How to Avoid Organization

There is constant talk about organizing our stuff. We buy more stuff to organize our stuff. We make lists and take up our time reading articles on how to get control of clutter. Retail therapy is now an official term. Now we have space bags, under the bed storage containers, and plans for shelves to store more stuff. There’s an easier solution.
Get rid of it.
Try not to shudder.
Take a breath.
Consider these facts when you think you can’t let go of that stuff.
1) There would be no hot spots of clutter in your house to clean up every Saturday.
2) You could sleep in instead of cleaning because cleaning takes much less time.
3) Your back would be healthier because you wouldn’t have to lift or move anything anymore.
4) You could play with your kids or teach them something worthwhile instead of supervising cleaning.
5) You could find things easily
6) You could buy nicer, quality items instead of more junk.
7) You would have money in the bank and not stress about bills.
8) You would have authentic friends. Shallow people don’t hang out with minimalists.
9) You could do those things you always wanted to do because you have time and money.

There are lots of games out there to help us minimize. Nothing wrong with doing that but I chose to do most of it all at once. I’ve cycled back a few times but now I can’t stand the chaos of it. Clearing space, not having to worry about keeping up with the neighbors buying, and having time to take a walk in the fall leaves means more to me than any amount of stuff could. At first I minimized because I thought it would give me control of my life and that’s true but now it’s also about doing the right thing for the world. We don’t need even half of what we own. Taking the time to consider how my life impacts the environment has been educational and humbling. I wouldn’t go back.

Listening to the Heart

I’ve held back. The joys of becoming a minimalist entice me to continue to make changes and yet I’ve hesitated because I didn’t want to be the oddball or cause waves in the family. I didn’t want to be the person at work that is the loner.All along I’ve known that my reasoning for not going further was shallow. I’ve worried about becoming invisible if I let go of my past and all the expectations that went with it. All that worry has been weighing me down and made me realize how much time and energy I really spend thinking about an image. I can’t stand it any longer.
Here’s what I’m going to do for me:

Natural
I’m done with fake. No more makeup, hair color, or nail treatments.

Eat to Live
I’m giving up caffeine for teas such as mint, ginger root, and chamomile that I grow myself. No more packaging, expensive waste, or jitters.
Eat to Live is my motto. I’m eating a vegan diet consisting of fruit for breakfast, salad and fruit for lunch with flax seed, and another salad for dinner with cooked vegetables or soup. I recently started eating this way and feel so much better already. What took me so long?

No Paper or Plastic
I’m not printing this year and I’m methodically getting rid of junk mail. Any paper books hanging around are being donated. I write online, buy tickets online, and correspond through email. Cloth bags are replacing any lingering plastic. We won’t be using garbage bags this year since we are composting as much as possible and recycling.

Buying Locally
I’ve loved the convenience of buying things online but now I appreciate the concept of buying locally. I’ve bought clothes at the local thrift store for a while now and will continue to do so when needed. I’m back to a few basic black pieces for work, and jeans with a tee or sweater for home. I’m raising as much food as possible in the garden and containers for winter. Whatever I can’t grow I buy at the local market avoiding unnecessary packaging by buying bulk when possible and refusing to buy processed food. I’m learning to plant things in places I never dreamed of before. The exception to all of this is supplements. I buy vitamins and supplements online. I stock up when there is a sale and only use essentials. I only buy from one vendor.

Goodbye Social Media and Drama
I found myself wasting time on social media and fussing over the drama that others create. This is time that I now spend writing, reading, and meditating. I’ve let go of Facebook friendships and the drama of soap box negativity. Genuine friends have found a way to stay in touch. Social media is not always negative or dramatic but I’ve found that for me letting go of it was the right thing to do. Since we’ve moved across country, I’ve enjoyed remaining unentangled.

Buy Nothing
Looking ahead I’ll be reducing any needless spending. I won’t be buying:
Books
Hair color, products or cuts
Makeup
Processed food
Unnecessary supplements
Sugar
Coffee
Tea
Jewelry
Dog toys

The necessities
Water
Mint, chamomile, and ginger root
(Medicinal and heart warming)
Fruit
Vegetables
Legumes
Rice
Nuts and seeds
Gardening Supplies

What would you do if you listened to your heart?

