Minimalist Camping…Can it be done?

Last week, my family decided we needed to get away for a bit. We chose to take a quick camping trip for 3 nights. It was a great trip minus the heat, black flies and falling out of a canoe. However, I can honestly say, we have not mastered minimalist camping!! As we began the packing process, we really were trying to pair down and not take too much, yet somehow by the time our wheels hit the pavement, we had a full truck bed!

As we set up camp, I quickly realized that we had brought too much with us, yet also not enough. For example, we had everything we needed to shower, have a dance party with solar lights, and cook meals over a fire. We however did not bring enough blankets, bug bite creams, or shoes! I quickly realized on night one as we snuggled into our tent for bed, that it was about 20 degrees colder than we expected and I couldn’t get close enough to my husband to warm me. I kept picturing the scene from “The Revenant” when Leo DiCaprio crawls inside a dead horse to stay warm. I just wanted to be warm enough to not shake!

“I kept picturing the scene from “The Revenant” when Leo DiCaprio crawls inside a dead horse to stay warm.”

Kelly Hoover

The next day, we headed out to take a lovely 4 hour canoe trip, that turned into a 6 hour canoe trip, and some very sore arms. It was such a fun trip! The kids were having a great time anchoring us down with a tube! Seriously, every foot we moved forward was like being at the county fair competing in the tractor pull! We later had to put it in the back of the canoe, once we realized our pick up person may send a search party if we don’t get moving!

“I could see myself practically flying through the air, feeling full on bird like majestic…”

Kelly Hoover

We finally stopped for lunch at the perfect spot. It was a little sandy spot with a nice rock to sit on. After lunch, I decided I would be the one to push us off, back into the river. As I straddled the canoe with my good leg in and my bad leg stuck in that lovely sand we enjoyed so much, I quickly realized I was in a pickle and wasn’t going to make it out of this one unscathed! I was already in too deep, and as I tried to launch myself into the boat I could see myself practically flying through the air, feeling full on bird like majestic, just to realize I hadn’t actually gotten out of the sand. Instead I had pushed the canoe further away causing my straddle to be more like splits, and for my leg to hit the side of the canoe like a slingshot. I flew backwards onto my bottom, and immediately felt the rush of cold water over my body. As I quickly recovered and realized I was not actually hurt, (at least not as bad as that time I rode a mechanical bull. True story for another time!) I could hear the resounding laughter of my family. I ended up with a nasty bruise, but it was worth it to see my families reaction, and hear them poke fun at me for the next 2 days. Watching your kids replay a fall, is highly entertaining in some odd way, even if it’s your fall they are reenacting!

As our trip was coming to a close, we started packing up all of the gear we so carelessly packed. As I packed up the lights, the extra table, and the 3 rugs, I looked at my daughter with blood running down her neck. Blood Running down her neck! She had been bit 4 times by black flies. I never knew that such a tiny bug could cause so much bleeding! I again realized that, while I had brought so many things I thought we might need, I didn’t bring the right bug bite cream. My poor daughter took it like a champ, and we wiped up the blood and got her fixed up when we got home.

What I learned on this trip was that we don’t need nearly as much as we took, but we need to take care when packing and make sure we have the essentials to keep us warm, dry, and safe. While this trip had many bumps (and bruises), it was so much fun. We made a ton of memories and enjoyed just being together. The beautiful thing about minimalism is that while we may need to master our packing, we were able to take off for a trip without worry. We could leave on a whim, and not feel the pressure of life and daily duties. Our lives have been simplified so we can enjoy every minute. We can laugh at ourselves, and spend time in the moment. This is what I saw when we chose minimalism. This is the lifestyle I will choose again and again.

Live Simply Friends,

Kelly Hoover

Finding Focus

Putting our Focus on what is most important, is a valuable life goal. While I have never been much of a focused person per se, (SQUIRREL!), I have found minimalism has helped me to, dial in on what is most important to me. I recently heard this idea of Inheritance and what it means. Often the idea of inheritance is focused on the assets and material possessions that make up our Will. What if we could leave something much greater than money or possessions?

