10 Tips to Declutter Like a Boss

So you have heard about the minimalist movement and are ready to tackle your own home. So what now? Where do you begin? The thought of holding everything in your hands and asking if it sparks joy, sounds like a lot of work and stress. So instead you just grab a garbage bag and start shoving stuff into it. What is the right way to minimize and where should you begin?

Today I am going to share some of my favorite tips for getting rid of that clutter for good. Let’s get after it!

  1. START SMALL Start somewhere that you know you can see progress or even completion on day 1. That may look like a drawer in the kitchen, or maybe your closet. Start somewhere that you know you will get instant gratification. You will need this to keep up the momentum going and tackle more.
  2. BE HONEST If you are questioning whether to get rid of something in case you might need it later, first ask yourself when the last time was that you used it. Next ask yourself if this item can be replaced in the future. If it is something that you know you can purchase later on the off chance that you find you actually do need it, then get rid of it. If it is not something you feel you can replace easily then maybe place it in a box for some time and decide if it is worth keeping or not.
  3. DON’T JUST GET RID OF, JUST TO GET RID OF This may sound counter intuitive, but hear me out. Many new minimalists go through their homes getting rid of everything they can. They want to jump in with both feet, but once they get going, they are frantically trying to get to the very minimum of what they can use. They throw things away without thinking it through. Now some may be able to continue on this pace but others will find themselves back in old habits and shopping to replace items now that they are gone.
  4. ONLY GET RID OF WHAT YOU DON’T USE This is the best way to combat the above actions. Start by only eliminating things from your home that you clearly do not use. Items that have not been used in over a year. Start where you know there will not be a big loss from letting go.
  5. QUESTION EVERYTHING To keep your home from accumulating more clutter once you have done that hard work of decluttering, ask yourself some questions for why you want to purchase an item. Can you live without it? Is it worth the cost of caring for it once it is in your home? If you can give yourself time to think about it, will you still want it? Will this item end up in the donation pile in a few weeks or months?
  6. PAIR DOWN When you go through your items you may find you have several items that are the same. I for instance had 5 wooden spoons. While I love a good wooden spoon, I didn’t need 5. I needed 1. The one that I choose to grab every time because it is my favorite. I also had excessive amounts of coffee cups. They all matched and were the set that matched my plates. However, I never used them because they were not big enough for my morning coffee. I grabbed my favorite mug every morning. So instead of keeping them because they match, keep the ones you use.
  7. BOOKS I can’t say this enough, I love books. I love to read and there is something so special about holding a book in your hands. There is this amazing place though that we visit weekly, the library, It has thousands of books! Borrowing books from your library, saves space in your home, and money in your pockets.
  8. KNICK KNACKS I was a collector of boyds bears for most of my teen years. I loved browsing the new sets and reading their bottoms to see what they signified. While I loved them for some time, I found myself feeling claustrophobic in the room they lived. So I thanked them for their service and sent them away where they will find a new home and owner that will love them again.
  9. GAMES We love board games. They are a fun evening activity for our family. Somehow along the way, we became game hoarders and had a closet stuffed full of them. We have about 5 games that we play regularly and the rest get played rarely. So we decided to let go of the ones we never played. Now we have a game shelf that is manageable and organized.
  10. ANYTHING THAT DOESN’T ADD VALUE This can be anything really. If it isn’t adding value to your life and your home and your end goal, get rid of it.

Now that you have started the tough job of decluttering, what is the reason you feel the need to declutter. Ask yourself why you are doing this to begin with. What is your motivation? In my next post we will discuss how your life might be better with less. In the meantime why not ponder that question. I would love to hear what you have to say.

Live Simply,

Kelly Hoover

A Day In The Life

Wake up, get showered, head downstairs to make breakfast, hug sleepy kids as they make their way down the stairs, pack lunches, pack backpacks, kiss kids goodbye as they head off to school, come home, drink hot coffee…

While most days our routine looks pretty much the same, there are days when things are crazy and we are rushing to get out the door before we are late to school. Previous to minimalism, I found myself always having something to do instead of drinking that hot coffee. I would have to get to the grocery store, or make a return at the department store, or find yet another excuse to browse the Craft store! My days look different now and I am excited to share the changes with you.

