Earlier this year at the Indy Chamber Women in Business retreat I met Lauren. This girl is an inspiration, I tell ya!
She and her family of four have been on a journey toward minimalism for the past few years - I'm talking downsizing their family home, ridding themselves of excess possessions and taking advantage of a life with less. We gabbed about the whys behind her decision and how she and her family have embraced this life.
I couldn't keep this chat to myself and wanted to inspire each of you - maybe you aren't ready to go full-on minimalist, but maybe, just maybe, you will be motivated to think twice before hitting up the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale this year. ;)
So here we go....
Becoming a minimalist is a huge undertaking and I’m so curious what the inspiration was to head in this direction?
Several things played a part in the shift to minimalism. The first was my ADHD/need for space in the home. Clutter creates massive anxiety for me, especially kid clutter. The second had a spiritual component. I wanted to have what we needed and to be a good steward of what we had. Going through the list of what we needed vs. what we wanted was an eye-opening exercise. After learning that most families can live on 70k and pay for all of what they need AND having more doesn’t increase happiness, we were up for the challenge.
Another reason was time. We spent so much freaking time taking care of our stuff, managing our stuff, cleaning our stuff, storing our stuff...I just didn’t want to have to do that anymore. It’s stressful! I wanted more time to do the things we loved on the weekend, to clean less and spend time together as a family.
The last thing is freedom. When you make those choices to create time, space and financial freedom in your life, you have more choices on how you choose to spend your time. You can live more of the life you want...and you can have the freedom to design it! I wanted to make a shift in my career and start my own business, which would mean that we would need to live off of my husband’s income for a few years. So, just like in business, you can change your financial landscape by either increasing your income or reducing your expenses. We decided to reduce expenses...which gave me the opportunity to go after that dream of a truly “less but better” life.
Was there a specific moment where you knew you were going to simplify everything or was it a gradual process?
It wasn’t a single moment that we went minimalist. It was a gradual process. The first thing that kicked it off was simply just getting rid of what we had 2 of in the house. There wasn’t any other decision except to get rid of the 2nd item. This created a lot of momentum for our family. And trust me, going through the kitchen is a killer! We had 2 or 3 of everything! I felt so good after this project was finished, that I wanted to have that feeling again. So the momentum kept me going, from room to room.
I hear you, I feel like decluttering can be so addicting. How did you approach the process? Did you hire anyone to help or go at it alone?
The process I went through was to go it alone. I’m not recommending that for everyone. It was simply the way we did it. I used a lot of Pinterest blogs and tips to help me know where to start, how to separate piles, how to know whether or not to get rid of something (staring at the 2nd crockpot and asking, “but will I use that at Thanksgiving?”). Those questions are overwhelming, so to have those resources were really helpful.
If you can afford to have someone help, that’s definitely my advice! If you can do it on your own – it may take a little longer so be sure to work in some breaks and escape from all of the organizing. I got a lot of Starbucks during that time.
How long did the process take? And what all did it involve?
The process of going minimalist took a year for us. We were in the throws of selling our home and downsizing by 50%. It was amazing how much stuff we had accumulated, especially with kids in different stages.
I began with the smallest thing – a jewelry box. The feeling was immediate and I was able to be really clear on what I wanted and what I wanted to give away. The process continued from there, getting rid of the things we had 2 of, going through closets, the dreaded basement, linen closets, etc. Doing one room at a time, really helped the stress of it stay manageable and each space was completed within a few hours. The biggest lesson I learned is when you decide to get rid of it, get it out of the house!! Otherwise, the stuff sneaks back in.
I carved out weekly time to drop off things at Goodwill and got them in my car as fast as a I could. I also used a local donation store in town that allowed women in domestic violence situations to shop for free, with dignity. That’s part of my story and I wanted to give our things to a place that would do that for those women. It was better for me to have it out of the house than to take the time and energy to sell it. Others may want to spend their time doing that. I would encourage you to think about what matters to you most, meaning is it more valuable to you to have it out of the house or to have the cash?
Isn't this an inspiration? Next Monday, we will be back with Part 2 of our conversation where we get into how her family responded, narrowing down her closet to a capsule wardrobe and her favorite minimalism resources.
Get to know Lauren Moffatt: For more than a decade, Lauren Moffatt has been providing executive coaching, human resources consulting and leadership development programs for individuals and organizations in Central Indiana. Lauren’s commitment to building leaders began in college and led to a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Evangel University.
Through her leadership as Vice President of Human Resources at Public Safety Medical in Indianapolis, Lauren developed diverse teams, guided strategic planning and helped cultivate an award winning corporate culture. She also earned extensive HR certifications while in that role, including PHR, SHRM-CP and a PCC in Executive Coaching through the Townsend Institute.
Now, Lauren is the President of Spark HR. Her work focuses on executives in career transition and HR professionals to support their growth as leaders in their field. Lauren is a sought-after expert on topics related to leadership, human resources and professional development.