I believe we are all striving for the best. For some that is new homes, cars, trendy clothes, or money. As my journey to do more with less has taken off, I am thinking hard about what is most important in my life. Not just for today but for the future. One thing I believe many of us have in common, is that if we have kids, we want them to be loved well. We strive to be the best parents we can be. Here is where I want us to tune into and focus the most attention on. Leaving a Legacy.

Joshua Becker said it best, “Inheritance is the Legacy we leave behind, and the example we set.” Let that sink in a minute. Did you hear that in the back pew? The LEGACY we leave behind. The Example we set. Our children will be better off spending quality time with us than if we left them $100,000! Sure money is great, but teaching our kids valuable life lessons is far greater.

“Inheritance is the Legacy we leave behind, and the example we set.”

Joshua Becker

So how do we focus our attention.

  1. Make time to be together. Allow yourself to play, read, and laugh together. This doesn’t need to be complicated.
  2. Teach them new things. This can go as far as teaching your child to cook, or as far as teaching them a trade. Our children want to learn new things, we just have to be patient enough to teach them.
  3. Be a good example. Don’t just use words to tell your children what they should do, show them in your own actions. Our daughter loves to ice skate, she however hates to stretch. (like is stubborn enough to sit in a v sit, but not actually touching her toes.) We have started making time to stretch as a family to show her that not only is it good for her body, but that we support her in this. Taking time out of our day to do this with her shows her how much we believe in her.
  4. Think about the legacy you want to leave. Consider what you want to be remembered for. Do you want to be remembered as an honest person that helped others? How about a patient person, that loved telling stories? Maybe you want to be known for telling jokes or making others laugh and smile. Whatever you want to be, you need to cultivate that and mold your life around it.
  5. Develop Character. We hear this term often when talking about home remodels, but what about as people. Character is built as we grow. Teach your children to be kind, honest, trustworthy, empathetic. Teach them character traits and model what good character looks like.

As my kids are getting older, our lives have been improved by living simply. I believe when they are adults, they won’t look for an inheritance of fortune, they will cherish the moments spent together. In a world that tells us more is better, I want to teach my kids that having it all doesn’t provide happiness. Our happiness isn’t found in mansions, cars or clothes. We live in a time where most of our world is living beyond their means and in debt. Our debts are so large, that some of us will spend our lives paying it off. We struggle to keep up with it all. So let’s choose today, to stop the madness! It doesn’t matter, none of the stuff you accumulate matters, especially if you didn’t build relationships along the way.

This weekend my daughter was talking with her cousin after a long day of celebrating her brothers birthday! As they were leaving and giving hugs, the topic of stuff came up and my niece said, “I like having stuff! I don’t want to get rid of all my stuff!” My daughter looked at her and said, “Minimalism is awesome! We get to DO so much more now. We even get to travel more!” What struck me in that moment is that life doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. That’s what’s so great about living simply. While my niece prefers to keep her stuff, my daughter doesn’t feel pressure to do the same. The love between them is far deeper. It doesn’t matter to my niece if she comes to my house and has fewer toys to play with, they still can make memories together.

Leave a Legacy that you will be remembered for. Go out and live this crazy life chasing YOUR dreams!

Live Simply Friends,

Kelly Hoover

Quiet the Voice of Want

Quiet the Voice of Want…

Our lives revolve around consumerism and stuff. We buy more and more, and frankly have little to show for it. Yet, I too, know that quiet voice telling you to shop more. I grew up in a home where we bought a new outfit for every special occasion. These were not always brand new items from the store, sometimes we found amazing deals at thrift stores. However, that was ingrained in me to purchase something new, for every event. As an adult, I found old habits hard to beat. Until I chose to pursue a life of less. There is hope, and promise in what I am about to tell you to quiet that voice inside.

