Avoiding Shopping Temptation for the Minimalist

Essentials

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, cute then on the oven once every so often and don’t soak them in water. That’s it. I’ll have them forever.

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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.

22-piece-holmes-flatware-set

One set flatware for eating and serving.

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

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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:
Variety of dry beans and peas
Brown Rice
Dehydrated hash brown potatoes
Peanut butter
Pasta
Oatmeal
Granola
Dried Cranberries
Seeds
Canned tomato sauce
Avocado oil

In my freezer:
Frozen Fruit
Corn
Stir fry blend vegetables
Cooked beans
Spring rolls
Asian noodle blend
Frozen leftovers
Veggie Burgers
Bread
Whole grain tortillas

In my refrigerator:
Rice milk
Grape tomatoes
Baby carrots
Broccoli
Lettuce or spinach
Condiments
Salad Dressings
Fresh fruit
Fresh veggies
Leftovers

Cleaning solutions:
Vinegar
Bleach
Baking Soda
Comet
Windex
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?

Minimizing Procrastination

Essentials

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

Finishing

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.

*Beauty
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.

No.

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.

Huh.

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:

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

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

Money:
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.

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.

*Network
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.

Do I Have to Give Up Everything?

Essentials, Extreme Minimalism, Minimalists in Society, The Beginning

The first intention was to get rid of clutter and clear my mind and my stress level. There was simply too much chaos in my life. Then it became a bit addictive to clear things out and give them away. It felt good knowing that some things that we didn’t need or weren’t being used would be going to a home that most likely would be thrilled with them. As I gave away hundreds of things and threw away truly worn out trash I went to the extreme. Sometimes I threw away sentimental things or even clothes that I wished I had later on. No longer was it simply peace but I was going to the extreme to seemingly fulfill a vision I had. It’s true that if I had my way about it I would be one of those minimalist nomads that travel the unbeaten path and only own what’s in my backpack. I don’t live that kind of life though. I have children both adult and grade school. I have a husband that although he enjoys not having junk around, is simply never going to be a minimalist. Struggle.

To put things in perspective, becoming a minimalist is not about fulfilling an image or creating criteria based upon what other people will think of you. It’s not about being part of a group or giving up everything. I always say that it’s a journey. Sometimes you come back to where you’ve been and you even find different comfort levels. I finally realized that it’s not about the number of pieces of clothing in my closet or a contest to see how much I can get rid of in 30 days. Becoming a minimalist is about keeping only what is important. If something has meaning or function there isn’t a reason to get rid of it. Becoming a minimalist is such an individual adventure. Only you can decide what is right for you. It’s building a life not breaking it down.

We don’t have to give up everything, just the notion that there are rules.