Category Archives: Simplicity

Living without drama

The past couple of weeks I have dealt with unhealthy family dynamics. The lack of boundaries and communication can have a negative affect on relationships.

These incidents were not with me personally. In my family I realized I am moral support to many. At times it can be very overwhelming.

Living uncomplicated is an intentional thing. It is thoughtful, and forgiving, and requires work. I have decided I will live without the drama.

If I find myself in the middle I will choose to remove myself. I will continue to be listening ear to my family but will speak up when the conversation goes into circles, or when I feel that an individual isn’t interested in having a conversation, but merely wants to talk without wanting to change. I’ll be mindful to live without feeding into the drama. And, I will also choose to surround myself with individuals who aren’t weighed down by complaints, anger, and competition.

Living lightly is more than just possessions, it is living light in our souls, too.

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Quiet Christmas

annie-spratt-469222-unsplashChristmas was good this year.

We opted for a quiet Christmas and a day of homemade cooking. It was a good way to spend the day; we napped, watched some TV, spent time with our animals, and there was no ounce of stress. Some family stopped by to drop off gifts and hang out for awhile. It was fun!

Past Holidays were full of going to two or three different houses in one day. Just writing that sentence gave me anxiety. This year we attended two, and declined three. Being with everyone is fun, but trying to do it all can wear me out.

Sometimes the pressure to be every at every party, accept every invite, and buy everyone something can be so stressful. Not to mention how frazzled people can be trying to do the same thing at the same time. This all detracts from the real meaning of Christmas.

Different from past years, I scheduled a lot of ‘white space’ between my days. If I had to pick up a shift at work, I had the time, and energy.

We committed to less parties. One big, and one small. Cooking side dishes and meals we’ve cooked several times before. No guessing games or stress trying to figure it out.

I created a personalized gift that we gave to close friends, and both of our families. I bought them in bulk, and couldn’t have been more pleased. Wrapping took  one evening. Everyone loved the gift! It was probably one of the best ideas so far, and I’d like to do something similar in the future.

I ordered Holiday cards the beginning of November and they were addressed and ready to go Thanksgiving week. This also took three hours of an afternoon.

AH and I baked sweet treats for my co-workers for gifts.

Lastly, the presents AH and I gave to each other were thoughtful, and bought second hand. He wanted an old record player so I purchased it off eBay. He gifted me a beautiful ring, totally my style, and he got it thrifting! I love a second hand present.

Next year we hope to keep the same traditions, and possibly build more. Whatever brings more calm, stillness, and slowness. Perhaps go out of town to the mountains with close family and friends.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and enjoy your Holiday season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most instances of disappointment, stress or heart ache can be alleviated if we just let go.

Perhaps statues and shrines aren’t as popular in our American culture but the generation of millennials have several idols. Whether its perfection, (my instagram photos reflect my top best seconds in the right angles), finding identity in the people we associate ourselves with, or the titles we wear, anything we love more than God is an idol. There is nothing wrong with having amazing photos, friends, and career, but if we find our sole identity in these things we walk around empty until our next fix.

Jesus met a rich young man who was interested in what it takes to enter the kingdom. Jesus replied “Obey the commandments; do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,” and “love your neighbor as yourself”.  The rich young man says “I’ve done all of these things! What do I still lack?”

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

What does all this mean?!  I don’t believe it means we have to sell everything. Jesus was challenging this man on where he found his identity. The bible refers to this man as the “rich young man or rich young ruler”. For this particular man, it meant lying down the very thing that made him – him.

The story ends like this:  When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 

He couldn’t let go.

In an alternate ending, I wonder what kind of life this rich young man would have had if he decided to let go. Would he be full of healthy relationships, contentment and purpose? Would he find letting go worth it?

Life is constantly moving, and being open to how the journey unfolds is the most exciting part of this adventure.

It takes courage to let go, and sometimes holding on becomes more detrimental than we think.

Holding on to toxic relationships, getting upset because a friend or spouse don’t meet our needs (which is not their job in the first place), hoarding too many unused possessions, or obsessively trying to cultivate an image to be accepted is down right exhausting.

Trying to hold on to the past or how things ‘were’ can create an unhealthy mindset. It reflects not being present, and can block us from being grateful for what is going on now.

The Minimalists have a great podcast about walking away from things / letting go. Bottom line: we shouldn’t have an unhealthy attachment to people or possessions.

How exciting a time can be when we let go of our expectations, and control, and just enjoy what is happening in front of us!

How unburdened would we be if we just committed to 1 or 2 things that aligned with our values, and not because we want to please people? Giving us margin to be excellent at the few things we commit to.

What kind of moods would we be in if we woke up to a clear, uncluttered space, and only possessed in our homes what we found beautiful and useful?

