Minimalist Gift Ideas

As I promised yesterday we would come up with some ideas for what to buy a minimalist. There are times in our lives that we just have to buy and give gifts to loved ones. One of those times is Christmas. This can be a stressful time for many and especially for those that want to purchase something for the minimalist in their lives. So here is a list of ideas that any minimalist would enjoy.

When buying something for a minimalist remember that the last thing they want is more stuff. So instead take the route of finding activities or experiences. Most minimalists would say they are living this way because they want to live life to its fullest. So what ideas do we have that could help them?

GIFT CARDS

Gas cards

Grocery Store

Movies

Restaurants

Disney+

ACTIVITIES

Bowling

Horse back Riding

Science Museums

Zoo tickets

Bike rides together

LESSONS

Art Lessons

Music Lessons

Cooking Lessons

Sports Lessons

Horse back Riding Lessons

Swim Lessons

TO DO TOGETHER

Grandparent Camp

Kayaking

Bike Rides

Ice Cream dates

Camping

Fishing

Putt Putt Golf

FOR THE HOME

Laundry service

Cleaning service

Carpet cleaning

In gifting minimalists with activities, you insure that they will feel loved. When you give them the gift of time its speaks to their heart. Helping them to experience something they may not have experienced before. When in doubt just ask. I know we love to give gifts secretly. We want to surprise people with gifts that we feel they will love. When you get a person you know is living simply it’s not a bad idea to ask them what they might like. They might surprise you with some ideas they have. Just because they don’t want stuff doesn’t mean you can’t gift them something incredible!

I hope this list gets your wheels turning and you can find something to show your minimalist friend how much you love them. Enjoy the hunt and best of luck!

Kelly

How to say No.

This weekend I spent some time visiting my family back home. It was a great time of refresh. I love going home and seeing my family. My parents are two of the most amazing people. They love fiercely and give to others like God does. They give advice that comes from a God given wisdom that they were gifted. So naturally they are also givers. They love to gift others with things they may need or want. They are truly such a blessing to others.

This weekend like so many others, I went home ready to enjoy some good conversation, and laughter. Since taking on this new journey of living simply, there have been few road bumps. However this weekend I was faced with one that caused my anxiety to well up in me. This was the first time I have had to tell someone, as politely as possible, No. I haven’t worked these muscles much yet, so it came as no surprise that I fumbled for the right words to say, and how to stick to my lifestyle without hurting this persons feelings. Thinking quickly as the words came from her mouth, “Oh I almost forgot, I bought you a gift this week! I can’t wait for you to see it! You are going to Love it!” It was like I was living in slow motion. I had my back turned and was trying to think fast as to how I could say no thank you.

If you have yet to be in this situation, let me tell you, it will come. The day will come when a close friend or family member will gift you an item that they found that was “So you.” This situation brings with it so much fear of hurt, for them, but also the burden of what am I going to do with this item.

So let’s get back to my response. The gift was placed on the table and I prepared to open it, knowing that I had to let this person down easily. As I opened the package there was a vase with beautiful pink calla lilies. They were so pretty and thoughtful. My wedding flowers were calla lilies so naturally I knew this gift was from the heart. It was such a sweat and thoughtful gift. Now I had a few choices in this moment, I could accept the gift and find a place for them in my home, or I could gently remind my mom that we are working really hard to stop the flow of incoming items. So I pulled on my big girl panties so to speak and said, “Mom! I love these and I love that you thought of me. They are really pretty, BUT, I am working really hard right now on stopping the flow of items coming in to my home.” DRAMATIC PAUSE! I held my breath waiting for the tears to begin, thinking I may have just broken my moms heart!

YOU GUYS, my mom’s response was simply, “Oh honey! No worries, I can return them. I have another item I am taking back there anyways. So I just saw them and thought of you.” I felt a wave of grace fall over me. I was so consumed with this idea, that I was going to hurt my mom so severely, that she may never want to see me again! Instead she told me it was okay and moved on. It didn’t break her heart. It didn’t even fracture it.

So here’s what I learned from that, it is okay to say no. It’s okay to tell someone that you are close to, that you are living in a way that allows few items to pass the gates. Give those close to you the benefit of the doubt. They may surprise you.

