Saturday, December 28, 2013

Our laundry room, AKA, the black hole.

On our journey to minimalism, we know there are certain areas, and rooms that are going to be harder than others. Sometimes we're feeling brave, and sometimes we want to go hide in a dark room and curl up into the fetal position. Yesterday we did our underwear drawer. That was fairly easy. My husband had to work, and I have been pretty ill, so we kept it simple. Today, it was time to go big, or go home. Looking back, it was honestly harder to make the decision to do it, than any of the work itself. I'd guess it took us about a half hr working at a slow-moderate pace. And the end result surprised us both.

The husband actually got a little cranky when we first started, saying the room too small to do anything in. Turns out, it's not that small at all. Before and after photo's below!

                                                 Before

                                                  After
 
So, something that we've been putting off for months, took us a matter of minutes, and took a huge chunk of stress out of our lives. Quite a bit was trash, some was donate, and a lot of stuff belonged in the shed. Seeing before and after pictures just reassures us we're doing the right thing for our family by changing the way we think, and changing our lifestyle.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Another view of our new lifestyle

Hey everybody, This is Danny (the husband). This is my first post on here, and I'm told it won't be my last. We just wanted to get another point of view on this minimalism thing we're trying out. My point of view is a little bit different than Stacey's. I think that's why we work together so well. It may also be why we butt heads sometimes...

I have to say, I was less than thrilled when Stacey mentioned minimalism. I thought "oh great, lets just get rid of all the stuff we spent so long collecting". Then as she started, and I started watching, I started thinking. She had me read a few posts on another minimalist blog, and it started to click with me too. We won't ever be a "true minimalist" family, but we can surely minimize our "stuff".

Today I went through my nightstand. I filled an entire small garbage basket with "stuff". I had old papers from our move, receipts, copies of deployment orders, books, medals, flashlights, and even sandpaper. Why did I have sandpaper in my nightstand? Beats me. So I trashed the trash, reorganized what I actually want in there, moved what didn't belong in there, and made a ton more room. The top became a catch all and an eye sore. Now it's functional and looks much better with just my watch case on display. 

We also cleaned out our linen closet. We found expired OTC meds, duplicate meds, and even empty boxes of meds we've used. So we gutted it completely, cleaned all the shelves, and chose more wisely what we put in there. We have our towels, face cloths, meds up high, and spare paper towels. We consolidated the meds, keeping only what we really needed, allergy and children's cough mostly, and some toiletries. Again we filled an entire small garbage basket.

So, seeing all that we've taken out of fairly small areas add up to this much, almost a full kitchen bag, I'm excited to see what we can do with the rest of the house. I may be less than thrilled for us to get to some areas, like the kitchen and my shed, but that's why it's a process. One step at a time. Plus, getting rid of all the "stuff" we don't need, will help us identify what we do need. Not what we WANT, but what we NEED. Then we can focus on quality, not quantity. If we aren't buying so much, we can buy better. Simple math that's escaped my mind for my entire life.

So I guess with that, I'm sold. We can start to live a better life with less, so we can focus on what's really important.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

2 heads are better than one! Huge progress in the last two days! Before and after pictures :)

My husband is so lucky to have the next two weeks off for Christmas and New Years. Well, other than one day. I've been the one really doing most of the work as far as our journey to minimalism. I of course consult with him about some stuff, but he works a lot, and doesn't have as much time as I do normally. But since he's home for a while, we agreed to make an effort to work together a little bit each day toward our goal.

It wasn't all rainbows and kitty cats, though. He's in the military, and is used to being in a leadership position, so he's very headstrong. And me, well I hold down the fort while he's gone, and even when he's not overseas because I am the one home and who handles things here. So, both of us working together was super interesting. I will say that though we butted heads a few times, and probably got in each others way, the end result was fantastic. We now know that we need to work on being a better team, but we also know that we can really get a LOT done.

