A One Year Journey To Minimalism

 

The quality of your commitments will determine the course of your life.

-Ralph Marston

 How would you rate the quality of your commitments?  I bring this up only because if you choose to embark on a journey to minimalism, you have to be committed.  When people come to this decision, most find that they are in a rut of some sort and they know changes need to be made.  In order for change to occur, you need to honor that commitment.  

When it comes to minimalism, most people think it is about not wasting money, not over-spending, or over-eating, etc., which it is, but it is so much more.  This personal journey is also about living purposefully and intentionally (LPAI).

 This will be my personal journey but I welcome the company.   I will only be posting the LPAIs that I have been led to pursue.  You can choose to watch, cheerlead, try a few, or jump all in with me.  I want to live out my passions and not be tied down to unfair relationship expectations or unfulfilling material desires.  Let’s face it, we have so much, but really, we need so little.

 How It Works

Every week I will be posting something that I am either getting rid of, cutting back from, or purposefully and mindfully paying attention to….No half-hearted trends here.  

A few bonuses:

  • I will be posting a few blogs featuring guests that are joining me on this journey and what they are learning
  • Instagram Stories of the weekly “ditch or switch”
  • Tips to living frugile and within your means

I look forward to the growth that we will receive this year knowing how little we need to really LIVE PURPOSEFULLY and to LIVE INTENTIONALLY! 

 

Week One of

A One Year Journey to Minimalism

 Grow Your Mind Again

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I love it when a “memory” on my social media pops up.  This reminds me of an actual event that I or someone close to me has experienced.  I am so convicted about the younger generations wasting away their “memories” by simply “watching” other people live their life.  I want my children to have memories of adventures, shenanigans, and epic tales that they can then share with their children and their children’s friends.  I want them living  OUT-LOUD and pursuing the gifts and talents God has given them.   I also know that in order for that to happen, I need to lead by example.

 I would encourage you to value your TIME equally.  Children spell LOVE…. T-I-M-E… and it’s true.  We have so many options today that we can turn to that rob our time. Television, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Instagram feeds are all fun.  I get it.  But is the time we are wasting on them worth it in the long run? 

I homeschool children, run a small business, and am a full time student at an accelerated pace, so I LOVE my down time.   I have to admit that I can enjoy a mindless Netflix binge just as much as the next person.  I had fallen into a rut with this and had become lazy in pursuing my dreams.  This was not okay.   I want to challenge my mind.  I want my children to see me growing and finding my purpose that then ignites them to find their own purpose. How can I ask them to be brave and chase their dreams if they see me doing nothing to chase mine? Mindless shows and feeds were robbing my family of quality TIME and muting our creativity.  Not anymore.  

 

LPAI Tip One:

Find new ways to GROW your mind and avoid the mindless entertainment binges.

Find the love for the local library again and load up those creative podcasts that speak to YOU and they are FREE.  Ditch the cable, Netflix, and Instagram feeds. How much you need to step back from this is really your own conviction.  This potentially could save hundreds of dollars through out the year and allows room for the mind to grow again.

This doesn’t mean I am getting rid of the televisions or discontinuing my Netflix service….This is just the first step in regaining my vision and purpose.  Who knows, in one year, I might be ready to completely ditch this form of entertainment altogether.  I still need my downtime, but I have chosen to get it in FREE and creative forms.

Let God grow your mind again and relight a fire within you.  Be adventurous and take your loved ones with you.

Grow the memories, don’t just pass the time.

 


 

Week Two of

A One Year Journey to Minimalism

Ditch the Coffee Shops

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I know, most of you are gasping at this week’s “Ditch and Switch”, but if you are serious about this minimalism thing, you will take a hard look at the wasted excess in your life.

I get it.  Coffee is more than a preferred morning drink to most people.  It is often a time of quiet reflection, an aromatic experience that speaks directly to the limbic system, and is even a social must for some.  But, we can have all this without the hefty price tag of designer coffee and without the toxic ingredient list.

