3 Dumpsters Later and I’m Embracing a Minimalist Lifestyle


Where do you invest your time? Stephen Covey said, “ The key is in not spending time, but investing it,” and the lyrics from one of my favorite Mumford and Sons songs state, “Where you invest your love, you invest your life”. What do these two quotes have in common? Each uses the term invest, as the term most of us correlate with monetary value. We learn from a young age that it is wise to invest money responsibly, but what about our time? This past year I became cognizant of the fact that the most valuable resource in my life is my time. The journey to this realization was the most treacherous journey of my life. It all began at the end, the end of a marriage, and the beginning of the divorce process. 

Christmas Morning- gifts under the tree were a lot lighter than past Christmases

Back History

My husband traveled Monday through Thursday. I was home running the household. I got children to and from schools, lessons, activities, meal planned, grocery shopped, and even tackled small catastrophes like a broken furnace and sewage backup in the basement on my own. I made certain I completed the menial tasks before picking up the children from school. I so enjoyed picking them up from school and being the first to hear about all the happenings and excitements of their days. We had a regimented schedule that worked like a well-oiled machine. After I had picked up all three from school we’d head home, have an afterschool snack before starting homework, and attend any afterschool activities. One of which was PTA. I enjoyed being on the PTA board. Being co-chair of the Santa Shop, the chocolate fundraiser mom, and teaching religious education but more importantly, the children enjoyed the fact that I was involved and invested my time, my love, in them, my loves. Then suddenly like a tidal wave the divorce papers hit and every thing the children knew was annihilated. 

Not only did they lose their dad, but they also lost their mom, or at least the mother that invested her time in them. It kills me to admit it but it was true, after the divorce paper tidal wave I was simply in survival mode. I was suddenly working full time, navigating the legal jargon and paperwork for the divorce, which was like a part-time job in itself, and as the custodial parent doing what I could to make sure the children’s basic needs were being met. Sadly upon arriving home after a long day with 100 plus adolescents and often a discouraging meeting with my lawyer I was drained, I had nothing left to give, just a few measly drops of energy to make dinner, lose my patience while helping with homework and then bed, which felt like my only reprieve from the reality that had become my life. 

Reevaluate, Rebuild, Reinvest

One of the most difficult things to comprehend during the divorce process is the uncertainty of it all…will the kids and I be in the house? Will we need to move? What will my bills look like? Can I pay the bills? It took a year of meetings, pre-trials, and hearings before we finally arrived at our final trial date. And here I am two weeks later. Now I need to reevaluate everything in my life, but most importantly I need to reinvest my time and the first step is to rebuild.  I need to rebuild the foundation of my household. In order to rebuild the debris left behind from the tidal wave must be removed.  

Before
After

The amount of debris that has accumulated over not just the course of this past year but also the past 19 years is astonishing. The memories are stored away from a wedding that occurred 19 years ago with the hope of us opening it and going down memory lane on our 20th wedding anniversary in April. The baby toys I had placed all my hope in and clung to that one day my husband might come around to the idea of one more magnificent blessing. There was still storage tubs filled with last year’s Christmas gifts because I was depleted and my brain simply could not process one more thing. The vast amount of clothing, shoes, seasonal coats, and jackets the children have grown out of in a year. And don’t even get me started on the amount of broken lawn furniture, toys, equipment, and random parts and pieces of toys, games, etc. around the house. In order to rebuild I had to take inventory of what we already had and determine what was an item that could be repurposed, what was something that had seen better days, and most importantly I gave my heart permission to part with the material goods associated with memories. I realized that my wedding, marriage, and babies weren’t in those storage tubs and boxes, they’re with me for always and it’s through sharing the stories with each generation that they will live on. Think about it, without the words, without you narrating the story behind that baby onesie in a storage bin it is just another onesie! You are the glue that binds the material good to the memory. Once you realize you no longer need material goods in order to cling to and share a memory you will feel a sense of freedom. And you will have more space to do the things you want, like having a game room or craft room to share with the kids…instead of storing the memories of your kids you could be making new ones!  

Before
After- Storage Room for seasonal clothing, books, luggage (work in progress)
Added Bonus- You’ll be surprised at what you find on your road to minimalism, like this little number, I thought it was lost forever!

After 2 weeks of labor and 3 dumpsters, the 4 of us are finally free of the tidal wave debris. 

For Christmas this year my children got their mom back! Time is the most valuable component in life and it is fleeting. I’ve reevaluated how I want to spend mine. I’m embracing a minimalist lifestyle so that I am freed from the burden of maintaining and storing material goods. I’m embracing a minimalist lifestyle so that my time and my life may be spent doing enjoyable activities with the ones I love, for, where you invest your life you invest your love.

Where are you investing your time? 

One thought on “3 Dumpsters Later and I’m Embracing a Minimalist Lifestyle

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