It’s so interesting to me how when you have multiple kids each one is so unique. They are all raised in the same home, and in our case with the same parents, yet they all have different temperaments and characteristics. Our oldest child, and youngest are collectors by nature. They are sentimental and like to hold onto things. But our middle child is completely opposite. He is a minimalist kind of by accident because of how he is innately. I admire him for not putting so much value on material things. I am somewhat the same way, but not to the extent he is. I joke about how moving him into college will be a completely different experience than it was to move our daughter into college. I envision him having one small suitcase to hold his clothes, his computer, and his fancy desk chair.
I believe his simple living has contributed to his success in life. Since he doesn’t have a lot of stuff, there’s not much to take care of. Also, it cuts down on decision making when getting dressed in the morning. He has two “uniforms” (with the exception of the scrubs which he is required to wear on specific days for an internship) – either the clothes he wears to the gym (dry fit shirt and shorts) or the clothes he wears to school (cotton t-shirt with cargo shorts). We do live in a temperate climate, so he can wear shorts year round. His mind isn’t constantly overwhelmed by external distraction because of the lack of clutter leaves space, and he can better focus on his school work.
We recently cleaned out his room. He has told me in the past that I could get rid of all of his childhood trophies – he told me they were just “participation trophies” so they didn’t mean much to him. We were able to pare down his already sparse room by eliminating the trophies, some sports jerseys from said activities, school t-shirts he doesn’t wear, and a pile of shirts that he had outgrown, and a few hats that he no longer wears. It was amazing to me that in spite of his room already being decluttered we found this much stuff to remove!
Anyone who is a parent knows how much you can learn from your kids. At times we forget and think we have so much to teach THEM – because we are older and wiser, but your kids have a lot to teach you too! Each one of my kids has challenged me in different ways to evaluate my life. With my minimalist child, he has caused me to evaluate what I really need in life to survive and feel fulfilled. He is an inspiration to me to simplify my life.
This month’s post is late because I’m struggling to put together my thoughts about the progress in the month of March. This is partially because there is not a lot new from last month’s post. I still struggle with noticing some things, but I would say that I’m not feeling that “want” as much when I notice.
I have been better at time management this month. I have enjoyed writing, reading, working on projects around the house, decluttering, and I’ve started recording and editing some videos in case I get brave and put them on YouTube! We’ll see…However, I wonder if I am more focused on projects because it’s somewhat of a loophole in my “rules” – as I have allowed myself to purchase things needed for projects. I just finished working on upcycling a couple of vintage chairs I got for $2 a piece from Goodwill, and painting a couple of side tables in one of our rooms.
Perhaps another reason why I am struggling to verbalize how it’s going is because I have had some polarizing feelings. On the one hand, I’m getting used to not being able to buy things. On the other hand, I still feel “pulls” or desires at times. For example, I walked into Target the other day and in the dollar spot (thank you Target for placing that right as I walk in the door), I noticed these white ceramic cupcake stands for $3 a piece. My first thought was, whelp can’t get those. But then I still wanted to rationalize. My thoughts were: I literally have been waiting for my Target to have those cupcake stands in stock for over a year! They were only $3 a piece! But, I stuck to my rules – as I would use those as a decor piece – and didn’t purchase them.
Although I still have those moments where I feel drawn to something, I also see myself getting closer to a place where my habit is to NOT purchase things. I have to admit, last year at this time – when I did a three month no spend challenge for the first three months of the year – I was ready to buy something!! I thought that by this point I would have more of a “craving” than I do. I’m hopeful that as the months progress, I will feel that pull less and less, and by the time January 2020 rolls around and I have completed my “no spend” year, I won’t have the desire to rush out on a shopping spree!
I have made it through another month of my no spend year. February was a bit more difficult than January. It will be tough to write this because a lot of my thoughts from this month are pretty vulnerable. This is turning out to be more insightful than I expected. I’m struggling as I see my true heart being revealed.
The most eye-opening thing I learned this month is becoming cognizant of the number of times I was affected by Instagramers or YouTubers direct links to items they had. I realized that I am persuaded to buy clothes more than other types of items. I guess this isn’t too surprising given my closet is the area that I struggle to keep decluttered. What was surprising was how unaware I was by the effect “influencers” had on my purchases. Which I guess is the exact reason they are called “influencers”! I noticed this month how many times I wanted things that I saw others had. In the past, I might have easily clicked on links without giving much thought to it. To this day, I’m sitting with some wants that I don’t really need.
The other thing that really struck me this month was how much I have been turning to other things to fill some hole I have where I used to shop. I feel like I have less self control in other areas – like the food I am eating, and the amount of time I spend watching YouTube or Netflix. While it has been wonderful to have some extra time, it’s interesting that I am gravitating towards participating in “indulgent” things rather than doing something more productive. It has made me realize that when we seek to eliminate some bad habit from our lives, we should be cautious that another bad habit doesn’t creep in. This coming month, I hope to be more intentional with my extra time.
I have been more okay than I expected not purchasing home decor. I am continuing to work on purging our home, and with these items I don’t want to bring more things into our home that I will just have to purge again. I wish I had that same feeling about clothes! Ha!The other positive thing that I saw come out of this month is my awareness going up. As I mentioned, I didn’t realize how much I was affected by “influencers.” Also, just an awareness of what is happening internally. I’m sure this is just the beginning, but I’m starting to evaluate why I am shopping and why I want things.
