Just another quick DIY project for anyone complaining they have too much random foreign currency and not enough magnets. VOILA!
Just another quick DIY project for anyone complaining they have too much random foreign currency and not enough magnets. VOILA!
One of the most minimalist things you can do, is to make something you want, from something you have. I had an old lampshade that I hated, and a bunch of paint stirrers, and I wanted a more earthy-looking lamp. With a little bit of primer and stain, I got everything I asked for!
What have you made from what you had?
Y’all. Not so long ago my face looked a wreck. I had hormonal acne. I had stress acne. I had cystic acne. I had on my back, shoulders, my thighs sometimes. I even had acne up my nose (see above).
I had dry skin, oily skin, red skin, rosacea. Worst fo all: I was horribly depressed, and I thought I was ugly. Because even when I used makeup, all the acne scars showed through :(
Truth? I had sensitive skin and my diet was terrible because it included milk products. BLEH.
1. Stop eating cow milk. Ideally, stop eating all milk. I got a cow milk allergy from overconsumption, so could only have goat and sheet milk products. So no more butter, cream, ice cream, sour cream, cream cheese. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.
2. Stop using a million products. I bought all the Batty’s Bath stuff (scroll way down to one of my earliest posts and you’ll see). I bought a cleanser, a toner, a mask, a scrub, a moisturizer, a cream…. the list went on and on. Now there is all this hype for serums! I can’t take it. Use less. This is what I use to wash my face, every day:
You can buy it for $5 at any Marshall’s/TJMaxx. It also lasts for like 6-10 months.
3. Moisturize, even if you have oily skin. This was a hard one for me to get over. But I am now a convert. These are my favorite non-comodegenic moisturizers, made for my sensitive skin:
4. Use a retinol cream sometimes. I occasionally put tretenoin cream (a prescription retinoid) on overnight. It helps with scarring, but doesn’t prevent new acne or clear up what you’ve got. But the texture of my skin looks better when I use something repairative like this.
But mostly: don’t eat meat or dairy or sugar, and your skin will look better than someone who is still eating meat and dairy and sugar. So many alternative sweeteners and vegan meats out there - there’s just no need, y’all!
So in sum, the things I use on my face are the following:
THAT’S IT. Stop using a thousand products. Stop paying for a thousand products. Stop confusing your face. Use the minimum!
Sorry for the radio silence! My roommate decided to move out a week ago, and I have been busy preparing for his departure, and for my new life in minimalism with a new subtenant.
The bottom picture is the “before.” We had a TV (yuck), an end table, a coffee table, an ottoman, a four-chair dining set, a kitchen bar, two barstools, and 3 more bicycles.
The top picture is now. Instead of those things above, I have a lot of space. And plants. I have a rug but no vacuum so I’m not even gonna lay it out yet, and a piano and some ugly wifi boxes will be forthcoming.
I think now is as good a time as any to share some of the minimalist homes I’ve inhabited in my past lives, and how they worked for me.
This was my first settled apartment in Boston. The living room was a decent size but there was no dining room, so we made the kitchen eat-in. We had aloe plants, and a bookcase (which I would really love to have here):
Here’s another view of it after my roommate moved his piano to his room, and I acquired another more giant schleffera plant:
My next settled spot in Boston was this living room, which was a similar size, and kitchen was also eat-in, no dining room. This time I hung up my guitars, we had a TV we never used, and I acquired an alocasia plant to keep my schleffera company:
People on the Minimalist Life Facebook Group have been chattering about minimalist living rooms that don’t use a couch. After my two roommates moved out and took their couch, I had about a month to myself, during which time I converted the living room into this pillow palace. I had that gorgeous vintage rattan bookshelf (which a later roommate THREW AWAY, ugh), a cozy rug, still had the armchair, and the trunk coffee table became a truck bench with some pillows atop it. NO REGRETS on this setup. I loved being on the floor, and loved having room to move and spread out and laze about. Would do again 100%.