So, yesterday we cleaned our a hutch, and got rid of quite a bit. We also found some things we were missing and needed, hiding in there! Amazing what you can find when you clean up. But today was a HUGE step in our journey. I'm actually including some before and after pictures. I'll tell you what we did below the photos :)

                                                 Before
                                                 After

Now, you have to kind of look close, because it still sort of seems like there's a lot in the after photo. I can tell you we will never be true minimalists, but we are making huge strides in becoming MORE minimal. The reason it looks like there's still a lot, is some things were not even there before. I had no place for them because there was so much already there. Things we got rid of:

An entire shelf of books. Gone, in the donate box, buh-bye! All my precious moments items. Gone. 1 photo. Put away to maybe put up elsewhere. The stars and stripes box on the right, gone. The bottle decoration. Gone. And some things were moved around/added. Also we deep cleaned EVERYTHING. What you don't see, is all the items that were inside those cupboards. About 75% of what was in there, is now gone. What is still in there, is organized, functional, and CLEAN. Oh, and the DVD player, and Wii now have an actual home inside the cupboards, so they're not an eyesore.

Also, a lot of the decorations up, are Christmas stuff. Those will be put away very soon, so there will be even less going on in this area. It will be back to just basics, with a little d├ęcor. I cannot even put into words how happy I am with this transformation. And none of the items that we got rid of has any negative impact on me. Not even the stuff I've had for decades that I thought were important.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Just because you stop bringing things into your house, doesn't mean your kids do!

We are choosing to kick this into high gear at a funny time. We didn't know I'd get so sick, so that's slowed progress (but hey, even slow progress is progress), and also Christmas time. Christmas time also means our children are bringing ALL kinds of things home. And, we're supposed to provide all kinds of things for each of their classes. Oh boy! That was a tough one, because although we are trying to live a minimalist lifestyle, it doesn't mean everyone else is, nor will everyone understand the desire to live that way. And that's totally fine.

So, we made gifts for one of our sons class, and for all their teachers, and bus drivers. We didn't get any fancy bags, but instead used the wrapping paper we had already. So that was partially going along with the lifestyle we want to live. But then came all the things they brought from their school parties and such. Ornaments, decorations, papers, gifts, JUNK FOOD. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Some of the ornaments went on the tree. Others, yes, we threw them away. With 3 kids, if we kept every single thing they ever made, or brought home, we'd probably have to buy a storage unit to put it all in! Also, I think back to when I became an adult, and my mom showed me all the stuff from my school days. It was neat, but a lot of the stuff, I honestly didn't care about. Certain things, absolutely. But I didn't need to see every finger painting I ever did, and the things like it. So, a lot of their papers went into the trash. We've kept special things, and what I do is laminate them, and stick them in their school album I have for each of them.

A lot of the little cheap toys and stuff, trash. Yes, I know, it sounds terrible. But honestly, they'll get broken anyway, and they had so much stuff they never noticed anything was missing. The candy, after break, whatever is left over, trash. I suspect after Christmas, we'll really be able to kick this back into high gear, without anymore hiccups. Till Valentines day ;)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

10 weekly goals- update

When I planned my weekly goals last Wednesday, I didn't plan on getting even sicker than I was. So, some things didn't get done unfortunately. Also, it's a busy time of the year with 3 kiddo's in 3 different schools. Different Christmas parties and such. That meant a lot of time and energy went into making/buying supplies for those parties.

So, that being said, if you'll notice the important things are crossed off. Time with family. I didn't get to cleaning my daughters room with her. But we've spent a lot of one on one time together this week none the less. I will likely not make a list for this week as I need to pretty much do nothing but rest. But this hopefully gives anyone following an idea to try :) Let me know if you've tried it and what you think!

Original 10 weekly goals post

Friday, December 13, 2013

Knowing when to let go

Deciding to try to minimalist approach to life is HARD. Mostly it's hard to get started, but sometimes even when you're in a good groove, you'll hit a road block. Things like "But my grandmother gave this to me", and "If I get rid of it, I might find that I need it later and have to buy it again", or "This is really cute, and it's in perfect condition!" We are in the beginning stages of minimalism, and I can promise you we will never be the true definition of minimalists, but we are going to do the best we can to achieve happiness, and freeing ourselves from our over abundance of belongings.