Making Simple Food Good: Oat Milk

One of my quests to simplify life is in the kitchen. We are working on using the basics in many different ways in order to buy fewer products less often. Rolled oats are a staple in our household. I’m baking more with oats instead of wheat flour since it’s less calories for more nutrients and we enjoy the flavor. I’ve been simplifying breakfast by eating oatmeal instead of processed cereals or animal products. I’ve been wanting to step away from cow’s milk and eggs so I’m looking for recipes that either take the place of these animal products or exclude them from the recipe. Today I decided to make Oat Milk since it’s in our minimalist pantry.

Oat Milk

2 cups Rolled oats (Ground in blender until flour consistency)
6 1/2 cups filtered water
1 pinch pink Himalayan salt

IMG_20140624_071353749

I simply filled a bowl with filtered water and added oats that were already ground with a pinch of salt and stir gently. I don’t think that you would have to grind the rolled oats but I had some already made into flour so I am trying it. I used a lid but you could cover with cloth too. This should soak for overnight or 8 hours.

IMG_20140624_071412975

I didn’t have cheese cloth so I placed a flour sack dish cloth in my colander to strain the oats out of the mixture. At this point you could add vanilla if you plan to just drink it or leave plain for cooking. When using oat milk for cooking it is used in the same measurement as cow’s milk. If you want a thicker milk use less water.

My Minimalism: Giving Up the Past

Becoming a minimalist has gradually taught me to let go of the things that don’t matter. It’s made my life less stressful and more meaningful. My desires have become fewer and peace is much more frequent. I look at how far I’ve come and I wonder where it is I want to go. The only thing that seems to be clear is that I wish to continue letting go of the past. It has hindered me at times, come back to haunt me, and created a burden where there really wasn’t any in the present. I think about how I’ve tried to hide who I am by covering up with various shells of armor like weight, image, and persona. None of this I wish to keep because it has no place in my simple life of letting go. I’ve decided to look ahead, keep noble friends, and live in the present. It could make me vulnerable. It could change relationships and my way of life in the end. My ego could suffer and it might just be uncomfortable charting this new territory. The alternative is to carry the past with me and keep living for other’s expectations. The answer is simple of course. Where else could I possibly go but forward?

Extreme Minimalism: Natural Hair

As I venture further into minimalism I enjoy simplifying my product list. This week I made the jump to “no-poo”. This is the term that’s used for the method of using baking soda instead of shampoo. I couldn’t find an “organic” or “natural” product that I liked and I still didn’t like the fact that I was buying a container each time either. As I was looking for natural makeup recipes online I came across a recipe for “no-poo” that I modified and tried. I’m not sure why I didn’t do this long ago. I love it. Then I discovered my own version of vinegar rinse for hair. Here they are for you. Feel free to share.

MB’s No-Poo Hair Recipe
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 cup cornstarch or arrowroot
1 cup water
1 capful essential oil of choice

I had a large plastic spice bottle from Costco that I re-purposed for this. It has a wide mouth and a shaker lid
that you can take on and off. It was perfect for what I needed. I simply placed all the ingredients in the bottle, replaced the shaker top and then the lid. I shook it until it was well mixed. (I shake the bottle each time right before I pour some on my head. This is a watery substance. I aim for scalp and let it drip down to the ends, let it sit for a few minutes and rinse.)

MB’s Vinegar Hair Rinse
1 cup vinegar
2 cups water
Essential oil of choice.