First reason  to ditch the coffee shops…. your health.  Unless you’re buying your caffeine drip from a shop that serves clean ingredients you’re doing your body a great disservice.  Coffee beans are in the top three of most heavily sprayed crops.  The options that come with designer coffee usually will give us a huge dairy and sugar buzz as well.  If you’re not quite ready to give up the coffee for health reasons entirely at least make sure that you’re getting the healthiest version available.

Second reason to ditch the coffee shops…. your budget.  Really look at the amount you spend weekly on coffee and add it up to a monthly and then annual total.  One small compromise could, in return, give you an avenue to explore more intentionally and purposefully experiences.

LPAI Tip Two:

Brew your own cup of coffee or even switch to tea.   Put the extra money you save in a jar.  At the end of the year find a way to give back to your local community with the extra money you saved.

  1. Support local school clubs.
  2. Support local 4-H clubs.
  3. Support local food banks.
  4. Sponsor a family in need.  You never know what an extra $20 a week can do for a family,
  5. Maybe your family is the one in need.  Put that extra spending toward a debt or bill.

Get creative and even get the family involved.  It is easier to go without something you like when you have an objective.  You’ll be surprised what good can come out of something we overlook and take for granted.  Again, we have so much, but need so little.

What would you ditch the coffee shops for?

 


 

 

Week Three of

A One Year Journey to Minimalism

Start Planning Weekly Menus

and purchase ONLY what’s on your shopping list

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Okay, this week is a bit of a challenge.  I really don’t spend wastefully.  For the most part I only get what my family needs, but when it comes to grocery shopping I can let it become an adventure and before I know it, I have a hefty bill.

If I’m not organized and planned out, I will purchase items I do not need and some items even go to waste because of the lack of planning.  For instance, I buy weekly meals and then forget that we have plans that will leave us away from the house…oops.  I buy as much as I can fresh or use what’s in season from the garden so food can go bad quickly if I am unorganized.

One way to really cut back and stop wasteful spending is to plan your weekly menus.  You can do this for a few meals a day, but I like to just focus on our dinner meal.  Often, we eat a “linner”, a larger meal in between lunch and dinner, especially if we are doing a 16-8 fast.

Another way to cut back is to schedule leftover nights.  Do not let that food sit long in the fridge and do not waste it.  If you have family members complain of leftovers….that’s another topic…if they’re hungry enough, they will eat it.

Family dinners are important to me.  It allows everyone to come to the table (gadget free), share in their day’s adventures, and talk about what’s going on in each of our lives.  Our dinner table is slowly shrinking in size, but I still love the time I spend with them there.  It is precious to me knowing I planned, shopped, prepared, and served a healthy, cost-effective meal.

LPAI Tip Three:

Plan weekly meals and purchase items only on your shopping list.

I printed out a weekly planner and used a frame to display our menu.  I use a wet erase marker that I can write with right on the glass and erase it when I go to plan the next week’s meals.

Other ways to help cut back and even save time is to subscribe to food delivery service.  I live too far away to enjoy this luxury, but there are curb-side services at many stores.  It just takes a few minutes of planning.  Just think of all the money you save by not shopping and buying impulsively anymore!

 


 

Week Four of

A One Year Journey to Minimalism

Closet Clutter

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A quote from C.H. Spurgeon says, “If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”  If you pause on that thought I feel you would find it incredible accurate.  I see the desire for self gratification everyday in our culture.  We need the latest, greatest, and updated versions of material items.  As soon as we have achieved the latest status or purchased the newest item, we are almost immediately on the hunt for the next “thing” we think we need.

A lesson for contentment is something I am far from an expert on, however I have learned to know the difference between want and need.  I have seen shopping become addictive for people and it really goes back to the original quote from above.  When is enough, enough?

As custom builders, my husband and I have worked together building homes from scratch for the last 23 years.  We have experienced feast and famine.  As with all things, there is wisdom in experience and unfortunately, there were times we did graduate from the school of “hard knocks”.  As hard as some of those lessons were, I am thankful for what they have taught me and developed in me.

