Courtney Carver: She's Living the Minimal Life

March 15 - On The Dot
 
FIRST THOUGHT:Simplifying Your Life

Have you ever bought something on a whim only to look at it a few weeks later and wonder why? I feel physically incapable of stepping into Target and not purchasing at least five extra things but then forget the toilet paper.

Whether you’re shopping or just searching throughout your home for more space, ask yourself whether the products you’re buying serve the life you have right now. For instance, do you host regular get-togethers? If not, then why in the world do you have a dozen Champagne flutes? This life hack works for decluttering your closet too. Just ask yourself when was the last time you wore that neon tunic or baggy dress. Then donate everything that hasn’t been touched in years. Removing such clutter from your life will give you a great sense of relief—and plenty more space for simply living.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 8 Years

Here are some wild statistics that prove my point about having too much stuff. According to the Los Angeles Times, the average American home contains an astounding 300,000 items. Whoa! And ladies, we’re to blame for a ton of that stuff. Take, for example, our clothing. Forbes reports that in 1930, the average American woman owned nine outfits. Today, that number is 30—one outfit for every day of the month. If that doesn’t surprise you, consider this: Women spend more than eight years of our lives shopping! Fortunately, the Becoming Minimalist website has a simple solution: “The invitation to own less is an invitation to freedom, intentionality and passion. And it can be discovered at your nearest drop-off center.”

WOMAN TO WATCH: Courtney Carver, Founder of Project 333 and Be More With Less

Now that I’ve sufficiently blown your minds about how much stuff we all have, let me share an inspiring story about one woman’s journey from queen of clutter to minimalist maven. Courtney Carver was like most of us. For decades, she spent her time working tirelessly in advertising, somehow still racking up debt and unable to carve out time to spend with her family and follow her passions.

Then a tragic life event led to a real aha moment. Courtney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an often disabling disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s nervous system. Though it was a devastating diagnosis, Courtney’s immediate response was rational and insightful: She decided to slow the heck down and focus on her health. Instead of rushing through her day, she indulged in self-care and peaceful contentment.

This new life shift also made a pretty big impact on Courtney’s family. Their priorities shifted, and they happily downsized to a 750-square-foot apartment with no storage, embracing the change and becoming a healthier and more joyful family. Courtney documented her journey into a new, less stressful life in several books and online through her Be More With Less website.

Courtney also created Project 333, a unique minimalist fashion challenge that has flourished throughout the world in unimaginable ways. Through Project 333, Courtney inspires others to dress with only 33 items—including clothing, accessories, jewelry and shoes—for a period of three months. While this might sound instantly difficult, it’s quite freeing, Courtney insists, and it helps illuminate the fact that you aren’t wearing all the clothes in your closet anyway! It’s a tangible way to incorporate minimalism into your everyday life, and soon, Courtney says, you will find yourself equipped with the perfect capsule wardrobe.

When Courtney got her MS diagnosis, she felt she finally had permission to put herself first. Previously, it was always her child first, her husband first, her job first. But she learned that by indulging in self-care and her own passions—and putting nonessential stuff on the backburner—she was able to joyfully care for everyone else too.

QUITE THE QUOTE

Are you trying to incorporate some minimalistic aspects into your life? Take holistic health practitioner Laurie Buchanan’s advice:

“Minimalism is about creating space to live simply and meaningfully. It’s about living intentionally.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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