I shake this up in a spray bottle. If you re-purpose a cleaning agent spray bottle be sure to wash it out well with soap and water. I preferred to buy one at the dollar store. After I use my “No-poo” recipe I squeeze the water out of my hair and spray it with the vinegar rinse in the shower. Be sure to spray all areas of your hair. It will not feel as slick as when you use conditioner at this point. Your hair will smell like the essential oil and vinegar while still wet. I dry mine slightly with a towel and then let it air dry for minimal fuss. When dry your hair will be very shiny and manageable. I find that I don’t need hair products now because I have a simple hairstyle. If it becomes a bit frizzy during the day I spray again with a bit of the vinegar rinse and it tames right down. Once dry, you don’t usually smell the vinegar, only a hint of the essential oil. I like Bergamot, Lavender, Sweet Orange, or Jasmine for hair scents but I often use Peppermint oil because they say it’s good for dry hair. Be cautious not to get this rinse in your eyes.

I bought the big bag of baking soda at the local warehouse store for about $6 and two gallons of white vinegar for about $3. I also use these products to clean my home and shampoo the dog but if I didn’t I would have enough to last for months. (Note: if you use this for the dog be careful not to use on their face period.) There are no words to tell you how simply impressed I was with this method. I was always afraid the baking soda would be too harsh on my hair. Maybe the corn starch softens it a bit. I’m not sure. I just know that I keep thinking it’s too good to be true. Then I use it again and it still works great. The pleasure that I have in finding one more way to simplify my life and feel good is so rewarding. I threw away the shampoo and I will never go back. Ever.

Simple Household Cleaning

Having less has made cleaning a breeze at our house. It takes less time because we have less to pick up, maintain, and move around. We made the jump to do away with commercial cleaning products. Now we just use a few basics that clean everything. No need to store multiple bottles or buy the latest product. These simple ingredients are easy to find, inexpensive, and work just as well or better than the products with fancy names or claims.

Kitchen
Baking soda *Scour sinks
Vinegar *Use alone for tough grease, dirty windows, walls, and counters
*Use 1:2 ratio with water for all-purpose spray
Olive oil *Polish cupboards, wood furniture, and wood doors

Living Room
Olive oil *Polish furniture and wood doors
Water *Use damp cloth to wipe down baseboard and walls
Vinegar *Clean windows, mirrors, and door handles

Bathroom
Baking soda * Scour sinks, tub, and shower
Vinegar * Clean mirrors, shower walls and door, counter tops
Water *Use damp cloth for baseboards, walls, and door

Bedrooms
Olive oil * Polish furniture, doors, and ceiling fans
Water * Use damp cloth to wipe down walls and doors

Some people have an issue with the smell of vinegar. You can mix with water to mellow it and/or add essential oil such as lemon, orange, or others. If vinegar still bothers you try just cleaning with castile soap and water. Cleaning frequently keeps things easy too. Having a healthy lifestyle that does away with frying food, smoking cigarettes, or using artificial coloring also makes for keeping life simple and clean. Always a good choice.

Minimalist Pantry

We try to stick to the basics in the pantry. Here is the inventory we keep there to give an idea of what works for us.

Old Fashioned oats (bought in bulk 50#)
Canned tomatoes (diced, stewed, crushed)
Olive Oil
Coconut Oil
Tea
Coffee
White vinegar
Baking Soda
Aluminum-free baking powder
Spices including salt and pepper
Dehydrated vegetables
Root vegetables
Corn starch
Coconut Flour
Vanilla Extract
Nuts
Dried Fruit
Powdered Milk

Our goal this year is to reduce waste and keep things simple. We are gathering recipes that are easy to make and take only common ingredients that we would find in our basic pantry. This doesn’t mean we feel deprived. On the contrary, we have found some really easy recipes to make that don’t take extra packaging, expense, or time. For example we make vanilla or coconut pudding from scratch. Using our homemade vanilla extract, homemade butter (made in just minutes in the blender), cornstarch, and milk we get a yummy treat with little effort in just 10 minutes on the stove plus cooling time. Make it before dinner, let it cool while you eat and it’s ready for dessert or make it the night before and you’ll have it for the next day. Add coconut for a sweet addition. Simple. Good.

Minimalist Kitchen

One of the easiest places to have too much is the kitchen. In our house the kitchen is the gathering place. We eat here, do homework, write volumes, and seek sanctuary here. There’s a large pantry closet right in the kitchen as well as many cupboards that are tempting to fill. We recently took an inventory and realized that we needed to change some very obvious things to meet our goals of simplicity and minimalism.