When you feel the desire to shop for something new, consider why you feel this way. Is this simply because it is habit, or maybe even, dare I say, addiction? Could it be that you have never taken another path and so you know no different? Asking yourself first and foremost, why you have the desire is a good place to start. If it was on impulse, or addiction or boredom, choose to say no.

Could it be, that you have never taken another path, and so you know no different?

Kelly Hoover

Consider your priorities. Why are you choosing to live minimally? For my family it was about simplicity. I was sick of managing all that was coming into our home. Laundry piled high, dishes in the sink, clothes I never actually wore, toys, gadgets, craft supplies, etc. I felt drained by all my stuff. None of it actually spoke life into me, instead it caused me stress even when I wasn’t staring it in the face. It was on my silent to do list. So we simplified our home and found it functioned 100% better than before.

When I consider making a purchase I have to decide if it actually goes along with my priorities. If it doesn’t then I choose to move along and leave it in the store. If you are anything like me, though, it took time before the voice within quit shouting at me to consume. I started by not watching tv, or listening to ads. After a month of reducing the amount of ads I heard, I found my mind quieting and the need to shop for something new, fading away.

The more time I spent doing things I wanted, in place of shopping, I found the happier I was. I truly was tired of keeping up with it all. I didn’t care if we had everything that everyone else had. I was content in my home and with my family.

Once I stopped allowing myself to feel the shame and guilt of not having it all, I found a deeper peace. When I look at my life now, I still have things, but now my things are manageable. We still have our share of board games, books and outside toys. Those things we will keep, because they bring us together as a family, and help us create space for quality time together.

Once I stopped allowing myself to feel the shame and guilt, of not having it all, I found deeper peace.

Kelly Hoover

Being intentional is one of the greatest gifts of minimalism. Not just with your purchases, with your time, your energy, your health. As we cultivate our desire for an intentional life, we quiet the voice once more of consumerism. When we fill the space that was being stolen from us with consumption, we find the voice slowly is growing quiet.

Finally the way to silence the voice of consumerism, it to simply be grateful. Have a deep gratitude towards life. Be thankful for all you have, all you do, and all you are. When we can be thankful for the little things in life, we begin to only allow our hearts and minds to be filled with good.

Simply be grateful.

Kelly Hoover

If you are ready to embark on your own journey of simple living, I would love to help you. This life of less is so much more.

Live Simply Friends,’

Kelly Hoover

Freeing Dobby

Finding Minimalism, was so profound in my life, that I felt physically changed. Something was different. I found myself walking places and thinking, “I wonder if people know I am a minimalist?” As if it was something written in red marker on my face, or a new pair of jeans that fit just right. As if looking in the mirror at a new outfit and asking myself, “does this make me look minimalist?”

I am sure not everyone that goes minimalist has these profound thoughts, but I am certain they feel changed in some way. Like the changing of the seasons, my life felt changed. I want to share my passion for minimalism because it truly has impacted my life. I have never experienced simplicity to this extent before, and it feels selfish to keep it all to myself!

Does this make me look minimalist?

Kelly Hoover

I want this for you and your life. Why minimalism? Why not just declutter your stuff and forget the rest? It is so much more than that. It is going against the current. You can declutter all your stuff, but at the end of the day if you don’t start using the new found time wisely, what has really changed?

Why Minimalism?

It is going against the current.

Start small. It doesn’t have to be a profound change on day 1. The changes will come and they will result in a passionate love for simple. Give yourself time to flourish. Start dreaming big dreams! What do you really want your life to look like?

Minimalism was a jumping off point for me. It was like once I started to see the changes, I yearned for more of that. I wanted to simplify every aspect of my life. Not so I would be bored and twiddling my thumbs, but so I could enjoy the things that truly mattered.

My son is having a birthday party this weekend, and for the first time in his 8 years, he didn’t want a bunch of stuff, he wanted experiences. He wants to go to the zoo, ride his bike to get ice cream, and spend time with his extended family. His priorities have changed, not because we told him “NO MORE TOYS” but, because he sees the changes and wants that too.

