You’ve decided you want to be a minimalist. Now what?
It’s so important to find a mentor or someone to look up to once you’ve committed to living a minimalist life.
Why struggle alone? Learn from those who’ve been where you are and are now enjoying the fruits of their minimalists labor.
In this interview series you’ll get a glimpse of what minimalism is like for those deep in the world of minimalism. You’ll learn the highs and lows they experienced, and who their mentors are. Plus get quick wins to help you start de-cluttering your own life today.
Today's Minimalist Mentor is Kate Saffle.
Kate Saffle has been living minimally for almost a decade (before minimalism was as mainstream as it is today).
She’s the former co-host of the Cohesive Home Podcast and current host of the Streamlined Motherhood Podcast.
With a background in education she's also a life coach for moms. She focuses on helping overwhelmed moms calm the chaos in their lives. She's truly a strong leader in the minimalist community.
But was it always smooth sailing for Kate? Read on to find out.
1. What was life like for you before minimalism?
Before I discovered minimalism, I believed that upgrading and collecting possessions was a sign of my success and worth. My husband and I shared a spacious two bedroom apartment with walk-in closets, and despite having no children at the time, we could barely shut the closet doors and there was clutter on every surface.
After my husband finished grad school, we moved cross-country for his first job, and the moving company used a semi to transport all of our belongings. I still remember the shock and dismay to see the bright yellow semi pull up in front of our new home.
2. What turned you onto minimalism? What was the tipping point?
We moved for my husband's first job when my oldest was two months old. My days were lonely in our new community as I didn't know anyone, and I had a newborn and countless stacks of moving boxes to keep me company.
It was depressing to be surrounded by so much stuff and none of it could offer what I actually needed at that time.
A few months later, my daughter and I were laying on her soft rug in her nursery, and I was watching the light flickering between the leaves of the giant oak tree outside. There was so much simplicity and peacefulness to the tree, and it so starkly contrasted life inside our home.
I wanted better for my growing family, and we downsized out of that house and many of our belongings just a few short months later.
3. What surprised you as you began decluttering?
What surprised me most was the guilt I initially felt of getting rid of belongings that we had spent money on. I felt like I was throwing away money, and it took a lot of mental work and personal growth for me to overcome that sensation and continue decluttering.
4. Did anything get bad or worse as you began decluttering?
I felt my identity and everything I thought I knew about success and adulthood shifting in really uncomfortable ways.
What would others think of us if we don't have the fancy home, the upgraded car, and the latest in clothes and technology? I definitely experienced a dark period, but it was ultimately worth the discomfort.
5. Who helped you along the way? Did you look up to any mentors?
When we began minimizing nearly 9 years ago, there was so very little on the Internet about minimalism or in libraries.
I came across an e-book called "The Joy of Less" by Francine Jay, which gave me insight into the how of decluttering, and I loved reading blogs about others' downsizing experiences.
What I found was missing at that time was the voices of mothers and their experiences in minimalism, so I began experimenting in my own home and documenting our journey on my blog and later, social media.
6. What have you gained from minimalism?
I have gained an unshakeable knowing of what I value and who I am at my core. My children have learned that experiences and people are far more important than things.
In fact, my family of 5 spent all of 2018 traveling the US in a 200 sq. ft RV. What should have felt like deprivation--a few changes of clothes, one set of dishes per person, minimal toys and books--was absolute freedom.
When we free ourselves from belongings, it creates space to step into who we truly are inside and our self-worth outside of possessions.
7. What can someone do today to start minimizing their lives?
Identify WHY you're drawn to minimalism and how it will help support your values. Decluttering without a purpose is like trying to diet on sheer willpower; it's nearly inevitable that you'll struggle to see the change all the way through.
If you can see and believe so clearly how being a minimalist will positively impact your life, you'll have the strength to completely change your life. Then the getting rid of things comes naturally because you're powered by a deeper motive.
Kate Saffle is a Life Coach for Women, Certified Simplicity Parenting Family Coach, and host of the Streamlined Motherhood Podcast. She mentors overwhelmed women to calm the chaos in their days, overcome negative thoughts, and turn dreams into realized goals. Find her on Instagram, Facebook, or at her online home, The Streamlined Life.