Now when I get home and I am having my hot coffee, I also use this time to write out my thoughts for topics for my blog. Once my coffee is finished, I begin my bible reading for the day and prayer time. It’s a time for me to Thank God for all that I have, and ask for direction for the day ahead. It’s also a time that I put aside everything else, and make time to listen and be still before the Lord.

I said before I am not much of a lover of working out, so I am compromising. I am finding taking longer walks during my day, gives me time to relax, and also get my body moving. This is a small change that anyone can make. You may find that getting a walk in helps your body feel better and more relaxed. If you are someone that loves a good heavy workout, then go for it! The point is to find time to move your body.

I know not everyone is a stay at home mom, so your days will look different than mine. I can only speak for myself and my family when I address the changes in our home. With that being said, find time to do some things that you are passionate about. Write down your goals. When I first started this journey, I didn’t have any idea what minimalism would do for me. I just wanted to clear my home of clutter, and be able to find rest. Little did I know, Minimalism, had bigger plans for me.

Little did I know, Minimalism, had bigger plans for me.

Kelly hoover

What can I do now that I couldn’t before? I started by telling you about my prayer time, my blogging, and taking walks. While those don’t seem like major life changes, for me they were. It isn’t necessarily the actions that go into those things, but the relaxation. Have you ever been doing something you enjoy, yet can’t seem to fully enjoy it? While reading a book by your favorite author, you seem to be thinking still about the laundry, the dishes, the errands, that project? I was always thinking about what I wasn’t getting done when I was doing something for me. I couldn’t just rest.

I know this may come as a surprise, but being a stay at home mom, does come with more than just kissing babies, and making dinner. I am the house keeper, the taxi driver, the landscaper, the project manager, the time manager, and so much more. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE EVERY SECOND OF IT. I really do. I just couldn’t take all of my hats off at once and give myself time to enjoy the moment. That all changed when minimalism entered the scene!

These days, I am enjoying the moments because I don’t have 100 things pulling me in other directions. I can read a book and not feel like I should be doing the laundry or dishes. Those things take a mere fraction of the time they used to. I can keep on top of it all instead of feeling like I’m constantly playing catch up.

So while my days may look different than yours, I am sure minimalism will afford you with more time to do the things you enjoy most too. Why not try it? What do you really have to lose?

Here are some questions to get you started on your own journey.

If I had more time what would I do with it?

What have I always wanted to do, but for any reason couldn’t?

What can I give up, so I have more time for self care?

If I give up some items in my home, will it make my housework easier?

What am I most passionate about?

While answering those questions, be as honest with yourself as you can. DREAM BIG! Don’t feel restrained to think within the box you have made for yourself. This is your time to really let go, and live! I would love to hear some of your answers and see any changes that you have made to make those dreams a reality!

Live Simply,

Kelly Hoover

Future Minimalists

As a minimalist I get a lot of questions. The leading question I get asked the most is, how do you become a minimalist with kids? While this seems completely unachievable. Minimalism, I believe, actually helps my kids to thrive. While this lifestyle change has taken some time, and we have had to discuss on multiple occasions, why we are doing this. The truth is, my kids are happier than they were when surrounded by toys.

When kids have fewer toys they learn to be creative with what they have. I was a kid in the 90’s and while those were some of my best years, I will tell you that my parents were not the type to just buy us any new toy we wanted. We learned boundaries and we also learned how to enjoy what we had. As a parent now, I am able to use what I learned as a kid and put it into practice with my own kids. So to make things simple I am going to list the top 5 reasons to go minimalist with your kids.

  1. LESS FIGHTING– Yes you heard that right. My kids fight less over silly things like toys because they simply have no choice but to share. They are learning that they either play together or they won’t get to play at all. Don’t believe me? Take away some of your kids toys and see for yourself. Give them 30 days to only play with a few items and see what happens.
  2. BETTER CARE– When they have fewer toys to take care of, they learn to take better care of what they do have. It is easier to care for something when it’s one of the few items you have.
  3. LESS CLEANUP TIME– My kids always struggled to put things back in the orderly fashion I had like it to be. Now with fewer items, clean up is a breeze! They know where to put their toys and it isn’t in an overflowing bin where they will have to dig to find it tomorrow.
  4. MORE CREATIVITY– My kids are becoming more creative in their play. They are using their legos and super hero’s together to make games and adventures. They are being imaginative with what they have!
  5. PROBLEM SOLVING– Now that we have fewer toys in our home, the toys they do have are the ones they want to play with the most. When something isn’t working they take care to try and solve the problem. They are not overwhelmed by the problem. They also don’t have an easy out, where they can toss this problem aside and move onto another toy. Instead they have the time and energy to take a moment to solve the problem at hand.

