#1 THE FIRE
I got my first dose of Minimalism in 2009 after my house caught on fire. I was 21 at the time and living in East Van with my best friend Sarah. Luckily no one was home at the time, and by some stroke of divine timing our 90 year old Italian landlord who lived upstair wasn't home either.
Being a recent fashion design graduate and collector of perfectly picked vintage clothing (okay I was a hoarder,) I went from having a closet packed with clothes I never wore to having only the clothes I had on my back.
Have you ever had an experience that was both devastating and liberating at the exact same time? Yeah, this was one of those times.
I'd always envied those women who could travel the world in only a carry on and look gorgeous wearing the same outfit every day. I wondered if this was the Universe's way of forcing me to take a step toward that vision.
We found a new place in Mount Pleasant and with a virtually empty closet, mattress on the floor, and nothing weighing me down, I'd never felt more free.
#2 MOVING TO TORONTO
3 months after the fire, and with nothing holding me back, I moved from Vancouver to Toronto with only what I could carry on a Greyhound. For the next year I embodied my dream of being a Writer and Minimalist.
#3 MY MAN THE MINIMALIST
My man is the epitome of a natural born Minimalist. And at the beginning of our relationship it drove me crazy that he didn't seem to need anything, and yet at the same time I envied this inherent characteristic of his.
When I moved in with Jason I could count the number of possessions he owned on one hand. The kitchen table that housed his computer, a TV, mattress on the floor, and a few of his sons toys scattered across the living room floor in no particular order.
The challenge of furnishing this place with my eye for style excited me and before long we had an entire house full of perfectly curated thrift store decor. But with all that new stuff came the weight that went along with it and before long I craved the white space that existed before all the stuff showed up.
#4 MY SECRET HOARD
Even though I lost all my immediate possessions in the fire a few years prior, I had a dark secret of stuff I was stashing. And every so often I'd get a pang of penetrating anxiety that no amount of deep breathing could resolve.
The truth was that I'd been secretly hoarding my disorder at my Grandpa's farm. An accumulation of childhood toys including stuffed animals, Spice Girl barbies, high school love notes, and all the vintage furniture I’d collected over the years. My stuff sprawled out like veracious veins across 3 bedrooms, a living room, and barn. Yes. A barn.
In 2015 I got a call from my dad. The farm had sold (we didn't even know it was for sale) and I had 2 weeks to get everything out. I was nervous, overwhelmed, scared, and relieved all at the same time It felt like a sign. 'It's time to let go Taiha.'
Clearing out 26 years of accumulated stuff gave me my first major experience of decision fatigue. Chucking bag after bag, box after box into my dad's white one ton was physically & emotionally draining but I knew it was for a reason. Literally letting go of thousands of pounds of stuff, that vision I always held of fitting my life into a chic carry on was getting closer and closer.
Everything that remained got moved into my in-laws shed. Yeah I know, now I was hoarding in someone else's space, and it was packed. But at least it was cut down to a fraction of what it was before and it was all in one space.
#5 BROTHER IN LAW BUILDS STUDIO IN SHED
6 months later we're told that Jason's brother is building a studio in the shed and I have 1 month to get everything out. Journeying through my spiritual path for some time now, I knew this was no coincidence, and instead some kind of divine intervention from the heavens.
I had a lot more to let go of.
By the end of that month, for the first time in my life everything I owned was in one place, and my history of hoarding in other peoples houses was over.
#6 VAN LIFE
The following year Jason and I were living in a beautiful lakefront home in Kelowna, but after taking a panoramic view of our life we realized that we were both working just to live. After receiving some inheritance money, we decided to go all in on Freedom.
I found us a 1982 Volkswagen Westfalia on craigslist for $6000 and we put together everything we could find to buy it. We gave our notice, sold everything that didn't fit in our 2 vehicles, and moved out 3 weeks later. It was fucking intense.
But God built me with a desire for challenge and a love for unconventional living.
WHERE I'M AT NOW
My journey to Minimalism has taken 8 years and I'm still working on clearing out the clutter of my life daily.