Here’s what was right in our minimalist kitchen:

Cast Iron Pans
We use only cast iron pans. I have two sets that each have a deep pan that can be used to fry, boil, stew, bake, and simmer. They also have a lid with a handle. This lid is used as a shallow pan as well to fry or saute. I prefer the pre-seasoned Lodge set that is 2 quart for most things but I make pot roast, baked chicken, and large portions of soup, stews, or pasta sauce in the larger 5 quart set that I bought at Cabela’s. I’ve had these sets for ten years. Here’s a cast iron cookbook on Kindle. Free as of this writing. (I don’t receive any profit from referring you by the way).

Olive Oil
We use olive oil for salad dressings, general cooking, polishing furniture, skin moisturizer, and body scrubs. It’s delicate nature works well for so many things. I have an oil sprayer that I fill with it to use instead of using aerosol products such as cooking spray (Pam).

Baking Soda
We use baking soda for baking, air freshening, foot powder, facial scrub, toothpaste, deodorant, scouring powder, and laundry. We consider baking soda to be one of the basics essential to our simple living. We combine it with liquid soap for all-purpose household cleaning such as sinks, and tough spots on floors. Baking soda is a perfect facial scrub when combined with olive oil. We use one cup baking soda, one cup coconut oil, and a couple drops of peppermint oil for toothpaste. Deodorant is the same recipe using bergamot or tea tree oil and eucalyptus instead.

Oatmeal
Oats are another staple in our kitchen. We can do so much with it. We grind it in the blender to make oat flour. The oat flour is used for baking crackers, bread, and muffins. We even make a paste of it with water and use it for a gentle face mask. Oats are used at our house in meatloaf, cobblers and fruit crumbles, cookies, cakes, and side dishes.

Then we found the offenders:

Canned soup
We had bought a case of canned soup at our local warehouse store. As I look at the ingredients I see high sodium, high fructose corn syrup ( yes, in soup!), and long words I couldn’t pronounce. These were all things that don’t meet our criteria of simple eating and a minimalist lifestyle. Out they go.

Industrial Cleaners
We found aerosol cleaners, scouring powder, and all-purpose cleaners that contained chemicals that we really don’t want in our house. I would use the excuse that it was more convenient to buy these but it wasn’t I’m really not sure we were thinking at all when we put them in the cart at the store. In the trash they go.

Boxed Food
Box mixes don’t meet our criteria for simple living either. I was tempted by the fact that they contained stevia but other than that they have all the packaging and preservatives that we have been trying to avoid. We are replacing most desserts and bread type items with healthy smoothies and homemade yogurt.

Our basic plan for our Minimalist Kitchen is simple.

Breakfast: Oatmeal or 10 Grain cereal
Lunch: Beans and rice with leftovers added in and a piece of fruit
Dinner: Meat and Vegetables with fruit smoothie for dessert

Window cleaner: Vinegar
All-purpose cleaner: Vinegar and water (essential oil optional)
Scouring: Baking soda
Polish: Olive oil

Tools:
Two cast iron pan sets 2 quart and 5 quart
One set of 8 glasses
One set of 8 plates
One set of 8 bowls
One set glassware for storage, freezing, and serving
One glass 9×13 pan
One spatula
One Pancake turner
One Large spoon
One set tongs
One set 8 serving flatware
One cutting board
One set ceramic knives (3)
One set metal mixing bowls (also used for serving)

With these basics we create simple meals and memorable moments in the space of our lives. We love it.

Don’t Confuse Minimalism With Deprivation

Becoming a Minimalist doesn’t mean there is deprivation. It’s true that you may still be
tempted by the newest shiny thing but just because you don’t buy it doesn’t make you deprived.
We are sucked in by marketing and consumerism. When you clear your clutter and get down to the basics it simply feels good. The attraction to having more stuff becomes less and less over time. After a while you become more selective in a personal way. You might find the value and enjoy re-use and renew such things as old chairs, household items, and get excited about creating something new in an artistic way like Lois Field. You might try cleaning out your closet for the last time and finding The Rule of Three is for you or taking beauty one step further and letting it be.

