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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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Money, Money, Money!

How much money do you make? What do you spend it on? Does it make you feel secure? Does it make you happy?  If the answer to any of those questions are “I don’t know” then you have an issue.

How much money do I make?

That is usually pretty easy to answer if you are on a salary and it never changes.  Even if you work hourly and don’t get overtime you can pretty much figure out how much you make. There is a big difference in how much you make and how much you get. After taxes, insurance, and retirement are taken out  “how much you make” is very different.  My yearly salary looks really good. Reality is I bring home about half after taxes, insurance and retirement. Do you know how much you are really able to use for daily living? Do you have goals for your money?

What do I spend my money on?

I am married so I don’t get to make that decision all on my own.  How we decide on how much we spend on those things are based on needs and the market.  We have to have somewhere to live, transportation, food, and utilities. We decide how large a home, what location, and how much of a payment we are willing to have.  We decide what kind of transportation we need, how much it is going to cost monthly, and will it function for our needs.  Food and utilities are dependent on the weather, the season, our diet, and the market. This fluctuates month to month.

Others can be cussed and discussed.  Some of the things that we discuss is vacations, home improvements that will add comfort and value but don’t have to happen, and the non reoccurring expenses like running shoes.  These are things we “need” but can live without if we have to.

We have an allowance that is just ours for our stuff that isn’t shared. I use mine for pampering; hair, nails, pedicure, housekeeper, and lunch with my best friend. My husband uses his for shooting matches and anything needed for those.  Having an allowance helps us not fight over money.

Does your money make you feel secure?

Are you comfortable with the amount of money you make? Can you provide for yourself and your family? Are you able to save for emergencies and the future? Is your life comfortable? If the answer is no to any of these there is a solution to your problem.

Take a look at your employment. Do you qualify for a higher paying job that will give you the same satisfaction as the one you have?  Do you need more training or education to get that job? Do you need a side hustle?

Take a look at your expenses. What are you buying that you don’t need? What are you throwing your money away on that could help make your life more comfortable elsewhere?  Our biggest item that we throw money away on is eating out.  Fast food and inexpensive restaurants add up to large amounts of money if you are eating out multiple times a week. What is sucking up your expendable income? At the end of your month look at your bank and credit card statements. Print them out. Use different colored highlighters for different categories. Then total each category. There are also different programs out there that can automate this for you.  Make a decision of what is important to you to keep and what to do without.

Does your money make you happy?

Are you using your money for things that make you happy?  My “extra” money goes for experiences and fabric. My husband’s goes to shooting matches and the equipment needed.  Just to brag a little,  he made #1 of the Governor’s dozen this year.  What do you want your money to do for you?  Do you need a lot in the savings to make you feel happy and secure? Do you need to go on vacations? What about sending your kids to college or trade school?  Take a good look at what makes you happy and adjust your budget and intake to help you achieve that.

Money can cause and eliminate a lot of mental turmoil. It can control you or you can control it. You have to know what your values are on money and what your values in life are and then reconcile the two. There is always a solution to how money controls your life as long as your pay attention to what money is doing for and to you.

 

 

 

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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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19 things to do instead of shopping.

Shopping is a very short moment of happiness. The long term consequence is less money, more responsibility and guilt. So what do you do instead that will give you that same happy feeling that you get from shopping?

  1. Go to the animal shelter and pet the cats. Ask if you can take a dog outside to the play area.
  2. Go to the thrift store and buy an outfit. Then donate it to the homeless shelter.
  3. Go for a walk in nature.
  4. Call a friend or family member and go for dessert.
  5. Go to the movies.
  6. Plant something.
  7. Read or listen to a book.
  8. Watch a comedy.
  9. Bake cookies and take them to a neighbor.
  10. Go play games with the elderly at the nursing home.
  11. Take up a creative hobby and sell your creations for some side money.
  12. Take a bubble bath with some scented candles and a hot lavender tea.
  13. Look for a vacation destination and put away the money you would have spent shopping in a safe place toward that vacation.
  14. Get a pedicure or manicure
  15. Go to a yoga class
  16.  Take the dog to the dog park.
  17. Get the car cleaned inside and out.
  18. Plan a dinner party using Pinterest and then actually have a dinner party.
  19. Do something you like to do beside shopping.

Very rarely will you even remember the shopping in a few weeks.  Shopping adds stuff that you have to take care of and organize.  Doing something else that does not involve accumulating more stuff and helps others not only gives you the happy vibe but it gives you a memory of having done something good.

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LEAVE CHAOS BEHIND ORGANIZATION LEADS TO PEACE OF MIND

Leave Chaos Behind Organization Leads to Peace of Mind. What does that even mean?  For me it means that all of the basics in my life are organized so when things go sideways I don’t have to worry about the day-to-day basics.

I have a daily routine. I have a financial routine. I have a creative routine. I have a health routine. I have an emotional development routine.  Everything in my home has a place. My home is not cluttered. I manage my time wisely. I have quality time with my friends and family. I have a career plan.

In my fantasies my life is like that. I have lots of tools and routines to be organized that I don’t use or use well. My life does not have balance or consistent organization and that Chaos creates a lack of Peace of Mind.

I am on a journey to discover and implement consistency and organization.  I will teach and share with you how to leave the Chaos by learning how to implement tools that will work for you to gain your physical, emotional, financial. time, career, family, friends, social, and creative Peace of Mind.

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