So what has changed in my daily life since going minimal? Well for one thing, there are fewer socks waiting in the laundry basket until Dobby the house elf comes asking to be freed! Really though, my laundry is now done in a timely manner and in fewer loads.

Well for one thing, there are fewer socks waiting in the laundry basket until Dobby the house elf, comes asking to be freed!

Kelly Hoover

I have more time to… find where the smell is coming from! Moms out there, you know what I am talking about. I sadly have asked myself too many times to count “I wonder how long that has been there!” Anyone else ever feel like sherlock holmes on the case of the mystery smell. Now I have the time to track the smell before it becomes a real problem.

I have more time to fracture my elbow gracefully ice skate with my family on the pond across the street. While I may not be as athletic and graceful as I once was, I still enjoy this family activity during the winter.

All kidding aside, having more time to do things that speak life into myself and my family, is the greatest part of this journey. We may not have the latest gadgets or trendiest clothes, but we choose each other daily and that is what matters most. Choosing a life of less, has given us so much more than we could ever imagine.

Live Simply Friend,

Kelly Hoover

Strolling through Minimalism

A friend and I took a walk last week and my favorite topic came up, Minimalism. Our daughters are best friends, we have vacationed together and have grown very close the past few years. Yet, she didn’t really know how far our minimalist lifestyle was going. As we strolled the trail, she simply asked me, “how do you get started with something like that, I feel so overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we have. Your house always looks clean.” I realized in that moment, that I had been a fraud!

I will be honest, I like to have an organized home, however I am not an organized person. I used to spend hours cleaning my home, so it would be ready for guests. It wasn’t simple. It was actually quite exhausting. My friend see’s my home when I have spent time cleaning, and removing items from the counter tops and tables. She didn’t see the laundry strewn about the rooms, or the toothpaste smeared sinks. She saw the picture I wanted her to see. I wasn’t a tidy person, I just knew how to hide all my crap!

I wasn’t a tidy person, I just knew how to hide all my crap!

Kelly Hoover

When I chose minimalism, I found that my home was no longer a mess all the time. I could actually tidy it in mere minutes. All the stuff, was the cause of hours, of agonizing cleaning. Once I removed items from my home, I found that everything had a place, and I could put things away. This lead me to some of my favorite tidying up tricks.

  1. If it doesn’t serve you, remove it. Take the time to declutter so the things you take care of are actually items that you need or love.
  2. If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it right now. Don’t put off taking care of a task if it takes less than 2 minutes to do. This will save your counter tops from becoming a landing spot. When you begin taking care of things quickly you will immediately see the benefits of keeping things tidy.
  3. Make your bed. Making your bed sets the tone for the rest of your room. If the bed is made, you are less likely to allow clutter to make it’s way into your room.
  4. Put everything away on your counters. I love having a clean kitchen, and counter tops. When the kitchen is clean it sparks more creativity. I am happy to make a meal, when I start with a clean slate.
  5. Before Bed, take a walk through your house and put things away. If you can start your day off without the mess, you set the tone for a better day!
  6. 5 minutes is all you need. If a task seems daunting to you, instead of trying to tackle the entire job, set a timer for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, give yourself grace to walk away. If those 5 minutes motivated you, then by all means, keep up the good work!

Not because we have too much, but simply because we live here.

Kelly Hoover

When you read this, you may be like my friend, whom thinks my home is always picture perfect. My heart wants you to understand that life is messy. Our home still lacks organization. Not because we have too much, but simply because we live here. I still trip over stuffed animals or Legos on my way to kiss my kids goodnight. Minimalism isn’t about perfection. Instead its a clear awakening, to life full of possibilities. Allowing ourselves to see clearly what truly matters.

Instead it’s a clear awakening, to life full of possibilities.

Kelly Hoover

Don’t seek perfection. Instead live this messy, crazy life, with intention. Do what you want, seek your own path, and keep pressing on.

Live Simply Friends,

Kelly Hoover

Minimalism For The Win!

