You have joined us on the simple living journey! That is amazing! Congratulations!
There are some things that you should think about besides decluttering that will give you peace of mind later. I am talking about gift giving.
I know you are probably going to say, "I don't want anything! I don't want to undo all of my hard work". I completely understand but not everyone will accept that so you will have to have a Plan B if you cannot convince people that you actually mean it when you say that you don't want anything.
Have any of you ever felt the stress of trying to buy someone a gift? I know I sure have. Now add the fact that they are into minimalism and simple living so if they don't like it they won't keep it. Thats a lot of pressure!
We may be on a simple living journey but it is unfair to expect everyone to know how to respond. Some people that we have in our lives show their love by giving gifts. Other times it is a big family affair such as Christmas and it would look bad to leave someone out. To be fair to others in our lives and safe guarding your progress, you might need to come up with a middle ground if once you've had the conversation and they reject the idea of no gifts.
See I understand this struggle and have planned for it. My husband's love language is gift giving. Can you imagine how well that goes? Well, it goes really well actually. You see he is very thoughtful and spends a lot of time (often months) studying what I need. (See our Christmas story as an example). However, not everyone in your life lives with you to get as many clues as a spouse does.
So what do you do? How can we find the happy middle ground? The answer: a gift list!
I have two kinds of lists going at all times on my phone of things that I would love. The first list is my generic list. Here is what it looks like.
- Lush bath bomb
- Eucalyptus for drying to be used around house
- Gift cards (Sephora, credit card gift card, movie theater, Groupon, favorite restaurants..)
- Subscription to a meal service (ex. Gobble, Blue Apron, Fresh)
- One hour house cleaning service (or something that makes my life easier)
- Luxury/pamper gift certificate: nails, hair cut, massage
My parents got Patrick and I a month subscription to Blue Apron and it was super great, helpful, and delicious. It made me excited to cook and I always thought of them. It was an amazing gift.
The other list I have ongoing is a combination of things I want/need but it is generally less fun than most gift givers are looking for. Here is a little example.
- Skinny black jeans
- Tennis shoes
- Wreck it Ralph DVD
- Austen Land DVD
- Gold cross earings
- Book: The Curated Closet
- New lenses for my camera
- A down comforter
- A photography class
- A cooking class
Now all of these things are very specific and the person buying it would really have to know me for 1, 2, 7, and 10. This list is still a bit stressful because they must know my size for the clothing or my tastes and goals for the class. Sometimes on this list I include pictures and examples not only for others benefit but my own as well.
This may take the fun out of it for some (although no one in my circle really likes shopping so they are grateful for my list) but it does safeguard the fact that they are not wasting their money. The gift giver knows I truly want the gift, will use it, and love it!
Sometimes it is a little awkward asking someone for their gift list so I give my husband, Patrick, access to this list by sharing it on our iPhones. I keep it updated and it automatically updates on his phone as well. If someone needs an idea for my birthday or Christmas, they know to reach out to him. I try not too buy to many things especially leading up to the big gift giving times like my birthday or Christmas so I can make this list a little longer with things that I need.
You will appreciate having a back up plan, and those around you will appreciate the list. However, the people closest to you may surprise you. They might give you something that you never even thought of. This is definitely a learning curve for those that have never thought about living simply. Just remember to have humility and gratitude no matter what happens.
I say have humility because we don't always know best. I have had friends truly surprise me. For example, I absolutely love candles but I am not allowed to burn them at work. One day, my friend surprised me with a wall plug in that melts wax and fills the room with a beautiful scent. I would have never thought of something like this! I now always have an amazing smelling office. Everytime I smell it when I walk in, it brings me joy and I think of my friend!
The LAST and BEST TIP I have about gift giving and probably the most successful option if you truly can't convince the gift giver that you don't want anything is asking for an activity that you could do with the gift giver. This is usually the best option because not only does it safeguard your simple-living progress but it is a way of spending time together and creating more memories with those you love.
Its a triple win! 1) Nothing comes into your house 2) You get to spend time and create memories with someone you love 3) You get to do something fun and BONUS) You might get to learn something new!
We are always getting bogged down by our to do list that is miles and miles long. It feels like it will never end. Let’s take a look at how important that list really is and make our priorities our priorities.
This book is a very unique book to my minimalist book review series. Less: a visual guide to minimalism, was written by the popular minimalist youtuber Rachel Aust. In her book she gives a very unique perspective and a simple visual guide that many new minimalists will find very helpful. You will love her lists and decision charts in this no fluff guide to decluttering and living a simple happy life.
This week try to find something in your life that you can make easier. Maybe its trying to meal prep this weekend so you only have to clean up your kitchen once. Perhaps its having a family meeting and implementing a chore chart. Personally, my favorite thing that simplified my life was a gift from my in-laws for Christmas which with this one change saves me 42 hours a year that I don't have to spend on doing this boring chore.
