Using the Simple Basics to Get Into Shape

Simple Exercise

Simple straightforward approach to exercise:

Whatever pace suits you works. I started out in the worst shape possible, overweight, and unmotivated. 20-30 minutes at a pace that leaves you just breathless enough that you can’t actually carry a conversation steadily is ideal. Listen to your body. Increase the time and intensity a little bit each week. Do it every day, even on Sundays.

Body Weight Exercises
Leg lifts
Arm circles

Start with the basics and add variety and/or repetitions. I started with ten each and increased by one each day until I was doing 50. Then I added some variety. I keep it to no more than 20-30 minutes a day. Listen to music, watch TV or simply enjoy the quiet. Keep the attitude that you are doing something good for your body and leave the negativity behind. Simple.

Some people think this is boring. I find it makes more sense than spending money on a gym membership, yoga classes, or buying special equipment to hang my clothes on. I like the simplicity and the effectiveness of it. Maybe at some point I’ll throw in some Pilates or yoga or whatever is trendy but seriously there is nothing like just simple.

Falling in Love With What You Have

Cleaning, Essentials

I watched my favorite cup as if it were in slow motion, falling down and cracking into a million pieces. I mourned a bit until I realized it’s just an empty cup.

Attachments are funny things. What started out as an old cup I picked up at the thrift store became a welcome site at the end of the day associated with tranquility and dependence on ritual. In the evolution of my ownership of an object never did I imagine that I would become so attached, but to what?
This was a stoneware cup that had no mate or saucer even. It wasn’t marred but it wasn’t exactly pretty by any standard. It was sturdy with great lines but elegance was not in it’s character. Often I would look at it and realize that it really had no place in my minimalist house, yet I couldn’t give it up until the day I had to choice but to let go as it became dust.
That night I searched online for an exact replacement for a while until I quietly admitted that it was silly to spend such money on a cup that I didn’t need. In my cupboard sat another cup, more plain, but with just as much purpose.

My new favorite cup was there all along silently waiting for the chance to serve and to be seen in all it’s real red glory. Now I use just one cup, washing it with reverence at the sink each time it’s used, knowing that minimalism isn’t about acquiring an exact replacement.

Minimalism is sometimes about falling in love with what you have…

Now I’m a Minimalist. Now What?


Last weekend I cleaned out and organized the last closet, gave the last of things for donation and recycled the last piece of paper cluttering the end table. Now what?

On my journey to becoming a minimalist in the last six years I have accidentally made a hobby of getting rid of things and organizing. Now as I look around there is really nothing to be done. I should be grateful. There’s a whole lot of space and it brings a state of peace and yet…

What now?

I’ve longed for this moment but I have to say that it’s a little strange. There’s nothing to clean out. I don’t have to worry about maintaining my lifestyle because we have simplified everything such as going paperless and buying only what we need. I no longer have the desire to buy more clothes, beauty products, or stuff in general. So, I am not worried about things getting cluttered again or having a moment of weakness.

Although it’s a great feeling to finally get there the habit of cleaning things still wants to be satisfied. I can no longer relate to capsule wardrobes because I have the rule of three and just one set of 33 things to wear. I have a spouse that is not a minimalist but he keeps his things neat and tidy so I don’t care. There is nothing to acquire, nothing that I need.

This is not a bad thing. It’s just a new feeling that I am strangely having to adapt to.

Avoiding Shopping Temptation for the Minimalist


Becoming a Minimalist has made me more aware of my spending obviously. We could spend our lives buying and then purging material things from our homes. How can we get to the point that we can stop that cycle? When we are bombarded with constant marketing how do we avoid the shopping temptation?

There are a number of things that we can so on the road to minimalism that will help us break the cycle of possessing and purging. The idea is of course to get to the point where you only buy what you need.

Stop Watching Commercials
This has the added bonus of possibly helping you lose weight as well. Cartoons are filled with commercials aimed at kids to buy one needless thing after another. Series shows have commercials that influence us to buy everything from hamburgers to cosmetics, to the latest, greatest gadget.

Replace the Habit: Sign up for Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime and watch movies as well as complete seasons of your favorite shows without the commercials.

Stop Buying and Reading Magazines
Magazines are clutter traps anyway. Even buying the digital version blasts you with ads. I even stopped reading beauty blogs because they were convincing me I needed more than I really did. Companies spend millions every year researching what advertising works. They have reeling you in down to a science.
Replace the Habit: Get the Kindle app for instance and make a committment to only read free books. There are tons of new releases on a regular basis that are written by new authors on any subject for free. I recently made a goal to read the classics and was able to find everything I wanted to read for free.

