Tag Archives: declutter

All In A Day’s Work

When you run out of your own stuff to declutter–at least for a while–help someone else with theirs!

That’s what my mom and I did this past Saturday.  We went over to a friend’s house and helped her declutter and reorganize her closet, and I have to say, the end result was amazing.

Please don’t misunderstand me, though.  I’m not done with my own space yet.  There’s still more to work through; I just found myself at a sort of standstill after another layer was peeled away and decided to use my nervous tidying energy to help someone else who desperately needed it.  It was so great to see how happy she was when we had finished.  I think her husband was more than a little excited about it, too.

Even though the closet was overflowing with options before, she had such difficulty finding and deciding what to wear each day due to its lack of order.  Now, all of her favorite pieces are organized and easily accessible for daily use.

Hopefully the pictures below will give you a little motivation if you’ve been dragging on the minimalism front.

xoxo

Before:

V-Before

After (My favorite part is the empty upper shelves!):

V-After

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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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Show Me The Money!

After another Friday night / Saturday morning yard sale weekend, I walked away very pleased with my continuing progress.

This time, I made $400.  AND got rid of quite a few bulky items that I’ve been sick of seeing for a while now.

My aunt, uncle, cousins, brother, brother’s girlfriend, Nana, Mom, Dad, and I all came together — each of us pitching in items that we were ready to be rid of.  We always have the best time.  

My aunt made a breakfast casserole, Mom had a crock pot of BBQ chicken for lunchtime sandwiches, and Nana brought over some cake and brownies for us to snack on.  We’re a super close family, so even though there was some labor involved throughout the weekend, we just visited and enjoyed one another’s company.  

One of my favorite ways to spend a weekend.

All of us combined made about $1,000.

I hope this inspires some of you to host your own yard sale.  You really can make a good deal of money, making it worth your trouble.  If you need any pointers, just leave a comment below!

I hope y’all have a great week!

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Road Tripping

The yard sale was not a huge success this time.

We knew going in, that having it on the next to last weekend of the month had the potential to be not-so-beneficial.

We were right.

So, we’ve boxed up all the odds and ends and decided to try again next month. I made about $300 that weekend (mostly from a couple of items I sold on Facebook), so that was a good amount to take with me on the road trip my boyfriend and I had spent so many weeks planning.

And what a memorable trip it was!

We spent a day in Washington D.C., a day in Philadelphia, two days in the Catskill Mountains, a day in New York City, drove through Amish country, and took a couple days in Gettysburg before journeying back home.

I’m always amazed at how well my guy and I mesh when we spend significant amounts of time together. Aside from the occasional bickering over the other person’s driving skills, I’d say the trip was quite serene–even despite the constant moving we were doing. The scenery was breath-taking, and it was so exciting to see so many places we’d only seen in movies or read about in books for so many years.

We didn’t love NYC like we thought we would, probably because of the crowds, traffic, and stench. Instead, we were pleasantly surprised at how quickly and repeatedly we fell in love with Pennsylvania. Such an awesome state to visit! Our goals on this trip were definitely achieved. We got to see The Felice Brothers at the first ever Felice County Fair, where even Simone Felice joined in the fun for the day (most pleasant surprise of the trip), and we got a good sample of many places in order to see which ones we care to revisit in the future.

And we did a little wine-tasting and purchasing at a little winery in the Catskills. One of my favorite experiences.

We also learned a lot about ourselves. We both realize that our time is not always spent on things that grow us. Of course this can’t always be controlled, but we definitely see that traveling together is something that has to be a top priority for us. We know that we have to make time for it in our lives. We both love and crave it so much.

We’re already thinking about where we’d like to visit next. San Francisco, maybe?

We shall see!

What were some fun places you’ve traveled to in the past or will travel to in the future? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

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Tomorrow Is A Big Day

Our yard sale is tomorrow.

I’m so excited.  Once again, I’m amazed at the amount of junk we were able to uncover.  (I’ll post a pic of my mom’s dining room after this post so you can get an idea of what we’re working with, here.)