Although my Mom was kind in that moment, it could have gone much worse. I think you need to know who you are dealing with. If this friend isn’t someone you feel you can tell the truth to, then don’t. I know you may look at this as flat out lying to them, and yes you may be. However, I will say this over, and over again, people are SO IMPORTANT. Your relationship with people is more important in that moment, than saying No. Listen, you can accept this gift and take it home to re-gift, display, or give away to the goodwill. In that moment though, it might be important to let them know that you love that they thought of you. You love that they know you so well, they bought you something that seems made for you!

So now that you are equipped for the moment when someone gifts you an item, you can face it head on. You will be ready to choose a response that fits the moment. Be vocal about your new life. Let friends and family know that you are taking on a simpler life. When you tell them before the gifts come, you may just stop them before it happens. I have been amazed at how quickly our friends and family have accepted our decision. Some have wondered why we feel the need to live this way, while others think it is amazing and they want to know more.

So what do you gift someone that is living simply? Tune in tomorrow for more on that!

-Kelly

10 Things to Stop Buying to Simplify Your Life

I am so excited to share some of my favorite ways to simplify your life today. These are things that may seem like common sense but are also sometimes harder to let go of than you may think. Let us keep in mind that everything we own, also owns us. If you own it, you need to care for it, maintain it. That takes time, energy and sometimes is even a financial burden. So let’s get right to it. What can you let go of today to simplify for tomorrow?

10. TRENDY CLOTHES

Trendy clothes are what we consider to be in style at the time. They could be certain colors, a certain dress style (I’m talking to you maxi dress), shoes, anything that has a shelf life. These items come and go like the wind. Every season brings forth new items. That is how consumerism works. We see these latest styles everywhere and it sparks something in us that says, “Oh my goodness, that is so cute. I love that!” Before you head to the store to purchase ask yourself if this is something that will stand the test of time? Will this still be something I can wear in a few years. Instead of looking for trends, look for timeless. Timeless items last longer and are classic. They don’t go out of style and you won’t need to run out and buy new ones every season.

9.HOUSE DECOR

You guys I am a sucker for House decor. I love making my home feel cozy and inviting. I am not saying take all your decor out of your home and donate every item. I am saying pick pieces that will still be your favorite in a few years. If it changes with the seasons, let it go. Now I am a huge Christmas fan. I love the lights, the trees, the nativity, everything. I plan to tackle my collection of Christmas again this year, as that is one area that I have had a hard time letting go. However, the items that need to be taken down as the seasons change I am letting go of. I had decor for every holiday! I found I was overwhelmed by my mantle with each new season or holiday. It was becoming more work that it is worth. So I simplified. Let go and move on!

8.CANDLES

I might lose some of you here. I know that candles smell lovely and they make you find that place of rest and relaxation. I am okay with that. What we don’t need however is a candle in each room and several of the same scent. I used to hoard my candles like they may never make a scent I like again! I seriously had a bin dedicated to my favorite sugar cookie scented candles. Now instead of running to the store to get more candles, I only buy them when I have burned the last of it and can throw it away. I don’t buy more while I still have one.

7.BOOKS

Stay with me! I know we all love our books. I love to read, and write, and books have a special place in my heart. Here’s the great thing though, there are libraries! We don’t need to own books. We can borrow them from the library and return them. We still get the pleasure of reading it without actually owning it, which in turn owns us. Keep reading!

6. SUBSCRIPTIONS

Something that comes to your mailbox every month. This can range from magazines to cleaning products. In order to simplify we have to stop the flow of incoming items. My love language is gifts. I love receiving gifts. I understand the feeling of joy that comes with each new package or magazine. However I also began seeing this as a burden. I now had to find a place to home this new item. Instead I chose to stop the item from coming all together. Problem solved!

5. LATEST GADGETS

We live in a time when getting the latest iPhone only lasts about 6 months before they start previewing the newest version. Maybe you are one of those people who loves technology and yearns for the latest and greatest. If you are not, then I suggest holding on to what you have until there is a need to get something new. The time will come when your phone, tablet, or laptop stops working properly. At that time go for it and upgrade, but don’t upgrade just to upgrade.

