I’ve been working on living a minimalist lifestyle. This not only involves a tight budget but also decluttering the possessions I already have. I was raised with the mantra: Save it, we might need it.
Note – I got over the “save it for good” training because I believe every day is good!
But the “I might need it” is a tough one. Nevertheless, I found a site* that offers a 365 day decluttering program. The idea is to declutter 15 minutes a day. Heck, even I, with my ADHD – Squirrel!!! brain, can do that. And I have to admit – I am loving it.
The kitchen drawers were easy. Especially the cooking utensil drawer – I mean, how many cork screws does one need? Okay – so I have reduced the number of cork screws…..but….I put some in my basement “to go bag” just in case “I might need them” someday. I’ll deal with this when the decluttering program works on basements. That will be a challenge. I have cobalt blue glasses down there to set a table for 10 with water, red wine, or white wine glasses. Just in case. But I digress.
Where I had to put my foot down was when we got to dishes. I purposely planned for each dish to be a different shape and color. I hate uniformity. (Well, but for the cobalt glasses in the basement, but that was another time, another place, another me.) When I open my cabinet to the cacophony of colors, it pleases my artistic eye. So this area is sufficiently done and I left it just as it is. So there.
A note on the refrigerator declutter: I must have been in a prior shopping, healthy eating frenzy – which expired in 2016. My fridge was the graveyard of bags and bags of bulgur, oats, and various other grains, all expiring in 2016. Once I tossed all of the offending and sundry bags of natural foods (I tossed them to the hens, by the way), my fridge is quite empty. Boy the light really shines in an empty refrigerator.
I’m eating the Pantry Polka/Refrigerator Roulette cuisine this week. I still have lots and lots of lentils and unexpired bulgur. What was with all the bulgur?!!! If I only know. And bags and bags of dried beans. Secretly I hope the dried beans have a shelf life – I’ve yet to check that.
Lastly – from a minimalist site, I read about the benefits (maybe feng shui) of clear kitchen counters. I thought I did great by eliminating everything from my counter except the two things I use every day: my blender and my toaster over. Good, right? But then, the author of this article wrote: For something you use every day, how long do you use it? He gave the example of a toaster. You use it about 15 minutes a day. Then it sits on the counter, waiting for you, for 23 hours and 45 minutes.
Well Dang! That made sense. No need for appliances, even my blender and toaster oven, to sit around all day – at least 23 hours – waiting for me. So I made spots for them in the cupboards below. So each time I need either, I bend down and fetch it and call that movement: EXERCISE.
The first time I came downstairs, into my kitchen with totally clear counters, I thought a) there was a robbery or b) I was moving. Then I relaxed and enjoyed the feng shui of my minimalist counters. And you know what? I like it. This IS pleasing to my eye.
So the month of January is all about the kitchen. Clean, decluttered, organized and beautiful….at least to my eyes. I’ll let you know when we get to the basement.
We all love new beginnings – I certainly do. I love a new course which I celebrate with a blank notebook and new spiffy pens. A new week – “I’ll start on Monday.” And yes, a new year. Yet, studies show that the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions fail by February! Hence, I am not a fan of such resolutions.
That being said, for the past months, I have been working on a decluttering/budgeting/living-minimally trifecta which I am enjoying. And with the advent of this blog, I will be sharing aspects of this effort.
Today I want to share my personal challenge of zero spending. I haven’t gone daft. I don’t mean tossing out my bank account, and foraging for nuts and berries, dumpster diving, eating bugs and the like – although I am not passing judgment on those activities either. What I mean by the term “zero spending” is actually the concept of zero of reduced discretionary spending.
Why even do this?
What I did was to set a baseline of relatively fixed, necessary expenditures such as:
Food is a necessity but has lots of room for zero spending fixes. No drive-thru purchases, no Starbucks, no ordering out for lunches; limit alcohol, restaurants, and delivery meals like PIZZA. Sad, I know. But each month I challenge myself to see how well I can eat on minimal expenditures.
Most of us can live with the clothes we already own. A fun challenge is to revamp one’s wardrobe and come up with new combinations, new ways to wear something, resulting in breathing new life into our formerly boring clothes selections.
I am amazed by how much of a habit mindless spending was for me. I once told a my business coach (when I co-owned the Creating Calm Broadcast Network) that I was going to kill some time by walking around Target to see if I needed anything. I was stunned by the truth of his reply: “Ann, if you needed something, you would know before you left the house.” Sadly, until that moment, I never thought about it that way, but this one sentence has changed my shopping M.O. drastically.
Confess – isn’t Target one of those stores where you go in for toilet paper and come out with your basket piled high with things you “needed” – even a complete bedroom makeover which you didn’t know you even wanted until you saw their display.
Some of my current practices for my goal of living minimally and spending mindfully:
Cut my own hair—I use a FlowBee – someday I may do a vlog post and show you how this works
Trim the dogs’ hair. Necessary spending: their toenails – we all freak out when I try this at home.
Bring my own food and beverages for the day
Eat food I already have in the pantry – a creative cookery challenge!
Revamp my existing wardrobe
Throughout the year, I will discuss this challenge of decluttering/budgeting/living-minimally. I’d love to hear your ideas of ways you may have succeeded in this area. Leave comments below.
Ann is a modern day Erma Bombeck - enjoying the foibles of her own life and that of living with 7 dogs and 2 hens.