Minimalists find happiness through simplicity

Consumerism takes back seat to simplicity

By Paul Giorgio - Producer

ORLANDO, Fla. - Packrats beware: There's a movement under way in central Florida to live happier lives with less.

It's called minimalism, and those who follow the lifestyle are selling, donating and giving most of their possessions away.

It's like spring cleaning on hyperdrive. Followers say living with less "stuff" allows them the freedom to pursue activities and friendships that otherwise would be neglected.

Three years ago, Beth Waddell of Orlando was living in a 3,000-square-foot house with a three-car garage, a garage that was virtually useless because it was full of stored belongings.

"I put my house on the market, and then I had a huge garage sale and went on Craigslist," Waddell said. "I ditched 70 percent of my stuff because I felt like the house and all the stuff in it weighed me down financially timewise, and they drained my mental energy."

Waddell has since downsized twice and said her 1,200-square-foot apartment is still too big. She's already planning her next move into something under 1,000-square-feet.

"Not only do I not miss it, I don't remember what it was," said Waddell.

"Heavily edited" is how Waddell describes what she owns now. Her apartment is classically simple with a couch, ottoman and TV making up her living room. She keeps only what she needs or what she loves. Everything else finds a new home.

Waddell said having less responsibility and less to maintain has given her more time for walking, running and yoga.

"I like to be out in the world," Waddell said. "I've joined different groups. I've volunteered more. I've spent more time with family and friends -- what everybody wants."

Jamie and Stewart Holley, of Winter Park, have been slowly thinning their possessions as well. For the last five years, they've been reducing what they call "clutter" in their lives leaving more time for travel and outdoor activities.

The two admit that everyone has a different opinion on what is important to them.

"If you love giving dinner parties, why would you get rid of all your dinner party stuff?" Stewart said. "It's really about committing your time, money and energy towards the things that really bring you pleasure. I love reading books. I don't necessarily love collecting books."

Jamie, Stewart and Beth all say they get motivation from from authors and bloggers Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn. Their website has reached more than 2 million readers and the two are traveling the country promoting their book, "Everything That Remains."

They said minimalism for them started with material possessions, but eventually they began to question everything they brought into their lives.

"It comes down to relationships," Millburn said. "Who are you spending the most time with? Is that who you want to be spending time with and giving your attention to?"

Copyright 2014 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.