Stop Using Shopping as Therapy
Shopping is not a replacement for therapy. If you’ve had a bad day, an argument with your S.O., or the job sucks, don’t think that buying a cart load of something will make you feel better.
Replace the Habit: Use exercise as an outlet. Everything from walking to joining a team is a much healthier way of getting rid of stress. Go talk to a professional if you need to. Get sunshine everyday, make a healthy meal, or pursue a hobby. Last but not least, examine your relationships and lifestyle. If something truly isn’t working, decide to put the effort into making it better or leave it behind.

The Mailing List
I found myself still tempted by the local thrift stores emails for 50% off days. Catalogues were still showing up at my house. Every website out there wants you to subscribe so that they can market to you. Some have great information that comes with it, some don’t.
Replace the habit:
A lot of clutter can be avoided all together by writing to companies to take you off the list. Don’t sign up for the newsletter if it’s heavy on ads, throw ad mail in the trash before you enter the house, and write or call companies that send catalogs and say “no thanks” to further mailings. If you are intent on saving money for the things you need then shop end of season for clothes or buy at the thrift store and buy specific things on your list.

Shopping should be functional and just business. Buy only when you need something not because it’s something to do, a hobby, or an emotional reaction. It sounds callous but succeeding at minimalism means changing buying habits as well as cleaning out. If you always do one without the other it’s just a frustration that never ends.

Minimal Kitchen

Essentials, Extreme Minimalism

The last of the extras are going to donation today. The extra set of dishes that we never use, the million mugs that collected dust, and the casserole dishes that sit there silently empty are the last of it all. The pasta dish set may find it’s way into the car in the next few minutes along with those three extra plates.

My minimal kitchen makes me smile.

The basics:

Two cast iron deep dish frying pans
These have many uses as dutch ovens, casserole dishes, and boiling pasta etc.
You can flip the lids over to use as shallow frying pans or to bake in.

Two cast iron loaf pans
I bake lentil loaf, potato or zucchini casseroles and corn bread in these.
They are good for any small casserole or baked dish that fits. Perfect for serving two – four people.

The great thing about cast iron is that it never dies. They don’t break or chip, they don’t stain or wear out. Oil them, cure them in the oven once every so often and don’t soak them in water. That’s it. I’ll have them forever.


One set dishes
I buy Corelle so they don’t chip easily, they microwave, they do it all.
There are cereal bowls, side plates and regular dinner plates.
I gave the mugs away. There were too many.


One set flatware for eating and serving.


One set serving and cooking tools such as spoons, spatulas, and tongs.

download (3)

One Ninja Blender for smoothies and homemade sauces or dressings.

The Essential cloth kitchen:
One set pot holders
Four dish cloths
Four dish towels

In my pantry I keep plant-based staples:

Brown Rice
Peanut butter
Dried Cranberries
Flax Seeds
Chia seeds
Canned tomato sauce
Avocado oil

In my freezer:
Frozen Fruit
Stir fry blend vegetables
Frozen sweet potatoes
Veggie Burgers
Whole grain tortillas
Vegan waffles

In my refrigerator:
Soy milk
Grape tomatoes
Baby carrots
Veggie tray
Kale or spinach
Salad Dressings
Fresh fruit
Fresh veggies

Cleaning solutions:
Baking Soda
Dish washing soap

I keep about the same stock of food in my kitchen all the time. The only baking I do is the occasional cornbread mix or sugar free brownie mix which I buy only one at a time for an occasion. The variety of plant-based foods allows me to mix and create endless combinations. We obviously will never go hungry.

What do you have in your kitchen?

Changing Image

Beauty, Essentials, Extreme Minimalism, Health, Simple Exercise

I’m constantly thinking of ways to do more with less.
Recently, I’ve adopted a trademark image. This accomplishes two things:
It simplifies buying clothes and shoes.
It makes me stand out in a very subtle way.

I took my closet contents down to the very least I can comfortably live with for now. I like the color black for basics. I have a few pieces that are classic, simple, mix and match, and never take up time worrying what to wear.

Black Earth shoes for work
Black Keens for garden and walking
Black Flats

Black travelers tee with  roses
Black travelers tee with embroidery

Black travelers tanks (2)

Black (2)

Black long sleeve
Black 3/4 sleeve (2)

2 Black dress pants

Dark jeans
Gardening jeans

One long black wool coat for winter
One hooded jacket for spring and fall.

