Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Thrift stores

I want to talk about thrift stores here. There are many out there. You probably donate to some. But, have you ever gone in and looked around? There are SO many items in like new, and sometimes even brand new condition. Here we have a place called The Waterfront Rescue Mission. It's an awesome place and they do so much good in our community.

So, yesterday was our youngest sons Pre-K graduation. We had some time after so I asked my husband if he would be up for going to the Mission. He's such a good guy, he agreed without hesitation. I am so low on shirts I wear the sames ones over and over and over. I swear, I am ALWAYS doing laundry just to have clean clothes to wear. Anywho, I tried on LOTS of items, and of course women are not one size fits all, so only a handful of items fit the way I wanted them to.

You can see the items I picked out are in awesome condition. One of the shirts I don't 100% love, but I am so low I can't be super picky right now. Also most of these shirts I have plans for once I don't want them anymore, or cannot use them myself. A couple of them I really love the print, and plan on making my daughter skirts out of them with matching headbands.

One thing that really got me thinking, is these capri-pants. I have been needing more for a long time, and have gone into the Mission a few times and not found any that fit. I broke down last month and bought 2 pair new from AE. They cost with tax, SEVENTY dollars. All of the items you see below cost a whopping 22.93 out the door. The capri's alone ended up being 2.50!!

I know some are apprehensive about buying second hand because someone else had at one time worn these, or it's not "cool". But listen, we all wash our clothes before we wear them, don't we? And who ever decided it wasn't cool to buy second hand? Someone who doesn't appreciate saving money for other things, would be my guess. I know when I was little I hated buying second hand, and was always afraid of getting made fun of. But seriously, who will know? I mean, everyone who reads my blog will know that I shop second hand. But I am proud of my frugality and wanting to save my family a little bit of money where I can. So I'll tell anyone who asks where I got my clothing :D

Oh, and one more point I want to drive home on this topic. Not only did I do a small part in reduce/reuse/recycling, the money spent there helps others in our community. Now that is a good feeling! While we were there we also dropped off a few boxes of items for donation. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

One year of no consumerism

It's been a slow journey to minimalism, and I can't say were there yet. My husband is on board, but not as enthusiastic about it as I am. He is supportive for the most part (although he thinks I'm crazy pants for wanting to get rid of our bed frame, dresser, and night stands). On this journey we still slip up and buy things we don't need. Especially when we go to a store for just a few needed items, and walk out with about 10 bags.

Last night we set a budget in place. We decided we're not buying anything we don't need. And to me that also means we will not be buying anything new unless we have to. My husband and I are getting more and more into running, so if we need a few new articles of clothing or a new pair of shoes, that's not something we'll skip out on.

We set up a personal allowance for each of us, and an entertainment allowance for our entire family. Things like movies, dining out, ect. I can pretty much say with confidence I won't use my allowance to buy anything new, but I can't speak for my husband. I doubt we will be perfect on this journey and never slip up, but it's worth a try.

I know we seem completely crazy, and most will not understand what we're trying to do. I don't want to live a life where we constantly owe banks money and are a slave to our belongings. I want to minimize our waste as a family of 5, and get as much use of out items as we can. Less things will end up in landfills this way. I want to live in a way that brings our family closer together and lets our creativity flow.

So here we go, June 1st 2014 - June 1st 2015. I will do my best to document how we are doing once a week.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Living room update!

If you read my post yesterday, this is a follow up to show you the HUGE progress that was made. Some other stuff you won't see in the photo is wall hangings that were taken down, and last night my husband fixed up the holes from them and then touched up the paint in a few areas. I am SO excited! So, in the following you will see the before, and then the after from our first attempt, and then the after after from yesterday! What a difference!



                                                                  After, after!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Round 2 in the living room!

A few months ago we ventured into the living room and really purged quite a bit! In reading the book I mentioned in the last post (the joy of less), I decided it was time to go back in there. You know what I realized? I really still had a LONG way to go. I feel like the word minimalism is going to mean different things to different people. Well, I guess a better way to say it would be that there are different levels. I mean, I've heard of people living with 100 items. And when you think about it, that's hardly anything! I can't even begin to guess how many items we still own.

