Holiday Minimalism

11 Dec

In the 1980s I was at home with three young children and a big house. My mother wasn’t the best housekeeper and to say my skills were lacking is an understatement. As I struggled to stay on top of “things” I came across the book, Clutter’s Last Stand by Don Aslett. Don had worked his way through college cleaning houses and upon graduation discovered a far more lucrative business than his original degree provided.  His ideas about having less to clean and organize resonated strongly. I also belonged to a Unity Church which taught the principle of flow. If you own something that you don’t need, let it go and what you DO need will come to you. Between the two, I started on the road to a minimalist lifestyle, or so I thought.

Sunrise of the week.

Sunrise of the week.

Moving to Mexico provided an opportunity to downsize in a big way. We sold our house and reduced everything into a 6×10 trailer pulled by an over stuffed truck. Two bicycles, two kayaks and a living room rug were strapped on top. They were all things we thought we needed to begin life anew.

Pulling out of the drive in Austin Texas to live our dream in Mexico.

Pulling out of the drive in Austin Texas to live our dream in Mexico 2013.

We had multiple garage sales and shipped “family heirlooms” to adult children, took loads to thrift stores and learned to let go, let go, let go. And still we hauled away more possessions than we needed. For the past year most of them are still stored in the trailer. We don’t even remember what we own any more.

The house we are building is about 900 square feet, larger than I originally envisioned, huge by some standards, impossible by others. We are still challenged by acquiring “stuff”. It’s the American way and deeply ingrained. And so easy to do.

The clouds enchant.

The clouds enchant.

I recently came across a website that encourages minimalism and was reminded of the original book that started the “less is more” way of thinking for me. So whether an international move is in your cards or a desire to free up your life, time and money, I suggest turning off the TV ads advertising the latest deal and try buying less, or NOTHING this holiday season. Trust me, it can be done.


On a recent trip to Cancun we met Mercedes and Ramon, owners of Bed and Breakfast Poblenou in Barcelona Spain. They sat at our table in a crowded dining room and were visiting Mexico for a little vacation. Who’s up for a trip to Barcelona? Me, me, ME!

Our new friends from Barcelona.

Our new friends from Barcelona.

8 Responses to “Holiday Minimalism”

  1. LJones December 14, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    I love this post! I continue to think I’m downsizing…which I am…yet what I call “finished” is, well, up for question. Thanks for the encouragement to be a bit tougher on myself. AND: Barcelona is a desired travel spot: nice to know good people are there with a B and B:)


    • afish25 December 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

      I know L. Our art is the sky and the Laguna. How many pairs of earrings can I own? Lol. My goal is less. There are so many examples of living a good life w very little in Bacalar.


      • garth December 14, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

        Don Aslett also wrote is there life after housework.


  2. afish25 December 15, 2014 at 6:20 am #

    i love DA’s sense of humor. He has so many useful tips about everything from living simply to cleaning and organizing to simply live.


  3. emilievardaman December 15, 2014 at 6:28 am #

    I am SO struggling with “stuff”!
    I am not buying anything this season other than food and gasoline. I long ago gave up the traditional Christmas. A few weeks ago I bought a lovely book for my boyfriend, and he’ll get it on Solstice Eve after we have watched the sunset over the Sea of Cortez.
    That sunset with our traditional evening glass of wine means more to me than most possessions I have.
    BIG yard sale coming up in the spring.


  4. afish25 December 15, 2014 at 6:34 am #

    Living in the US we have the cards stacked against us. Sharing moments with loved ones creates memories that having stuff can’t compare for me. Im cheering you on!


  5. jamurray2014Judy Murray December 16, 2014 at 5:35 am #

    I have been reading your blog for a while now and just had to comment on this one. My husband and I moved to Progreso 5 years ago. We had an auction in Virginia for everything we owned, plus the house. We were sitting in a completely empty house within an 8 hour period from the start of the auction. It was one of the most freeing experiences of our lives.
    30 days later we packed our car with a dog, a cat, some tools, and some clothes. When we got here Jeff bought what he needed to remodel the house. We have purchased.minimal furniture, but lots of art now fills our house.
    We were in Merida yesterday and watched 2 tourists drag 4 HUGE suitcases to there hotel. Jeff remarked that we did not own enough clothes to even fill 2 of those bags. We had to laugh at what people think they need to live.


    • afish25 December 16, 2014 at 6:46 am #

      Thank you for commenting Judy. I had to laugh, tools! We brought so many tools, lol. If you ever want to hop the bus to visit Bacalar, let us know. We’ll sit by the laguna and share stories.


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