I am so excited to share with you all some of my favorite things about minimalism! Yesterday I promised I would give you some insight into some of the best ways to fill your new found time since going minimalist. Let me begin with a little story of my day yesterday. I woke up feeling pretty good, so I got showered and ready for my day. I took the kids to school, then proceeded to get some laundry done and declutter my bathroom. Then I had a dentist appointment that took just over an hour. I decided to meet a friend and go for a 3.5 mile walk. I came home and saw that my pup had an accident in the house, so I proceeded to clean the carpets. After my walk and doing the heavy lifting of washing carpets, I decided to take a bath. When I was done with all of that it was time to head to pick my kids up from school. Some times our days are not what we had planned and we can easily feel overwhelmed.

Why am I sharing my entire day with you? Since minimalism, what would have exhausted me and made me feel out of sorts, instead was no sweat off my back. I had time to do the things I enjoyed! My day wasn’t exactly how I would have planned it, but because I have more free time, the hiccups didn’t cause me to want to crawl back in bed and start my day over! I actually sent my husband a text saying “Minimalism for the Win!” So how would you spend your days if you had more time to do what you enjoy?

Today I am going to share 15 of my favorite things to fill your time when going minimalist. When you choose minimalism all of the sudden you may find yourself wondering how best to fill your days. When I spent my days shopping for everything I thought I “needed” I literally wasted HOURS of my day. When I decided to stop the habits that kept me “busy” I found I had freedom to enjoy life on my terms. So this is a list of my 15 favorite activities!

  1. READ Get a good book (or a blog you like, ahem) and make time to enjoy it. Or better yet, read a novel to your kids. Quality time with them is always a win in my book!
  2. EXERCISE Do something active every single day. No excuses!
  3. WALK Get outside and simply walk. Don’t put in earphones, just be present.
  4. HELP SOMEONE Know someone that could use some help, find the time to lend a hand!
  5. DECLUTTER FRIENDS HOMES Kind of joking, but no really, if you have found yourself with extra time and you know friends that could use the help, get in there and help them get rid of stuff that is weighing them down!
  6. VOLUNTEER Schools can always use help! Find somewhere that could use the extra hand and make it a priority.
  7. BIKE RIDE I love to just take a ride. This is such a great way to get outdoors and also spend quality time with your family.
  8. WATCH A MOVIE I would save this one for a rainy day! Sometimes you just need to put up your feet and relax.
  9. HIKE My family absolutely loves to hike the trails. Find a trail close by and get outside!
  10. PLANT A GARDEN There is really not many things better than getting your hands into some soil! The reward of good home grown food!
  11. PLAY GAMES This can be anything, cards, board games, or outdoor games!
  12. MAKE MEALS WITH KIDS My kids are always asking to learn how to cook. Now that I have more time, I am teaching them some of my favorite recipes.
  13. TEACH KIDS A NEW CRAFT I love spending time making things with my kids. Sometimes it’s an actual craft and other times, it something like building things with dad. Kids can do so much more than we think. Teach them useful things!
  14. CAMP This is my all time favorite summer activity! We love to spend time together in the peaceful serenity of nature.
  15. PLAY SPORTS Who doesn’t love playing a quick game of volleyball, basketball, or the like? If you haven’t played in awhile don’t worry, its just fun to be out there! My kids are so much better at basketball than I am, but they still love playing with me!

Minimalism seeks to remove the frivolous and keep the significant.

When I chose minimalism I didn’t think it would make a great impact on my day to day life. I really didn’t believe all the hype that this would give me more time in my schedule and the freedom to do more. Since going minimalist, I can honestly say that my days are no longer filled with stress and anxiety. I have found freedom to do what I love most. Minimalism seeks to remove the frivolous and keep the significant. When we put that in the spotlight, we can make better choices for how we want to spend our time.

