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The Beginner Minimalist

Every journey starts with one step in the right direction.  Minimalism is a journey.  It can start anywhere in your life.

Sit down in your comfy chair with a pad of paper and a pen.  Think about your life.  What do you like about it?  Write those things down.  Think about the things that stress you. Write those down.  Pick one thing each from the like and dislike lists. Focus on these for a few weeks.  How do I increase that thing that makes me happy and decrease what makes me cranky?  Work equally on increasing what makes you happy and decreasing what makes you cranky.  When the thing that makes you cranky is no longer making you cranky and you are doing more of the thing that makes you happy start again with two more things.

The thing that makes me happy is sewing. I love creating useful things. I love the feel of fabric. I like the sense of peace I get when I sew.  But I didn’t get to sew as often as I wanted.  I began to set aside time daily to sew. Some days it was 10 minutes. Some days it was hours.  I made things for my family that they could use. I sewed things to sell. I sewed for myself.  The more I sewed that happier I got.  But I also made equal time to work on what made me cranky. If I hadn’t I would just have been avoiding that thing that made me cranky.

Clutter was the thing that made me cranky.  I was brought up to believe that if someone gave you something you had to keep it forever.  If you inherited something you had to keep their stuff forever.  The older I got and the more deaths in the family, the more stuff I accumulated.  The more stuff I accumulated the more I hated my home.  I hated that I was obligated to keep stuff I didn’t like, wasn’t my style, or just took up room.  It has taken me 10 years but I have sold, given away, or donated at least one full U Haul truck  of things I didn’t love. I had kept the stuff because I felt obligated. Now I feel free and my home fits my personality.  It is also easier to keep clean and is not a fire hazard.  The stuff I sold helped pay bills when it was rough.  It paid for vacations when it wasn’t rough.  I “blessed” other people with the things I donated and gave away. Those people were able to use or love the stuff that stressed me out. Now if I don’t love it, if it doesn’t serve a purpose, and it takes up space, I no longer keep it.

Once you start on this journey life gets so much better.  You deserve to be happy.

 

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Organize the Kitchen Mess

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I hate the disorganized mess that is my kitchen. I have purged the kitchen of all of the things that will never be used, are broken, or are duplicates. It still leaves a lot of small appliances, utensils, dishes, food containers, and random stuff.  It was time to find some organizational items to organize the kitchen mess.  I went to one of my favorite websites. I prefer on-line shopping to retail shopping.  Let me tell you about the treasures I found!

The pots and pans and the lids that go with them are one of my biggest peeves.  I found these two items.  Adjustable Pan/Pot Organizer and  Professional Roll Out Lid Organizer.  The pan/pot organizer is adjustable to the size of your own pans.  I need two of these for all of mine.  The roll out lid organizer is going to be a back saver.

I have a lot of small appliances. I have this Hamilton Beach Hand Mixer, this  Air Popcorn Popper, and this  Mickey Mouse Waffle Maker.  All of which I use on a weekly or monthly basis.  I also have other small appliances that don’t get used as much but still need a space in the cabinet.  I found this professional roll out shelf for appliances.  I bought two.  One is on the top shelf for the appliances I use all the time.  The other is on the bottom shelf for the appliances that get used occasionally.

The pots and pans and small appliances was enough for one day. I will tackle the baking pans and utensils next.

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Buying used: save money, save the earth.

I love buying used but I hate shopping.  Unless it is yard sales and thrift shops.  Growing up I wasn’t allowed to go to yard sales or thrift stores.  When I asked why my mother said “we are not Those kind of people”.  That was her answer to a couple of other questions I also asked.  I am not sure what “Those” kind of people are but I have become one.

I craft and sell on Etsy and through this blog.  Sewing is tranquil and helps me unwind from being a social worker.  Sewing feeds the creative part of my inner soul. It can also get really expensive if buying retail from Hobby Lobby even with the 40% off coupon.  I do buy some things from Hobby Lobby. It is the only fabric store in our small town. The majority of my fabrics, threads, ribbons, zippers, and notions come from estate and yard sales.  Occasionally I find sewing supplies in the thrift stores also. This brings down the cost of being creative.

By buying at yard sales and thrift stores I provide a service to those who are selling and the the earth by “recycling” not needed stuff that may have gone into the landfill. Other peoples unwanted stuff becomes my useful stuff.  I only buy things I will actually use and will use in the near future.  When it comes to fabric the near future is the next five years. The majority of my home is furnished and decorated with finds from yard sales and thrift stores.  My clothes come mostly from thrift stores. Except for underclothes those are exclusively brand new.

Buying used also helps the community and yourself. You are providing an income to people that need it the most whether it is the person having the yard sale or the thrift store that provides a community service.  Buying used is almost always a win-win for all involved.

Share with me in the comments how and what you buy used. I enjoy hearing your ideas.

 

 

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Eliminating the toxins in your home.

 

What exactly are toxins in your home. There are the obvious toxins that affect you physically like chemicals, bad air, bad food, and dirt.  Those are easy to get rid of and obvious. (There will be a blog post in the future about getting rid of those toxins.) But what are the other toxins that are helping create an unhealthy, unhappy life?

