Tag Archives: minimalism

barely minimalist is back!

I’ve been MIA for awhile, I know.  I googled my blog last night (yeah, I’ll admit it), and was reading through my past posts and noticed the last time I posted was in July 2012.  WOW!  To tell the truth, I’ve had a heck of past 9 months.  I promoted at my job last January and since then was living in a frequent state of high stress, adrenaline pumping madness. Literally everything else in my life took a backseat. 

As I was reading through my old posts I was thinking, “I don’t even know this person anymore, but I want to!”.  I’ve totally stepped away from my barely minimalist path and jumped right back on that train of consume, consume, consume.  But I need to find my way back home.

I actually have some big, controversial news…I quit my job!  Yes I did.  Say whatever you want, but this was a personal decision I made after a year of planning and I’m stoked!  It’s been about 3 weeks and I ain’t looking back.  I love it!  I’m in school finishing up my Bachelor’s, gardening in my community plot, working on some very small business ideas and just plain relaxing.  It’s awesome. 

I’m looking forward to lots of yoga, healthy eating, a 21-day cleanse, and getting back into my love of simple living and minimalism.  I’m taking my time right now though, flirting with all these things I want to do.  I don’t want pressure, I want freedom.  This is my life and I’m living, for the first time in awhile.  I’ve jumped off the cliff and the sleep-walking is over.  No more dreading everyday life. 


gratitude

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about gratitude.  I read somewhere, in a book or online,  that gratitude is the key to happiness.  That resonated with me.  We get so caught up in the bad, that we totally forget about all the good in our lives to be thankful for.   So for the past couple of weeks I’ve been reciting what I’m grateful for in my life before bed.  It keeps me in check, puts the bad vs. good in perspective.  Just to share, here are a few things I am deeply grateful for in my life right now:

1.  My vision (eyesight, that is).  I can see, though not very well, I still can see the beautiful sunset, the ocean, my niece and nephew laughing and playing, etc.  From a person who has “complicated” vision, I can tell you that it is priceless to be able to see.  Through two years of exams, surgery, and Lasik scheduled soon, I’m on track to being able to see better.   And this I am thankful for beyond words.

2.  My friends and family.  Though I don’t have a big family or a ton of friends, I’m thankful for those in my life who care for me, and I for them.

3.  My cat.  Ha!  He makes me laugh, he satisfies my need to take care of something, and keeps me company when I’m alone.

4.  My job.  It keeps a roof over my head, bills paid, and food on the table.  Maybe it’s not my dream, but it’s been paving the way towards it everyday and every paycheck.

5.  My apartment and my car.  For the first time in my life, I feel secure where I live and with the car I have.  Neither are extravagant by any means, but I love my new place, and I love not worrying about my car breaking down everyday.  It’s peaceful right now, and I need peace in my life.

What are you grateful for in your life?  Take a couple of minutes and make a small list either on paper or quietly in your mind.  Recite that list to yourself whenever you are feeling overwhelmed by the bad.  It helps, it really does.

 


moving!

I’m in the process of moving to a new apartment and that’s why I’ve been a little MIA. It’s super exciting as this was one of my big goals for awhile now. I’m moving acrossed town to a new (to me) apartment with my cat Tatum this weekend and so I’ve been super busy!

So I plan to be back shortly with a bunch of posts on “barely minimalism” and minimalist moving. Moving is really giving me a chance at a fresh start and a chance to really clear the clutter, so I can’t wait to share!

Be well!


becoming a minimalist means learning to let go

Letting go of an obsession and/or attachment to things is essential to becoming a minimalist.  I have indeed read this many times, but actually experiencing it  along my minimalist journey has proved its truth. 

I have always been good about clearing out stuff I no longer want or use (for the most part), but seem to acquire new stuff just as fast as the old stuff gets loaded on to the Goodwill truck.  This is not being minimalist, and this desire must stop- and has for the most part.  I’m not perfect, I’ve purchased a new dress and shirt in the past couple months.  But I can see how easily these small purchases could have triggered my old habits and pulled me back to where I started.

The difference now though, it that I have had a shift in consciousness.  Stuff is not important and too much of it can keep you stuck and imprisoned in many ways.  My favorite quote from the movie “Fight Club” sums it up perfectly:  “The things you own end up owning you.”  I no longer have the desire to acquire everything and anything in my path, I only buy what I truly need and love.  And the rest is discarded.

So letting go, and rebelling against a society that is bombarding us with advertisements and reality tv shows telling us to buy, buy, buy to make our lives better is imperative.  There is another way, and from what I’ve experiences so far and read about on other blogs, it’s a better way!

As a recovering spend-a-holic and new minimalist in the making, I need to remind myself of the great benefits of minimalism everyday.   Buying a bunch of new stuff might bring happiness in the moment, but will inevitably end up causing more damage. 

So just let go and ask yourself…..

“Am I willing to trade my money, time, freedom, and ultimately my life for stuff?”