Pearl stud earrings
Red false nails
Wedding ring

black socks
1 black bra

Hair: Classic
Growing it long so that I can cut it only every 6 months.
I do still color my hair myself
My goal is to let my hair air dry and pull it back into an updo or ponytail so I don’t have to keep any hair appliances. They annoy me.
I’d like to grow it long enough to wear an up-do and be done with it.

I’ll be taking my plant-based diet and exercise more seriously. I don’t eat animal products but portion control could be better.
Simple exercise like walking and calisthenics should be consistent.

Classic image.
Red nails and red lipstick keep me vibrant.
Hair long and pulled up into dark, classic ballerina up-do.
Comfortable shoes that aren’t old.
Plant-based diet will keep body healthy.
Black wardrobe, simple, classic lines.
Simple walking and calisthenics for exercise.

At first I didn’t tell people I was a minimalist. Now every once in a while I do tell people casually that I am, which stops criticism. I actually don’t ever feel like it sets me apart from the crowd in a bad sense but I do like being the exception to the rule. For instance, when everybody sits around at the office and talks about how busy the holiday season is and how they have so much to buy and do I just sit back and smile. I might even point out that I don’t have any of their self-imposed stress if I am feeling ornery. For the most part though, I carry on very quietly without standing on a soapbox about minimalism. Those that pay attention and are truly interested will ask me about it or go online and read my blog. The others wouldn’t listen if I did talk to them about it so I don’t waste oxygen.

Changing my image has simplified my life and yet helped me enjoy my love of classic fashion. I doubt I’ll go back.

Minimizing Procrastination


I have been a champion procrastinator.

If they ever had a contest I would win a ribbon. Sadly, I’ve grown up and even though I knew it paralyzed me, I still allowed procrastination to effect my life. My only regret is that I didn’t take action, I didn’t do more about achieving my dreams, or doing a better job. Maybe I’ve finally learned my lesson.

I’ve minimized my possessions, let bad relationships go, and set the chaos in my life packing. Now I realize just how much procrastination has caused needless worry and work. I’ve laid awake at night worrying about things at work, become anxious about little things like cleaning, and occupied my mind endlessly trying to remember my “to do” list.

The epiphany came one early morning at work when it dawned on me that if I just did things right away, I would be more organized and I wouldn’t have to worry about everything that was on my plate. You would think that this was easy to see and so obvious. I was too busy worrying and trying to figure out how to be organized.

I took action.

I made the decision to do things. Now.
To make a plan seemed like too much fuss.
I needed to keep it simple.

Do everything now.

At home:

Keep kitchen counters completely clear.
Put things back away right away.
Do dishes and laundry as soon as there is a load.
Empty machines and put away clothes/dishes right away.
Basic cleaning has one room one day each week. Simple.
Morning and evening routines work.

At work:

Process paperwork right away.
Have appointed days for certain tasks and stick to the task as much as possible.
Mind your own business. Don’t get caught up in things that don’t concern you.
Call people back right away.
Say no when appropriate.
Minimize distractions.

I just started minimizing procrastination and it feels good to get things done. My mind is of course calmer.
It’s been a little tough at times sticking to it but I like the end result so I’ll keep going until it’s a habit.

The things that have helped along the way:

Wearing monochrome clothes

One Meal


Consistency Matters

Simple Morning Routine

Focus on One Thing

Cleaning, Essentials, Extreme Minimalism, Minimalists in Society

One of my goals is to write more and I found that I was going in too many directions so I sat down and decided to minimize in other areas.

* I gave the crafts away
No more half finished crochet to stare at when I opened the closet door.

*I stopped doing projects for my friends
I was doing a lot of work online for my friend with no compensation or direction. I politely told them I had a project of my own and I simply don’t have the time.

*I minimized social media.
Facebook etc is now only used to promote my work. No more scrolling through posts wasting time.

*Minimal friends
I have been careful not to get involved with  people at work or in our neighborhood. I am pleasant and of course talk to people but I avoid going to lunch or making plans after work. I’m a self declared introvert and they all laughingly accept that. I have little tolerance for drama so it works for me.

*I went to an all black wardrobe
It saves time, energy, and thought.

*I started using audible education
Now I  listen to free educational books and lectures on YouTube while I walk or clean house. It keeps me moving, there’s no expense, and I can multitask. Love it.