Anyway, I looked at my entertainment area. Still quite a few items. The walls, LOTS of pictures and wall decor/art up. Also, our dogs have a bed in our living room, and a dog crate. Recently our puppy (well she's not exactly a puppy anymore) finally stopped eating things at night, so I decided to put up her crate today. I won't say I'm done with the living room, because I want to wait till my husband gets home and see what he thinks about it, but I will say I have a fresh look on everything again. I am hoping by tomorrow I will have really reduced the amount of items in my living room yet again!

I really highly recommend this book, though. I'm only a little over 1/3 of the way through it, and I cannot believe how much it's changing the way I look at everything, and the way I feel as well. One big thing I have adapted is I am basically having a conversation with each item I own. It's going to take a long time to get through everything, but I have made so much progress already I am so excited. So, the conversation (usually in my head, ha) goes something like this; What purpose do you serve in my life? How often do I use you? Would I miss you if you were gone?

Sounds silly, but those really are good questions to ask yourself about the things you're deciding to keep, or move on out. Also good questions to ask about things you're considering bringing into your home. So, back into the living room I go!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Joy of Less

I have decided to spend a little dough and purchase a minimalist book. At first I thought to myself "This goes against what we're trying to do by not spending money" Let me tell you, I've spent money on a lot of silly things, but this was not one of them. I'm only 17% of the way through the book (says our Kindle), and I am very impressed. It's so much more than just "get rid of your stuff!!!". The first handful of chapters are just thinking about why we do things things, ect. It really opened my eyes so much.

We live in a culture that just lives to consume, not consumes to live. How much do we really need? Do we really need to keep up with the Jones'? Why? Why do we feel compelled to have everything, when we already have so much more than we ever needed? Yesterday the book had inspired me to go through a lot with a fresh mindset, and it worked! I was able to get rid of a lot. This past weekend I had a baby shower to attend. I had all these Mommy Necklaces (these are cute little necklaces basically meant for nursing mothers to give the baby something safe to play with while nursing, vs your hair). I kept them because they're so pretty and I do wear them once in a while. But then I thought about it, and I really thought my friend would get much more use out of them than myself. So, I passed all of them to her. Not only did it feel amazing to pass them on, but she really appreciated it, and even her husband thanked me later at church saying that they meant a lot to her. WOW!

Anyway. I feel so refreshed in my minimalist journey. I had already made SO much progress, but reading this book is really just energizing me more than ever! I want to change my whole way of thinking. Not just purge a few times a year, but keep bringing things in. I highly recommend this book. You can find it here The Joy of Less

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Don't forget about the clutter in your head!

I have to keep telling myself this is a journey. Think, marathon, not sprint. I keep hearing that, but seriously, it's the best way to describe it. I have slowed down a wee bit on minimizing while focusing on getting everything done that needs to be. It has occurred to me lately that I just have too much going on again. Some things I can't avoid, much as I'd like to. But some things I just reeeeeeeeeeally didn't want to let go of, though I know it was at a point where it was creating more stress for myself, and more to do.

Ever heard that saying "too much of a good thing"? I definitely think there is. When it gets to the point where there's more of something than you can use in a year, yeah... Too much. Especially if it's creating more clutter/stress. I have gone through some slight obsessions. For example, baby legs. Heard of them? They're itty bitty leg warmers for babies. Seriously adorable, and very useful. So I took that, and ran with it! My daughter had almost 30 pair. It was INSANE. To think of the money I spent on that, when a few pair would have sufficed.

I read my devotional today and it was talking about the American dream. You know, bigger, better, faster, stronger... More more more. It's so hard for my generation especially with all the mommy wars, and social media. Everyone wants what others have. I do too, sometimes. I was just talking with my husband about this yesterday, actually! Then to have it right there in my face today was almost like the answer I was looking for.

Back to my original idea for this post (I saw something sparkly, sorry!) I tend to think SO much. I get the gut feelings, but the I have to rationalize EVERYTHING. I pretty much just drive myself crazy. So, when you decide to take it from gut, to brain, ask yourself these questions. Does this add value to my life, or stress? Do I really need ALL of this, or just some of it? If you find yourself thinking a ton about it, maybe talk about it out loud with someone. You never know, the answer just may come to you in a really unexpected way.

