Five years ago, Mr. Layne and I went minimalist. I mean, not hardcore. We don’t just have a mattress on the floor, two forks that we wash after each use, and a mug shared between the two of us.
But for the most part, we try to keep our belongings pretty bare bones.
It started out of necessity.
In 2011, we were living in a roomy two-bedroom apartment in Seattle, complete with walk-in closets and a separate storage area, not to mention all the stuff we had stored at my parents. We weren’t hoarders, but we were pretty adept at filling up any and all closet/storage space.
Then we decided to move to a studio in NYC. Less than 500 square feet, with minimal storage space.
It was surprisingly easy. I had just quit my corporate job to pursue a writing career, which meant I could get rid of the entire “office attire” portion of my closet. The kitchen was easy too. We were in our late twenties by then, and had a good sense of what kitchen stuff we actually used, and that our assortment of inherited tart pans could probably make a one way trip to Good Will.
There were harder decisions, too. We gave away all of our books to friends and family, opting to keep only a digital library. People tend to cringe when I mention this part. “I could never …” is something I hear a lot. Well, yeah, you could. You just don’t want to. But consider it, really. Even your favorite posssesions can weigh you down.
I can’t believe how much lighter I felt when we were able to move with just a few boxes of clothes and kitchen stuff.
Becoming a minimalist is actually pretty easy.
Fast forward a few years, and we’re still “light on the stuff,” but not as light as we were. We still live in a studio, but it’s a bigger studio, with more closet space, which means … more stuff.
We’re still mostly book-free, although the number of cookbooks is on the rise. I’ve also developed a handbag obsession, and haven’t been good about donating old ones when I get a new one.
I haven’t been feeling quite so “light” these days, and I want that feeling back.
Which leads me to the strategy I’ve been employing lately with great success:
What’s that you ask?
Get. Out. More. Often.
People that know us well will probably roll their eyes at that one. Mr. Layne and I are known for being homebodies, preferring to do steak night at home rather than go out, or open a bottle of wine on the couch, rather than a trendy wine bar.
But that sort of “going out” — i.e., going out for going out’s sake, or going out because it’s a Friday and that’s you do isn't what I'm talking about here.
I’m talking about very deliberately shifting your focus to experiences rather than things.
It’s about going to a wine-tasting event to try something you’ve never had before, rather than buying another set of those super trendy wine-glasses that’ll take up room in the cupboard.
It’s about getting tickets to go to the theatre instead of buying that pink fuzzy blanket for your Netflix binge-watching sessions.
It’s about seeing live music, checking out food tasting tours, comedy shows, running clubs, yoga meet-ups.
In other words, it’s about doing something rather than owning something. Spending your hard-earned money on memories instead of stuff.
Now, for those of you thinking, “But LL, I don’t like the theatre, and I’d rather listen to music from the comfort of my couch, and I prefer to make my own cocktails …”
I hear you. I really, really do. I had the same gut reaction to this idea of GOMO.
Lucky for me, I have friends that are a bit more adventurous than me, and recently invited us along to a gin-tasting event.
My first thought was, “Why? I have gin here?”
But I went along with it, bought my tickets, showed up at the designated time.
You guys, it was the most fun I’ve had in, like, a year.
And it really opened my eyes to all the stuff I didn’t even know about!
I used to hear “tickets” and think “over-long plays, boring museums, too-crowded concerts.”
But gin-tasting with friends?! SIGN ME UP!
Not a big gin/booze hound? Don’t fret, there dozens of other opportunities out there I'm guessing you're not even aware of.
Next time you’re prowling around on Amazon, or Nordstrom or Sephora, about to buy something you may or may not really need, try this instead…
Shop experience instead of stuff.