So, let me touch on those things that pop up into your mind when going through things. This is another thing I learned from Flylady. Start small. In one area of a room. Maybe pull out a box that you've been meaning to go through. You want to have 3 categories that you put things in. Put away, throw away, give away. I'll give examples on each categories, and those thoughts listed above. Here we go!

In our bathroom (this is the room I chose to deep clean and organize this week) I found some dog ear cleaner. One of our dogs is a breed that is known to have ear issues because they're floppy ears, and very very furry. When we got him over 3 years ago, we bought some to prepare ourselves. I found it in our bathroom 2 days ago and thought "Well, we got lucky and he has never had ear trouble, but I should probably hold onto it in case he does, so we don't have to buy it again" Seriously, Stacey? You've had it for more than 3 years, he hasn't needed it yet, and it's just getting moved around from one place to another, and from one house to another! We move a lot being a military family. Oh, and look, it's EXPIRED! So once that voice of reason came out, it was a pretty easy decision, after all. And, if one day we have to buy some more, we just will. Another way to avoid this, is don't buy things you think you MIGHT need.

So, that went in the trash. Next order of business. This is really cute, and it's in perfect condition! I had a very overflowing basket full of lotions and body sprays. Even as a woman, you won't use 10 bottles of body spray in a very quick amount of time. I had stuff in there that was full that I've had for FIVE years. I'm not even kidding. So, I went through and picked my favorites that I use constantly, and took the rest to the donate pile. OK, this is getting easier... Next!

This was in a different room, but this was one of THE hardest decisions I've made so far in my journey. My grandmother on my dads side passed away 2 days before my 5th birthday. I do remember her, but my memories are almost like photographs in my head. She was a very sweet lady, who loved to craft. She crocheted lots and lots of goodies for everyone in the family, and we have a BIG family. I had a blanket that was made by her that my mom passed down to me because she didn't want it anymore. The thing is, it's not something I honestly wanted, and it was being packed and stored and only taken out to look at once in a while.

Here's why I made the decision to let it go. My grandmother made it, yes. But holding onto that is not how I am choosing to remember and honor her. Keeping something that she made, and putting it in a box for decades is not doing it any justice. I know there is someone out there who could/would appreciate it the way it was meant to be, so I decided to donate it. I feel so much better about it having gone to the mission to raise money to feed the homeless, than it sitting in a dark box on a shelf.

And the things you love, but don't have a home. Find a home for them! Put them on display. If you can't think of a place for it that it will get some use, or be appreciated, maybe you don't love it as much as you thought you did?

Don't forget, once you get a box full of donations, put it in your car to take the next time you are out :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

10 weekly goals, and how we can apply it to our journey to minimalism.

I think lots of people make goals. Daily goals, weekly,  monthly, yearly. Hey, how about the whole 5 year plan idea? It all starts with goals in our minds, and then we typically put them into list form. Whether on actual paper, or digitally. I was so inspired by  Money Saving Mom's list of 10 blog post this week! I have been feeling very under the weather lately, and it's keeping me down both physically, and even mentally.

I think me being sick is just another wake up call. Hello, you're doing too much, stressing yourself out, and stretching yourself TOO thin, says the voice in my head. So, as much as I dislike being sick, I am choosing to use it as positive re-enforcement to do what I can, and slow down!