4.CLEANING SUPPLIES

I can’t believe I am actually writing this. I love to clean. Honestly you guys, it brings me such joy! I love the way my home smells after cleaning. So I am in no way telling you to stop cleaning your home. There are just other ways to clean rather than purchasing more cleaning supplies. The first way is with vinegar. You guys this is the stuff that makes my windows and shower sparkle! It is so effective and cheap. The second is essential oils. You can use essential oils for so much and cleaning is no exception.

3. TOYS

I know what you are thinking, my kid needs toys. I agree, every child does need toys but not to the extent we have thought. When your child has fewer toys it allows them to grow creatively. They are not forced to play with items for moments before being distracted by something else. Giving them fewer toys gives them the opportunity to think clearly and stay focused. They can truly get lost in play time and not feel the pull of distraction. Not sold, then try this, take half the toys away and put them somewhere secret. Allow your kids a couple weeks to try this out. Then come back here and allow me to give you a big fat, “I told you so!”

2. ACCESSORIES

This one wasn’t super hard for me. I am not much of a jewelry or purse gal. I like a few items and tend to wear only those. If you are a big fan of accessories though, this may be hard for you. Trust though, that you have all you need and don’t need more. This goes hand in hand with the trendy clothing. Shoes, watches, earrings, necklaces, etc. These items are fun but unnecessary. You can look just as put together wearing a classic earring as you would with the trendy earrings. So don’t buy more, just keep the ones you use most and discard the rest

1.FOOD

I am going there. We buy so much food that ends up in the trash. I am guilty of this myself. I have purchased items while shopping that look like something I would like in the moment. Instead of buying impulsively, stick to your list. If you are a meal planner, plan ahead and don’t go off your list. If you are not a meal planner I suggest trying it out. It isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds. I started with meals I knew everyone likes. I bought only the ingredients I needed for those meals. This way you go in with a plan to use each item. You will have less waste and it simplifies your days.

Every item we buy in return owns a small piece of us. In order to simplify we have to make choices to do just that. If you have been reading my other posts you would know that I have talked a lot about decluttering, but I have to say that isn’t the biggest part of a simpler lifestyle. The bigger thing is to stop bringing more items in. You have to stop that in flow in order to be successful. You can get rid of everything you own, and if you continue to fill the space back up with more new items, you will never get to your end goal.

Stay motivated and trust the process!

Kelly

In the Quiet Place

If Quarantine has taught me one thing, it is that I didn’t need MORE STUFF. Those first few weeks were somewhat frightening. I don’t think many of us knew what to expect and the media seemed to think we were all going to die. I subjected myself to many thoughts of the future and all the what ifs. What if I died and my kids didn’t have a momma any more. What would my husband do? Who would take care of them all?

I don’t mean to go so deep but the truth is that I think many of us had similar thoughts. Instead of allowing fear to over take me, I chose to turn it off and enjoy every second I had with my family. What I learned was that we had all we needed right here in this place we call Home. We had enough. We even had more than enough!

When my kids were at home and were finished with their school work, they actually played like kids. I don’t mean they played on a phone, a tablet, or even a chromebook. They chose to be creative and make up games. They explored boxes that were empty and created masterpieces from them. I was a proud mom in those moments.

While I watched my kids, (which by the way are 11 and 7 ) playing with BOXES, I realized our stuff had prevented them from being their creative selves. We decided that it was a good time to tackle a few more items from our play room. I could see the excitement in their eyes as they chose to donate item after item. What was left was a clean basement, with a kids kitchen, some Lego, a few super hero’s and dolls, and some Nerf guns. It wasn’t an overwhelming mess that I felt I couldn’t ever seem to make a dent in when cleaning.

I know this decluttering process takes time and it can be overwhelming. I have had many moments when I have felt too overwhelmed to continue. I sometimes look at a drawer or cupboard that I just finished decluttering and feel like it is still full to the brim! I just went through my spice cabinet and I filled a garbage bag yet somehow I still have enough to fill the cabinet! How is that possible?

I have to look at the bag and realize I did make a big change even if in that moment it feels like I didn’t. What I can focus on is that I can now see the spices I use regularly. You know the ones that somehow always get lost but are in every recipe you make!

