Category Archives: Letting Go

Baby Mama Drama


I can say with complete honesty that having a baby has been the most humbling experience of my life.

We can all say the things we’d do that would be best for our baby before actually having one. And, we can all criticize those for doing things differently; after all, they must not really love their baby as much as we do because we are the only ones that have our baby’s best interests at heart. And believe me, before Murphy came along, I had plenty of opinions of my own. In fact, I still struggle with passing judgment on someone who has done something differently than the way I think is best.

But guess what: IT AIN’T MY CALL.

I can’t possibly presume to know and understand the circumstances of every individual on the planet, so how could I possibly know what is best for each of them and their children?  I’ve even had private conversations with other women I had previously wanted to judge for a choice they made when it came to their children and was dumbfounded at the secret struggles they had that no one would have ever known about. 

My own child is only four months old, and the level of negative critique (often disguised as well-meant intentions) that I’ve witnessed and seen others experience is alarming.

You wanna find out the sex of your baby? Find out the sex. You wanna make your way through labor by means of self-hypnosis? Knock yourself out! You wanna schedule your C-section? Do it, sister! You wanna push that baby out drug and epidural-free? You go girl! You wanna birth that kid in a blow-up kiddie pool in your living room? By all means! (Just make sure to film the thing, ‘cause we mamas all love watching that sh*t on YouTube.) You wanna formula-feed or can’t breastfeed? Not only will your kid still live, they’ll still thrive. Wanna breastfeed your kid ‘til they’re in college? You do you, girrrrl! Stroller or baby-wearing?  Co-sleep or cry-it-out? Cloth diapers or disposable? Generic baby formula or homemade goat milk formula? Working mom or stay-at-home? Screen time or nah? One kid or 20? Store-bought baby food or homegrown organic? Take your pick.

IT DOESN’T MATTER.

Just love your kids, please. Love the hell outta them and cherish each moment, because, my God, they’re so fleeting!

Let go of all the judgment (on yourself and others), the mom guilt, the bullsh*t. Let it all go and use that energy, instead, on something great like teaching your kid to read, to be kind, to imagine, to think, to love, to have faith in something bigger than themselves. Because THAT?

THAT MATTERS.

Stop asking others how they’re mom-ing in hopes of feeling better about yourself, and stop posting articles on social media reiterating why the choice YOU made is, not only the best, but the ONLY sane choice one could possibly make.

Don’t lie. We’ve all done it.

Stop asking, and just make the choices that are best for your family. Just be informed about it, and know that what’s best in your situation isn’t always the most blatant, black and white answer. There’s so much grey.

SO. MUCH. GREY.

Support other moms out there, and encourage them when possible–or even just when the mood strikes you. Sometimes just a smile in their direction will make their day. And please, only offer your advice when it’s asked for. BE NICE and not just some arrogant, know-it-all, better-than-everyone-else mom.

This message is for me, too. I’m just as guilty as anyone. Maybe even more so. I’m working on it, and I hope this post will encourage others to do the same.

So, if you’re a Judgey McJudgerson out there reading this…..just think about it.

And if you’re a mom reading…..I’m proud of you! I know you love your baby more than life itself, and I know that you’re trying your hardest every. single. day.

Yes, even if you’re not doing things the way you always thought your would or the way others have told you you should. Give yourself a break, for crying out loud! You have, arguably, the hardest job on the planet, and you’re rocking it.

You rock star, you.

😉

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The Times They Are A-Changin’

As most of you know, I’ve been doing this minimalism thing for a while now and have gotten pretty darn good at it.  I’ve gotten rid of all except for maybe one fifth of everything I started with (maybe even less).  And, as always, it feels amazing!

You might remember me talking before about being a music person.  My husband and I are always trying to travel to see our favorite bands play.  We even timed our elopement to Ireland so that we could see The Felice Brothers three times while we were there!  Obsessed?  Probably, but we don’t care.  It’s the most fun we’ve had on all our trips!

Being the music enthusiasts that we are, I knew that my music collection would be the hardest thing to deal with in the decluttering realm.  It’s just such a huge part of my life that I didn’t think I’d be able to part with any of it.