So, I made a list of 10, much like Crystals at Money Saving Mom. Here is a peek at my list:

Weekly 10

Family/motherly

1. Help Shaelyn clean her room, then play

2. Build a fort with Destin
3. Watch a movie with Logan, or play a game, his choice
4. Have a date Friday night at home with Danny, no distractions
5. Write a letter to my Grandma

Personal

6. Finish the book I started months ago (I pitched it, the book couldn't hold my interest)

7. Take 15-20 minutes of time to sit and reflect each day

Household

8. Pick one small room to deep clean/minimize/organize

Business

9. Clean/organize craft table.
10. Create measurements for bow sizes/styles


If you look at my list, you'll notice most of these things are using the minimalist idea. Especially the ones spending time with my family. My list will hopefully remind me to slow down, and smell the roses, but those are all things that really need to be done (especially taking time for my family members individually). I believe most of these things will be good for the soul, and good for my body to heal from whatever these cooties are that I have.

If you try this, let me know how it goes for you! I will follow up next Wednesday to update on my progress. I kept my list pretty simple, so I am hoping I will be able to accomplish each of these things fairly easily.

If you are going to do this, I strongly suggest if you are making a paper list, to put it somewhere that you'll see every day, or if you are going to do it digitally, set a reminder to check it daily :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The meaning of Christmas

As many others will agree, sometimes the meaning of Christmas seems to get lost. Many will spend hundreds and thousands of dollars this season, as they have every season. Some will even get cranky along the way if something sells out, or the shipping time for something is too long. We get into a hurry trying to get everything done in a timely manner, and the whole point just gets lost. I am not accusing, and pointing fingers, but we all know this happens. Some of us are guilty of it, and I'll admit I have gotten caught up before, too!

This year we really want to do things differently. We don't want to spend spend spend. We don't want to get a bunch of things for our kids that will likely get lost and/or broken right off the bat. We don't want to get them so many things that they get to the point where they just expect more and more.

I watched a video last Christmas with my husband and kids, and my parents. It was Christmas from maybe 1991? I was 6. I. Was. MORTIFIED. I was SUCH a spoiled little brat! I thought everything was about me, and I didn't seem to be happy with very much, and was ready to just move onto the next thing as soon as I got one gift opened. There must be more, there must be something better. Me, me, me, me. Yes, I am admitting this out loud, and I am so embarrassed. But, thankfully I am not that way any more, and being 6 years old, I just didn't understand.

My parents were just trying to do what they thought they should. They were doting on their daughter, because they loved me. They didn't mean to spoil me, but it happened anyway. I do not want this for my kids. I know how many are out there without a roof over their head, and without food in their belly.

So, I read in a few places that a lot of people are giving 3 gifts. One thing their kids want, one thing they need, and something for learning. We are doing something very similar, but not staying super strict to this. We've gotten them each 3 gifts (but one is from Santa) and then one gift for them all to open Christmas Eve. A new pair of PJ's, some hot cocoa, popcorn, and a Christmas movie. Then we got them a couple stocking stuffers. (one of the two items is something they need, and one for fun).

Also, I'd like to inspire those that read this to do something for someone. Doesn't have to be a family, or even a friend. Maybe it's someone you see that could really just benefit from a good deed. It is a time for giving. Maybe you can make a meal for a stressed out family. Maybe you know a single mom who doesn't have the money to do something nice for herself, and give her a gift card to buy a new outfit. Maybe you see a homeless person in the same spot all the time, that could really use a new pair of shoes. Maybe you even know someone who just really needs a friend to call and check on her, and spend some time just chatting.

Id love to hear your thoughts and ideas on these subjects. And if you have already, or are planning to give to someone in need, please share what that is/was!

I know this is a tiny bit off topic of my blog, but these are some thoughts that have been floating around in my head for a while now, and I really just wanted to get them out there :)


Monday, December 9, 2013

Saying goodbye to fast food.

I know this is a very touchy subject. I am sure I may get a little backlash from this blog post, but please keep in mind these are my thoughts and opinions, and this is part of my journey that I am sharing with everyone who chooses to follow along with it.

First of all, I know many will think "Yeah, well I am so busy that sometimes I just have to get it, or we won't have time to eat". I don't have any of my kids in after school activities. Well, my oldest has bible study. I do however, have 3 kids, and two of which have special needs. Often times, we have appointments, and we live way out in the boonies. I have been able to cut out some of these appointments, so we're not constantly on the road, but when we do it's a half-full day even of driving from A, to B, to C! I am the QUEEN of "We have to eat fast food", or, I was.