As you clear the clutter at your own pace either gradually or all at once you begin to see the peace and satisfaction in having more space to breath as well as more time to call your own with less time cleaning and organizing. You have less financial stress because your expectations begin to align well with your means. Minimalism may even become a bit addictive and you may go to extremes at times. Minimalism is a very personal thing. There is no one way or right way to go about it other than doing it your way. You may want to get more ideas by following others blogs or conversations but in the end you get to decide what works and what doesn’t

Deprivation is so different than minimalism. Deprivation is an uncomfortable feeling that doesn’t go away. It’s an ache and a true need for something that is missing. If you want a more simple life you may have experienced the deprivation that comes with chaos, stress, and hunger for less drama and a happier life. Minimalism isn’t for everyone and you may find that you miss all of that garbage, stress, and chaos because it was oh-so-familiar. That’s okay but I haven’t met anyone yet that went that far back. Minimalism is somewhat of an evolution and you pursue it as you are able. You become comfortable with less and more will actually bother you. There are times when I gather more clothes than I really need and it doesn’t last long.

You can have it all and still become a minimalist. Think about keeping things simple and having the basics. Instead of all that processed food just keep basics such as oatmeal, eggs, cheese, meat, fresh vegetables, and fruit. You don’t really need anything else in your kitchen. Add the green tea if you like it. Drink more water. Let go of all of the appliances, plastic, and boxes. Use technology to your advantage if you want to or don’t have it all. Do something in between. Go completely digital and never move paper off the counter again. If you think you are going to be deprived of the joy of filing then don’t do it. Get rid of one thing every day, donate it, find a way to reuse it, recycle it or give it away. The feeling that you get when you know you have given something you aren’t using to someone that needs it is beyond amazing. You’ll smile for days. We’ve been depriving ourselves of that joy by holding onto our things just because we “own them”.

Minimalism is a choice that I made seven years ago and looking back my only regret is that I didn’t embrace it sooner. For now, I still feel like I have a long way to go but it’s a journey every day and I enjoy every step.

Buy No Books

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

 

When I decided to become a minimalist I thought that there was
a certain criteria I had to follow. Along the way I have learned to forge my own
minimalist path and do what’s right for me. I can’t express this enough.
What works for one may not work for another and even though
I’ve established friendships based on the common interest of
minimalism, it is truly an individual way of life because we all
have to live it differently. That being said, one of my new goals is to
Buy NO Books.

 

Last year even though I was embracing a minimalist life full speed
ahead I kept buying books. It was easy to just click a button online.
Most were Kindle ebooks but once in a while I found a bargain hardcover
and succumbed to the lure of getting something for cheap. In the end I
never held onto them and it just made me feel like I was doing something
that didn’t reflect my philosophy of less. So I made the goal of buying no
books. With applications such as Kindle, Google Books, and Overdrive Media
I can still remain digital, have plenty of free books to read including old
and new, and I can embrace supporting new authors by downloading and reviewing
their books. Google as well as Kindle have plenty of old books scanned into their
databases so my love of old books is still entertained minus the smell and the dust.
Overdrive Media is an application that you can use on a tablet or smart phone
that allows you to borrow books from your local library. All you need is a
library card. I thought it was hype until I tried it and now I can’t read fast
enough. Kindle also has the option to allow my friends that do buy books
to loan me a book. There are just so many options.

 

Why buy no books?
I want to go a step further this year in becoming a minimalist.
Remaining digital is important to me for clutter control and
saving valuable time. It is also convenient to carry a pile of
books on your phone wherever you go.
Buying no books keeps my spending down.
Obviously I want to spend as little as possible this year. I went back and estimated
what I spent on books in 2013 just on books. $200 is less than many spend
on books in a year but it was an incredible number for me.

