Tag Archives: simple living

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. 


an authentic life

Since turning 30 in February, I guess I’ve been going through a bit of a mid-life crisis so to speak.  Like a lot of thirty-somethings I’m guessing, I thought my life would have been a lot different by now.  I expected to be married and have those three kids by now.  I thought I would have “it all figured out” and be a real live grown-up.  Honesty, I am so far from all of that.  I’m not married and I’m not even close to being married since I just ended a 10 year-long relationship.  I don’t have kids, a house, or a career that I’m passionate about.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m super grateful for all that I have, but I can’t help but wonder if there is more out there for me.

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about living authentically.  To live an authentic life means aligning your beliefs, values, ideals, passions, goals, and self with your actions.  To live authentically means to be your true self and not pretend to be somebody you’re not to fit in.  This is easier said than done.  If I were to be honest with myself and others, I’m not living authentically.  My job at times embodies all that I think is wrong with society.  I eat food from unsustainable and unethical sources.  I buy products from and support companies that I know I shouldn’t, but do it out of laziness and convenience.  I talk about and read about simple living and doing what you love for a living, but I’m not doing it myself.  I have succumbed to societal pressure to buy an identity through consumerism and work an 8 to 5 job in a cubicle so I can retire at 65 years old with a 401k.

So why is living authentically so hard for me?  Is it fear?  Is it laziness?  Is it pure complacency?  I think it’s all three of those.  I’m afraid of being labeled, of being judged, of being an outcast.  I’m  afraid of failing.  So what’s a girl to do?  Take a risk or stay in the safe zone?  This is the question that weighs so heavily on my mind, that keeps floating in and out of my head.


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.

 


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.


5 easy things you can do this week to become a minimalist

1.  Pick a drawer, a closet, a cabinet, a corner…some space in your home/garage/workplace.  Remove everything.  Only put back the essentials.  Recycle, donate, and/or toss the remaining.

2.  Clean out your purse or wallet.  It’s amazing how many receipts, pennies, rewards cards, and if you’re like me….exta junk!  can pile up inside.  After you’ve minimalized down to what you truly use (do you really need to be carrying around 50 pennies and 20 store discount cards?), vow to clean out unnecessary items every day.

3.  Unsubscribe from 5-10 email subscriptions.  Last week I took about 10 minutes and unsubscribed from about 20 email subscriptions from Borders Rewards, GAP, etc.  Not only does my inbox stay tidy, but I don’t have the urge to shop and spend money on unnecessary things.

4.  Practice meditation or yoga for 20 minutes.  What does this have to do with minimalism you ask?  My belief is that a minimalist lifestyle is not just about clearing out physical clutter, but mental clutter as well.  Yoga and mediation are fantastic ways of calming and clearing your mind.  My yoga classes are my therapy, my workout, my peace of mind.

5.  Pick one goal or task you would like to accomplish, and start working towards it.  No matter if this is small, like finally taking the donations to the Goodwill truck, or big like starting a home business, pick a goal, focus all your energy on it, and take steps to accomplish it.  This is the minimalist approach to accomplishing goals and it works.  Too many goals at once can be too much pressure and stress.  It can be very easy to throw up your hands and say “Forget it, I’ll never be able to accomplish all this!”.  Pick one goal, and start taking the necessary steps today.


why “barely” minimalist?

I started this blog and this path towards “barely” minimalism, because I’ve realized that I need some big changes in my life.  I’m not happy in my current situation and instead of waiting for something or someone to change that, I need to look inside myself and make the changes on my own.

I let go of someone I love recently.  It was the hardest decision I had to make, but it was the right one.  After he was gone, I was forced to focus on myself for the first time in a decade.  I took a hard look at my life and realized there were many things I had accepted as “reality” for so long, that I could change if I put the effort in.  I always wanted to change my habits, but I always put it off till next week, or next month.  But next week, or next month never came, I was still stuck doing the same ‘ol, same ‘ol, not committing to any changes.  Let’s be real, change can be hard until we decide enough is enough.  Life is too short to live an unfulfilling and unhappy life.