I’m hopeful that in the month of March I am able to evaluate what I spend my time on, and what I allow into my life. I also want to continue the process of examining why I like to shop. I’m hopeful that I will be able to make progress in these areas to become a better version of myself!
So far, this no spend year has seemed fairly easy. Granted, we were skiing the first week of January. I have done “no spend January” before, and the month seemed to drag on! But this month flew by and I hardly noticed I was on a spending fast. I thought about how maybe it’s like long distance running, when your mind knows you’re about to run 12 miles, the first mile seems to fly by, but if you just run a mile it seems to drag on. Part of doing any fast is “mind over matter.” We’ll see how my worn down mind is doing by May!
The biggest take-away from month one is TIME. I seem to have so much more time now. I didn’t think I spent a lot of time shopping, but I find myself going out less in general. When I do need to go to Target for something, I’m quite focused. Where I used to grab a cart (and maybe a coffee!) and browse through the entire store, I now go in and get the items on my list and leave. The first couple of times I did that it felt very weird. I felt like I was fighting a magnetic pull to look. And the first time in Target, I did in fact browse a little. After that, I realized browsing would only make me want. With the extra time, I have been spending more focused time purging our home, and I’ve been reading a lot more!
The other thing I’ve noticed is how influenced I have been by social media ads and influencers. I saw an ad for a light athletic jacket that I wanted on my Instagram feed, which was very frustrating because I had been looking for a similar jacket for quite a while now to replace an athletic jacket I have had for a very long time. The previous Joy would have clicked on the link and purchased the jacket (embarrassingly, probably immediately), but since I knew I couldn’t purchase it I didn’t. Over the course of the month, I have thought about that jacket, and how my current jacket while old and outdated looking still does it’s job. I really don’t need a new athletic jacket. I wanted a new one. Also, there is a YouTuber I watch who frequently shares the products she has purchased and loves. She had bought this nail polish at Target that was high quality (doesn’t come off as easy) on sale. Guess where I headed the first time I went into Target? Yep, the nail polish isle. Technically I didn’t include beauty products in my no spend rules. I couldn’t find a sale color I liked, and ended up buying two colors that were not on sale. In hindsight I probably didn’t need either. Other times I’ve seen items on Instagram or Youtube and thought, I want that! There was a time when I would sometimes go out and purchase the item I saw someone else wearing/using/owning, but with the spending fast I had to deny myself. Often times, a few days later I think to myself: I really didn’t need that!
Lastly, I have found I get coffee and food out less than I had been. Apparently shopping is draining! I would often like to get a coffee at Starbucks while browsing around Target. (I’m starting to realize the genius of putting Starbucks inside of Targets! Great for Starbucks AND Target). Perhaps this last one had to do with my lack of time-management when shopping around. I didn’t realize I would be out so long and would get hungry or tired (afternoon coffee time!) I’m looking forward to seeing all the ways my eyes are opened this year in this spending fast. I think it’s not surprising month one was easy, but I am confident my appetites will be tested in the months to come!
I really want to be a minimalist. I read books and blogs about minimalism, and it sounds so simple and clean. But as I stand in my closet and stare at my collection of booties, I know that I will never be a true minimalist. The principle behind minimalism is a good thing, but just like anything else, I’ve learned there’s balance and it’s okay to own more than three pairs of shoes. Now I am striving to only own what is useful or brings joy.
There are two keys to becoming more of a minimalist: 1)purge, 2)slow the inflow.Purging is fairly easy for me. I admit that there are times when I think about an item that I got rid of and thought, bummer I could have used that. But, the truth is, most of the time after it leaves my house, I have completely forgotten about it. One thing that I do in order to not feel as overwhelmed about purging is to pick a room each week and try to get rid of 10 items from that room. Sometimes I don’t reach the 10 items, but with the influx of stuff from my kids and free-bees, it can be pretty easy in some rooms. I take that opportunity to straighten things up and reorganize the area. I don’t do this every single week as some weeks are busier than others, but if you keep working your way around the house it will stay mostly organized and clutter-free!
Slow the inflow is the thing I struggle with. I like to shop. BUT, I have done different things to restrain my purchases. First, I don’t go shopping unless I need something specific. Next, I really try to stick to buying what I went in to purchase. That can be tough, especially at places like Target… we go in for face soap and toilet paper and come out with framed art work and that lamp you just couldn’t resist! I also have chosen to focus on quality vs. quantity, and finding things that will remain classics for several years. I love fashion, so I always have things in my wardrobe that may only last for a couple of seasons. Something I have done in the past which helps is to fast from purchasing clothes, shoes, and home decor for a set period of time (like one month). I have done a one month fast, two month, and three month! For 2019, the entire year I plan to do a spending fast from clothes, shoes, and home decor. Choosing to fast from consumerism allows for time to step back and really examine your priorities. I have realized during my past spending fasts that the inflow is what is truly keeping me from having only the things I love in my home. How about you? Does minimalism intrigue you? Or scare you?! Do you have tips on how to stay organized and clutter free in your home?