Strangers are typically intrigued when we share with them how we sold our house and furnishings half a dozen years ago to become less location-dependent. And the first question is frequently: “How did you decide what to keep and what to part with?” Our answer is profoundly simple: We kept our favorite things and parted with the other stuff. As book lovers and avid readers, the biggest hurdle for my wife and I was winnowing our library from about 2,000 books to less than 100. It was relatively easy after that.
And if you were to ask us what one piece of advice we’d give to anyone considering such a move toward minimalism, we’d simply say, “Follow your heart.” What do you want your life to look like and where do you desire to live it? For devout Christians like us, the overarching consideration has been the will of God for our lives. But we have come to realize that God more often than not leads us through our desires. As Psalm 37:4 reads, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
As for us, we dreamt of a different life once a neighbor’s tree fell on our house and his home later caught on fire in a separate incident (thus signaling to us it was time to move). We had lived simply for years but in the months surrounding these events we started to intentionally pare our possessions so we were poised to consider other options as the opportunity presented itself. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in my writings, we adopted the motto “minimize to mobilize” and it helped us to view life through that lens.
An unanticipated aspect of our minimalist journey has been our move to leverage the leasing lifestyle by including our vehicle. We started our journey with a pre-owned Volvo convertible but it proved to be a money pit so we got rid of it about a year after selling our house. We had a couple of good experiences with renting Nissans and when we moved to Franklin, Tennessee, where Nissan North America is headquartered, we opted to try leasing our vehicles and it has been an even better experience than we expected.
Some of our loved ones have asked us what the appeal is of living in coastal Maine, given the different climate and considerable distance from our southern roots. And while February blizzards are not necessarily fun, there is a profound sense of peace here that seeps into your being, reminding you that inclement weather is but a blip on the radar screen of life. While I cannot take credit for the above image, I must admit it rather captures that ethereal quality of what minimalist living means to us here by the sea.