I have been blessed with being able to design all of our homes.  For a while, it seemed we needed to upgrade every version.  Sadly, I would admit that some of our closets were big enough to be small bedrooms.  That might sound wonderful to some, but the problem with having an oversized closet is the need to FILL that oversized closet.  Talk about a waste.  How many shoes do you really need?  I wear $5.00 flip flops almost year round.

If you can’t get a handle on over-accumulating, all you have to do is move.  You become less and less attached to items.  Our last and prayerfully final move really put perspective on this.  I will share with you in many ways we have downsized items, but for now I want to focus on the closet.

My husband and I now share a 6’x3’ closet and one little dresser for every piece of clothing and we still could do some purging.  There is no need for an excess of clothing.  We both purged our clothes and shoes down to our needs.  It will save space, time, and your wallet to set a clothing budget and only get what you need.

LPAI Tip Four:

Follow this closet purge guide to help you on your minimalism journey.

  • How often do you wear it? Give yourself the one year test.
  • How good do you feel in it?  There’s no reason to be stuck in uncomfortable clothing.
  • Do you have more than one? Really do you need two?
  • Does it serve a purpose for your current life?
  • Do you look good in it? Somethings just aren’t very flattering.
  • Could other people get more use of the items than you do? Give back.  There really are people that would be blessed by your over-unbundance.
  • When shopping, do not get sucked in by compulsive buying.  Get what you NEED.

 


 

 

Week Five of

A One Year Journey to Minimalism

Gratitude Journaling

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Gratitude….

It isn’t a word that has different levels of meaning.  You either have it or you don’t.  Unfortunately, we tend to experience it at the loss of something meaningful or something we had to go without.

I love how God works.  I like to sit back and mediate on how He brings certain lessons into my life.  I’m not always successful in this, but He is growing me and this week was just another way I had a chance to show my girls that there is beauty even in the midst of ashes if we know where to look.

We are wrapping up our local county fair and I can tell you that myself and the girls have had many lessons handed to us this week.  If someone would have told me last week what all would happen to us this week, I’m pretty sure I would have booked a flight and checked out for a while.  But, where would the lessons be found then? I could divulge in all the events that hit our family this week but I would rather focus on the gratitude side.

I ordered these journals as a part of the girls’ curriculum for school this fall.  This was something that we would end our day with.  Each one of us has our own and is to be worked on as we set the business of the day down and pick up a grateful heart.    I can’t think of a better time to start this new routine then at the end of this challenging week.

Proverbs 4: 23 says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”   At the end of the day, no matter what we faced, I pray we can find grace, patience, maybe a litter more wisdom, and most of all, gratitude.

 

LPAI Tip Five:

Start A Gratitude Journal

  • Write down four things you’re thankful for every night
  • Start praying that you can see the beauty in the midst of your lessons
  • Start disciplining your mind to drift toward the positive and push past the negative.

 


 

Week Six of

A One Year Journey to Minimalism

“Cooler” Life Hack

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Doesn’t everyone need a few tricks up their sleeve to make their life easier? I learned this little trick when we were living completely off-grid last year and I needed a way to keep extra coolers nice and cold for a few days without spending $5 a day on ice.  We lived in a camper with only a generator for electricity and we would have to haul in water for us and all my critters.  Let’s just say, I had to get creative. Luckily our camper fridge ran off propane so I could keep some things cool, but with a family….a camper fridge quickly runs out of space.

Luckily, this lesson has moved over to our camping adventures now.  And yes, we still love to camp! This especially works great if you’re to be off-grid for 3-4 days and need to keep food cool. We don’t have the ultimate coolers either.  Just a standard cooler with this hack allows us to keep all our drinks and food cool for 3-4 days without the “soggy” aftermath or the extra expense for ice.

LPAI Tip Six:

Freeze a case of water bottles

  • Freeze several water bottles and surround them in your cooler with your perishables.
  • As the bottles begin to thaw, you should be able to keep a nice a cool temp for 3-4 days.
  • Keep coolers in shade at all times.
  • Refreeze the bottles when you get home for the next time.
  • Freeze water in one gallon containers for ever bigger jobs.
  • If need be, as the water thaws, you can drink it if you run into a water shortage.  (But not recommended)

 

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