Guess which is the fastest growing industry in commercial real estate in the USA? Would you guess it is the “self-storage” industry? There is so much storage space available, that all 313 million Americans could fit in storage units and have room left for more. We Americans accumulate so much fluff that we need to rent extra space just to put the extra stuff we don’t use somewhere.
Note: For the benefit of non-USA readers, a self-storage facility is a window-less room, or unit, that can be rented for a monthly fee. These units are used to store pretty much anything, so long as it’s not hazardous or explosive.
Before you think these are important things being stored, guess again. In many cases, people just want to upgrade their furniture and store away the old furniture “just in case” they want to ever use it again.
Before you think I’m being preachy, I’ll tell you it’s because I know what I’m talking about.
Because I was doing exactly the same thing.
How I Started My Path Toward Minimalism
When I had to move out of state for a few months, for job-related training reasons, I packed up all my “important” belongings in a storage unit and went away. Fast forward 6 months later and again it was time to move my stuff out of storage and into a new home. At this point, I had even forgotten exactly what it was I had first stored.
Would you believe that 4 years later, when it was time to make my big move out of the country, I STILL had storage boxes sitting unopened? Boxes that were brought over from the old storage unit?
By this time, I had somewhat learned my lesson. While I briefly considered renting yet-another storage unit, I realized that I didn’t need the added expense. I would likely never come back for it. And so started a painful letting-go process.
I’m not kidding when I tell you my heart was literally tugging at me when I let go of that old college shirt I hadn’t worn in five years. And those eight pair of shoes, six which I hadn’t worn in the last two years.
And the books. Tons of books and magazines I’d sworn I’d get back to someday.
It was tough, but I finally came to the realization that I could not only let go of most things, but in the end, I would not even miss them.
I was trading a boatload of possessions for freedom of mobility.
This is what minimalism is about.
Keep only what is meaningful in your life and makes you happy.
Let go of the rest.
How Do You Define Success?
Becoming a minimalist is not an overnight process. I’m still learning.
It takes patience and thoughtful consideration and soul searching to determine what is really important in one’s life.
You’ll have to rethink what success is, not as defined by other people, but as defined by YOU.
For me, to be successful meant embracing minimalism. It meant to forgo living in a house full of still-owed, brand-new furniture. Or having a loaded bank account that required me to work 60 hours a week to keep. I would have to be content not having a shiny new car that I’d have to keep making payments on for the next five years.
It was about making a conscious decision to leave all that in exchange for:
More time with my family
Freedom to visit the places I’d never even dreamed of.
And last, but not least…
The ability to work on projects that I care about and that matter to me.
What dream would you consider worthwhile enough to pursue and leave your possessions behind for?
I’d love to hear your take in the comments below.
If you’re struggling with overwhelming debt and clutter at home is stressing you out, check out Jenny, from ExConsumer.com for great tips on how to de-clutter your home and make money in the process.
Also, check out my Pinterest page about Antigua Guatemala, one of the prettiest colonial cities in the world and current location.