32 days ago (yes, I have an app on my phone that is counting), I asked my husband to stop at Burger King on his way home from work. He works 45 minutes away, had closed that day, and I just did not feel like preparing anything that night. We used to live just a few minutes from his work, and conveniently just a few minutes from about 4 different fast food places. I'll touch on that more in just a bit. Anyway, 20 bucks or so later, and 15 minutes extra commute for him for having to stop and wait for food, we had our dinner.

It had been at least a week before that since we had any fast food. Before we moved out here, it was a good few times a week we were eating a meal from a fast food place. It just did not taste good at ALL! Then after we ate, I felt like dead weight, and just wanted to go to sleep. I felt awful. I have seen the light. Once we finally started to cut down, and then ate it again, it was like my body was begging me not to eat it. Like I was putting the wrong kind of gas into my car or something. It didn't really even taste that good to me anymore now that it wasn't the typical meal we had been eating.

That night we made the decision to just stop eating it. We had a trip coming up to go visit my parents for Thanksgiving too, so it would be a big change for us. It's a 6-8 hour drive, depending on traffic, and our kiddo's. So, we made sandwiches, some snacks, and even some breakfast egg muffins the night before. On top of saving a ton of money, we also felt better and were less tired for the long drive, AND, we saved some time on the drive because we just ate in the car. We have 2 dogs we travel with too, so I don't like to stop somewhere that they can't get out with us.

So, remember I said we lived minutes from a bunch of fast food places? Someone told me that they figured out how much they spent in eating out in one months time, and it was outrageous. I thought, I'm sure we spend a couple hundred, but probably not much more. We spent over FIVE hundred dollars eating out in one month. That was a month we didn't have any other travel than appointments and errands. It was purely out of convenience that we stopped anywhere for food. 500 bucks is a lot of money for our size family on one income, believe me!

So, as part of our journey to minimalism, we are looking at EVERYTHING we do in our lives, and deciding what we can do to improve our quality of life, by living with less. Fast food is less garbage for our bodies, which will result in better health both short, and long term, AND it is saving us a large amount of money.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Less is more.

The idea is pretty simple, yet it's SO hard to really live by this. We live in an age where consumerism is constantly shoved down our throats. Think about it. You watch T.V., commercials come on, and it's "buy this" "buy that". Same with the web, radio, and just driving around. Think of all the billboards telling you what you "need"! Do we really need all these things to be happy? Or, is it possible that we are actually becoming a slave to our possessions?

Here's an example. Facebook. It can be such a great thing! Really! A way to connect with our family, and friends. But what else do you see on facebook? One thing that stands out to me, is what people show off. And I will be the first to say I have done it a number of times! My husband bought me a beautiful necklace last Valentine's day, and BOOM, off to Facebook land to show it off. Now, I'm not saying never buy someone you love a gift, and never let on that you like receiving gifts. What I'm saying, is, sometimes we are so excited about something we just got, that we want to share it with everyone. When it comes down to it, why do we do this?

I think partly, is we want to give thanks publicly to the person who gave us the gift. It's nice to be appreciated. But another thing it might convey to others, is, "neener neener neeeeeeeeener" We didn't have much when we first got married, so when we started having a little extra cash flow, it was so nice to get new things. A new T.V., a new computer, a new car, ect. You work hard, you deserve to have some things you want. But where do we draw the line? The age we live in says, we DON'T. We always need to upgrade. Bigger, better, faster, stronger... You know?

We have started to change this about ourselves. Sure, we still have things we want. Sometimes we still spend money on things we don't need, but we are trying to change that. We are turning away from all the latest and greatest, and trying to ignore it. Because when it comes down to it, is it really that important? Is it really going to make our lives better? No. It's going to cause more distractions from what's important, and it's going to keep our cash going out just as fast as it comes in. .

