Minimalism: Getting Started

My belongings fit in two carry-on bags. Minimalism enabled me to forge a lifestyle where I travel and live in hotels full-time. Since I’ve published my book Hotel Sweet Home, and especially after the recent news segment on my story, several curious folks have had the following questions:

Libby Rome, minimalist woman with suitcase

Question: What led you to become a minimalist?

Libby: Before I became a minimalist, my free time was filled with perpetual chores and errands. My evenings and weekends consisted of grocery shopping, cooking, doing laundry, taking out the garbage, cleaning my stuff, repairing my stuff, returning stuff, and buying more stuff!  These never-ending activities consumed my time, focus, energy, and money. I also kept losing things, which was stressful and disruptive.

I embraced minimalism after significant reflection about my frustrations. I recognized that my possessions controlled me. I had been keeping most of my belongings due to a self-inflicted obligation because they were gifts or items of sentimental value. I decided to take photos of those items then eliminate them physically. I also gave away furniture, most of my clothes, and other items I hardly used. I gained back precious time, and I discovered that my mind was more clear when my physical surroundings became less cluttered. Without the frustrations of a perpetual to-do list, my mind opened up to new ideas, and I enjoyed significantly more freedom and joy. I ultimately realized that minimalism enabled me to move around and travel more freely. That freedom led to me living in hotels full-time with my belongings in 2 carry-on bags for the past six years.

Question: I am attracted to the minimalist, hotel lifestyle. However, I have kids in school, and am happy with my local communities and hobbies. Could I still benefit from minimalism?

Libby: Yes! I encourage everyone to move toward minimalism. Consider the following tips to get started:

  1. Identify your needs vs wants. Do you own things you haven’t looked at or used in over a year? Do you have redundant items? Consider storing these items in a separate space, or eliminating them altogether.
  2. Take pictures. Is the item something you will enjoy looking at or showing others when you’re 100 years old? Would you still enjoy looking at it as an image browsing through your online image library? As a digital image, it will be much easier to share it with others, wherever they are.
  3. Take a long break from buying anything new.  Do you really need more than one pair of jeans? Do you really need to upgrade your TV?  Feel the effects of having less stuff around you.

I enjoy the freedom that comes with living a minimalist lifestyle. Maybe you’ll enjoy the extra time you’ll have to spend with your loved ones, and on your hobbies and passions. When the kids have moved away, downsizing or travel will also be much easier.

For more tips and inspiration, check out my book, Hotel Sweet Home on Amazon.com and Amazon world-wide.

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