The only way that you do get better at this art like with most art is by practicing. Minimalism is a lifestyle. Be patient with yourself and don’t expect to get everything done in one day. It took a lifetime to gather everything around you its gonna take some work to undo that.
I am not perfect and I know that you are getting tired of me saying that minimalism is a journey but here is a picture that is proof. Here is some real honesty so that you can stop feeling like you always have to have it all together…because honestly none of us do.
We all have dreams and part of the minimalism journey is taking out the things that don't matter or that stand in your way so that you can go after your dreams...
I hope that you are spending a lot of time with your loved ones this year. I believe that we worked hard all year for this opportunity to spend our time how we want and doing what we enjoy...
As we dive into this holiday season a quick reminder and a word of caution. Speak up and make your desires known so that your hard work isn't undone and unclutter the things that take you away from your loved ones this season.
I have been working hard so that I can help you this Christmas season. I am pleased to announce the 25 days of Christmas starting from today until New Years eve. See more to see a sneak peak of what I have in store for you!
My books are very important to me. So needless to say, this will be one of the most difficult and largest categories for me. Here is an excellent example of decluttering a difficult category. I share how I work through the emotional attachments in hopes that it will help you to learn to how to examine and overcome your own emotional hurdles on this decluttering journey.
A smile makes the world a more beautiful place. I challenge you to bring more beauty into the world today.
A review of Joshua Becker the man that introduced me to minimalism. I have a special place in my heart for him and his words which started me on this path of growth. Hear about two of his books and his Uncluttered class.
Joshua Fields Millburn from The Minimalists is a poet that speaks from experience. He is in part trying to help us see where our pitfalls are by sharing his own experiences so we can learn from his mistakes. Click to see more...
Life is all about balance. Have any of you seen Eat Pray Love? If so you kind of know what I am talking about. Make sure that we aren't running ourselves ragged just for the sake of doing. There is no reward in that except exhaustion and burnout. Put your power and energy behind things that you care about.
I don't think I am the only one in this world that is overrun by unfinished crafts and too many hobbies. That is what we are tackling today with the box project. How to declutter both the old hobbies that we have outgrown and the new ones that we love.
Time is the most important thing you have. Make sure you are using it the way you want. Try to minimize regrets by spending your time wisely.
A step by step demonstartion on how to use the box porject when decluttering you jewelery.
The title of this blog is simple HAPPY life. We can live as simply as we want but if we don't replace all that time we gained back by not being a slave to our things with new adventure or things we enjoy then our life will be no happier than it was before. Here is an adventure date night that Patrick and I were able to have thanks in part to decluttering.
Who doesn't want more happiness? It's the journey to the happiness that I hope you are joining me on. Just believe that this minimalism journey is worth it and that the grand prize is happiness, getting your time back, and happy memories that have yet to be created. All of this was acomplished because you let go!
After the feedback from my philosophy on how to declutter, using the box project method I give you this example of how to put that method into action. The category we are decluttering today is beauty products. The box project method allows for quick decluttering with limited decision fatigue and no regrets.
Often we are just going with the flow in life and chances are you will not have the life you have always dreamed of by going with the flow. Take some time to envision what you want your life to look like and use these tips on how to create a vision board and a goal action plan to get the life that you have always envisoned.
Simply put...you need to take time to heal yourself from the stress of the world and the stress you put on yourself. You can only heal if you take care of yourself.
There are many different philosophies that are used as tools to help you on your minimalism journey. I have created my own process that helps you declutter efficiently without any regrets (and those two things do not usually go hand in hand). Make sure you apply this method to take full advantage of the "Purgatory Box" philosophy as well.
Decluttering can be overwhelming at times so it is a good idea to make sure that you have a safety net so you don't make any hasty decisions that you will later regret. The "Purgatory Box" system is designed so that you don't get rid of anything that you are not ready to part with yet. Go take a look. It could save you a lot of heartache that would have been easily avoidable.
Your time is your most valuable possession. Don't waste your time being a human-DOER instead of a human-BEING. God created us knowing that we need rest (hence the commandment keep the Sabbath day holy). Do we know better than God?
The Minimalists have been a huge moving force in the minimalist movement. I got a chance to meet these amazing guys and I can't wait to share that experince with you!
Sometimes we need to stop and count all our blessings. If we have our needs met for food, safety, health, and love we are in a very good place that many people would be envious of. If we are not only content but also grateful we can focus on spreading love and blessings to others.
As parents you know you can't exactly just give them a book on minimalism and expect them to be on board. These books and movies will help you start that conversation with them and promote good values to live a happy life.
Coming Soon: Get the inside scoop from the less is now tour with THE MINIMALISTS! Come back on May 15th for all the insight and an overview of all the fun we have as a simple living community.