or maybe even on your back. It’s a lot tougher if you have a high mortgage, car payments, student loans, and credit card debt tying you down at home.
We’ve been there. We felt like we couldn’t chase our dreams with all of our stuff holding us back. Having that house, SUV, and steady job was the norm. But we didn’t want normal. We wanted to chase dreams. We didn’t want to look back and regret not taking the leap.
Too many times to count, we’ve ran into someone who, similar to our past lifestyle, has a big house, SUV, and steady job who tells us they wish they could travel more. The truth is, they could. But it’s tough to let go and make the leap.
Living with less than you have to own is tough. TV ads, billboards, and radio commercials are all around us telling us to buy more so one guy at the top of the chain can live his dream. I don’t have a problem with that guy. But I want more of us to live our dream by saying “no” to more of the things that don’t matter most.
“Nathan, this is all well and good, but what if I don’t have the funds to live my dream? If I sold my car, I would lose money. There is no way I could quit or even cut back at my job. I need the money to get by.”
My answer would be two-fold.
- Kick things that are using money and not providing long-term value to the curb. Sell anything that hasn’t been used in the last 6 months. Cancel the cable/tv subscription and use half that time to build a new skill that provides value and lets you make money in other ways than your current job. The other half of your time? Read a book or find a hobby that helps you unwind. By saying “no” to TV, you will instantly free up time to say “yes” to things that are more important.
- With your extra time, look for ways to provide value for other people. Especially ones that solve a problem or save them time.
The awesome thing about these two steps? They are in turn moving you toward a mobile lifestyle! By downsizing things in your house and cutting down on nonproductive TV time, you are preparing yourself to a more versatile life. You’re cutting strings on things that could make it harder for you to travel.
By looking for ways to make money and by providing value for others (especially if you pursue something you can do from your computer or the road), you are building entrepreneurial muscle that will help with cash flow when you are no longer in one place. It will also give you the confidence to change your current job status when the time comes.
Saying “no” is tough, but when you see what can come into your life by doing so, it makes it worth all worth while!
And one shameless plug before I sign off since it has to do with minimalism. We’re hosting a Q & A about downsizing on our Patreon this Friday, June 30th, at 7pm EST for every level to view once completed and $10+ patrons to interact. We’ll be talking about questions like
- Where on earth would I store my clothes in an RV?
- What is storage like in a travel trailer vs 5th wheel vs motorhome?
- What is a capsule wardrobe & why would it be good to have when RVing?
- What kitchen appliances are a must?
- I want to downsize my stuff in my house, but don’t know the best way to start
- Should I rent storage, give all my stuff away, a little of both?
If this is something you are interested in, head to https://www.patreon.com/lessjunkmorejourney and sign up. We practice what we preach. We do our best to provide value on YouTube, but we want Patreon to be a whole other level of tips, tricks, and personal interaction for the RV lifestyle.