Maybe try to let go of a couple things. A sweater you hardly use, donate it to a local charity. Furniture or items you don’t use.  You don’t need four shelves of mugs, do you?  And while you’re at it, throw in old hurts, expectations, and comparing yourself to others too.

The other side of letting go is freedom.

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Traveling Light – South East Asia

AH and I spent time in South East Asia, and I distinctly remember being very choosey with what I brought with me. The benefits of traveling this way start with mobility. I rode on the back of a scooter to a bus station with a heavy pack, and that was painful. Literally painful, so now I choose less.

Packing thoughtfully meant every top had to work with the bottom, and the other way around. It was easy to choose because: fewer options. I usually bring a rain jacket with me no matter what. Besides the rain jacket here is what I packed:

  • white top
  • plaid long sleeve
  • blue t-shirt
  • black skirt
  • denim shorts
  • black denim jeans
  • PJs
  • flip flops
  • tennis shoes

 

I was pretty happy with how everything fit. Comfort is number one, and aesthetics are number two. Each piece was enough to be simple, and versatile without forfeiting my personal style. Because this worked so well I try to keep the same template for future travel.

On this trip we did everything from night markets, hiking, hanging out in coffee shops to walking and exploring around. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything.

Do you like to pack light? What are your must-haves on a trip? And, have you ever forgotten an item behind only to wish you hadn’t?

Back to Minsimply

 

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Dear Reader,

Sorry it has been so long since I last updated this blog. My intention to write was for accountability, and inspiration. Since my last post AH (awesome husband) and I went abroad for a couple months. When we returned I became awfully ill, and the majority of last year was recovery, and ‘taking it slow’.

Since my last post we continue to walk towards our goal of living simply, in whatever form that looks to us. In our case its to enjoy life and live with less stress. We work hard when we have to, and we savor the still moments of enjoying simple pleasures, too.

Anyways, I hope to be more present here, and continue to grow towards a life full of enjoying the simple things, health, and joy.

With love. Xx

Project 333

Thrift shopping has been my jam since I was 15 (and still is). I loved buying items for less, and would leave with giant bags of stuff. My justification for all of it was “I just spent $50 on allll these clothes!”

When I moved out on my own, I rented a cute 1 bedroom duplex with built in closets. (Think a water heater closet). My stuff wouldn’t fit. So I just got rid of stuff.And as I got older I started to appreciate less, and desired something more simple.

Fall 2013:  I came across Project333. The same 33 items for 3 months.  I decided to try it, and I found dressing in the morning was so much easier. I looked forward to choosing my clothes because they were the best pieces. Each flattering, comfortable, and easily worn with each other.

Here is a glimpse in my closet:

3332

 

 

Everyday (left side) 

  1. Black basic tank dress //  Savers
  2. Striped black + grey dress // GAP outlet
  3.  Denim jeans // Madewell
  4. Grey Tshirt // gift
  5.  Blue boho dress // Savers
  6.  Black knee length // Savers
  7.  Denim Shorts // Savers
  8. Black Cardigan // GAP outlet
  9. Chambray shirt // Target
  10. Long sleeve Kimono // Cotton On
  11. Short sleeve boho kimono // Etsy
  12. Boho Dress // Black + Brown (not pictured)
  13. Blank Tank // Savers
  14. Red Flannel // Savers

I don’t wear ‘every day’ clothes to work because I work with hair color and bleach. Instead, I have a couple pieces I really like that I don’t mind getting imperfections on.

Work  (right side) 

  1. Long sleeve lace shirt // Papaya
  2. Black dress // Savers
  3. Black jeans // F21
  4. Black T-shirt // Everlane
  5. Army green dress // Savers
  6. Army green cardigan // GAP Outlet

 

These categories are exempt from ‘wardrobe’ because they’re specific to certain activities.

Hiking, Travel + Exercise
Grey yoga pants // Savers
Aloha tank // gift
Grey tank // gift
Convertible pants // Amazon
Down jacket // Macys

When I’m outside or helping my husband with a project I wear these items. They help with protection. Sometimes I help him sand or cut wood. When we paint I have one pair of leggings and a T shirt specifically for that.

Garden + House work 
Denim // F21
Long sleeve shirt // Savers

Counting items isn’t about having a certain number of things. It’s more about putting a boundary on what you own. Sometimes I have more or less than 33 items. It’s not something to feel bad about if you want to keep more. This process is to simplify life for you, whatever that looks like.

Some immediate benefits are less wasted time in the morning, smaller laundry loads, and less time folding + putting back laundry. (Although, I don’t mind laundry. I find it therapeutic.) Having less also makes me more picky with shopping thus, spending less money and saving more.

Give it a try. It may or may not work. But either way, it’s always fun to try something new.
Enjoy!

A loyal Project 333 fan,
Minsimply