So what is so great about living simply, and minimizing? I think the greatest gift that this has given me is the gift of time to really enjoy Relationship with others. I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to get together with someone but felt like I didn’t have the time. It has also released me from the constant errand running. If I am honest I chose to go out and shop instead of enjoying a quiet day at home. I wanted to be out and about. I didn’t enjoy staying home. I would fill my days with grocery shopping on Monday, then Tuesday I would remember that I didn’t get Milk, so I would go back out just to get Milk. While I was there though, I would browse the aisles just because. Wednesday I would make an excuse to go to the Mall. I couldn’t just stay home. It was never ending.

I learned while we were all told to stay home for a month while the world shook from the explosion of this pandemic, that I actually enjoyed being home. I love to read and I was able to make time to do that more. I was able to play games with my kids. I was able to teach them life skills like cooking, cleaning, and even saving their money for something they may need in the future. It was life altering. I believe that part of the reason I was never staying home, was because it was too overwhelming to me. I wanted the break from cleaning, or finding places to hide my junk!

Here’s a fun fact about myself not everyone knows. I have Lupus. It’s this super fun autoimmune disease that literally makes me feel like I have the flu most days. I get regular headaches, body aches, fevers, rashes, and days where my body feels so weak I can’t get out of bed. While I felt my worst some days I still pushed myself to the breaking point. Why? Because I am no quitter! No seriously, I felt weak if I stopped and took time to rest. I felt like I wasn’t a good mom, wife, friend, or person. I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to make sure everyone that knew me looked at me as someone that doesn’t complain, that can keep going and not stop even when she feels a little tired. What that did instead, caused me to have days where I felt like a truck had hit me and my body would ache so bad it would make the tears just run. I would feel like I had no control over my body.

I once went to a church event with my mom and sisters and went to the bathroom and fell to the ground, unable to get my legs to walk properly to get me to the auditorium where I knew my family was. I sat in that bathroom and waited for someone to come to my rescue. Thankfully my sister came to find me and helped me get to my feet. If you have ever experienced pain that is overwhelming you may be able to relate with the shaking that occurs. My body will shake to the point that I can’t control it.

Why am I sharing this with you, because I want you to know it is okay to say NO. It is okay to stop doing this. It is okay to take time to rest. I had to experience myself at my worst to realize that I needed less of everything and more of what made me feel good. I needed more time with My God who speaks truth to me and reminds me that he sees me and loves me in every moment. He created me for a purpose and it wasn’t to run myself ragged or to the point of complete exhaustion. I needed more time to just breathe. I couldn’t have that time living the life I led up to this point. I had to make a change.

Whether you have something that is making you stop, or you are just feeling like you need this change for your sanity, do it for you. Do it because it is what YOU want. Be selfish and allow yourself to say No. I promise you this, if you go head first into this, you will not regret putting yourself and your family first.

Stay the course friend!

-Kelly

I need a bin…

I need a bin…

Do you really need another bin to hold all your items? I was one of those that headed to the store to get yet another bin to hold the items that I knew would drop to the bottom of that bin never to be seen again! Why do we do this? Let’s STOP the madness!

Even these cute bins won’t make it better!

So what was my light bulb moment? I was sitting at my mom’s group anxiously awaiting my favorite part, the Craft. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the cute paper and frame we would be making. When we were excused to grab our items I jumped up and ran to the table that I had already scoped out knowing it had the paper I would need. When I hurried back to my table one of my friends was sitting there drinking her hot cup of coffee just enjoying her quiet time. I asked her why she wasn’t doing the craft and she said she didn’t need it and that she works hard to keep her home from getting cluttered. She grew up in a home with a hoarder for a mother and she wanted something different. I sat there stunned by this, and suddenly the craft I was making didn’t seem so important.

I went home that day and realized how much excess I had. Was it all worth it? I knew I wasn’t a hoarder but that short conversation made me realize that my own stuff was weighing me down. It was keeping me from what I really wanted. I had this sense of urgency in me that I needed to change my ways and work towards having a full life with intention.

I was ready to tackle my entire house! I started getting right to work “researching” what minimalism was. Of course that freaked me out slightly and gave me some anxiety thinking my home would become cold and uninviting. What if I actually was cold, and I didn’t have any more blankets to stay warm?! I know that sounds a bit crazy but that is what my initial thought was when I searched minimalism.

