Category Archives: Tidbits

To-Go Box

Just a quick post on this lovely fall day. . . .

I just wanted to take a minute to share one of the ways I keep decluttering on the brain.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep your less-is-more focus when life starts happening around you. You’ve worked so hard and come so far on your minimalist journey, and then, before you know it, life butts in and stops your progress in its tracks. In some cases, it may even push you back a few steps.

It’s OK. This kind of thing happens all the time. We just have to be aware of it and keep pushing through the interruptions.

One way I do this is to always have a designated spot or box in my house–usually near the back door–where I can drop any item that no longer fits in my life.

I yanked that itchy top off just as quickly as I pulled it on while getting ready for work because I knew I wouldn’t enjoy wearing it all day? In the box it goes on my way out the door.

That annoying kitchen utensil got in my way again as I was trying to find the one I use for every, single meal prep? Toss it in the box!

Even though these unwanted items still remain in my home for a few weeks after I decide to purge them, I’m still steadily making progress. The decision has already been made, and it feels good to have a visual reminder in a forgotten corner in my mud room of my constant steps forward.

I have even found when I don’t have a box or area set aside for these cast-offs, I tend to not address them in those defining moments. I’m a firm believer that everything should have a place in the home, and knowing that even my unwanted items have a designated, albeit temporary, residence helps keep the decluttering process moving.

So don’t get bogged down by setbacks, big or small. Put little plans into place to keep yourself progressing, even when you don’t have the free time in your schedule to plan a decluttering afternoon or weekend.

Baby steps!!!

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We’re All Minimalists

I was talking with family the other day about my use of minimalist principles in my life and how much doing so has changed me over the past few years.

“Truthfully, I believe we’re all minimalists,” I said.

I went on to explain how we all have our favorite possessions: a handful of favorite clothes, favorite shoes, favorite jewelry, favorite hair/makeup routines, favorite pieces of technology that get most of our use, favorite bands/CDs/records, and even favorite meals that we prepare.

All minimalism does is calls us to have those favorites be in the forefront at all times, never getting pushed to the side by the mounds of clutter that creep into our homes, slowly taking over our spaces and lives.

Instead of feeling trapped by all the “stuff” around you, the “stuff” that prevents you from getting to spend the majority of your time indulged in the few favorite items that bring you the most pleasure, why don’t you consider becoming one of the brave ones?  Make the tough choices to eliminate the clutter that doesn’t bring you joy during this way-too-short period we have on this gorgeous planet.

Truthfully, based on my experience, you probably won’t even miss the cast-offs.

I honestly can’t recall a single thing I wished I had held onto during my bouts of decluttering.

And it’s funny how things change; I’ve reduced my possessions by about three-quarters, and instead of looking around and asking myself where everything went, I find myself remarking on how much there is still left to be rid of.  I know if most people saw my house, cabinets, and closets, they’d think of me as a crazy person for saying such a thing.

It’s OK, though.

My life is changing.  My goals are changing.  My definition of happiness is changing.

And my lust for life becomes more ardent with each passing day.

Again, we’re only here for such a short time.  So why should we allow ourselves to be bogged down by the things that not only don’t bring us joy, but also take joy from us?

Let your inner minimalist come out.  I promise, you won’t regret it!

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J. W. III

Happy birthday to one of my favorites….

Mr. Jack White.

You, sir, have proven that keeping it simple really does reap greater results.

Love your message.  Love your methods.  Love your art.

Keep it up!

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Van Dweller

My thoughts have been continually going back to the same thing lately.

I see these stories of people who sell 95% of their possessions and do things like live on a boat and travel all over the globe, and am instantly jealous.  I long to be able to live that simply.  Where my time is my own, living life as one experience after another, without the baggage of what most people consider to be normal.

I found this story on Yahoo’s home page about a student who lived in a van while going to grad school so as not to acquire any more debt.  What an awesome testimony to how little you can have in your life and get by.  Heck, not just get by, but complete grad school!  Pretty incredible, if you ask me.

This was just something I felt the need to share today.  It spoke to me, and once again, I find the wheels in my head turning.  How far do I want to go?

I’d also like to thank those of you in this blogging community who I am constantly encouraged by.  Reading your posts just reassure me that I’m not alone in this, and I’m not as crazy as most of the world around me thinks.

Have any of you embarked upon an adventure such as the ones mentioned above?

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Helping Hand

I have this friend who has reached a point in her life where she desperately needs change.  And I feel compelled to help her.

She needs a life with less in it. She is becoming overwhelmed with all the tasks, responsibilities, and things in her life. She’s also working her tail off in school to get a kick-ass degree that she hopes to use to help others one day.  With all this school work rightfully taking priority in her life, it’s no wonder she feels suffocated by all the extra.

This is not to say that she’s a miserable person.  She’s actually quite cheerful most of the time, even in the face of the numerous obstacles that are being thrown in her path.  All of these trials continue to leave her a stronger and better person in the end.

We have gotten to know each other through work.  She has been reading my blog, intrigued by the idea of minimalism and having a life with less and, therefore, started to do her own research.  She has become enthralled in these ideas that had initially grabbed me and inspired me to make changes in my own life.  So she came to me asking for my help, and I am more than happy to do so.

Because, you see, I think I may have found my purpose in all of this. Not only to help myself–which would have been reward enough–but also to help others who yearn to take this path but don’t know where to begin.  I feel that, even if I do nothing else to contribute in their journey, I–at the very least–have been called to raise awareness in their minds of how much better their lives could be if they break free from the consumerism monster!

Why should we live like the world tells us we should?

Show yourself that you’re better than that.  Show yourself some respect.

Treat yourself to a life far better than anyone else is capable of, as long as they are stuck in this depressing and disappointing cycle of More.  Learn the value and love the truth in Enough.