The huge toxin in my home was stuff. Stuff you couldn’t get rid of because it belonged to someone who passed on. Stuff that was a gift and you don’t want to hurt the gift giver’s feelings. Stuff that you don’t love but cost money. Cleaning stuff, ignoring stuff, organizing stuff, finding a place to put stuff, and protecting stuff took a lot of time and energy.  I was constantly looking at stuff I didn’t like. It wasn’t my style. I didn’t even like the majority of it.  But I couldn’t get rid of it because it would hurt someone’s feelings.

After many years of therapy, self improvement seminars, and reading blogs like mine I had a revelation. It is just stuff!  Stuff is not the person that passed away. Stuff is not the gift giver. Stuff is not a representation of how much money you have.  It was very freeing.

I began to slowly get rid of stuff by selling on Ebay, having yard sales, gifting to others, donating to charities and thrift shops, and throwing away the unusable.  I only did this with my stuff. My family still has their stuff and their space to clutter up. My space, and the majority of the house, only has the things I need and love. It isn’t a minimalist home at all but it is definitely not a hoarder looking home anymore. It is peaceful and useful and easy maintenance.

But what about the stuff from the people that passed on you ask? How can you get rid of their stuff? That is like admitting they are gone!  Their stuff is not them. They are not stuff. They are physically gone but they are not gone in memory or love.  Keep the pictures of them. Keep a few items that have happy memories of them.  The desk I use daily was my sister’s.  I have a cedar box with my brother’s initials that I keep my jewelry in. I have tons of pictures of our life together.

“I can’t get rid of a gift. They spent so much time picking it out for me.  It will hurt their feelings”.  One of the ways I get around this is I ask for experiences or services instead of stuff.  For my birthday last year I asked my husband to take me on a motorcycle ride to Out of Africa in Camp Verde AZ. Entry fee is free during your birthday month. For Christmas I asked my daughter to prep a months worth of meals for the freezer for me.  This eliminated clutter and provided things I really wanted/needed.

“But it  cost so much”  Do you love it? If the answer is no then sell it. You might not make a profit but at least you won’t have to agonize over it any more.  Last year I lost my mind and agreed to make an impulse purchase of a dual sport motorcycle for myself. I don’t know how to ride and I am a control freak and have personal safety issues. I am a klutz, have no balance and I am not strong.  The bike is really sexy though and the idea of riding my own bike was exhilarating.  Reality check is that I failed the riding portion of the class to get a license. Riding makes me so nervous that I crash. I haven’t gotten out of the parking lot and over 10 miles an hour. It has a total of 15 miles on it. 10 of those miles  were from my husband riding it to the parking lot. The motorcycle is now for sale and has been for a few months.  I will loose about $2,500.00  but when it is gone I won’t feel guilty anymore and I will not have a reminder of the huge mistake I made.  I will feel free.

Get rid of the stuff that is weighing you down.  Lighten up your personal space and only include the things that really appeal to you or mean something to you.  If someones feelings get hurt that is on them. You do what you need to do for you to have a more organized and happy life.

 

 

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Life Organization: Create a Morning and Evening Routine

If you want to start your day grumpy and late don’t make a morning routine.  If you want your morning to be easy enough to do it in your sleep then you have to plan a routine and plan ahead. Same for your evening.  If you want it to be relaxing then follow a routine.  Routine is peaceful. Routine helps you do tasks on auto pilot when you are in a hurry or just don’t feel like doing something.

How do you create a routine?  Let’s start with the evening routine.  Why evening you ask?  Because your evening routine is going to make your morning routine simpler and faster.  Get a piece of paper and pen or open a blank document page. Write down everything you have to do in the evening.  Everyone’s list is going to look a bit different depending on if you have children, pets, spouse/SO, school, gym, social groups, side hustle, etc.  The one thing everyone needs to have on their list is “get ready for tomorrow”.  

This is my evening list. Dinner, update fitness pal, check all mail, check selling websites, talk to family members on the phone or in person, start a load of laundry, pick up the house, feed the pets, scoop the cat box, love the pets, write a blog post or sew or research, Yoga, shower, shave, lotion, plug-in phone on the charger,  Get ready for tomorrow,  hot lavender or Caramel tea and maybe a show before bed.

My kids are grown but are still very needy so I talk to them daily. My Spouse works out-of-state during the week and I talk to him every night too. I have my side hustles of Organized Life Today Etsy and Ebay. Often I am behind in my day work so occasionally that gets added to the routine.

The most important part is getting ready for the morning.  My commute is 1.5 hours one way every morning.  I like to roll out of bed and not have to think or make decisions before the sun comes up. The night before I decide what I am wearing based on what I have to do at work and the weather forecast for the next day. I hang my clothes on the dresser handle and my undergarments and shoes on top of the dresser.  I pack my snacks, waters, and lunch in a reusable and insulated lunch bag. This stays in the refrigerator overnight. My work laptop bag, my purse, and coat (if needed) are staged by the front door.  Car keys are on the counter next to my vitamins.  I remember to take my vitamins if they are in the open and next to something I can’t do without. Breakfast is a store brand weight loss shake and a coke, which are strategically placed next to my lunch bag in the refrigerator. From the time I roll out of bed to out the door takes a maximum of 30 minutes. 20 minutes if I don’t put on makeup.

Your routine will be different from mine depending on your and your families needs.  I am a list person. Lists, especially check off lists, help me to not forget what needs to be done.  We will discuss lists in another blog post.  I hope this helps you begin your journey on getting organized and have Peace of Mind.