One year ago today I published my first post on this blog.
The day prior, amidst excited discussions with Katy about de-cluttering and the minimalist movement, I went and registered the domain theminimalistmom.com, set up a WordPress site and decided to document the journey.
In the beginning I linked to my posts from my personal Facebook page. Most of my friends were intrigued but not on board. A few were excited about the discussion and soon passed the link to my blog onto other friends. A very small group of people were reading my accounts of purging my home, my wardrobe and getting rid of stuff. It was fun. Occasionally I would get a comment from a friend of a friend and it was a exciting that someone I didn’t know personally was reading my blog.
For the first month my blog was up I didn’t know how to check traffic or the number of subscribers. Prior to writing here my blogging experience came from a personal Blogger account I had to stay in touch with family. WordPress, the platform I use to publish posts, was completely new to me.
In addition to the massive changes in our home in the fall of 2010, I also had some fsurprising media attention. I was interviewed by CBC radio for a series they were doing called Pinched. This was where we first came clean about our consumer debt situation and how we were attacking it. It was a bit scary to tell radio listeners, and subsequently family and friends, that we had been $80,000 in debt. But it was cathartic. It not only gave us motivation but it let us let go of our guilt and shame over it. We were making changes and moving forward. That’s what was important.
The next big thing to happen to this little blog was that a piece I wrote for the Globe and Mail’s Facts and Arguments section was published. It happened quite suddenly. I had submitted the piece at least a month prior and then one week I got an email that it would be published the following week. I was ecstatic. The Globe and Mail is Canada’s version of the New York Times. It’s a widely respected paper and my writing would be in it.
I never could have guessed what my little piece about being a minimalist family, a piece I had written quite quickly one afternoon between Christmas and New Years, would bring. First of all, massive traffic to this blog. It was fun to see my stats go way way up for almost a week. Another byproduct of the Globe and Mail piece was requests for interviews from other media outlets. I had two radio interviews and even made an appearance on local television. The Globe and Mail piece has continued to bring reporters my way asking for interviews about living with less.
It was the Globe and Mail article that gave me a little push to reach out to other bloggers and online magazines. There was interest in my story and what we were doing and I wanted to share it with people. I wrote a three part series for Mothering.com that brought a number of new readers to my blog. New readers brought new readers and readers nominated me for things. Tina nominated me for a list of newer bloggers that Joshua Becker put together. That brought another onslaught of traffic.
Here are some fun stats about this blog in the last year:
Number of comments: 3067
Number of posts: 141 (including this one)
The numbers are fun and interesting but what I’ve enjoyed the most are the comments. This is where I keep learning about living with less. Some of the readers here are born minimalists. Their suggestions, encouragement and insight have been invaluable to me on my journey.
It’s been a year and we’ve let go of most of our stuff. The overseas move gave us a huge push to downsize even more – deadlines help! We’re also conscious consumers now and don’t casually buy things anymore. We talk about the purchase and wait it out before adding anything to our home.
I’m still learning.
It’s a journey, not a destination. As we shed our stuff I started to evaluate how we spent our time and money. It lead us to ditch our iPhones and rent smaller accommodations. I know there are more hurdles down the road for us. I know that life will change, we might find we need a car or we have a second child and reevaluate living space. I’ll constantly be balancing leading a healthy full life with our need to own things. I’m excited for the challenges ahead.
I love writing here.
My blog posting dropped off in August and has been less frequent while I work on The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year. I’ve been tied up with other work but think about this space, and the things I want to write about here, every day.
I want to continue sharing what I learn, encouraging those new to the idea of living with less and getting feedback from those of you on the same journey. The topics here may lean to areas outside of stuff: simple travel with kids, reducing screen time and more ways that I’m using the mantra of a rich life with less stuff to inform how we live and what we do. Of course, I’ll always detail how we continue to edit our possessions and share it here. Because, it really is about the stuff. That’s where it starts. Living with less so you can do more. Even if the doing more means sleeping in or taking an extra long shower. Especially if it means those things.
Thank you for all of your comments, emails and support in this last year. Raising my glass (really a coffee mug) to all of you and the work all of us have put in!