 

There’s a free book for every subject.
One of the things that was bothering me about buying books
was that I was falling for advertising. I could name a few
namely health books that I bought based solely on the fact that
they were recommended by “experts” or some celebrity.
When I would go back to research and see if there were similar
books on the subject there was almost always a free book that
gave enough information that I wouldn’t have had to spend the money.
In December of 2013 while formulating my plan I experimented
and searched by subject, then category, then refined by price
“low to high” and found many helpful or engaging books that didn’t
cost anything. The other part of my research was to visit the author
websites for these “experts” and found plenty of free information there.

 

Learn to use what you have.
I already pay for internet so I have learned to use the one resource
in different ways. This is the information age and although it’s really
easy just to download or buy a book, you can find so much to read for
free on the internet. Looking to trusted websites like Mayo Clinic for health,
and WordPress for entertaining reading I find that I just don’t have
a worry in the world about buying no books.

 

What it really says.
In the end, to me, buying no books is about not getting
sucked into marketing or consumerism. It’s not really about
having less because I could go crazy in the free world. I’ll work on my excessive digital habit next year.

 

Have you resolved to buy nothing?

 

Building an Authentic Life

Becoming a minimalist has been so rewarding this last year. It made moving simple. When friends and family asked how the move went instead of giving the expected answer of how painful it was, we smiled and told them how easy it was. Everything was moved and put away within two days. Everything. Now they all assume since we have a house we will be buying things to fill it up. Not so.

This year we intend to build an authentic life. While we fully embrace the positive aspects of technology and progressive thinking we also want to build a foundation for our family. We’ll be building and planting a garden this year which will bring us all back to nature and remind us how precious and fragile life really is. Reading together every night is important quality time as a family so we will be continuing that tradition. As a family we’ll continue to move away from following the crowd and move toward less material importance. We’ll focus on being more engaged in each other’s lives to build that authentic life.

To do List:

Recycle
We now have a free recycling pickup service that will make recycling easy. We feel that it’s the right thing to do to reduce the amount of waste we put in the landfill. Now to organize that.

Reuse
We’ll be reusing and re-purposing containers, food, and anything worth salvaging. Time to get creative!

Reduce
We are reducing spending this year by planting or own garden, buying less, and buying bulk items. Our intention to keep spending to a minimum is reflected in our goals to buy no books, music, or movies. We’ll be using what we have, You Tube, Kindle free books, and the library. We won’t be eating out much or going to the movies.

Get back to basics:
Whole foods
Gardening
Reading
Using what we have

What are you doing this year to build an authentic life?

Product Combinations for Minimalists

English: Machines of coconut oil factory Gwan ...

English: Machines of coconut oil factory Gwan Hien Nederlands: Foto. Machines in de “Olie-fabriek Gwan Hien”, Tjiamis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

When I find a product that has many purposes I do a little dance.  The closer I come to becoming a minimalist, the more I like this idea.  The more uses each product has that you buy, the better because it saves you money,, space, time, and worry.  Here are some products, combinations, and uses that take me from chaos to peace in a heartbeat.

 

Olive Oil or Coconut oil
*Cooking
*Salads
*Clean cast iron pans
*Face and body moisturizer
*Facial cleanser
*Mix with baking soda and Bergamot oil for deodorant
*Mix with baking soda and Peppermint oil for toothpaste
*Mix with sugar and Peppermint oil for foot scrub

 

I use olive oil or coconut oil in the kitchen for salads, to saute vegetables, rice, or TVP, to clean my cast iron pan, and to keep my kitchen cabinets as well as my dining room set beautiful. For beauty I use them for hair conditioner, skin and facial moisturizer, bath oil, and in combination with baking soda for deodorant (with bergamot oil) for deodorant and skin exfoliant. It’s also used with baking soda (and peppermint oil) for toothpaste and as a foot scrub. I keep these in wide-mouthed, shallow mason jars that I dip into with a clean spoon each use to keep them from being contaminated.

 

Baking Soda
*Facial scrub (splash face with water then scrub)
*Mix with oils for deodorant
*Mix with oils for toothpaste
*Scrub sinks, counters, and tub/shower
*Natural air deodorizer
*Add to bath

 

I use the aluminum-free kind. Used in the bath to soothe skin, in deodorant, to exfoliate skin, and toothpaste, it is also used to clean sinks, floors and counters throughout my house to keep things shiny.