But my point is, I want to stress less. I am going to be taking the time to face these things that are stressing me out, and find a solution to them. Getting rid of the mental clutter, as well as the physical clutter :)

Do you have anything on your mind lately you're trying to sort out? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. I hope my journey is helping others who're wanting to try this out as well!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Distractions, and a confession.

Distractions... They're everywhere. Electronics I think is a big one for us. The computer, the T.V. (we got rid of Dish last year then after a few months without it turned it back on), the Kindle, our phones. Geeeeeez! If I could just use them the way I intend to, it wouldn't be an issue. But I get caught up. I feel like we're missing out on life because of all of these distractions.

I want to be healthier. I want to put more time into my business. I want to get our house organized so that it's just maintenance after that. I want less stress, and more time. Yet I can't seem to break away from the distractions. I've also got books I've had for years that I want to read. I want to crochet more. Why do we do this to ourselves? I usually use these things as a reward or break when I've done a lot of work, but then that's where I get sucked in and can't break away.

So here it is, my confession. It's MY fault. I have the choice of where to put my focus, and sometimes, I don't make good decisions. I feel like until we admit things like this, it won't change. Yes, we have VERY busy lives. But the little bits of time I do have, I need to choose wisely what I do with that time. If I'm trying to get healthy, and I spend that time playing Candy Crush (DON'T PLAY IT IF YOU HAVEN'T, it's addicting), even 10 minutes at a time 5 times a day. That's 50 minutes of my day I can't get back. Why not 10 minutes of Candy Crush, 30 minutes of working out, and 10 minutes tidying up the house? There are lots of options, but I just have to stop making excuses, and get to it!

No one likes to have these things pointed out by others, because we get defensive. So, let's sit down and think to ourselves about it instead, and admit to ourselves what our weakness' are, and if we're wanting real change. I definitely do, so this is me giving myself a swift kick in the butt, and signing off to get some stuff done :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

To go along with minimalism

We have taken so many car loads to the local mission lately, that we are slowing down a little bit and focusing on some projects we've been needing to get done. Something that's come up lately, is re-purposing things. I feel like this goes hand and hand with minimalism. My biggest issue with buying new things, is there might be something you already have that you can use, and save from just being thrown into a landfill.

For example. We have these outdoor chairs that have just had it. For a bit my husband and I wanted to go get new chairs, but we haven't yet. Next thing we know, he and our oldest son are out in the shed doing "man stuff" and BOOM, a bench for our fire pit! He had some leftover wood, and also found part of an extra shutter out there.

Another example. I really need some kind of shelf to clip my desk lamp to in my work area. The last time my husband was in the attic, he found a broken shelf and brought it down. This was almost a year ago when we first moved in here. He fixed it, and painted it, and now it's ready to be put up!

I think the biggest gain from this though, is our son is on his way to becoming a man. He's about to turn 9 this year, and honestly that just feels so big to me. I mean, he's going to be half way to being an adult! There is a 4.5 year age difference between him and his little brother, and my husband and I just both feel it's a really good time for them (father and son) to start bonding. He's not exactly interested in what our 4 year old is. So to go along with what we're gaining from minimalism, they are building on their relationship. These are memories our son will have for the rest of his life!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Another bedroom down! Our sons room!

This weekend I helped my oldest son with his room. I have been dreading this because he wants to hold onto everything. I'm talking rocks from outside, acorns, papers galore, ect. His room isn't tiny, but it's not that big. He has a full size bed in there, a dresser, and a desk. His desk was full of papers and all kinds of stuff. He had even stashed stuff under his bed, and in his closet. It took a good few hours with breaks between to get it done.

But you know what? I think I planted a seed. I had him bring one drawer full of items to the middle of the floor, and we created 3 piles. Throw away, give away, and put away. When everything was said and done, we had an entire box of donations, 90% of his items had a place (we're looking for some smaller sized bins for lego's and such) and he got rid of most of his papers and misc items he brought in from outside. I think he even had fun!