But like I’ve mentioned before. . . .it’s all about the layers!  And I’m proud to say I finally got to the music layer!  Hallelujah!

I started with a binder book of mixed CDs, about 5 milk crates of vinyl albums, and an entire under-the-bed plastic storage container (you know the kind: HUGE, takes up half of your under bed space?) of even more CDs–all of which were perfectly lined up with side covers displayed by genre and artist.  I told you I was a very organized hoarder, didn’t I?

After throwing away dozens of mixed CDs (that I never listen to anymore as they aren’t really meaningful for where I am now in life), yard-selling mounds of what were more misses than hits (or collections I wouldn’t replace if they were lost or damaged), and selling the old vinyl–that I would have rather weightlessly carried around in digital form–to local antique stores, I feel LOADS lighter!  I can now proudly say that I only have one milk crate of albums, the one CD binder book (filled–yet not all the way so now–with purchased copies of the aforementioned under-the-bed CDs), and a very small plastic container holding only the few I didn’t want to throw the cases away for yet.

PROGRESS!!!

I hope to turn our small den into a music/reading/hangout room in the near future with a few books on the built-in wall shelves above a funky futon and a mid-century modern record cabinet holding only my favorite vinyl copies with a turntable on top.  I want it to be simple and uncluttered, yet warm and inviting for guests to linger.  I’ve always pictured this for the space, and am excited to see my visions becoming realities.

This was a very valuable lesson for me as I’m even more aware of the process than ever before.  I always thought: Well, ya know, I’m a music person, so I’ll probably never part with my music paraphernalia.  Wrong again.  I still love the scratchy pops peppered through the opiate hum of a record spinning on a turntable, and that will never change.  I just realized I’d rather enjoy this aspect with my favorite and most frequented albums than to be weighed down by every decent one I can get my hands on.  I mean, that’s how to always enjoy your favorite things, right?  To only own your favorite things?

Trust me when I say that there’s never an area you won’t be able to tackle on your de-owning journey no matter how attached you may be.  It just might take a little longer to get to it.  Or you might be surprised that it doesn’t take nearly as long as you thought it would.  The process is addictive; once you start, it’s almost impossible to stop!

The space you gain by giving up stuff is enough to get anyone hooked.  I try to think about my possessions like this: would I rather have this item here, or the open space it occupies instead?  For me, space almost always wins.  There’s nothing like the feeling of being able to breathe in your home without being weighed down by years of accumulation, most of which you forgot you even owned.

Anyway, just a little post to fill you in on where I currently stand with my junk.  I know I haven’t written in a while.  I’m hoping to change that over the next few months.  I’m even contemplating a video tour of our home.  We shall see!

Thanks for reading!

Have you triumphed over a seemingly difficult area in your own life when it comes to decluttering?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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No.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with saying yes when I really want to be screaming no.

Or in some cases . . . .

Hell no!

Not gonna happen.

Are you nuts?!

Why, on God’s green earth, would I do that for you?!

I’d rather gouge my own eyes out.

. . . . the list goes on.

I know that by saying yes in certain situations, I end up saying no to the things that are actually more important to me.  I’m only hurting myself by obligating my time and energy to things that are not beneficial to my personal growth. 

I just can’t do it anymore.

I don’t want to snap, or be unnecessarily rude to someone in my life, so I will just say no.  No explanation is required.  I do not need to justify my choice.  

It will just simply be no.

Does this mean I will never sacrifice my time to help others?  Of course not.  I’m only weeding the unwanted, crazy, pointless, dumb, stupid tasks and commitments out of my life.  Being asked to complete a task by someone who is perfectly capable of executing said task themselves is just not going to fly for me anymore.

I have so many things in my life that I yearn to say yes to, that I really can’t afford to waste time on the tasks I consider too stupid or meaningless to perform.

This will require brutal honesty in some cases, but I’m OK with that.  I know, in most cases, my honesty will be better for both parties involved.

Are there things or people in your life you need to learn to say ‘no’ to?  What things would you rather be saying ‘yes’ to?

 

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Storage Unit

Recently, my boyfriend and I had quite the argument.

Having relocated rather quickly from his previous residence, he was forced to rent a small storage space to store the larger items, books, and winter clothes until he could get back into town with a truck to haul them away.