 

Lemon Juice
*Cooking
*Salads
*Natural drinks(added to water or fruit juice)
*Skin exfoliant
*Hairspray
*Deodorant
*Cuticle remover
Lemon juice is used in my kitchen for baking, salad dressings, lemonade or other drinks, and for cleaning (often diluted with water). For beauty I use it as an alternative to my baking soda/oil deodorant by keeping a small spray bottle of it in my refrigerator, in combination with an oil for skin to exfoliate and balance oils, and I use it for cuticle remover. If my hair is too oily I spray some through my hair to refresh it before the next wash. (Warning: if you put it in hair right before you go out into the sun it may lighten your hair permanently. If you don’t want that effect, use it indoors only)

 

Essential Oils
*Add to water for body spray
*Add to bath for scent
*Room deodorizer
*Add to toothpaste recipes
*Add to deodorant recipes
*Use for congestion
*Add to carrier oil for massage

 

I use Bergamot, Lemon-Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Lavendar. I mix these in different combinations for scent. When combined with water in a spray bottle they function as room deodorizer as well as body mist depending on the combinations you choose. I also add these to baking soda/oil combinations for toothpaste, deodorant, and facial/body scrub. You can also use these with carrier oils such as sesame, olive, or almond oils for massage oil or body oil.
Lemon-Eucalyptus is good for congestion. Mix a couple drops 1:1 with a carrier oil and dab under nose or diffuse in the room. None of these are absolutely necessary but they keep me on the path of becoming a minimalist.

 

Clothing
*Use for recreation
*Make rice bags
*Make quilt squares
*Make toys/animals for kids/pets
*Cover jars for gifts

 

When clothing wears out or becomes something you can’t use you can re-use it by cutting into strips to make rugs, squares or triangles for quilts, or rectangles for rice bags that you can heat or freeze and use for a painful body part to soothe. You can also make old wool sweaters into felted purses. Used clothing can be used to make cloth toys for children as long as you make sure that there are no buttons etc that they can put in their mouths or choke on.
I have to admit that most of what I get rid of is still pretty good clothing so I set it out by our dumpster at night for the homeless that come around. It’s always gone by morning with good feelings in the space left behind.

 

Smartphone
*Free books
*Free music
*Organization
*List making
*Contact information
*Correspondence
*Magazines
*News
*Pictures

 

Many minimalists don’t believe that a smartphone fits into becoming a minimalist but I find mine has so many uses that it never gets tossed out. I read free books or chosen magazines on my Kindle app, make notes with Color note, download free music, listen to a book on my Audible app, post on my blogs by using voice to publish on WordPress and Blogger, take pictures of our family and post them to secure site for extended family viewing, keep track of friends over the miles on social media, listen to NPR news or BBC, watch movies, make a grocery or to do list, email, text, or talk to work, family, or friends all at my fingertips in a package that size of a half deck of cards. I don’t keep any notebooks, magazines, paper books, DVD’s, CD’s, catalogs, or any such animal around to clutter the place. Works for me.

 

What products do you have multiple uses for?

 

Extreme Minimalism: Clothes in the Closet 2

Photographed by Daniel Case 2006-01-20.

Photographed by Daniel Case 2006-01-20. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every Spring I go back to my closet and it becomes the minimal. Sometimes through the winter I add a sweater or I think I need “city clothes” so I buy a blouse that gets worn a couple of times and then belongs to someone else in need. I think this will be the year that I don’t cycle as much because as I age I seem more content with less. The need to impress others becomes less and the authentic me that believes a bright-colored nice tee-shirt is just as lovely as a designer blouse shines through.  To many this is extreme minimalism but I am not content with more and that is the point. What are you content with? Do you fuss about piles of laundry and find resentment lurking around the corner every time your spouse or parent lectures you on your buying habits? What do you NEED?

This is my closet now:

Cornflower blue Tee

Coral Tee

Teal Tee

Red Tee

Pink Tee

These are all in the bright colors that I love and that compliment my aging skin and hair.