So, onto what I was getting at. My husband and I decided we are not going to bring anything into our house that we do not need, and we are going to talk about the things we bring in before we make that decision. We have debt. Car debt, house debt, and we want to climb out of it. We do OK, and we give to a lot of charities. We want to be able to do that more, too. We can't take our money with us, and in the end we don't want to be remembered by what we had, but rather what we gave.

As we are not making careless decisions with our money, we are hoping, and expecting our savings account to grow, so that we may pay off our debt. Our children are young, and now is the time to instill some good habits and lessons. We will probably never be that couple with the beautiful family photo's done every few months. We will probably never be that family who's home you envy because it is so big, and fancy. We will probably never be that family who has expensive cars, and all the latest gadgets. But we will (I hope, and pray) be that family who is happy, and loving, and gives more than they receive.

God willing, we will be able to keep the momentum going, and keep learning and opening our minds to this lifestyle.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, and if you have any suggestions of your own. Please leave a comment if you feel compelled.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. How I made a new dog bed with items just taking up space!

Since my husband and I made a decision not to bring anything into the house unless we absolutely need it, now we need to focus on getting stuff OUT of the house. But what about all those things on your list you need to buy? What if some of those things, you can make yourself out of things that are already in your home, taking up space? What an idea! We have to be careful with this idea though, and make sure it's REALLY something we need, and not just something we think we need.

So, here's the story. We have 2 dogs. They each have their own bed, and both of those beds are small. Yet, instead of laying in their own beds, they curl up together in one, which means either one or both of them are hanging off the bed! Which is pretty cute, and funny... But I also kept telling myself "Man, I really need to get them a bigger bed!" I had this idea about a month ago, but of course half the stuff I knew I had in the house I couldn't find. Why? Because of clutter. Oy!

So, I finally found what I was looking for. A few years ago, we bought some fleece to use as a background to take our own Christmas family photo's of the kids. They turned out pretty cute, too! So I have two REALLY big bunches of fleece hanging around. My parents left some old pillows here for when they come through and visit (they live 6 hours away). To be honest, they're pretty old. The pillows that is, not my parents. Still in decent shape, but I know they have more pillows they could bring. I asked them if it was OK to use them for a project, and they said sure. So... Here's what happened!


                 What's this stuff, Mom?? Can we play with it?
 
 
 



These are some happy pups! Here is a good tutorial to how to do these if you've never done a tie blanket. I promise it's really easy, and anyone can do them! Tie blanket tutorial


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Do you have your Christmas decorations up yet?

I have to wonder what true minimalists homes look like during Christmas. I'm sure they still decorate, but it probably doesn't look like Christmas threw up in their house. I LOVE Christmas! I love the true meaning of Christmas the most, but I also love the decorations that really bring a lot of joy to families, especially children.

We (and by we, I mean my husband helped a tiny bit) pulled down all our decorations the other night, and put them up after our kids went to bed. I found a 4ft pre-lit tree, along with our 6 foot. See, when we got married, we lived in this teeeeeeeeeeeny tiny little apartment. While we lived there, it was just us, and our oldest son, Logan. We had no room to even move around each other, so getting a very small tree was a no brainer.

Then we bought our first home 10 months after we moved into that apartment. We decided it was time for a bigger tree, since at that point we had our second son, too. So, we got a 6 foot pre-lit tree, and we kept the smaller one with the idea that we could use that for the kids to decorate, too.

Well, that never happened, as we had a 3rd child, our little girl, only 15 months after our second son. To add to that, a tradition in my family is that the kids get an ornament every year. So 3 kids, 3 ornaments a year from us, my mom and dad still do it for their grand kids, and my grandmother also still does it. So that's 9 ornaments a year, times 4 years (this is my daughters fourth Christmas) YIKES!

So, needless to say, we've acquired quite a bit of ornaments. We decided with the lifestyle we are striving for, we really need to be a little more practical. That 4ft tree has never been used other than that first year. And instead of buying a ton of ornaments, I started (this year) giving them each one from my childhood. They think that's so special.