When we first started it, he didn't want to really get rid of much, but when he saw the piles filling up, he got more into it! We humans are very visual. It seems like with me and my family especially, the more progress we SEE, the more we want to do! What I really liked about this experience, is that he was fully involved, and I could almost see the way he was thinking change! I hope that this will help him as he grows up, so that things are always manageable for him and stress free!

I highly encourage you to try this with your child if they're at an age where they can help you. For one, it's always nice to have company when doing this, and two, they might really enjoy it :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Our daughters room. DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNN

Recently, we went through our daughters bedroom. She's our only daughter, plus she's the youngest. She was pretty spoiled to start out with, and it's calming down a little, but she definitely still had too much stuff! Not to mention, we have most of her brothers toys in her room as well due to his room being really small, and some behavioral issues we are working through with him. He uses toys as projectiles, it's not a fun time.

So, wall to wall, floor to ceiling, we did our thing. To include the closet! I was able to get rid of a lot of her clothes, and found quite a few broken toys and trash items. We pulled both our youngest kiddos in there when we were ready for them to make some decisions on which toys to give away to other boys and girls, and to our surprise, they were able to do this! We had a hang up on a tiny pretend kitchen, and cash register set. So we had them choose one to give away. Thankfully they chose to give away the little kitchen, because they already have a bigger one.

After all was said and done, it was SO much easier to clean because there weren't any toys and misc items all over the floor. It is now much easier for them to clean up because their toys fit into two bins. To be honest they don't have that many toys compared to most kids here in the US. We had started changing our ways a few years ago by keeping that kind of stuff to a minimum. We don't want our kids to be lost in a sea of toys, and we want them to value people and their time more than objects. We have learned that they are NOT at all bothered by this. I think we were more bothered by the idea of this in the beginning.

I think most of the time the reason kids have so many toys, is because of us, their parents. We love them so much, that we want them to never go without. We want them to enjoy their childhood, and have fun. They can still do this without a sea of toys, I promise. We are living proof of that. I have seen so much creativity come from my little ones, and be still my heart... They play SO well together now that there aren't so many toys to distract them. They pretend all the time. The two youngest are only 15 months apart, and I didn't think I'd see them grow into best friends still at such a young age.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Our bedroom. One HUGE task we've been avoiding since we moved in.

A little back story. We bought our house in Feb of 2013. It has 4 bedrooms so each of our children finally have their own room. One of the rooms used to be a garage, so we do not have one. We have a little shed in the back of the property, but it's not fit for storage. So, our closet is our storage. No real attic to speak of, or basement. That's it. Now, our bedroom is ENORMOUS! Which you'd think is great, right? But the issue is it is also my craft/office, and our workout room. So, too much going on to say the least.

My parents are here for a few days, so instead of them watching the kids so we could have a date (I'm too sick to go out anyway) we asked them to watch the little ones so we could figure out our bedroom and closet. I know, so romantic :) It took us a solid 2 hours. We went through probably 85% of our belongings both in our room and closet. Let me tell you, it was no easy task. Boxes and boxes of items and photo's and such we've had for years. Some things for decades.

We took a lot of trash out, and filled up my car with yet another load of donate items. I am only posting a few photo's because we still have a little work to do, but now we can do it here and there since the bulk of things are gone. I refuse to let it get to that point again. I refuse to bring in more things that will just take up space. Our lives are changing for the better so we can focus on what's really important :)

Please excuse the black squares. Hubby has a photo of him by the treadmill after his first deployment of non stop working out as motivation LOL.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 is going to be fantastic

Aside from still being sick, I have a feeling this year is going to start pretty well. We're already on a roll on our journey to minimalism. Really, we just want to keep up the momentum. And actually, my parents are here right now for a short visit. Our bedroom has really taken a back seat because we're trying to get the main rooms of our house in check, so our bedroom has been our catch all.

I think my new years resolution, is to be able to just maintain this new lifestyle. Meaning to have all the big things pretty much taken care of, and just maintain all that we've achieved. And also, to really get my business going, while keeping a minimalist mindset while doing it. Not having way too many supplies (I've had more than I need in a lot of things, and it's just created too much clutter)

Ok, maybe one more. To take better care of myself. Mentally, emotionally, and definitely physically. What are your new years resolutions?