My parents have a shed in their back yard.  In this shed were tons of items we were too afraid to encounter before.  But a couple of weeks ago, my mom and I put on our big girl panties and slayed the beast.

Childhood papers, old Hot Wheels cars and race tracks, Barbies galore (including way more accessories than I care to admit), Legos, board games (that never got played), hunting gear (brother’s), train sets, tools, car detailing junk, life jackets, beach chairs, bikes, wheelbarrows, home repair items, Christmas decorations, sports equipment . . . the list goes on.

My dad is still not ready to part with a large portion of his tools and things (even though, I really think he should and have told him so), and my brother’s more occupied with other activities than going through each item he owns to down-size.  That’s OK, though.  Me and mom did what we could and made huge progress.

I’m loving Facebook’s yard sale groups.  I’ve made close to $500 just in the past few weeks from using it.  So awesome!  I’m hoping to make a few hundred tomorrow as well.  New York is less than a week away, and I want to use the extra cash towards making memories instead of holding on to the things in my life that I’m getting zero use, enjoyment, or benefit out of.

I’m ready for great things, and I don’t want to be weighed down by my junk when the time comes.  I love seeing cleared spaces instead of feeling claustrophobic in my own house or car.  I love how quickly I can CLEAN my house with less junk laying around.  I love that I could wash every dish in my house by hand in 20 minutes or less.  I love that I only have to do about 2 loads of laundry per week.  I love that I’m obtaining more and more time to do the things that make me happy.

I love my life, and I love this journey.

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(Yet Another) Yard Sale Post

Yep.  We’re at it again, people.

Me and my mama will be having another yard sale in just 4 short weeks.

Me and the boyfriend are taking a much needed vacation up to New York for a mini-festival, hosted by my favorite band, The Felice Brothers.  (I encourage everyone to check them out.  They’re pretty freakin’ sweet.)  We just bought a ’99 Honda Civic hatchback last summer with only 67,000 miles on her (we love bragging about it) and want to take her on the open road to see parts of our lovely country that we’ve yet to experience.

We need this trip for our sanity.  Work has been a little hectic for him lately, and our time together is very limited.  We’re hoping to take our relationship to the next level in the very near future and want to enjoy this little slice of time we have before life gets too hectic again.  (It’s funny how busy life can potentially get, even when you’re living simply!)

I’m hoping to save up a little extra cash before we hit the road by selling some more things I never use.  I’ve also been paring down my possessions all along by posting them for sale on Facebook.  I love the success I’ve had with this method!

I’ve given myself a time limit so I’m forced to stay focused on another purge.  I’m finding it much more difficult to find items that aren’t getting any use these days.  This is very encouraging!  I feel like I’m really doing something right.

I’ve made real progress with my wardrobe and am continuing to eliminate pieces on a regular basis.  My kitchen contains almost only frequently used items, and my bathroom is totally uncluttered.  I feel so much more aware of my wants verses my needs than I was just 6 months ago.  Every time I think I’ve got this whole thing figured out, I find another layer to peel away.  I LOVE IT!

The only real area that needs work is me being OK with parting with my grandma’s furniture.  I currently live in her old house, and there are still a few remaining pieces of furniture that are sentimental.  I know that I don’t want to lug these beasts around when it comes time for a move–which could very possibly be sooner rather than later–and will, therefore, try to work my way up to that release before long.

One step at a time.

I like knowing that, if something were to happen to me, I won’t be leaving behind the burden of having to go through and purge my possessions to my loved-ones.  I love them so much and wouldn’t want to put them through such a daunting task.

I feel like I’m slowly, but surely, encouraging others to do the same.  Not everyone gets it–or thinks I’m sane, for that matter *LOL*–and that’s OK.  It’s not for everyone.  I’m just grateful for those in my life who not only do get it but are also so encouraging.  I appreciate you more than I can put into words.

The road is definitely a difficult and less-traveled one, but it is well worth it in the end.

It’s just nice to know I’m not alone in the journey.

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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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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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