Once I went through everything, we really didn't have a lot of decorations to put up, but the home we live in really doesn't have a lot of space, either. So, I have decided to bless someone with our tree, and decorations we don't want anymore. I put an ad on Craigslist this morning. We did this another year, and the woman that came to get them was so grateful. She said they just moved and just got married, and just didn't have the money to get any yet. What an amazing feeling to help someone else.

First step was the decision, what's next?

Hello everyone! So the biggest step is to decide to do this at all, right? I guess I will see! Have you heard of Flylady.net? If not, do check it out! She is a wonderful woman who started a web page to encourage others to get organized! One big thing I learned from her, is to get rid of it! If you do not love it, use it, or have a purpose for it, why do you have it? I have filled many boxes this year and taken them to the local mission to donate. It feels amazing. To let go of these things, and know that not only am I freeing myself from the clutter, I am blessing someone else!

What she says, is to box it up, or bag it up, either way... And take it straight to your car! Don't put it in a closet, or in your garage. You'll forget about it, and then it's just clutter that you moved from one place to another. So, you load it up, and the next time you are out, you drop it off! For me, I wait till I have a few boxes in my car, but still take the stuff once I have enough. We live in the country a little ways, so if I'm going to drive 20 minutes each way, I'm going to make sure it's a healthy sized haul :)
So folks, as you are boxing things up, don't forget to take the items to your car!

This is where it begins. My journey to minimalism.

For YEARS I have struggled with "stuff". I'm not at all a professional therapist or anything of the sort, but I do have some ideas of how I got to where I am today. A little about myself; I am a 28 year old woman. I am a wife, and a mother. I have been married to my life long friend for a little over 5 years now, and we have 3 children. 8, 4, and 3. My husband is in the Army, and I am a stay at home mom. That in itself is a struggle for me at times because I worked my tail off before we got married, and was a single working mom. Our oldest is mine from a previous marriage. So not working is a bit of an adjustment for me even still.

So, where I think it all started. My parents are closet hoarders. Not the kind you see on T.V. They're not gross in any way, and they don't have items stacked to the ceiling. Well, actually they do in some places. Back when I was younger, they had a lot of stuff, but not anywhere near what they have now. My dad had rental properties, so that's where some of his stuff came from. He really got into yard sales when I was young. He'd go to yard sales, and he'd have them. The amount of time spent going to yard sales, and preparing for his own. Where my dad got into it, I think comes from his childhood. Growing up with a family of 9, they did a lot of hand-me-downs, and they just didn't have a lot. This way my dad can have a lot, but save his money. Makes sense.

And you know, that's fine. That's what they enjoy, and they don't have any issues with the amount of stuff they have. But with me, it makes me crazy. Seriously, I think I turn green sometimes and grow 10 times larger than I am. It takes a big dose of Snickers to calm me down. So, I think I get the habit from my parents. Stuff makes us happy, right? Then when my husband and I got married, we had nothing. I mean, we used our laundry basket as an entertainment center, and slept on an air mattress for a while. Now, we live in a somewhat small house for our size family, but we have SO MUCH STUFF!
So, here are the problems I see with this much stuff. I have ADHD, and Anxiety. The amount of stuff we have us just flat out unmanageable. I can't keep up with cleaning, and there's just too much clutter. When my house isn't clean, my Anxiety, and ADHD is in full swing. When those are in full swing, I am CRANKY. I have read that those who choose to try the minimalist lifestyle, end up with less stress, more time, more money, ect. So, here goes!

Today I am doing my best to get started, but not go crazy. This is going to be a process, and is going to take a very long time to get a real habit going. So, I've started in my kitchen. I want our teeny tiny little kitchen to be fully functional, and not an eyesore. I would absolutely love it if anyone is following along to post your thoughts and suggestions. I am hoping that along my journey, I can inspire others, too.