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Up in Smoke

What a crazy month this has been! I’ve had a bandaid lesson in minimalism and have been so grateful of this journey I’ve undertaken so many times in the last few weeks. I’ll tell you why:


On May 3rd, I was talking to my mom on the phone while she was doing some gardening. We were disscussing her one small crocus that had finally bloomed amongst some dead, dry sticks. I had some work to do so I had to let her go. She was a little disappointed because she wanted someone to talk to because she has bear problems (a whole other story). I got a text from my mom a little while later saying she needed to go inside because she could smell smoke and that smell really bothers her. That was at about 2:40pm. A little while later I get this text:


Oh no. My house it on fire


At this point panic set in. I called my mom frantic and she let me know that her and my Grandmother were fine but the house was burning down. Not long after the entire house and every. single. thing. in the house was burned. My mom’s car blew up along with the house. The only thing they managed to save was my mom’s purse, laptop, one cordless phone, and the clothes on their back. This was the beginning of my mom’s ulitimate test in minimalism, because both of us have been doing this journey together.


Since that day, it’s been interesting to see what things she actually had to go and buy for herself. Which things were absolutely essential. A few of these included clothes, underwear (Sorry mom!), a toothbrush, shoes, hair essentials & other neccessities like that. The other things that she bought that she really wanted but weren’t essentials were: a Soda stream, a specific brand of toothpaste, a water pick, storage containers, a filing system, kids toys (for my babies when we went there to help), crocs (prompt: all hipsters groan!), avocado mayo, aavocado oil, reading glasses, hangers, a hymn book for church, & a few others but this is some I can remember. It strikes me that my mom is involuntarily doing the challenge where you pack up all of your stuff and you only take out things that you need, as you need them. She has become a REAL minimalist whether she wanted to or not!


The reasons I’ve been so glad that the two of us started on this journey together are:

- my Mom has decluttered a lot of her stuff in the past few months and donated them so not as many things burned in the fire as could have. This makes it seem like less of a waste to me.

- it was easier, I think, for my mom to see her house and contents as just stuff and not really anything too important. She has already been looking at her possesions as something transient and it gives me comfort to know that because of minimalism she probably won’t be taking this as hard.

- for my part, I surprised myself in that I am not very sad about the house and things. I feel like I ought to be more upset about the lost memories but it feels like all of the reading my mom and I have been doing in the last few months on minimalism, taught me that memories aren’t in things. They are in your mind and thought and feelings. That if they are meant to be remembered they will be stored in your memory. I was only sad about how my mom was going to cope.


This minimalism journey has really helped me cope, and I hope my mom too. Fumio Sasaki, in his book Goodbye, Things writes about natural disasters and how minimalism is great for preparing for that and I feel I can now relate. It’s an incredibly freeing feeling to know that you don’t really NEED all of the stuff you have in your house in order to survive. And it’s very true that most things in your home can be replaced. It’s been so much easier to focus on the people, who are irreplaceable and who did not perish in the fire. ❤️