While I still at times have to remind my children why we are choosing to not buy the newest toy on the market, those conversations are becoming fewer. There are some days that are easier than others. Over the weekend, after doing another sweep through the basement, and ridding ourselves of toys that didn’t serve us any longer, my kids found themselves outside, riding bikes with the neighbors. It didn’t take long for old habits to set in, and for my kids to get the “wants.” The neighbors just got new electric scooters and my kids were having a ball taking turns riding. Each pass they made by me they would say something to the effect of, “Aren’t these cool mom! I want one!” I would nod my head and smile or wave.

As the end of the day drew nearer, my kids helped clean up all the toys and we headed back inside for dinner. As I sat listening to them tell their dad all about the fun they had, I waited for an opportunity to speak. I simply said, “It was a really fun day, aren’t you glad the neighbors let you have a turn on those scooters? Even though we don’t own any here, you were able to share the neighbors, just like we share our basketball hoop with them.” Adding that little bit of knowledge that the neighbors don’t have a basketball hoop, opened my kids eyes to see that we don’t all need to own the same items. We can share what we have and still have fun.

Contrary to popular belief, my kids are not suffering from a lack of toys. They still have several toys that they love. What I think I love most about them not having so much is that they have learned to be giving with what they have. They share more with friends and especially neighbors. They don’t feel like they are missing out because they don’t own their own electric scooters. They are just thankful they get a turn.

If you want to try it out, ask your kids to pick their top 5 favorite toys and then box up the rest and put them somewhere that isn’t accessible to them. Give it a month and see the change for yourself. I don’t know for certain that when my children are grown that they will choose to live as minimalists, but I hope they see the benefits and will take what they know and put it into action.

So what about teenagers? I currently do not have any teenagers, but do know of friends with teenagers that are minimalists. They will tell you that minimalism is certainly achievable even with teenagers. I think with teens we do need to give some grace at times. While we want to teach them certain clothes, shoes, or cars won’t make them a better person, we have to understand that things like those may be important to them. So how do we maintain minimalism while still giving our teens the most important things? The answer is to allow them to decide what is most important.

Let them consider why they want those Nike’s that EVERYONE has. (side note, not everyone has them, insert giant motherly eye roll) Ask them why they are so important? If after discussing, they still want the Nike’s then go ahead and get them for their next birthday, or gift giving occasion. Just because we don’t need them, doesn’t mean your teen’s feelings are less important. Sometimes the persons feelings are more important than just completely stopping the incoming items. However, they may surprise you and after answering the tough questions, decide they don’t need them just because everyone else has them.

So give yourself and your teen some grace and take each item at face value. Ask tough questions and allow them to decide. Don’t be so caught up in the idea of minimalism, that you don’t see the people around you and their feelings.

Now go ahead and tackle that play room and see what a difference it makes!

Live Simply,

Kelly Hoover

Replacement Behaviors

We live in a fast paced world full of addicts. We are addicted to our phones, shopping, social media, television, etc. While these addictions don’t seem like a big deal when we are discussing the harmful effects of drug addiction, they can be just as harmful. Yesterday I told you we would be discussing replacement behaviors.

So what are replacement behaviors? Now I know what you are thinking, this is just replacing one bad thing with something else that will only become the new addiction. While that may be true for substance abuse addicitons, it can be a very useful tool for someone wanting to try out a new life of simplicity. If we can replace our most common occurring behaviors such as shopping with something else that fills our time in a more productive way, it can become a good replacement.

The goal of minimalism isn’t to just rid you of all your unused stuff. The goal is to grab hold of the life you dream of living and start putting that into focus. Retiring the old items that are holding you back from what is most important to you. Minimalism isn’t one size fits all. It is unique to each individual. The common goal being, putting what is most important to us, in it’s rightful place, front and center. So what is most important to you?

The life I have always wanted, has been right in front of me. I wanted simple. I wanted to spend time with people. I wanted to live with intention. Yet, I found myself constantly running! I was always going shopping for something. I was under the impression that in this world, if you aren’t running constantly, you were not doing enough. If I didn’t do it all, I wasn’t enough. Let that sink in. My worth came from my stuff, my busyness, my constant moving. Woah! Ya’ll I am a Christian woman that has read her bible. I know where my worth comes from! I know this to be true, yet I allowed the world to tell me I wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t busy enough.