I recently heard a statistics that is so baffling to me. We use 20% of items we own 80% of the time. Think about that for just a moment. We are only truly using 20% of what we own! So why do we keep the other 80% of stuff that we rarely use?! It really is mind boggling! What if you chose to decrease the amount of stuff you manage, and put the time you would have spent managing to good use?

We use 20% of items we own 80% of the time.

Another thought that has stuck with me this week, is that we consume so many items, that are advertised to make our lives simpler, yet we actually don’t have the time to use them. I think of my kids toy room. When they had loads of toys they rarely had the time to play with them all. Instead they were just sitting in a heap on the floor. There are just not enough hours in the day for them to play with each toy. When we simplified our toys, we were given the freedom to choose what stayed. My kids chose items that they knew they enjoyed playing with, and now they have more time to play, because they are not searching for toys in a room that is disorganized and filled to the brim.

Doesn’t minimalism sound attractive? I know that the leap to minimalism can seem scary. If you are ready to get your feet wet and try it out for yourself, I can tell you, you won’t regret it! I would love to hear how you are minimizing and simplifying your life!

Live Simply Friends,

Kelly Hoover

Greedy Minimalism

I recently heard this idea that taking more than we need is actually greed. Like all of you, we have been dealing with Covid for the past year. During this time we have chosen to stock up on essential items as they become available. Sure in some ways that can be good because we are planning ahead, and also paying a lower price than when things are out of stock and selling for a much higher price. Here’s the thing though, as a Christian, I believe that God will take care of me.

In Matthew 6:26 He puts it this way “Look at the birds of the air; They do now sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” In a world where we have so much, are we becoming greedy and storing things away for ourselves? When we turn our eyes on the truth, we can see that our hoarding tendencies are not of God. As a christian minimalist I have to trust that God will take care of my needs. It is easy to fall into this idea that we need to stock up on every sale and buy more than we need. The world is telling us daily that we need more. Instead of taking more than we need what if we chose to trust that our needs will be met?

When we focus on that truth, we can identify the lies. For example, we are inadequate when we don’t have what advertisers tell us we need. We actually feel deeply hurt by this. We start to doubt our abilities, our identities and so much more. Start to question why you feel you need certain things. Is it only because someone has told you that you need it? Will it actually make your life better? We buy so many gadgets to make our lives simpler, when if we look to the truth, we see that simplifying happens when we choose to have less.

So how do we get to a place where we can trust and not hoard.

  1. Start eating what you have and don’t buy more. If you have a stockpile of food in your basement, that’s okay, but start eating it so it doesn’t become waste.
  2. Only buy what you need when you run out. We don’t need to all hoard toilet paper, buy what you will need for the time, and leave the rest. Same goes for food, shampoo, toys, or anything else you normally buy extra of.
  3. Don’t impulse buy. Just because advertisers tell you, you need this, doesn’t mean you do. Don’t shop for hobby. Instead be a conscious consumer.
  4. Find a hobby and spend time doing it. Instead of filling your days will worry, self doubt, and consumerism, find something you enjoy doing and make time for it.

When we waste our time on worry, buying more than we need, or working harder and longer to pay for all the things we are told we need, we are not being good stewards of what God has gifted us.

Our time is a valuable commodity. When we waste our time on worry, buying more than we need, or working harder and longer to pay for all the things we are told we need, we are not being good stewards of what God has gifted us. Wouldn’t you rather spend your valuable time doing what you love?

Wouldn’t you rather spend your valuable time doing what you love?

Kelly Hoover

So now that you have chosen to take the leap and become a minimalist, what are you going to do with all the new time you have? Join me tomorrow as we discuss ways to fill your time, that will give you life, energy, and joy!

Live Simply Friends,

Kelly Hoover

Lupus Minimalist

When I started telling people I was a minimalist, some had no idea what it was, why I would want to live this way, and some were pretty critical. Today I wanted to share why I chose minimalism and what it has changed in our lives. When I first heard about minimalism I honestly don’t remember what I thought it was exactly, but I knew I loved the idea of simple living. I dreamed of living on a farm, spending hours outdoors, living off the land and certainly off the grid. When I learned what minimalism was and that I could actually pursue a life of less, I was all in.