I streamlined my beauty routine by using the same steps morning and night. Oil cleanse, brush teeth, olive oil all over for skin and cuticles. In the morning I apply base, eyeliner, and mascara with lipstick for lips and blush.
At night I shower  for ten minutes after I walk. I apply nails once a week for ten minutes and never have to touch them up or think about them.

I still get to be creative. I socialize with other writers and readers. I still take care of myself and get to feel beautiful. There’s just no unnecessary tasks, frustration, or wasted time.

What would you minimize to make your dreams come true?

Oh That Sale

Essentials, Extreme Minimalism, Minimalists in Society

The local thrift store sends me emails when they have sales.

They often have 50% off sales and it’s tempting.

I contemplate it for a while.

I could save so much more.

How awesome it would be to be able to buy at rock bottom prices.


I know that if I go I will buy things that I don’t absolutely need just because I’m saving.
I’ll justify having more because I got a steal.

Planning my week, I tried to find a way to justify going to the sale.
The trouble is that I don’t need anything.

*I have all the clothes I need for now.

*The child doesn’t need anything

*The house could actually still lose a few things and it would be better.

* I write online instead of doing crafts so I don’t need that.

*The dog doesn’t even need anything.


Guess I’m not going.

Waking up to Minimalism

Cleaning, Essentials, Extreme Minimalism

It’s been five years now since I woke up to minimalism.

For me it was an easy decision. I came close to death with an illness.
Suddenly material things had little meaning or priority.
I woke up one morning and felt the urge to get my things in order.
Getting rid of things couldn’t happen fast enough. I took
bags and boxes of everything to the local donation center.
I gave away furniture to the neighbors and posted items on
Freecycle every day until there was little left.
My poor husband probably thought I had lost my mind until
we sat down and talked about having less.
Now he recognizes the benefits.
Every once in a while I think I need more.
It doesn’t last very long.
As soon as I get back to center and remember
why I wanted to become a minimalist the
extra stuff disappears again and I feel the peace.
With the passing of time this happens less and I
simply enjoy having less.

Some can’t understand how I can do without.
Others wonder how I can be a minimalist while
living with someone that’s not.
It’s an individual journey but we can get ideas
and gather like individuals to discover the
common ground of a peaceful life.
We can determine our own level and rules
for our journey to becoming a minimalist.

There are some nice benefits:

I have more time to read, take care of my spirit, be with my child,
and enjoy meditation to free my mind.

With less stuff lying around we simply have more space. No more is there
an urge to fill it up. Space is calming.

The need for less means that we are seldom tempted to buy things we don’t really need.
Impulse buying is a thing of the past. We have a few nice things. Although I buy my clothes used at the thrift store I only keep what I need and am not tempted to buy more.

Less stress:
By spending less, having more space, and more time stress is much less. Becoming a minimalist
has made me more aware of self-induced stress and how to avoid it.

A New outlook:
At first my friends were bothered by my new lifestyle. They felt awkward with me. Then something wonderful happened. When they saw how much happier I was and realized that I didn’t have the chaotic life they had they began to admire my lifestyle. The questions came slowly and then many of them were implementing small steps towards minimalism that made their lives better. Although I had never preached my lifestyle to them on a soapbox, they heard the message loud and clear by seeing and hearing the example.

Authentic Friends
In becoming a minimalist I lost a few friends. It was nothing dramatic. We simply drifted away
from each other. For the most part, I decided to minimize drama in my life. I let go of the past and started fresh in a new town with a new job. Those friends that couldn’t have a meaningful
conversation with me, that talked only about how busy and chaotic life was, I gently let go.
Now authentic relationships are more important and I have enjoyed every simple moment.

Waking up to becoming a minimalist has made my life so much better. I want to spread the word to tell everyone how easy it is to simplify your life and be content. There is nothing like the reformed. My enthusiasm may get a little irritating. My humble apologies if that’s the case. Take the fragments of my posts that speak to you and don’t worry about the rest.

Thanks for reading.

Black is the New Minimalist

Extreme Minimalism

Clothes kind of annoy me.
I’d like to like a life that entails three t shirts and two pairs of jeans.
For now that’s simply not practical.
So I had to come up with plan B.
Anyone that has read my blog in the past knows that I am a bit
obsessive with clothes and beauty supplies. Sometimes I “cycle” back to
thinking I need more of both to get past my mid-life crisis.