Live like nobody else!

I’m excited to begin incorporating my experiences of helping others into my blog.  It will still be, overall, about my journey; only now with the addition of my perspective of the journeys of those I’ve helped.

It would thrill me beyond belief to know that I’ve inspired someone to begin their own journey, and I would be ecstatic to be part of their support in its beginning.  It could mean offering a helping hand in going through their stuff (which is what I’ll be doing with this particular friend), or even just using my knowledge of the subject to guide and counsel them through some other form of communication. Whatever the means, I’m all about the end result.

Let’s get de-owning….and learn to want less together!

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Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

–Leonardo da Vinci

LDV

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Up In Flames

Have you ever secretly wished for a fire in your life?

I have to be honest–part of me has.  (Though, a hurricane would be more appropriate from where I’m standing.)

I know this is extreme, and, of course, not something I would actually want to have to deal with….but the thought of it is liberating.  I just finished reading an article that addresses this topic, and felt that I could definitely relate.  

Even now, after all the work I’ve done on my home.  I look around, and there’s still so much left I could be rid of it.  Even the things I know I’m not emotionally ready to release, I am fully aware that I could do without them. 

That’s what’s so intriguing about the idea of a fire.  It would completely take the decision-making process away, leaving you with only what you needed to survive.

Again, I don’t actually want to deal with the aftermath of a house-fire, and my heart aches for those who have actually had to live the nightmare of one.  I just find myself weary these days of all the decisions, and this is only because I want to go further.

need to go further.

I’m giving myself a little time–seeing as how the last purge was a pretty big one–before moving on to the next step with my possessions.  And truthfully, I feel like my focus for the moment needs to be on my health.

I’m good at sticking to something once I start it, and lately my health/diet has suffered due to my focus on other things.  This is one area that I know I can’t half-ass, so I want to get back on the health wagon, immediately, and build new, permanent, healthy habits.  I may do a post on this subject when I feel I’ve arrived at my lagom.

Do you secretly wish to be stripped of some (or all) of the decision-making when it comes to decluttering your life?

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Goals are Good.

With my journey well underway, I’ve decided that I need a list of goals to strive for.

I’m working on minimalizing my life so that I will be able to pick up and go with little to no hassle, whenever the time calls for it.

I know that there will be some possessions that I will own that will be a pain to haul around, so I’m taking a little advice from Miss Minimalist.  When she and her family decide to up and move, they simply leave their big pieces behind by selling or donating them, and re-buying them at their next location.  This may seem silly to some–selling what you already have, just to replace it ASAP–but to me it makes total sense.  Imagine the money you save on moving costs!  No need to rent a moving truck if you’re a minimalist. 🙂

That being said, these are my goals:

1. Have only one plastic container for keepsakes–and not a huge one.

2. Be able to fit all my clothing and shoes into one duffel bag.  (Yes, this includes winter and summer wardrobes.)

3. Have one backpack of entertainment or extra items.  (This would include a laptop, iPod, chargers, journal, etc.  Basically, anything I wouldn’t want to have to replace in case of emergency.)

4. Have an attachment-free home.  (I want to have zero emotional attachment to my furniture and decor.  I don’t want to be scrambling around the house trying to “collect” all my keepsakes in the event of a natural disaster, tribulation-flee, or the zombie apocalypse. <wink>)

These are four basic goals I have for now.  As you can see, these only pertain to my possessions.  I will have another list of mental goals in the future, but I’m finding it difficult to reduce my mental clutter while my visual/physical clutter still requires so much of my attention.

Also, this list is subject to change as I make progress.  I’m not opposed to the idea that what I think is best for me now, may not turn out to be what’s best in the end.

Gotta start somewhere, right?

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Collecting Clutter

Have you ever collected anything?

I’ve seen my family members and friends do it (even though I know and am glad my mom’s “snowman collection” was more talk than anything else), and I know I’ve been guilty of it.  I’ve collected lots of things, actually.

Let’s see….there was the beanie baby phase, Backstreet Boys posters, the movie ticket stubs and Chinese fortunes, rocks from various places I visited, magazines, movie posters, key chains that were way too cumbersome to ever actually carry around, purses, silly graphic t-shirts, tour t-shirts from my favorite bands, clothes in general from my employment period with American Eagle….

There were even things that no one should ever need more than one of–like hairbrushes and bed comforters.

Just thinking back on all the things I used to own makes me nervous, but also excited over how far I’ve come.  It motivates me to keep pushing forward to get to that place that feels right for me.

It’s funny, because, even though the things I have left in my life seem necessary now, I know that they’re really not.  I can’t wait to see how far I take this thing.

I can’t wait to finally travel light!

Even now, I can’t say that I don’t have any collections in my life.

There’s still a few of those Dave Matthews Band tour t-shirts that keep hanging around, along with a ridiculously large collection of TOMS shoes and an obscene music collection–this includes several large stacks of vinyl that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to part with.

At least the few things I collect now are things with use or meaning: I still wear my band shirts and TOMS shoes (which I also support because I believe in their cause), and music is a huge part of my life.  I prefer the sound of vinyl recordings to mp3s and almost always choose to buy the actual CD over the digital download.  Is this something that will change?  Maybe.  Just not quite yet.

I wrote this to convince you that any collection is probably a bad idea, but I realize, now, that there are a few exceptions to that rule.

Ultimately, though, we should strive to collect knowledge and awareness more than any material possessions.

This is something I can definitely say I do.  I learn something new or am made aware of new things almost daily.  I love to seek out information on the topics and ideas that move me and love sharing them with others.

I encourage you all to do the same.

So, stop collecting and start collecting….the right things.

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It is vain to do with more what can be done with fewer.

–William Occam

WO

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