That being said, my friends and family looked like deer in the headlights when I first talked about this lifestyle. Some were confused by it, and others were actually a bit critical. They didn’t fully understand it and thought we were going to go off the deep end and would start living with only a backpack and a few essential items. That isn’t the case at all though. Choosing to live with less has opened up a whole new world for us.

To start at the beginning, I will let you in on a few secrets of mine. I always wanted to be a stay at home mom. I loved the idea of making art projects with my kids, making delicious gourmet meals, cleaning the house to perfection, and snuggling babies all day long. Then lupus joined my party. I was tired, fatigued, achy, and I felt like a light switch had gone off and I was this new person that was far less than who I wanted to be. I struggled to think straight and couldn’t remember things moments after being told. I felt like I was living in a dense fog that I couldn’t see through.

When minimalism was introduced to me, I didn’t know how much it would help me. I had no idea the amount of joy, it would bring me. While I still have occasional flares, I can say that my health has been better than it was years ago. I actually am currently dealing with a mild flare due to my Blood Pressure being high and beginning a new medication. So this is on my heart right now. In years past when I would flare I would find myself crying in my bed because I was missing out on life and I had stuff I needed to do. I had loads of laundry, house work, meal prep, and all that comes with being a homemaker. I would make myself sicker, by worrying about all that I wasn’t getting done. Thankfully I have an incredible husband, who never hesitates to pick up the slack, and is my number one support when it comes to my health.

So as I am currently, in a state of fatigue and shakes, I can say that I am not worried about the house, or chores that need to be done. I can sit on the couch and write this because I have found peace in the journey. Please don’t feel sorry for me. I am a strong woman that has been handed some junk, but it is part of my journey and I will survive.

When I first discovered minimalism one thing that stuck out to me the most was the idea that I didn’t need to “manage” all the stuff I owned. Before this, I didn’t realize I had been managing so much. I was just used to doing it all, and trying to stay afloat. Now I can ask myself, if each item is worth the time and energy it takes for me to manage it. Most of the time the answer is no. I also learned that if you are holding an item in your hand and asking if it is worth managing and it isn’t a clear YES, then it is probably a NO. Let it go and move on.

If it isn’t a clear YES, then it is probably a NO. Let go and move on.

I decided for myself that minimalism was a good fit for our family. When I am not constantly managing all that we own, I have time to rest, read, play, and do the things that matter the most to me. I don’t feel the weight of the rat race, trying to push forward and win. I am much more peaceful and rested. Knowing that my lupus is a very real problem, choosing to take on a minimalist life gave me peace of mind.

Along with all the fatigue and aches, I also really didn’t have the mental capacity to think ahead or stay in the moment. When I gave up all the stuff, I found space to let my mind expand. I wasn’t thinking about things yet to do, or unfinished work. I had the time to rest which in turn gave my brain a break. Now when my kids are talking to me, I can listen and respond. I can remember things that I couldn’t before. I am not just reacting to the moments, I am able to mentally respond in a way that is kind and thoughtful.

While I am in no way saying that if you have a medical condition, Minimalism will fix it. However, I do believe, living this way, has lifted a weight off me so I can live more, and worry less. I can enjoy the simple things. So how do we decide what makes the cut to stay in our home? We ask simple questions. For example I was holding onto some Christmas Decor recently that I loved. While holding each item I asked myself, is this item worth my time, energy and effort to manage it? Most things I was able to part with. While many items were cute, and I enjoyed them, they were not worth managing for me.

Managing your items isn’t always easy. We don’t actually think of each items cost for living in our home. If you have to care for it, clean it, put new batteries in it, or store it 9 months out of the year, those are all costs to keeping items. You should weigh each item by this measure. Our time and energy are worth more than a sticker price. Why allow yourself to feel that weight of stuff when you can simply choose to manage less?

