Thursday, February 18, 2016

Downsizing and How Moving towards a Minimalistic Lifestyle has Saved Me AND Saved Me Money

(I don't know why I cannot get the font to be normal, so my apologies!)

I don't believe I have written about my journey into the world of minimalism, but it is something that I have been adopting slowly but surely since probably before I moved to Nebraska. I know I said my next entry would be about OrangeTheory (fitness), but I had some thoughts in my head on this which seemed easier to write about. Really I think its because I follow a few minimalism blogs and I read an interesting one this morning.

Initially it began as early as 2003 when I sold my 2500 sq ft home and moved in to an apartment (which was the case up until 2012 when I had a house in Nebraska; smaller but a house nonetheless). When I was packing the house up initially it began in the kitchen. I had like 3 sets of dinnerware for one thing...which was just ridiculous. Anyway, that;s where it started. BTW I have one full set of dishes (4 of each size in the set), which NEVER get used. I have one set of pasta bowls and 2 small plates from Williams Sonoma that I use day in and day out. And I think I have 4 glasses that match. Otherwise I use 1 of 2 tumblers for my personal use.

Then of course a lot of things went into a storage unit because duh, large house, small apartment. Even after getting rid of a LOT. 3.5 years ago I guess it was, I stopped paying on the storage unit and all that was in there is gone to somebody somewhere who bid on it at an auction. I do wish I still had my 2 very expensive cowboy hats, but then again I never wear a cowboy hat anymore since I quite rodeo in 2005 so again...better use somewhere else I suppose. What was in there had been in there since TWO THOUSAND THREE...And I had never once gone in there to retrieve anything. So basically ten years.  
Then when I moved to Nebraska, yadda yadda yadda...more purging..
Now I will say even though I was slowly moving towards minimalism I was still purchasing clothing and shoes etc. Even when I wasn't even wearing what I had. A lot of that had to do with what no longer fit when I moved there...and then what began to no longer fit after being there a while...and then by the time I left. But once I was packing to move back to Texas, man oh man did I purge in that area.

Or so I thought. Ha! Because now I have been home almost 2 years now and I have since donated like 3 medium size/kitchen bags full. Thankfully the last one took me a while to fill up but slowly I did right before the holidays. Sometime early Fall I started going through things in the closet where I had multiples of like 3 white tshirts, 2 black turtlenecks, 3 pairs of black slacks etc. I now I own ONE of each of those. See where I am going with this? I also didnt need 3 pairs of black boots. Or 2 pairs of brown ones..Now? Yep you guessed it. I had to make choices and while difficult in some ways, it was easier and it felt so so so great!

My place is not what anyone would call extreme minimalism but I definitely don't fill up every corner. I don't buy things unless I am replacing something else. I don't buy food or anything like that unless its going to be eaten within 2 weeks, preferably one week. My pantry by Friday looks bare because who needs cans and cans and boxes and boxes of things? Food is one of the things we waste and throw money away on every single day, week, year. Like billions and billions of dollars. Not this girl. I meal plan and whatever is on the menu, then I buy for. Sure I keep PB, cocoa powder, oats etc, the basic essentials I need to complete a meal, but thats it.

Other examples would be I have one set of sheets and one set of towels (which means I have 4 large bath towels. 2 orange and 2 gray). I actually just replaced 2 because duh, after 2 years they needed to be.  I actually kept the 2 for use when washing the car.  Point is, one in, one out...but in this case it can be recycled for a couple more months for another use.

My latest project in the minimalism forage is that right before January 1, I went in to my closet and turned every single thing on a hanger in the opposite direction. On June 30th, whatever is still on a hanger in the opposite direction means that particular item was not worn for a period of 6 months. At that time all of those items will be boxed up at first and put on the top shelf of my closet. Then on December 31st that box will be brought down, unopened and put for donation. If any time during that 6 months I consciously desire/need (without opening it first) something from that box , then it can be kept out of the box and returned to a hanger to live happily ever after.
Additionally during this first 6 month period, I am on a spending freeze. Obviously I have a couple of bills and I need food, gas, a few of my luxury costs...but as far as clothes, shoes, etc., nothing. UNLESS something needs to be replaced because of damage/wear and tear or it stops working. I have almost completed 2 months! Its actually quite easy, but I had wittled down my spending slowly over the past few years, mostly out of necessity rather than choosing to do so, but that has put a LOT of cash in the bank. If I had to average it out, I was probably spending close to $200 a month up (generally on workout stuff!) until about November on some workout/running/work related clothing item.
After the 6 months and I deplete what I have even further, then and only then will I assess what needs to be purchased to round out what will end up being my 'clothing capsule'. On average people generally will only wear the same 20-25% clothing items over and over but yet still have 'nothing' to wear, and then spend money on something to wear, but then will go back to the same 20-25%...Which by the way, I recently decided to stop following clothing blogs like LuluAddict, LuluMum to name just two. I really should quit following Apartment Therapy as well, but their small space/design esthetic really appeals to me and can really be tied to minimalism in an off sort of way.

Minimalism has not only made me richer in my pocket but in my heart, my soul, and my mind.  Its truly freeing when you don't have stress surrounding stuff in your house or in your life...Here is one tidbit:  If you are buying more containers to store more stuff to 'get organized' then you have too much stuff.  If you own something it should be USED.  If you are not using it RIGHT NOW and you haven't lets say in months, then FOR GOODNESS SAKE GET RID OF IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And lastly, I suppose this could count towards minimalism as well, at least thats how I feel after a week of not being on Facebook! I gave up Facebook for Lenten and wow. My quality of everyday life has improved a lot I would say. I no longer am on it first thing in the morning...instead I enjoy my coffee and my news phone/iPad free, I fix my breakfast and lunches not in a rush, I cook dinner not in a rush (I found myself rushing a lot because I would get caught up in catching up!)...I watched the Grammys without interruption or commentary from the masses, just to name a few. Masses is exaggerating since I even have minimized my friends list. It was tough the first day, but its now literally an afterthought that I have no idea whats going on! You know as far as Facebooks newsfeed of drivel. 

Anyway, here are 4 tips that I found to be important! Any questions regarding starting this process (its taken me a few years but I am ALMOST DONE!!!), working through it (and yes its work, and can be overwhelming especially when faced with parting with something that was your great-great-great-great aunts or something that cost a lot of money...) feel free to email me!

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