Here’s the reality.
I do have to be conscious about looking somewhat professional
for my job. It doesn’t have to be fancy or high-powered.
I can’t get away with jeans and tees though either.
I’ve cycled myself right into wearing black.
No time is wasted in choosing what to wear.
I rotate my tops and mix with my cardigans according to the weather
and my mood. There is no way to mess it up really.
The bonus that goes with wearing black is that although it doesn’t
draw unnecessary attention, it does single one out especially since I am
older and doing it. No extremes here just quiet individuality.
Wearing only black also keeps things simple and keeps me from overspending.
You can only have so much black.

*Black short sleeve tee with pink embroidery at the neck
*Black short sleeve tee with gray flowers on it
*Two black camisoles
*Black tank with lace trim

I buy nylon or acetate (travelers) tops whenever possible so that I don’t have to worry about fading.

*Black cardigan long sleeve
*Black cardigan 3/4 sleeve

I’ll be looking for that man-made rayon acetate or nylon type from now on. I like the flow it creates and once again you don’t have to worry about fading. They will wear very well.

*Two black pairs pants for work
*Two pairs blue jeans
*Two pairs jean capri’s

I also own one black wool winter coat and one black sport jacket.

Few people at work really seem to notice that I only have a handful of clothes. I like the simplicity of using all one color with the basics. I am not deprived. On the contrary, I have so much free time and less stress than ever before. Maybe someday I’ll stop the obsession. Until then black is the new minimalist.

Life Less Complicated

Essentials, Minimalists in Society, The Beginning

Are you working at a job you hate? Does the stress overwhelm you to the point you find it hard to breathe?

How did you get to this?

Sometimes we just need a job, any job to maintain our lifestyle or maybe we entered into it thinking it was going to be great, then reality set in. Maybe you’re trapped by your experience because you specialized and now you’re burned out. What can you do?

*Take chances
Granted, most of us have to have a paycheck to survive but we can apply for jobs that are outside the box.

*Take less money
Money can’t buy happiness. If taking a job that makes less money means you’ll also be happier with less stress and anxiety then think seriously about doing it.

*Forget about status
Who gives a crap about titles or social circles if you are miserable? Leave the BS behind and reach for authentic. You’d be surprised how fast calm comes around.

* Do something closer to home. Lessen your stress by working closer to home or even in your home. Saying goodbye to the commute is freeing.

* Brainstorm a business.
These days you can find a niche and start a business with little or nothing. Look around your community for a need that you can fill them build a business in your free time. Next thing you know you’ll be saying sayonara to the job.

* Don’t let fear stop you
There are lots of people out there with great ideas. The difference between those that success and those that don’t is simple action. Don’t be afraid to take action on your ideas.

Get out there and shake hands, post messages, get your voice out there. There are any number of books and information on the internet about networking and marketing. Become informed them go get ’em.

* Minimize your expenses and anything that is unnecessary in your life. Focus on simple action that creates quality of life not quantity. Simple . Easy.

Life less complicated starts with your work and moves in from there. Begin with where you spend most of your time and energy then focus on the rest of the details. Taking the clutter out of your life gives it value and resilience.

One Meal

Food, Minimalists in Society

I’ve recently changed to eating One Meal a Day. This is not for everyone and before you judge the action consider that eating multiple meals a day and overeating isn’t healthy either. There are a few reasons why I chose to eat one meal a day.

* I don’t have to worry about scheduling breakfast in my morning routine or bringing a lunch to work.

* I easily get out of having to attend marketing lunches that take too much time out of my work day.

* It’s a spiritual thing. Eating one meal a day allows me to detach from the desire for food. Using this basic human attachment as practice for the bigger things is a good place to start for my spiritual practice. The monks advocate it.

* It closes the door on the addiction to food. While other addictions are complete abstinence, food isn’t that way obviously. If I limit the time spent focusing on food and eating it enables me to control the addiction. It’s not a matter of willpower or diet.

* If I eat only one meal a day I can eat what I want. As I go further on the timeline I do crave whole, healthy foods. This is more natural than many diets out there since it falls into hunter-gatherer mode. I tend to eat better quality and pay attention to what I put in my mouth since I have less options to start with. One plate. One meal.

* There’s less mess to clean up. This is pretty self explanatory.

* I spend less on groceries because I am not buying snack foods or “quick” foods anymore.

In one easy step this is another way I have simplified my life and moved towards becoming a minimalist. At times it’s challenging to follow but I think it is worth it and it’s easier than you might think. If you ate only one meal a day what would you eat? How would it change the way you live? Would it give you quality of life?