What are you managing today that isn’t worth your time and energy? When you start removing items from your home it is like opening space not just in your home, but also inside of yourself. You can breathe freely, and think clearly.

Live Simply Friends,

Kelly Hoover

CAUTION: ROAD BLOCK AHEAD

Detour ahead! Minimalism has not been as easy, as I thought it would be. I envisioned our lives as minimalists being carefree, running through the woods hiking, taking long bike rides, sitting on beaches in far off countries, and just living our best life. While that is certainly attainable for some that isn’t the case with our family.

When I first spoke about minimalism to my husband, I was hungry for new beginnings. I wanted to start over in a sense. I wanted less of everything that was crowding our lives. I began to fiercely go through my items, and get rid of things that I didn’t use. It started off as just decluttering a bit. That turned into trying to live with only what I truly needed. That worked for me. My husband on the other hand didn’t understand why we had to get rid of everything. He wants to keep every shirt he’s ever owned. As we discussed our points of view, I couldn’t help but feel like I wasn’t explaining my side well enough. He wasn’t seeing how much easier life would be with less.

I felt completely confused, and struggled to understand, why he wasn’t jumping into this with both feet, the same way I did. Then it occurred to me that, I haven’t been trustworthy with my spending in the past. His defense was that every time we get rid of stuff, we go out to replace those items. I know this was true in the past, but I have to prove to him that this isn’t a fad. I can see the changes in myself and my eagerness to stay the course. So I reminded him of my shirt, he recently placed on the lamp to make the lighting less bright in our room. The shirt got burned and literally crumbled in the washing machine! My first thought was not to replace this shirt, instead it was a sense of relief as one more item left our home. What my husband thought though, was that I would need to run out to the store to get a replacement.

So as our discussion went on, he realized the changes I was making were for the betterment of myself. I am no longer asking him to rid his closet of his high school Cross Country Team shirts.(I know, Right!?) His items may mean more to him, than what my items mean to me. I didn’t consider that when I started this journey. My husband rarely buys anything. He uses what he has, but when he receives something new he treasures it and maintains it. He takes great care of things and I admire that about him.

This leads me to my next life lesson. We don’t all have to travel on the same path, to get to the same destination. While my husband has said he likes the idea of our family becoming minimalists, his route looks different than mine. Instead of decluttering first, he chooses to not buy any unnecessary items. He will eventually declutter his closet or tools but for now, I will work around his stuff. Every path to minimalism looks different! While we all want the same end result these are not all identical. The end goal is to live a fuller life with fewer things getting in the way.

We don’t all have to travel on the same path, to get to the same destination.

Kelly Hoover

My next big life lesson came in the form of my best friend buying a new home. I remember being so excited for her, and wanting to hear all about how she was going to decorate. She has an absolutely beautiful home! What was so mind opening for me was, when I visited her and she told me that she loved her kitchen cabinets because they were “HER STYLE.” They were not the trendy new farmhouse style of white with black handles, or what we see in every magazine, or home remodel show. They were what she liked. That was so refreshing to me. It was almost as if, without evening realizing, she was going against the grain and doing what was right for her. She didn’t feel the need to follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing. WOW! I left her home feeling excited and I knew that I wanted to do the same.

My final life lesson is that, I realized there are people out there that are just like me! There are people who have found their passion for living with less. They want to share this passion because it has truly changed their lives. They are finding contentment in living simply. When I decided to start this journey, I figured there were a few well known minimalists in the world. I didn’t consider all the others out there, that are not well known, but are still choosing this path. I am finding community with like minded people. It is so refreshing to know you are not alone!

If you are just beginning your journey, know that you are not alone, We don’t all take the same path to get here but we all want the same end results. Your journey is yours and you have the freedom to like what you like! Don’t fall into the trap of being like everyone else because it is what you are told is best. Find what you like and stick with that!

Come back and read my next post, where I discuss how minimalism has changed my life! You don’t want to miss it!

Live Simply Friends,

Kelly Hoover