When you minimize your possessions you free a lot of space in your life. You gain mental clarity and you open up time that you previously spent dealing with things. So, minimalism isn't really about not owning a lot, it's about what happens in your life after you realize you don't want to own a lot. That's where things get interesting.
A few months after I simplified my own belongings, I experienced a pointed effect of clearing the clutter; I earnestly wanted to live out long held values that, for various reasons, I wasn't acting on. In particular, showing love to all animals, not just the domesticated ones. In other words, I wanted to stop eating them. For the first time in many years, I felt I actually had the capacity to take on such a drastic change as altering my diet. I'd been consuming animals for most of my life, so trying to remove meat (and even dairy) from the 21+ meals I eat every week was a BIG SHIFT. Or so I thought. Also, I'd watched my husband bring vegetarian lunches for himself to work for several years. Surely I could take some larger steps toward a more compassionate way of living.
In February 2016 I set off on a quest to see if my family and I could eat a majority plant based diet. Things are mostly great so far :) But lets back up a bit. You may appreciate the (often comical) historical timeline of how I got to where I am.
1996 (Age 16): Befriend a vegetarian and quit meat for a few months. Day dream of bacon. Give up.
2008: Live in Haiti, eating mostly rice and beans. Realize I'm not missing meat all that much. A few months in, go jogging in a field and, somewhat accidentally/somewhat purposefully watch a cow be slaughtered. Experience conflicted feelings about the beef in my rice and beans that night.
2009: Travel around Australia for a year. Fall in love with chickens I meet while living near the outback.
2010: While pursuing a certificate in nonprofit leadership, work on a project about the beauty of backyard chickens (while keeping my own), and about the cruel and shameful practices of our food industry.
2011: Try again to be vegetarian. Go out with friends on 4th of July and find myself, after a few beers, in 5 Guys with a burger in my mouth. Cry. No, finish burger, then cry.
2012: While trying to eat a 'meat light' diet, become pregnant and crave McDonald's. (WTF!?!)
2014: Think about only eating meat I kill on my own, like deer. Realize I don't own a gun. Or a hunting license. Try to see about eating road kill. No success.
October 2015: Decide to, once and for all, stop buying factory farmed meat and purchase meat only from our local farmers market. Go visit one of those local farms so we can see how those animals live.
November 2015: Watch this video by Lori Hill of Sister Eden. Revelation that I too can be a vagigi.
Learn about the documentary Cowspiracy, meet lovely vegans everywhere I go, get reminded of documentary Earthlings, from my newly vegan nephew, and realize I still don't have the courage to watch it.
December 2015: My husband's out of town cousins come over for dinner (A doctor & scientist) and talk about the plant based diet they adopted after reading The China Study. Become further intrigued and inspired.
January 2016: Stop purchasing meat. Stop purchasing milk. Hey everyone, I DONT DRINK COWS MILK ANYMORE!
April 2016: First experience eating dumpstered meat from a friend. Free and delicious. Since it was already in the trash, I not only think that it is ok to eat, but that it's important to not have an animal die, only to rot in the trash.
Update: June 2016: I stopped buying butter and eggs, and started buying vegan butter. I also made my first vegan pie which was delicious! My two young children and I are full fledged vegans and I don't think I'll ever look back.