Minimalism can be whatever you want it to be. It is full of grace! You don’t have to get rid of every item in your house. You are only getting rid of the items that don’t serve you. It looks different for every person. My husband of 15 years has always been a minimalist. Not just because he doesn’t own much, but because he was always mindful of his spending. Those that know him are laughing right now! Most people think he is cheap, but I realize now that he was on to something before any of us were.

He stopped the flow of incoming items long before I had. He rarely shops and sadly I had to come to the realization that I was the problem. I was the shopper in the family. This is when I started becoming ruthlessly honest with myself. How much was I spending each month on items that were not serving me? It wasn’t just the money either, it was the waste that really woke me up.

Which brings me to my next point. Are you ready? You are wasting money. If you start pairing down your items you need to understand that at some point you are going to feel the weight of how much money you are literally throwing away. It isn’t wasteful getting rid of the items, understand that it was wasteful to have purchased them in the first place. That is a tough pill to swallow. Here’s the best part though…There is HOPE! You can change your patterns and move forward in a healthy and happy way.

The first trip I made to drop my items off for donation, I partly wanted to cry and the other part wanted to scream. I was angry with myself for wasting so much time, money and energy on things that I knew were not going to last me a lifetime. Then the exchange happened and I felt a wave of relief. As the items left my possession, I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me. I was free!

I went home and filled 5 more trash bags with items that were not needed any longer. This sounds overwhelming to some but to those seeking simplicity it sounds like the smoothest chocolate melting in your mouth! Here’s the thing though, we have to stop the flow of incoming items.

After parting with so much I realized I still had SO MUCH STUFF! This takes time. We have been collecting things for over 15 years. This is the hard part. I had to take a hard look at some items I had and know that it wasn’t the item that was special, it was the person that gave it to me that was special. I couldn’t move forward at times for fear the person that gave me said item might find out and wonder why I didn’t love the item they picked out for me as much as they did. I had to stop feeling guilty and start taking my own feelings into account. It isn’t your fault that someone bought an item for you. It is okay to tell your friends and family that you are steering clear of more stuff and would rather just spend the day with them.

Making more time to spend with those you love is a greater gift than an item that will be placed on a shelf or in a drawer. I have a dear friend I met in my 20’s and we choose to not exchange gifts at holidays or birthdays. Instead we take a night to get together and have a meal together. We enjoy this time so much. It gives us a reason to get together and it frees us from finding the perfect gift that shows how much we care. Being together shows that better than any gift could.

So how do we politely tell our friends and family we don’t want more stuff? This can be really difficult. Sometimes those you tell, won’t understand your decision. They may become critical and poke fun stating you have too much stuff to be a minimalist. Take that with a grain of salt and know that your journey is your own. Continue moving towards the life you want. When they do ask though what you want for birthdays or Christmas gifts for yourself or your kids, this is your open door! Give them some honest ideas. Tell them a meal out with them would be nice. Experiences are always great gifts. Let them know your kids are wanting to try out horseback riding, or a new class. Maybe they want to see a new movie at the theater. There are plenty of gift ideas out there that don’t require adding to your stuff collection.

Lastly remember to give yourself grace and time. Your house will not be finished over night. It takes time to go through an entire home full of collected items. Give yourself the time to go through it all. Sometimes it may even take 2 or 3 passes to get to a place that feels right. I know from personal experience that my closet took several passes. It is still not exactly how I want it, but each time I do it I realize items I kept last time are items I can let go off this time around. Don’t wait to get back into those size 6 jeans you wore pre-pregnancy. Let them go and if you ever get back to that size, tackle getting new jeans then. Don’t keep those items that don’t fit.

Enjoy the journey and… don’t buy any more bins! Let your journey be your own and allow it to be full of grace and intention!

90’s kids

Welcome back! You probably don’t know this about me but, I am a die hard 90’s kid at heart. I love all things from the 90’s. The music, the clothes, the hair! What I love most about the 90’s though is the simplicity that life gave us. We literally went outside after breakfast and played all day. We didn’t have cell phones attached to us at all times. Our parents taught us to be trustworthy and to do the right thing.

That doesn’t mean we always did! We certainly had our share of groundings for turning the dial back on our watches so we came home an hour later professing how our watch battery must have died and then miraculously restarted an hour later!

