My minimalist story…

460 words. 5 minutes to read.

It began when my nice luxury Peugeot station wagon died, four years ago.

The cam belt broke. Exeunt engine.

Luckily, a close student friend of mine was selling her car – a tiny 1997 Starlet, a 2 door hatchback.

Minimalism story

“The Beast” – the little car that sparked my path to minimalism. We still own it 🙂 It’s 20 years old now, and it runs beautifully.

We bought it on the spot. $2300 cash. We needed a car urgently.

The car had no power windows, no stereo, no heating to speak of, and it was 16 years old… but it was reliable and very economical.

We dubbed the tiny car “The Beast”. I fell in love with its gutsy rawness.

The Beast looked very odd compared to all the huge luxury 4WD trucks and station wagons the other mothers drove their kids to school in, when I drove to school on Monday.

I realised with a shock that
a) I didn’t care and
b) The Beast was perfectly adequate for my family, even though it was dwarfed by the cars around it.

Other parents commented on The Beast, but instead of being derogatory like I expected, they sounded almost wistful.

Like me, perhaps it reminded them of the freedom we’d had before society made us feel we had to fit in and impress each other with huge cars, big houses, and manicured lawns.

An epiphany

I started thinking, why did I have the huge mortgage, the fancy clothes, the expensive haircut, the designer phone?

Why did I have all this stuff in the first place, if what really made me happy was freedom?

I realised that
– my days at the beach made me happier than trips to the mall.
– my huge country home and farm impressed others, but to me it represented work and stress.
– my expensive consumer goods made me worry.
– what I truly valued was peace, freedom and being out in nature.

It sounds odd that a car could make me begin to question everything about my life, but it did.

Minimalism begins

Once I began questioning, the questioning didn’t stop. I started examining every aspect of my life. Most of my life changed as a result. I fundamentally changed the person I am.

These days I’m far less burdened by stuff. I live a much simpler life. I have much more free time, I appreciate life more and I’m much happier.

I’ve heard a lot of minimalist journeys are sparked by one thing. Divorce, death, babies, economic hardship.

Mine was sparked by a gutsy little car.


2 thoughts on “My minimalist story…

  1. Hi Lee,

    I really enjoyed reading your story. It’s inspiring how you’ve become a minimalist through an object that can be the most consuming burden for some people. My mum has had a small car, similar to your ‘beast’, for nearly ten years. Despite being in great condition, it astonishes me how people question why we haven’t upgraded. For them, it isn’t an appropriate reflection of our financial situation. I think in both of our examples, many people believe that we are unnecessarily depriving ourselves from happiness. However, what they don’t realise is that it is quite the contrary. We haven’t deprived ourselves, we have freed ourselves from compulsive consumerism and materialistic happiness! To me, that is what it means to achieve minimalism. Not giving into societal expectations or the plethora of advertisements we are exposed to every day has enabled me to focus on my priorities and spend more time doing what makes me feel the most freedom and happiness. That is, paddling on different rivers throughout the world. I agree that minimising possessions, or in your case downsising is the first step in this continuous minimalism journey. However, I couldn’t agree more with what you shared in a previous post: “True freedom doesn’t come from owning less. True freedom comes from our possessions not owning us!”



    • There’s a lot of pressure to upgrade everything, all the time, whether it needs it or not.

      I was astonished when my parents upgraded their ten year old kitchen. My first question was “Why?” I can understand that it brought them great happiness, but it seemed odd to me, when the old one was perfectly fine. Maybe I have miserly leanings – or maybe I just can’t stand seeing perfectly good stuff being thrown away!

      Possessions can give us great happiness – and some of my possessions do. But none of them are irreplaceable, and none of them come close to the importance the relationships in my life have for me 🙂


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