So as I sit here drinking my hot cup of coffee, I can say with every conviction of truth I can muster, that YOUR WORTH doesn’t come from any of that. That is a LIE. So if you have been believing this lie, please do me a favor and reevaluate. Search the scriptures and know that you are worthy of more than this world says you are!

Alright, I am done preaching! Amen! So how do we replace our behaviors? We start by giving ourselves a mission statement. Ask yourself Why you are taking this journey. What do you want most out of life? What can you control? Some of you may be in a place that it is going to be harder to change. You may work in a job you love, but that takes a lot of your time. You may be in debt that is causing you the burden of having to work over time. If that is the case then be honest and say so. Don’t stop there though. Don’t get stuck in the mud and clawing your way out. Focus on how you can change your life. Can you stop buying your coffee at the coffee shop on your way to work? Can you take your lunch to work instead of ordering takeout? Can you choose not to shop on the weekends and put the money you saved towards paying off those debts? How can we begin to strategize a plan that works for you?

So what will I do with the time I have now that I am not consuming as much? Here’s where we begin finding healthy replacements. Start with something you like to do. I enjoy reading. In my pre-minimalist days, I never had time to read. I was always wishing I had the time to read. Wish granted, now I have time to read. I enjoy riding my bike or taking walks. When I feel the urge pushing me to go get some retail therapy, I instead pivot, and choose to use the time for something I enjoy. So what can you do to replace the pull to consumerism?

  1. Read! Find a book you will enjoy, cozy up somewhere and dive in. Let your body rest and release.
  2. Exercise. For some of us (ahem ME) the last thing we want to do is exercise. So maybe we don’t look at it as a strenuous workout, but rather just 30 minutes of movement. Take a walk, dance in your living room, ride a bike. Just do something that gets your body moving. You will feel better in the end.
  3. Pray. Find quiet time with God. Allow yourself to take time to talk with him.
  4. Get outside. Sometimes just sitting on my deck and listening to the birds or kids playing, is the most enjoyable part of me day.
  5. Find a hobby! When I finally decided to take the plunge and go minimalist, I took up a hobby. I started playing the Ukulele! I may not be good and I still can’t find the right finger placement, but it is something I am enjoying.
  6. Learn something new. Curious about our solar system, but don’t know much, find out! Not sure where things are in the world , look it up! Now is your chance to learn! Never stop learning new things!
  7. Call a friend. You may have been too busy before, but now you have the time. So plan a phone date and reconnect.
  8. Tell someone about minimalism. Tell someone how your life is changing. Give them all the info they never asked for! Not only will this excite you, it may even spark an interest in others.
  9. Eat healthy meals. Now that you have more time, focus on your health. Have you wondered about that Whole 30 diet but didn’t have time to cook? Now’s your chance!
  10. Go on a date. My husband and I enjoy spending time together. Now that we have more time, we are choosing to do more together. Our dates are not always going out and spending money on dinner or a movie. Our best dates sometimes are just taking a walk in the evening, or sitting on the deck with a glass of wine after the kids go to bed.

The point is that, you can find things to do that will speak more life into you, than buying another blouse! When you see the effects of using your time intentionally, you will be excited to keep going! When you realize your relationships are blossoming, you’re more available to those you love, and you have the time to rest, you won’t want to live the life you had been. You will want more of what minimalism has to offer you!

So go out, and try something new! I would love to hear what minimalism is doing for you! If you have a question or want to hear about a specific topic regarding living simply, send me a message! I would love to hear from you.

Live Simply,

Kelly Hoover

Why Does Minimalism Matter?

My husband and I were discussing his recent trip up North, when the idea of “Minimalism” came up. He asked me why I felt we needed the label of minimalism, instead of just living life the way we wanted. I didn’t know how to respond at first. I thought that he liked the idea of being “Minimalists” and even liked the title that came with it. I didn’t realize that in his mind we were boarding yet another train going somewhere fast. I will be honest, I am the type of person that loves to jump on board of anything that speaks to me in the moment. If I think it’s a good idea, I will join the club!

However minimalism has been different for some reason. I don’t put it in the same category as a new fad. It isn’t going out of style. Minimalism has spoken life into my home and my family. It has given us time to be quiet with our Creator God. It has been the outlet for allowing myself peace and calm.

