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This post had been a long time in coming. Over the years my life possessions have journeyed in and out of materialistic and minimalistic. Now, I’m in a season of seeking the balance I call mindful motherhood.

Maximal, Minimal… Balance

What is maximalism? It is a tendency towards excess. Minimalism is, on the other hand, a lifestyle that consists of highly simplified possessions. They are two extremes on a lifestyle scale.

Maximal, minimal… Where is the balance? Is there a balance? Can you be a minimalist prepped? Isn’t that kind of a minimal maximalist?

My journey… Maximalist

Growing up, I loved collecting stuff. Everything is useful and had a potential purpose. I was a maximalist and while I liked the idea of easy to clean and organize, it just wasn’t me!

When I went overseas and did mission work, my life changed. Not only was I forced to minimize what I brought, I also saw the reality of those who  lived happy lives with next to nothing. This was the start of my minimizing journey.

When I returned home, I quickly slipped back into old habits. Now I was engaged and preparing to start my own home… And I just added on the traditionally accepted wedding registry to my already large inventory. While I did have some thought for future plans and living off grid and thus asked for some more unconventional items, I still stuck to a maximalist idea of what I needed to have.

My Journey… Minimalist

Fast forward another year or two and we were preparing to move off grid into our own home. It was a unique home that required creative storage planning and very specific size limitations. My journey to minimalism was propelled into motion. I easily donated extra towels and linens, dishes, glassware and more. I more slowly started to weed through decades of childhood treasures, momentos, and nicknacks.

Little by little, item by item, I only kept things that I loved and were useful. We moved into our <350 square foot off grid home, bought and old camper for extra storage space and settled into our new life.

Over the years, we moved several times. Every move we would lose something… Once it was a treasured vase, another time my beloved spinet piano, and the greatest loss was when a tornado came through and flooded our home the day after we moved… We lost 75% of our possessions… But we had each other… And that is what truly mattered. Stuff is replaceable- people aren’t.

The pendulum swings

This last move, we moved into a larger space than we’ve had for years- all 700 square feet of it! It is also the first “on grid” home we’ve had. While our plan is to eventually be off  grid again, this is our temporary home… And has been for a year and a half so far.

When we moved into “a real home” and larger space, we quickly became caught back into a more maximal mindset. While the home is not large, it was double our space and everyone decided it was time we had all the “normal” home things. Some gifts/hand me downs were a blessing- like a couch (we’d never owned one before), a toaster (quick and easy breakfasts?), and a real table and matching chairs. However the stuff kept coming- cleaning supplies, toys, extra clothes, books, decorations, dishes, cookware, bakeware, and the list goes on and on.

I hate telling people no… And even though most of the gifts were thoughtful, they were not what we truly needed. But slowly the inventory built  up and more and more stuff came in.

Stuff and Stress

About 6-9 months ago, I was struggling greatly with my health. I was advised by my doctor to decrease my stress. My body has a metabolic disorder that is worsened with stress. So I started thinking about stress in my life and how to simplify again… And so my journey continued on.

One day I randomly found a video regarding stuff and how it causes stress when we have an abundance of inventory to manage… It was like a refreshing lightbulb moment! I was overwhelmed mentally as a reflection of my physical environment… I shared with my husband and he was on board. So the simplification journey renewed.

Since then I’ve donated countless boxes and bags of extra stuff that we don’t need or want. The children are all excitedly pitching in as well… It has been an incredible transformation!

Where do I belong on the scale?

However, I do not see myself as a minimalist by strict definition. My goal is to pursue mindfulness. I love the minimalist style and designs. I love the peace it brings to a home. But I also love having what I need without running to a store. I love the security of the “prepped” mentality. Hence what I call mindful motherhood.

Seeking balance… Mindfulness

My goal is to be mindful in my home. Mindful of the future I will keep and store (neatly and organized) what I deem necessities. Mindful of the past I will keep a few family heirlooms but use them so my children build memories as well. Mindful of my family I will seek to keep my home organized and minimized to a manageable inventory. Mindful of emotions I will seek to keep an environment of peace and love. Mindful of others I will seek to have a home where I can joyfully be hospitable and willingly share excess with those who have need.

This is just another step along my journey. One more season of my life. While I sometimes grieve and miss seasons past, I must choose to embrace this season of life and look towards the future.

~Mama Bear

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