9/1/16

On Learning Minimalism


Candles, pillows and rugs. All things beautiful but as I walked the isles of TJ Maxx it all felt empty. It felt overwhelming. It felt frustrating.

I had enough with consumerism. With the idea that the newest and shiniest was the way to go. That budgets don't matter and that things bring joy versus daily experiences and people. Texting Rusty I declared that I was over spending outside our means. I was done with buying to just buy. Peace out emoji all the way.

Minimalism is new to me and while I don't have the answers to all the questions on this topic I am loving learning and exploring what it means to me and others. I first heard the term through Caroline Rector of Un-Fancy when discovering her simplicity capsule wardrobe. The idea that you take a few items from your closet, mix them to make multiple outfits and ditch shopping in excess caught my attention. Could I do that? Over time I started reading more on minimalism and simplicity to the point where consumerism didn't make sense to me anymore. While I learn daily, here are a few things that a minimal lifestyle has taught me.

THINGS I AM LEARNING WITH MINIMALISM:

It isn't just about stuff. It is social media, food, finances. Anything that you do in excess can also have minimalism applied to it. Minimalism in social media is something I have toyed with for years by taking social media free weekends and long hiatuses with no checking in or even opening an app. I saw a quote by Jenna Kutcher the other day that said do more things that make you put your phone down. Yes! It is challenging but so good for the soul. I love posting about my kids (maybe a bit too much) but I also find myself staying up late looking at Instagram. I want to go to bed early and feel rested. If I miss something I miss something.

Minimalism is also taking over my kitchen. I am challenging myself to explore more in the kitchen but with simple, hearty recipes. My favorite dishes right now are one pot dishes. Roasted chicken and veggies together in the dutch oven make me happy. I clean one dish and the ingredients are simple and healthy. You can apply minimalism to more areas of your life than you realize.

It doesn't happen overnight. Minimalism truly takes practice. I am still working on this and will be for some time. When it comes to social media and even shaving our budget a little more each month, we will get there. It takes time and slip ups and that is okay. Go with it. Nothing new is ever easy. Maybe minimalism isn't for you but if it is learn what works for you. Evaluate your feelings on different areas of your life that need minimalism. Write about it. Celebrate your successes. Keep going!

You learn new ways of doing things. We have one bottle for Clara. With Skip we had 15. Did we use 15? Nope but we were given that many. We wash the bottle after each use so one makes sense. I know that may seem like a silly example but think of all the cabinet space we have now without all those bottles. This fall I will be making my first capsule wardrobe (peace out baby weight). I have never done this and am so excited to try! I will be tackling my closet and getting rid of things that don't fit or don't make me happy when I hold them in my hands.

When I would go clothes shopping before buying consisted of whatever I liked. Now I really examine the clothes. Does it make me happy? Do I really love it? Is it quality material? Will I wear it multiple times? Shopping is different for me now. My closet has items that make me feel good, hold up to life  and bring joy. Making a simpler and paired down life has taught me new ways of doing old things.

Others are more interested than you realize. One thing I love is that I have other friends doing minimalism like champs but I didn't know it until I brought it up. My dear friend Summer and I talked all about scaling down our kids toys, our coffee mug collection (I still have way too many!!) and getting rid of clothes. It feels so good to have others who are taking this journey with me and encourage me. Find these people. Hold them tight! But also look online. Read blogs. People are revolutionizing minimalism and it is so awesome to see. One of my favorite gals is Alison of 600 square feet and a baby. Yep, two adults and now two babies in 600 square feet. She is my spirit animal.

It brings so much joy! Can we say the biggest thing I love about a simpler lifestyle is that I have learned what I really love but mostly need. When I was pregnant with Skip everyone said you need this and this and don't forget that. We bought very little and if that is all you have you don't realize you need more.

Skip recently started school (Mother's Day Out). We needed to get him a lunch box to take with him so as I was browsing the isles at TJ Maxx I discovered plastic containers that had a spot for a sandwich, a long skinny compartment for a string cheese or veggie straws and then two small cubes for fruit or other treats. I picked it up and put it in my cart immediately. As I continued walking I started thinking about the container. Did he really need that? We have two reusable lunch sacks for sandwiches and larger items plus a small container perfect for fruits at home. It would take me making sure that the container is clean each day which I already do. I put the all in one cube back on the shelf and saved us $8. You may not think that is a lot but over time $8 goodies add up. I would rather spend that on drinks on the patio for R and I or for Skip and I to see a matinee. Minimalism has made me stop and really talk through if we need something. Do this bring me true joy or am I buying just to buy something? Ask yourself that. You would be shocked at how much you are buying just because rather than because you need it or it brings special joy.

Friends we have much work to do on living simpler but we will get there. We are getting to explore a new lifestyle to us and what things mean to us. Minimalizing our life has been wonderful for our little family. A post on simple to larger ways we are making this work to come soon!

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2 comments:

  1. This is so encouraging, challenging, and fun! Excited to see where minimalism takes you and what you teach us along the way!! Amen to the coffee mug clean out, much needed over here!

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    1. How do we get attached to a coffee mug? Ha It is kind of weird when you think about it. Thanks for reading Gabby and always being encouraging!

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