What we did have though was a community of families that were all in this thing together. We did life TOGETHER. Parents helped parent other peoples kids. Yep you heard that right, my Momma had eyes EVERYWHERE! I asked so many times, “How did you know that I wasn’t where I said I was?” My mom would look at me and say with squinted eyes that bore right into my soul, “I have spies everywhere.” If that didn’t put the fear of the Lord into you I don’t know what would!

What was so great about the 90’s really was the simplicity. So how do we recreate that time today? I don’t believe that there are any perfect people in the world and we are all learning as we go, but maybe we can get back to a place where stuff doesn’t matter so much and spending time with people is the most important part of your day.

Now I hear you in the back pew, shouting AMEN, or maybe your saying oh here’s another hippie that hates technology! I must confess I do like technology. I don’t know how to use it well, but the little I know I do like. However there is a lot of stuff out there today that weighs us down. It keeps us from experiencing life to its fullest.

I realized after a few months of trying to work towards a more minimal life, that I was bombarded day in and day out with ads for more stuff! I did my best to not respond but one walk by bath and body works and I knew my house NEEDED to smell like fresh lavender and eucalyptus! (Now insert that AMEN from the back pew!) Not only will my house smell lovely but wouldn’t you know that sucker is ON SALE too! It must be destiny. Inner warrior that desperately wants less stuff screaming Nooooooo on the inside was once again pushed deep down and I strolled inside to purchase that new wallflower.

I am not perfect. I still yearn for my home to smell good and for my house to be a place that is warm and inviting. Yet here’s the thing, would I have even yearned for that wallflower or cozy blanket had I not been bombarded by ads. Be honest, last time you opened your email, how many of those contained an ad or coupon for a store you may have shopped at once or a thousand times? I know just this morning I had three emails from places telling me they were having a sale. Now I will have you know I am a Bargain Hunter! I love to find something that is such a deal you would be plain silly to pass it up.

Here’s the big picture though, ask yourself if this will have a home in your home. Does it have a place where it will live? Is it a need or just a want? Will you still Love it once it is in your home and there for 6 months or a year? If the answer is no then give it a hard pass. You work hard for your money, don’t waste it on something that satisfies for just the moment.

So where do you start and how? If you feel like you are just feeling overwhelmed by your stuff, start small. Us michiganders love us a “Junk Drawer!” Start there. Get in there and remove anything that hasn’t been used in awhile. How many pens can one drawer really hold?! Once you clean that move onto something else. I know it can seem overwhelming, but just do a little at a time. This isn’t about making your home picture perfect, this is about making things simpler so the next time you need a pen you can actually find one that works!

Start small and then work up to that closet you have been saying needs to be sifted through. Trust me once you get going you will get energized to keep moving forward. Before long you will be peacefully sipping a Koolaid Jammer on the back deck in your neon bathing suit with a side pony rocking out to some New Kids on the Block reliving your glory days.

Now that is the “Right Stuff!”

Simply Living

Do you seek to find simple ways to truly simplify your life? You’ve come to the right place. Let’s dive right in to what you will find here.
Tips for Decluttering

Loving what you have

Making time for yourself

Making time for others

General information regarding all things that help you simplify your life and find joy in each day! Stick around and check in often to stay updated!
Happy Simplifying!

Life in the Fast Lane

Running, running, running, always running. What can we get done today? How much more can we pack in? At the end of the day, what matters most? Did we get to enjoy the moments we want most? We live in a world that is constantly changing and evolving. This can be a beautiful thing, but it can also keep us from enjoying the things that matter most to us. When I asked myself what I love most, of course my husband and children come to my mind first. What was keeping me from truly enjoying relationship with them?

The constant busyness of going, going, going. If we are being honest with ourselves do we even enjoy the things that are keeping us busy and distracted from the things that matter most? I’m writing today to tell you there is hope for us all yet. It’s all about choosing what matters most to us. It took me 36 years to get to a place where I can say what matters most to me isn’t what is popular, or trending, or even what I thought I enjoyed most. It is finding the simplest way of living life to the fullest.

Journey along with me as we uncover what we truly desire and how to get to a place of peace, joy and simplicity!

Kelly