Time passed, and — as you all can probably imagine — the clearing of the storage unit had begun to lose its urgency.

In fact, the bill even went unpaid for a few months.

I finally told my guy that we would go as soon as possible to retrieve the items, which also meant paying up on all those missed payments.  Since work was pretty demanding for him at the time, I offered to work out all the details if he could just take a day off to drive the 2 hours with me to get the load of mess.

After a few phone calls and a little more anger than I care to admit, we learned that the items in the unit had been auctioned off due to my sweetheart’s lack of recent payment.

Of course, I was outraged.  “They can’t just sell your stuff without trying to contact you first!” I heatedly proclaimed.  Then I got back on the phone with the storage company to try to find the buyer of said auctioned items and to report that he couldn’t legally sell them without attempting to contact my boyfriend first.

The man on the other end of the line, God love him, informed me calmly that the company did in fact try to make contact with no success.  Several times, I might add.  My guy forgot to change over his address when he moved (it’s gotta be a guy thing), and so all the letters sent out in hopes to contact him went to the wrong place.  The company had also tried to call him at the work number they had on file — which was correct — multiple times, but were told that no one by the name he gave them was employed there.

I hung up the phone, completely baffled, and immediately filled in the boyfriend on what I’d found out.

Then came the light bulb moment.

Since the name my boyfriend gave the storage company was his legal name and he actually goes by a shortened version of his middle name, none of his new employees would know who Mr. Legal Name was when someone called asking for him.

Simple misunderstanding where really no one was to fully blame.

I originally acted out in anger towards my boyfriend for his forgetfulness and for not taking the time to call and give a change of address, but I was mostly upset because I couldn’t remember all the items in the unit that were lost.  What if we lost something super important?!  This obviously wasn’t the case considering I couldn’t remember anything of dire sentimental value — except for one thing; an old photo album containing the only childhood photos my boyfriend owned.  (There are others at his mother’s house, along with all the negatives of the photos we lost in the auction.)  Everything else could be replaced or wasn’t even worth replacing to begin with.

I had actually planned to sell most of it at my next yard sale, but we quickly realized that no money would actually be made on the items, seeing as how we’d have to pay the storage company for the months that we missed.

I never handle losing items that I don’t freely give up very well.  I’ve sort of taken my time with this whole process, and deciding each and every item’s fate is part of the therapy of it for me.  This was yet another wake-up call in my life to my attachment to things that don’t really matter.  Even the things that I’m not even sure I own — or my boyfriend owns, in this case.

I hate that I spent that much emotional energy on a bunch of junk.

After the dust of the loss settled, I quickly felt my anger being replaced with something else.

Yep.  Relief.

We didn’t lose any more money on the auctioned items.  We didn’t have to take off a day of work to go retrieve them.  And we didn’t have to deal with the aggravation of storing them just so we could deal with the annoyance of later trying to sell them.

Please note that I’m not an advocate of not paying your bills on time.  This was just the positive outcome of innocent forgetfulness, and nothing more.  But what a weight that was lifted from our shoulders.

That storage unit is now one less responsibility that is cluttering my mind, preventing me from focusing on the here and now.

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Impulse Buys

I did a bad thing.

I bought too many new clothes.

I was in desperate need of some new attire and found myself with a little extra cash.  So, with Summer well underway, I decided to go ahead and spend a little money.  Needless to say, I was a wee bit over-zealous.

I’ve gotten in this habit recently of saving my new purchases for a few days before using/wearing them, so that if I experience buyer’s remorse, I can just take them right back to the store.  No harm, no foul.

Thankfully, I did the same thing this time–minus a couple of items that I knew I would keep. I returned around 5 of the articles of clothing.

I’ve been really trying to only buy things that fit into my current life and aren’t just physical manifestations of–what miss minimalist calls–my fantasy self.  I realized that a few of my recent purchases were just that.  They were items that I simply found cute or pretty; things I would have loved to see myself wearing, but knew that they would just end up getting shoved to the back of my closet.

It felt good to return them.  And responsible, I might add.

Also, in the not-so-very-distant past, my boyfriend happened to win a drawing for a $1,000 gift card to a massive shoe store where we live.  Yes, you read that correctly.  This is a minimalist’s dream come true as well as worse nightmare.