 


getting rid of your stuff part two: donate

Donating is a great way to clear your clutter.  It’s easy, it’s green (it’s basically recycling, right?), and it can feel rewarding to give your unused things to someone who really needs it.  You can donate almost anything, but generally it needs to be in good working used condition.  There are many many places that will take your unwanted things, here are a few of them:

  •   Goodwill.  Goodwill will basically take anything in decent condition.   Clothing, accessories, shoes, household items, appliances, furniture, books, toys, etc.   The website will show you the nearest location/drop-off.
  •  Thrift Stores.  Thrift Stores are also a great place to donate your gently used items.  Many thrift stores are either privately owned or,  in the case of my town, many support a certain charity or church.
  •  Local Shelters.  Homeless shelters and women’s shelters are also great places to donate items.   I’ve donated clothing (specifically jackets), toiletries (opened and un-opened, they will take it all), and food.  Contrary to what I thought, our local homeless day shelter will take opened food, extra food from a bbq, opened half-used shampoo bottles, etc..  They are in that big of need that they really aren’t picky.  At that time I had about 10-12 opened shampoo/conditioner bottles because frankly, I was wasteful and was trying out different kinds to find one that worked.  I kept all these barely used bottles because I didn’t want to just throw them away, but I never planned to use them.  I felt a little weird about donating half used bottles, but atleast they didn’t go to complete waste.  Check with your local shelter to see if exactly what they are in need of and what they will accept.  You should be able to do a Google search of local shelters and give them a call.
  • Give to Friends and Family.  Do you have a friend in need?  A neighbor?  A family member?  Ask around, mention what you have to give to friends and families.  I bet someone you know could use your stuff.

getting rid of your stuff part one: sell

Ok, so you’ve decided to give this minimalist thing a shot.  You’re sorting through your stuff, deciding what to get rid of, and you’re doing awesome! 

Your drawers are cleaner, you can actually find that shirt you’ve been looking for in your closet for months now, your car finally fits in your garage.  But wait a minute!  What do you actually do with all this decluttered stuff besides throw it all away(which I do not recommend unless necessary)? The boxes, the trash bags, the giant iced tea maker you just had to have but only used once in 5 years?

One great way to get rid of things and make some extra cash is to sell your stuff.  Some of you may not need the money and therefore selling your stuff is not worth the time, but others can look at their excess stuff and new minimalist lifestyle as a way to make money!  Here are some basic examples of where to sell your stuff:

  • eBayI’ve sold many of my gently used items on eBay.  Things like name brand clothing (GAP and Banana Republic do well, even used!), household items like Starbucks mugs, shoes, accessories, and most recently a Disney “Fox and the Hound” plate from my childhood.  Make sure to do a little research and check to make sure it’s worth selling beforehand.  You will need to open an eBay account, Paypal account, and link a bank account.
  • Amazon and Etsy.  Amazon is a good place to sell books, cd’s, dvd’s, and various household items.  There is no fee to list, but unless you pay a monthly upgraded fee, you can only list what is already in their catalog.  You will need to open an Amazon seller account and link a bank account.  Etsy is a great place to sell handmade and vintage items.
  • Craigslist.  Heavier items like outdoor toys, appliances, large household decor, etc., are better (and much easier) to sell on Craigslist.  You may not have as much virtual traffic as eBay and you will have to meet the buyer face to face, but I know many people who have made a good chunk of change selling their stuff locally.  Also, it’s free to list items and is a fairly easy process. 
  • Yard Sale or Swap Meet.  Don’t forget about the good old fashion garage sale!  Drag all your crap out to the driveway, put some signs up and put a garage sale listing on Craigslist, sit back and sell.  You may not get top dollar for your things, but it’s a good way to make some extra cash and get rid of a bunch of stuff in one day.  You can even go a little extreme and take all the unsold stuff to Goodwill.  There’s no sense in dragging it all back in the garage, is there?  If you live in an apartment like I do, you can either sell your stuff at a friend or family members garage sale or go to a swap meet.

 

 


5 reasons to become a minimalist

1.  Create more physical and mental space.  Minimalism is generally about reducing possessions to only what you need.  Creating more physical space and in result, creating more mental space.  Pairing down possessions is the start of minimalism, but it’s really a state of mind.  Less possessions= more space, more time, more money, and more mental clarity and peace of mind.

2.  Gain control of your finances (and sanity).  I speak from personal experience on this.  Money issues can ruin relationships, send you into a state of constant worry or even provoke panic attacks.  Heading towards minimalism really does quiet your money noise and give you control over your financial situation.  Since I’ve chosen to live a more minimalist life, I have stopped obsessing about money.  I’m not on the trail of mindless consuming and buying everything I possibly can anymore.  Thus my money noise is fading day by day.  I still have a lot of debt and not a lot of savings, but I’m not stressed anymore about it.  Money is not my main focus.

3.  Go green!  When you move in the direction of a minimalist lifestyle, you automatically lighten your environmental impact.  Whether you have simply cut down on consuming stuff or have gone more extreme and sold your car, going green is inevitable with minimalism.

4.  Strengthen relationships.  When you don’t have so much stuff to obsess over, acquire, worry about, keep clean and organized, etc., more time is available to cultivate personal relationships.  Relationships are so much more important than material things.  Your stuff can’t hold your hand or laugh with you at the movies, or go for a hike (well technically I guess it can, but you know what I’m saying).  People are what matter, things are not.

5.  Find what you love.   What are you passionate about?  Do you even know?  It’s very typical for people to get so obsessed with acquiring money and things, that they can’t even answer those questions.  Once you have shifted your focus to a less-materialistic minimalist mindset, you will have the space and time to find your passions.   Take that yoga class, sign up for that art course, start the small business you’ve been dreaming about but never thought was possible.  Stop focusing on things, and start focusing on the present and find what you love.