With the responsibilities of managing her home, actively involve in her congregation, and balancing work, The idea of a minimal life was a no brainer for Zehira Israel. A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to share my minimalist lifestyle with Zehira and was excited when she decided to join the path as well. Here is her story on how she started living a simple life.
When and why did you start your minimalist journey?
I started my journey about a year and a half ago. We received a hurricane warning and was under mandatory evacuation. We were told to take what you need and go! Huh?! Looking around, I felt like we needed everything! This was my first Hurricane experience and when it was time to pack up our life, we weren't even sure that we would have anything to come back home to. We lived 2 miles from the ocean and just knew we would come back home to much damage. So, packing what was necessary was our only option. Thankfully, everything was fine after it was over and the hurricane did not hit our side of Florida, but it was still a wake up call. We just had too much "STUFF"! That's when I became interested in organization, de-cluttering and minimizing! What have you learned about yourself through this process?
I have learned that I'm a little messier than I thought (lol) and having a less cluttered space makes me feel good. I've learned that our likes and dislikes sometimes change. I've also learned, that I don't have a problem of letting things go.
What are your family goals in living a simple life?
Our main goal is to have a clean and simple space by staying organized and to spend less time cleaning. We want to focus on necessary items in our home, things that are useful physically and mentally. Everything must serve a purpose now, unlike before.
How has your spouse responded to transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle?
I'm pretty sure my husband thinks I'm a little crazy. With this transition, he has given the OK to redecorate, which I am very happy about! It was also time to replace a few old and broken pieces of furniture; so the timing was perfect. I've shared pictures of minimalist homes with him and how the all white theme makes things look so much cleaner and cozier. Before, he did not like the idea of white towels. Now he's responding pretty well! We are still working on letting go of some of his clothes.
Has minimalism impacted other areas of your life?
Yes, I have become more organized in other areas of my life and think often about the necessity of things. Our items in our home, our thoughts, and words outside of home also has change since becoming more minimal.
What challenges have you encountered through your minimalist journey?
The only challenge right now for me would be the need for patience.I'm pretty patient, but redecorating and organizing doesn't happen overnight. Even though I've gotten rid of many things and donated many items, I still need to create the actual space I want. So patience is important because you can't just go out and buy everything you need all at once. I'm getting there a little at a time.
What mindset changes have you experienced?
My mindset is now "If it doesn't serve a purpose I'm not that interested." I'm now always trying to find a way to simplify things. I hope it's not too annoying to other people.
What advice do you have for someone interested in simplifying their life?
1.Start somewhere that needs the most organizing or de-cluttering. Just take on the biggest projects first to get them out of the way. I first started with just organizing my husband's 2 bookshelves and that guided me to my closet.
2.Give away those clothes that have just been sitting and sitting that you never wear.
Someone else can actually use it. You might be surprised at how much clothes you have to donate. I didn't even think I had a lot of clothes, but I ended up with a few bags just from letting go of things that didn't fit right, colors/styles I didn't like or just never wear.
3.Try buying more solid colors instead of patterns because you can get more use out of your clothes that way. For example. You can wear a black dress and add different color accessories each time you wear it (scarves, belts, jackets, jewelry, etc) to create different looks with that one dress,compared to wearing a multi colored dress that you will really only wear but once or twice because it's so distinct.
What does being an Israelite minimalist mean to you?
I think it's rare to be an Israelite minimalist because I feel like most of us were raised to accumulate unnecessary things or we always had the idea that having more is better. I rarely see images of us when searching for minimalist ideas or pages on social media so to me Israelite minimalists can help more of us women simplify our homes and make things easier at home, especially for those with children.
Where can we learn more about you?
I have a business Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/ophir_style/ but I don't feature much of my minimalist ideas on there. You can also find some of my handmade items at www.ophirstyle.com