See, I would finally be able to spend more money than I normally would when I needed a decent new pair of kicks, without my frugal self feeling guilty over the purchase.

BUT….

That also meant I would have more of a tendency to go on random shoe-shopping sprees, throwing caution to the wind, because–since it wasn’t my money–I had no reason to feel guilty for my many unnecessary purchases.  And I have to add, when it’s not my money, I have a much harder time deciding if I really need the item or not.

I fell into the trap a couple of times; which, thankfully, the purchases I made were actually shoes that I am wearing a lot of these days.  However, there was one pair in particular I spent far too much money on that I ended up returning because I just realized, after I got them home, that they just weren’t a pair I really needed or would probably ever even wear frequently.  Thank you, buyer’s remorse!

Just a little confession from a budding minimalist today, in hopes that I can help someone else not make the same mistakes by reading about mine.

And I do encourage you all to hold on to your new purchases for a bit before removing those tags.  Sometimes you just don’t think you’ll become so quickly detached from an item you just couldn’t live without only moments before.

Also, attempt not trying things on or picking things up that you don’t already have in the forefront of your mind as things you are seeking.  Those stylish mannequins and perfectly lit fitting rooms are just ploys to snatch your attention, causing you to fall for things you might have otherwise never even thought about.

Good luck, minimalist shoppers!

And may the force to refuse and purge be with you!

(Note: Upon bringing home my new purchases, I went through my wardrobe and was able to pick a couple of shopping bags full of items to donate or sell.  Can’t bring something in without tossing something out!)

Have you ever made an impulse buy that led to regret and a set-back in your progress towards minimalism?

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Heirlooms

I just finished reading Living Simply Free’s blog post on Heirlooms and am reminded of an issue that I’ve been mentally avoiding for some time now.

I’m definitely not wanting to have all my parents belongings passed down to me when the time comes. Luckily, my mother is working towards being more minimalistic and attachment-free with her home and possessions these days, so she may be letting me off the hook in most areas.

However, her mother–my granny–used to paint. My family has several of her oil paintings displayed around our homes, and that is one thing that my mother will never get rid of. Nor should she!

I just think about the possibility of something happening to her and me being responsible for several rather large items with EXTREME sentimentality attached to them. What will I do? How will I react?

Most people would think I’m crazy for even starting to have anxiety about this issue. They would gladly take these heirlooms from their parents, but I’m not like everyone else. I just see these paintings as objects I would worry over during the event of a storm or other natural disaster, possibility of a house fire (heaven forbid), them getting damaged in a move, etc. etc. etc….

Sigh.

I’m open to advice or suggestions in this situation–whether it be how to deal with the anxiety over the paintings, or what to do with them when the time comes.

And, please don’t get me wrong.  I don’t worry over this to the point of losing sleep or anything.  The thought just crosses my mind from time to time and I feel like it’s something I should stop avoiding and start mentally preparing for.

HELP!

Have any of you ever had heirlooms passed down to you that you would rather not have the burden of dealing with, or will you one day?   Are you having a difficult time releasing heirlooms due to sentimentality?

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This I Know

I long to help the people I care about in any way possible.

What’s tough for me, is letting go of the situation after I’ve realized they don’t want help.

I cannot help people who don’t truly wish to help themselves.

This I know.

Of this I will let go.

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To Keep? Or Not To Keep?

What constitutes a keepsake?

The term can mean different things for different people.

I’m at a place on my minimalism journey, where the things I’m parting with are becoming more and more meaningful to me.  Occasionally I’ll find a few things that are meaningless, but they are getting harder to come by.

I mentioned in a previous post about my goals, that I wanted to have all my keepsakes fit into one fairly small-sized box.  I’m happy to say I’ve almost arrived.

Most of the things that I want to hold on to, but don’t regularly visit, are in this one box.  Items such as: yearbooks, diplomas, awards, special notes/cards/letters I’ve received through the years, childhood Bible, etc.

(Note: I don’t count my photos and such in this category, as they are of separate importance altogether.  These are just items that mean something to me, that I, from time to time, like to pull out and look through.)