So why the label? Simply put, I think it allows us to do life with like minded people. It is the same reason we label ourselves Christians, or Students, or Teachers. We give ourselves these labels in order to have relationship with those around us that are similar. I love meeting other minimalists because, we can discuss what it has done for us, and we can hear others stories of why, and how they chose to live simply. Although in all honesty if someone asks me about being minimalist I will gladly tell them my story and how amazing this new life is.

When my family came to the conclusion that we wanted to live a simpler life, I knew minimalism was the way to go. However we didn’t start off by throwing away all of our belongings. It actually started with simply not bringing anything new into our home for a month. Not purchasing anything that we didn’t need. We had to make the decision, that this was what we really wanted. We put ourselves through a small test. Once the month was over and I could see how much overspending I was doing, I realized that I had little to show for it. The things I was buying were not speaking life into me. Quite the opposite.

So after that month we began letting go of things that weren’t needs. We went room by room, decluttering. Which brings me to my next point of why minimalism matters. After seeing the amount of items I was sending to Donation centers, I realized how much waste we were making. Sure these items may get used elsewhere or find new homes, but some will inevitably end up in the trash. I couldn’t unsee the amount of items that I let go of to simply go in the trash. I’ve said this before and I will say it again. I am not someone that has thought much about being green. I don’t want to do harm to the Earth, yet I am not one who considered every item before using it. Now that I have given up so much, I can make choices to refuse items that may end up in a landfill.

Lastly, the label of minimalist comes with some power. It is the label given to people that don’t conform to the world view. These people have a strong personality. They are looked at as rebels. They won’t just buy what the world is selling them! I loved the idea that I can live life without being told I had to buy or do something! I don’t have to change my style every month, or buy what is in style for the moment. I don’t have to listen to ads telling me what I need to feel good. I know what makes me feel good. I found that I could replace the impulse buying with reading. I can replace shopping, with riding my bike. Intentionally replacing a bad behavior with a good one is so important. In order to be successful you have to learn your reason why.

Check in tomorrow as we discover practical ways to live simply, and with intention!

Kelly Hoover

Is Success Measurable?

I have been doing quite a bit more reading, with the free time that minimalism has granted me. I’ve recently been reading books about minimalism, and how to go about the transition from hoarding, to being free to live simply. One thing that continues to stick out to me, is this idea of measuring our success. To be honest, I lived a life previous to my minimalism, always seeking to look good to those outside of my home. I wanted to make sure everyone knew, that we were living the American Dream. We had a nice house, 2 kids, a dog and a yard littered with toys. I was (and still am) a stay at home mom. We live with only one income, yet my focus was never on making sure we lived only within our means. We didn’t have a great deal of debt, but I continued to try to keep up with the Jones’s. Why?

Why, is the question I have been contemplating lately. Which brings me to a memory that I recently was mulling over in my mind. When I first became a stay at home mom, I met a friend that lived in my town. The two of us had our girls mere days apart. Our girls were destined to be the best of friends. My friend was a teacher but had taken maternity leave through the summer. So naturally we were spending most of our days together. It started with making quick trips to the mall to walk around. I found myself always buying something similar to what my friend had purchased even if I didn’t need it. I thought that in doing this, I was proving to her that I could buy everything I wanted too because my husband had a good job as well. Day after day, we would spend hours, shopping for things we never really needed yet purchased anyway. Why? I believe it is because we fell into the trap of measuring our success.

While my husband has always had a great job, and has been a wonderful provider, that isn’t how we should measure our success. It took me almost 15 years to realize that our jobs, homes, cars and other stuff, shouldn’t be the only measure of our success. What if instead of trying to measure our successes we just lived life simply. Picture this for yourself. You don’t have any pressure to measure up to others. You just lived in a way that made you happy. What would you do? Would you spend your days working on your garden, reading books, playing games with your kids, cooking. writing, exercising…or resting? I believe we have all felt the pressure of trying to advance ourselves in this world. We work hard to keep up with it all. What if we are chasing after the wrong things?

Since choosing to go minimalist, one of the things I have enjoyed the most is reading. I love to read and yet I couldn’t ever find the time to do it. If I did have the time, I felt like I couldn’t fill it with reading, and that I should be doing something more important like laundry, cleaning, or running errands. There was never any down time. That has all changed since choosing minimalism. I believe that the greatest pleasure we get from minimalism is the gift of time.

