Tag Archives: enough

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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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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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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Wheat-less

I’ve decided, once again, to go wheat-less with my diet.

I’ve done this before and had definite success with it.  There’s so much reading out there lately on the dangers of wheat, and why we should avoid it.  It doesn’t make sense to eat low-fat or fat-free foods, when it’s so plainly clear that fat doesn’t make you fat–the wrong kinds of carbohydrates do.  The choice is obvious to me.

I believe that eating anything containing wheat first thing in the morning will only start my day off on the wrong foot.  My insulin levels will be jacked up, causing my body to burn that sugar for energy instead of its own fat (what I’m trying so desperately to be rid of), and I will crash soon after.  The shakes set in, and I immediately go for some other starchy food for lunch.  Wash, rinse, and repeat for dinner.

It has taken me a week to get over the bulk of the withdrawal symptoms and cravings.  I feel that I’m about 75% over wheat at this point.  That sounds funny to say, but if you cut it out of your diet, you’ll see exactly what I mean by that statement.

Last week–my first week off wheat–I was angry, moody, hungry, shaky on and off, craving every dessert imaginable (and I’m not even a big sweets person), and just down-right miserable.  I had cut wheat out of my diet previously, so I knew what to expect.  Oh, how I wish I had stayed in that habit a few months ago to avoid the withdrawals all over again.

Instead of eating muffins or waffles for breakfast, I’ve switched to eggs, fruit, and almonds.

My lunch usually consists of a spinach salad with olive oil and red wine vinegar, carrots and bell pepper slices with hummus, some warmed tomato juice with a dash of salt and pepper (eaten like a soup), a few more almonds, and maybe a small piece of fruit–as opposed to a sandwich I would have typically eaten before.

For dinner I’m downing a couple of different types of veggies with a lean piece of grilled or baked protein.  In the past, I had nights where all I would have was an entire box of Velveeta mac ‘n’ cheese.  (Don’t judge me.  We’ve all been there.)

And water.  Lots and lots of water.

Sodas have never been a huge issue for me.  I don’t drink a lot of sugary drinks (and never artificially sweetened ones), except for the occasional cup of coffee with cream and sugar, which I’ve cut out also.  Today is my first day trying Bulletproof Coffee, with grass-fed butter, and I’m interested to see how it will affect my life.

I’m getting to the point where I’m full sooner, I eat smaller portions, the shakes are virtually nonexistent, my headaches and joint aches rarely show up (a common symptom of wheat in one’s diet), and I’m in a much better mood.  🙂

The thing is, even though pasta is my favorite food of all time, after getting through the withdrawal stages, I don’t even really miss it.  It’s funny how that works.  I guess I’m just so in love with the way I feel, I don’t want to eat the things that I know will mess me up.

Not to mention I lost over 5 pounds the first week of this lifestyle change.  Definitely a bonus.

I love not counting calories–I’ve done it before, and it sucks.  I eat until I’m full; I just only eat the foods that I know are beneficial to my life and progress.  

I’ve changed from saying, I can’t eat that, to, don’t eat that–which takes me from feeling deprived to grateful for the healthy things I’m putting into my body.  Like I stated previously, I was doing this before and got out of the habit, but this time will be different.  I want to stick with it!

Please understand that I will occasionally have a pasta dish, chocolate chip cookie, or Circus Boy (my current favorite brew).  It’s not like I’m completely cutting these things out of my life from here ’til kingdom come.  They are just no longer a part of my daily routine.  If I can stick to this lifestyle 90-95% of the time, I think I’m going to be just fine.

So….I raise my cup of Bulletproof Coffee to progress and the many weeks and months to come.  Cheers!

Have any of you cut wheat from your diet and noticed drastic changes in your life?

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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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