Black pants

Gray pants

Trouser jeans (2)

Black skirt

I chose black because it is easy to match shoes, it’s slimming, professional, and easy to coordinate with.

Black cardigan

Black pullover fleece

Gray cardigan

These wear well and I bought two of these used at less than $5 each. They were original quality items that will last and classic style.

Workout capris (2)

Velvet pants (2)

Socks (5 pairs)

Mary Jane shoes (2)

Black athletic shoes (2)

Brown walking shoes

Brown hiking boots

The velvet pants aren’t really considered “necessary” but it is my comfort mechanism. When I come home from work in winter I put these on and sit in my chair before I have to deal with the household chores. It’s my thing.

What would be in your closet? What would you give to those in need?  What’s your thing?

I also own a winter coat and trench coat.

I could go with even less but this is what is comfortable.  It’s true that I don’t plan to work for a large corporation that wouldn’t allow me to wear what I have now. Even with a tee and cardigan paired with my black pants I can still look professional enough for work.  In my mind professionalism in more about mannerisms and there are plenty of people out there with designer clothes that aren’t professional. :-)

Being Less

Nobodys home

Nobodys home (Photo credit: Mait Jüriado)

Being Nobody Going Nowhere. That’s not depression. It’s a book on being content with not being ambitious, not setting worldly goals, and  simply recognizing the moment, Could you do that? Could you give up your goals and agenda for even one week?

People say that it’s impossible, that we must have goals and plans for the future to be happy. Why? We all seem to always be working towards something but what if you didn’t have to? What if you lived in this moment? What if you decided to be happy? What if you decided to be less?

This is meant in a good sense.  If we live now instead of constantly living for someday maybe it would be enough. I think about how I have tortured myself with my own ideals about life, how I came to believe in other people’s standards for success and happiness. What’s wrong with how things are now? Nothing really. Being satisfied with enough is a new turn for me. Becoming a minimalist started out by getting rid of material things. Now as I venture further I find it’s not just about possessions for me. It’s about being content, grateful for what I have, and appreciating this very moment instead of being anxious about how things will turn out.

I was raised with the thinking that nothing was ever good enough, ever perfect enough. We had to try harder, go farther, to accomplish something. As I enter middle age I find that having that degree or being successful in someone else’s eyes is not so important to me anymore. I have refused to buy into the thinking that in order to have self-worth I should be “busy”. Working at an honest job is satisfaction in itself. It shouldn’t have to be measured by monetary gain or status.

In this moment can I find joy with being less?

Taking the Next Step

Cover

Cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I continue to test where I am going in life and what I want accomplish. I find myself looking towards being self-employed. Although working for a corporation has its benefits I feel the need to venture out on my own.

I recently started reading Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”.  It helped me understand how to work towards a goal. In the past I have always been one to wait for something to happen and never believed in myself enough to take that next step. Now is the time. I don’t need to grow rich but I do like the way that he thought about positive thinking and working for your dreams. One of the things that has always bothered me about the Law of Attraction, although a great concept, is that sometimes it implies that if you want something bad enough and think positive it will just come to you. Hill states plainly that you have to be willing to work for what you want. “what are you willing to do to earn that money?” is one of his questions. It made me think, “what am I willing to do to be a life coach and own my business?”

Taking the next step involved exploring education possibilities. I don’t care to go back to college but I did find a life coach certification that is reasonable and teaches me what I need to know about how to work with clients. Learning is something that I will always continue to do for as long as I am able. That’s what attracts me to life coaching. I can learn about other people as well as “how things work” and grow myself as well as others.

You can gather all the information that you want but if you don’t use it, it won’t matter if you have it or not. My plan is to do something everyday (specifically planned out ahead of time) to work towards my business. This gives me a sense of accomplishment as well as one more step taken.

What does all this have to do with minimalism?  I have longed to separate myself from the typical corporate politics and be able to make my own decisions instead of being trapped by policy. I believe by being able to pick the people who I interact with I can reduce the chaos in my life and have more peace. It’s all in the plan of having less AstroTurf and more meadow in my life. Here I go…