Over the weekend my kids and I were outside playing. They were riding bikes, making chalk art, and jump roping. My son came and sat down in the chair next to me and said, “this has been a really fun day. I like that we get to play outside so much now.” It hit me then that he may not have realized the benefits of minimalism before but in that moment he connected the dots. I looked at him and responded with “Yeah! Isn’t it great that we have time to just play? We don’t have to run errands or clean the toy room!” He smiled from ear to ear. He realized in that moment that all the time we spent before taking care of all of our stuff left us with little time to get outside and enjoy the day.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that every day will be just play. I don’t want to give you false hope. Here’s the thing though, the fewer things we have to take care of the less time it takes to care for them. Laundry in my home used to take me days to complete. I would have roughly 9 loads a week. I would work tirelessly to get it all done. While you might be thinking, having fewer clothes means more laundry, it doesn’t. I used to ask my kids to bring me all their dirty clothes from their rooms. Most items went into the laundry because it was on the floor. It was on the floor because it had been worn. Whether it was worn for 5 minutes or 10 hours, it ended up in the laundry. WHAT? I know! When we chose to have fewer clothing items, it was like a light bulb went off above my kids heads. They didn’t just throw everything on the floor. Instead they knew they only had 2 pairs of jeans so if the ones they just took off were not dirty they could fold them up and put them back in the drawer! GENIUS! It was all about managing the little they had. They were intentional with what they did with their clothes. (High Five to all the moms and dads out there that do the majority of laundry!)

These are the things that are so freeing. Seeing my kids actions in taking care of what they have. Allowing them to be kids and play. Watching as they make up games and imagine. These were things I took for granted. I thought giving them MORE of everything would make them happier and would make me look like a better mom. Instead it stifled their creativity and imaginative play. It also created kids that were needy and always wanting more. When we chose this lifestyle, I will be the first to say it didn’t hurt them one bit. They embraced this new life with open arms. It was almost as if they were relieved themselves to not have so much excess. It allowed them to see the things that they wanted to play with. They didn’t have to dig through that black hole of the giant Toy Bin to find the one item they were looking for. Instead the most loved items were right there, where they could be front and center.

If you are worried that giving up too much will cause you anxiety, and that you might get rid of something you will need later, try this. Put the items you think you can let go of in a box, place that box somewhere like your garage. Choose a set amount of time such as 30 days to decide. If you needed the item in that time frame then keep it, if you never looked back after packing it away, let it continue it’s journey to donation. While this may be a slower way it can give you some peace of mind knowing that you made the rules. You may just need the reassurance that you are making the right decision.

So let’s go out and live life! Let’s stop measuring our success by our clothes, money, cars, homes, etc. Let’s start living the life we always wanted, intentionally!

Kelly Hoover

Misconceptions

Good Morning! Welcome back. I am so excited to share with you all something I have been doing the past few days. It all started when I was brainstorming some ideas for what I thought my readers may enjoy regarding minimalism. When it came to me I knew I needed to start surveying my readers and getting some ideas brewing. So I posed some questions and what I received in return opened my eyes to what others perceive minimalism to be.

So let’s dive in. When I began asking my readers what they thought minimalism was I was astounded to find out many thought it was a one size fits all approach to life. You needed to give away all of your earthly possessions, live in a tiny house, and move to some tropical island. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I will get back to this soon. Keep reading!

The next thing I asked was if they thought they could become minimalist. According to my surveyed readers they were uncertain. Of course this goes back to their previous misconceptions of what minimalism is. If you think minimalism is just living with the shirt on your back and not much else, how many followers would there really be!? This is seriously such startling information.

What I realized after my small survey was that most don’t really even know what it means to live simply? Many think it is too far fetched and that they can not conform to what is asked of becoming a minimalist. You want to hear a secret? Okay, bring it in, get close…Minimalism is whatever you want it to be! There is no shame or guilt or finger pointing. You don’t have to get rid of every possession you own. If you love that sweater grandma wore and she graciously gave you before passing, Keep It. You get to choose. You are the captain of this ship.