Since my Paw Paw’s death, however, I’m realizing that the meaning of the term keepsake is changing for me.  Death really does put things into perspective.  It becomes so clear what matters and what doesn’t in these heartbreaking situations, especially when thinking of all the things you hold dear that you would trade to have a little more time with your deceased loved one.

Everyone, of course, grieves differently and treasures different things.  I know my Nana will have a hard time parting with any of Paw Paw’s belongings, as she tends to hold on to tangible objects.  I hope to be able to help her let go in some ways, but I understand if she is unable to.

My next post will be an image of said Keepsake Box.  (I placed a CD next to it to give you an idea of size.)

It’s a comfort to know that everything I can’t replace is all together in one condensed location so that I am able to pick it up and go in a crisis.  Everything else is just replaceable fluff.

However, as I stated earlier, my definition of keepsake is changing, and I’m sure I’ll be able to condense my box even further.  I can already think of a couple of things that I feel ready to release.

And how freeing it is!

What items in your life do you consider special, or keepsakes?

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Less Clothes–More Space!

I finally did it.

I tackled my clothes.  Well, not literally….but, you know….

I had been putting it off for so long and cannot even begin to count the number of times I stood in front of my open closet or pulled-out chest-of-drawers to attempt to conquer it…only to give up too quickly, feeling as if I couldn’t part with any of the items.

I started out trying to wear the pieces that I usually don’t wear, to see if I liked myself in them for extended periods of time.  Usually, at the end of the day, I would realize that I hadn’t been wearing said pieces for a reason: too itchy, rides up, too small, too big, not a great color on me, etc.

I guess this gave me the confidence this weekend to tell myself, no more, and do the deed.

I know there’s more I can eliminate….eventually.  But for now, I’m extremely pleased with the huge chunk of clothes (enough to fill a large trash bag) that are no longer taking up space in my tiny closet.

<Deep sigh of relief>

Feels good. 🙂

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Stolen Goods

Let go.

These 2 words were so difficult for me to live out 8 months ago.

Not because I wasn’t on the right path in learning to live with less possessions in my life, but because something happened that was out of my control.

Control.  Now there’s something I really need less of in my life.

8 months ago my roommate and I were robbed.  Not exactly sure what happened (even though I think I have a pretty good idea), but my things were missing, nonetheless.

I had about 10-15 pieces of jewelry stolen (almost all of which were sterling silver pieces, except for one, which I’ll get to in a minute), and some leftover pain medication from a previous ear infection and tonsillectomy.

If you’ve never had something stolen from you, I can’t express how painful it is.

I felt so violated.  Someone had been in my personal space, touched and gone through my things, and taken whatever they wanted without my permission!  I remember crying for so many nights about these items–maybe not so much over the stuff, but because of the way it had been done.  I didn’t give up these items.  They were taken from me.

The one piece I was most bummed out over was a ring my boyfriend had given me for our 2 year anniversary.  It was such a unique piece of jewelry, and even though I didn’t wear it daily, I loved it.  This was something that was not only unique, but special to me for sentimental reasons.  And now, it was something I would never be able to replace.

My boyfriend was mad at first, probably because he saw how upset it made me, but he quickly became my grip on reality.  While I was struggling with the pain, irritation, and anger from it all, he was there telling me to just let go.  It’s just stuff. 

He was right.  If the point of all of this is to be able to live with less in my life and not value my material possessions over my relationships and experiences, then why couldn’t I let this go too?

My boyfriend reminded me of the way we felt when he gave the ring to me, to show that it wasn’t about the item–it was about where our relationship was at that place and time.  I didn’t need the material possession to have that memory.

I started learning to let go.

I emotionally let go of the items I’d lost, the anger in my heart towards the person who’d taken them from me, and control of the situation.  That’s just life.  These things happen all the time, and if I’m going to live with less, this is all part of it.

I’m reminded of a quote by Lindsay on her Passionate Homemaking blog.  I’ve used this quote previously, but I think it fits the occasion perfectly:

God centered simplifying is letting go of anything that is ruling in my heart.  What am I afraid might be damaged [or stolen]?  That might be a clue to an idol in my heart.

So, no more!

I refuse to let a material possession, or loss thereof, rule in my heart and life.

I will simply breathe….and let go.

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