About a month or two ago, I came acrossed and started following some awesome blogs on minimalism, and different individuals living “minimalist” style lives.  I’ve studied simple living and frugality, but all I knew of minimalism was interior design related.  This idea of being a minimalist sparked a big interest inside of me and a lust to learn more.  This idea of living with only the necessities and weeding out all other clutter seemed alluring.  I have been living the opposite lifestyle for a while and it’s never made me happy.  I’ve spent so many hours and so much money shopping, it actually makes me cringe to think about it.  I actually had gotten to a point where I hated going shopping, and my ever-growing possessions were stressing me out as I felt I had no room to breathe as the drawers and closets got fuller and fuller.  But I kept doing it because it just seemed “normal” and buying stuff was supposed to make me happy, right?

It didn’t, it actually kept me stuck and unhappy.

In addition to the decluttering and downsizing, I also see minimalism as putting life and people before things.  It’s easy to focus on stuff, because it keeps us busy from having to deal with people, relationships, failed dreams, childhood issues, personal issues, etc.  Stuff can be an easy distraction from living life.  My life has been full of stuff, and lacking in close relationships, passions and well, living.

So I started the blog to chronicle my journey, make myself accountable, and maybe meet some like-minded people along the way out in the blog-o-sphere.  I titled it “barely minimalist” because at this point I am barely a minimalist.  I have too much stuff for one person still, I work in a corporate job in a cubicle, I make payments on a car,  I still like shopping for new things (on a much smaller scale), and I probably won’t be fitting all my possessions in a backpack and traveling around the world any time soon.  I’m doing minimalism my way.  I don’t believe there is one way to be a minimalist, and I’m on my path to finding my place in it.


this week’s decluttering, with pictures!

So I went a little crazy this week decluttering and in doing so,  have gotten together a pretty good amount of stuff to either donate, sell, or recycle.   I’m shaking slightly, thinking about some stuff I “might” need in the future.  But, you know what?  It feels fabulous!  Actually I think from here on out it might be a little tougher.  I’ve gone through my apartment a few times over the past few weeks clearing a lot of stuff out, and I think the remaining stuff it going to be harder to let go of.

I think I still need to pair down although my apartment is really starting to look far from cluttered, but far from “minimalistic”.  I have too many clothes and shoes still, and I think I can find more stuff to let go.  I think everyone shoud define minimalism in their own way and I plan to describe mine in a future post.  But for now, let’s get to the good stuff!  The pics of the stuff I said “peace out” to this week:

First off, here’s a pic of the stuff that will be on it’s way to Goodwill tomorrow to be donated.  It includes 3 big GAP bags full of clothing, shoes and accessories, and two boxes full of miscellanious household items including a biscotti jar which I do really like, but have never once filled with biscotti nor anything else.  I am not a lover of knick-knacks but I have managed to accumulate a few and the biscotti jar was a gigantic one taking up a whole shelf.

I’d like to also give a shout-out to my 3-dr Toyota Yaris liftback that can hold a pretty sweet amount of crap for being so sub-compact.

Next up are the broken electronics I’ve been holding onto because I felt bad throwing them into the landfill, yet never pursued another option of disposing them.  On Earth Day this year I saw a online offer from Best Buy saying they will recycle old electronics for free!  Jackpot!  So I’m taking my broken microwave (that I ownded only 1 year, can we say infuriating and wasteful?!), old cell phone, and broken digital camera.

The next two pictures are of stuff that I’m trying to sell.  The first picture is the stuff I’m trying to sell local and the second picture is stuff I’m going to put on ebay tonight.

I also shipped out 3 items that I sold online, I don’t have a photo for those though.  2 on ebay and 1 on Amazon.  Cash money baby!

 

It’s very liberating to let all this stuff go.  Less stuff, more space and time.  I highly recommend it!