Last winter, I watched “Minimalism: a Documentary About the Important Things” on Netflix, and like a lot of Americans, I was hooked. After struggling with clutter and organization my entire life (yes, really), it seemed I had found my answer in minimalism.
By the time I was planning my trip to L.A. in May, I had done a lot of minimizing at home, but there was still a long way to go. My trip was a wonderful opportunity to take a “minimalism vacation” and find out if I would really enjoy living without the stuff. By then I had discovered all the famous minimalist bloggers, like the Minimalists, Courtney Carver, Joshua Becker and Leo Baubata. I had whittled my LA wardrobe down to 33 pieces, (with a dress and a few sweaters boxed up for winter). I had minimal toiletries and possessions, and everything fit nicely under the sleeping platform I had constructed out of inexpensive plywood and an old futon mattress for my SUV. That way, I could save on motels as I drove across country. I packed up food for the road, including several healthy meals I made ahead of time.
When I got to LA, unpacking was a breeze. I gave away the futon mattress and donated the lumber to my landlord – an old family friend who was a handy sort and would have a use for it. I was renting a small bedroom in a two-story condo with three bedrooms and two and a half baths. Most of the summer I had only one roommate while the landlord looked for tenants for the master bedroom suite. She and I shared a bathroom and she brought her furniture and kitchen things, which she allowed me to borrow. My room contained a full-size mattress and box-spring, an old desk and some shelves. I added a light folding chair, a night stand and lamp from Ikea, and with a nice, big closet, had everything I needed. The only other things I bought out there were some cleaning supplies like a broom and dustpan.
My roommate was patient with my minimalism, and we quickly fell into a routine that worked for us. She would put things out on the kitchen counters and the bathroom shelves, and I would put them away in drawers and cupboards. If she placed them back on the counters, I appreciated that she wanted them there and left them. Most of the things I put away stayed away. It made it very easy to clean, and I was happy to do most of the cleaning in return for her sharing kitchen equipment, pots and pans, and her furniture.
After three to four months of living with minimalism, I was more hooked than ever! It was wonderful not being surrounded by “stuff,” and it made everything much simpler for me. Minimalism may have been my favorite part of what was truly one of the best summers of my life.