When I first began minimizing my own possessions, I learned quickly that this may be harder than I thought. I am openly a very sentimental person. I kept every note passed in class from my middle school years. Seriously! (Could this be why my children want to keep every trinket, McDonald’s toy, or craft they ever made? hmmm food for thought.) I just couldn’t give them up right away. I thought if I threw them out, that somehow those years would fade away from my memory and I would forget it all. After allowing the garbage bag filled with these notes to sit in my basement for well over a year, I realized something, I never wanted to read all those notes. Most days I completely forgot they were there. So when I gained some courage and made the decision to tackle this bag, I found that while it was fun reading some of the notes, I didn’t need them any longer. I could live life with just as much joy, not keeping them, as I did having them.

Now I am not saying that you shouldn’t part with some items. Some items you will find don’t hold any sentimentality. If that is the case then no regrets, go ahead and get rid of it. I just want you to know there is grace here. So here are a few other misconceptions about minimalism.

  1. You will never buy another item for the rest of your life!
    1. WRONG! You will still have a need for getting new things once in awhile. The bigger difference though now is that you won’t over buy. You will not just buy items to have them. You will think your purchases through and decide what you allow into your home.
  2. You have to downsize your home.
    1. While this may make sense for some, for others it just isn’t in the cards. I currently am raising two amazing kids and the space we have still works for us. I don’t feel downsizing at this time would work for us.
  3. You can’t own furniture.
    1. You guys! I am not kidding, I told a friend I was becoming a minimalist and she said, “Where are you going to sit? You have to get rid of all your furniture!” You don’t have to get rid of your couch in order to become a minimalist. If it serves your family, then keep it. Of course if you have 4 couches in a small space, maybe you could lose 1 or 2 to make room for more of what you love.
  4. You live by a strict budget.
    1. While for some this can be true. For others, you may learn that budgeting is less of a problem than it was when you were shopping daily for items that wouldn’t fill the void you were trying to fill. You may in fact experience a deeper joy, knowing you now have money you never had before that can be used for more meaningful things.
  5. You can’t have electronics.
    1. Again, this is just not true. Many minimalist still keep a computer and cell phone. Just because we don’t want extra stuff accumulating doesn’t mean we want to go back to the stone ages! We can still keep up with the times while minimizing.

I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am that you are curious about minimalism. Living Simply is something we can all do. It doesn’t have to be only one way. If you are still unsure if minimalism is for you or if you want to know more, reach out to me! I would love to talk to you more!

Kelly

The Consumption Game

I was thinking about life recently and some questions came to mind that have me questioning life in general. What do we seek most in life? Why do we buy what we buy? What comes to mind when we think about ourselves and our lives?

I know I am going deep here today but these thoughts have taken up most of my mind lately. Why do we buy the items we buy? What makes us want to purchase one item over another? If we don’t have it, what will happen? I am embarrassed by the amount of items that have recently been bagged up and sent to the resale. This realization that the money, time and energy I once spent shopping for items that are now worthless to me, are now being shipped away.

Away. Isn’t that a funny thought we have. We think that once we are done with an item we take it somewhere else and call it “away.” We throw things away daily, we bag up items to send them away, and yet we rarely think of away as a place. What we need to understand is that things never really go “away.” The amount of items in the world that we can own must go somewhere when we are finished with them. I didn’t begin my minimalism journey with the thought of being greener some way. It really has never been something I gave much thought to. As I allowed myself to think on this idea I realized that every item we consume or purchase will one day go to the place we call away. What must that place look like? How does that really affect our world?

We all know what consumerism is, but rarely have we heard of compulsory consumption. What is compulsory consumption? It is as Joshua Fields Millburn from “MINIMALISM a Documentary About The Important Things” puts it “what you’re supposed to do, what advertising tells you to do, the magic template for what happiness is.” Compulsory Consumption is buying things because you have been told to buy them. It’s walking into a store and seeing ads geared toward items you need. Whether those items are on the mannequins closest to the walkways, on the end caps, or hanging from the ceilings. We are constantly told we need more. If we just have more stuff, we will live the ultimate American dream.

Think for yourself. What if you chose to not listen to what the consumerist world is telling you, you need? What if we answered our own calling for our lives. What kind of life would we be living. If you are struggling to know what to ask yourself and how to get started on your own journey here are some questions.

  1. What do you buy the most? Why?
  2. How do you purchase your items?
  3. If you could live life your way, how would you live?
  4. Do you care about being trendy?
  5. When you purchase an item, is it because you need it,or because you have been told you need it?

I would love to read your answers and answer any questions you may have to further your understanding of living simply.

Kelly