Anyone else live minimally? What’s your favorite thing about your spaces?
Mine is the PLANTS, BAYBEE!!!
Today I checked Facebook for the first time in months to see that my Aunt is selling all of her dining room furniture. In the comments someone asked why, and if she was moving. “No, just getting some new stuff!” my Aunt replied excitedly. Presumably she’s getting rid of her old dining room set because it didn’t “spark joy,” and getting another in the hopes that the new one will. Which got me thinking:
How can we keep receiving “joy sparks” from old things we’ve grown tired of?
Because I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford a new dining set every year when my style changes.
Lots of minimalist bloggers, particularly style bloggers, talk about “investing in a high-quality wardrobe of staples you’ll wear for years to come.” I think about this statement a lot too. By high-quality, they mean “expensive,” (usually resulting from ethical textile production - which of course I support) but no amount of investment can change the simple fact that:
Style E V O L V E S. Tastes C H A N G E.
Quickly, sometimes. For me, I’ve been wearing the same pseudo 1940s/1950s look in different variations since high school, right down to the flower in my hair, and my room has always had a vibe of natural serenity. But I’ve always liked to dabble - no one likes to be trapped in one box! So, knowing that tastes will change, and style will evolve, how can we do our best to not actively support capitalism?
That’s my number one tip for anyone approaching minimalism, because it does four things at once:
Can we ever really make joy spark from an item? Probably not. That ugly kitten sweater grandma knit you may never spark anything but shudders of embarrassment. BUT, as we get rid of unwanted items and refill our lives with new things, consider that they may not need to be new as much as new to us. It’s the novelty of purchasing that our brain is craving, not the fresh-out-of-the-box-ness of it.
What’s your favorite new-to-you item you’ve found, and where did you find it?
For most of my young adult life, I considered myself a nomad. I grew up in a split family household with parents across state lines, and by the time I was 19, had lived in 5 states and visited 10 foreign nations. I lived for roadtrips, weekend getaways, airport people-watching, and my favorite movie was Up In The Air. I wanted to be a flight attendant - my foggy child’s brain transfixed on the glamor of the Pan Am stewardesses of the 60s, a la Catch Me If You Can.
These days, the only trips I’ve taken of-late have been back and forth from old hometown to the new one, moving boxes and tying up loose ends. But even this new city has begun to feel… stagnant.
I feel ready for something new.
Or something old, as it were. For the past six months or so I’ve been yearning for my time spent in Italy. I lived there for half a year some 10-odd years ago, and still look back on that time fondly: the architecture, the weather, the culture, the way siesta life actually made the rest of my day more productive. I miss it.
In thinking about the prospect of going back overseas, potentially to live, I have to look around me and think about the life I’ve cultivated—or more specifically, the things I’ve acquired—and consider if they are worth bringing with me into a new life, or if I would rather make space for two things:
It puts things into perspective.
So in turn I’ve already begun to cull my wardrobe. My spring/summer pieces are <40, and my winter wardrobe is significantly less than that. I own less than 10 pairs of shoes. I’m tossing papers right and left, have begun to dig into my digital backlog, and have given away most of my books. I have a load of things in storage but honestly… I think I want to toss those too. It feels very heavy to own so much.
That movie I mentioned before, Up In The Air, has a great metaphor about this:
Imagine (…) that you’re carrying a backpack. I want you to feel the straps on your shoulders. Feel ’em? Now I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life. You start with the little things. The things on shelves and in drawers (…) Feel the weight as that adds up. Then you start adding larger stuff, clothes (…) appliances (…) The backpack should be getting pretty heavy now. And you go bigger. Your couch, bed, your kitchen table. Stuff it all in there. Your car, get it in there. (…) I want you to stuff it all into that backpack. Now try to walk. It’s kind of hard, isn’t it? This is what we do to ourselves on a daily basis. We weigh ourselves down until we can’t even move. (…) Now, I’m gonna set that backpack on fire. What do you want to take out of it?
If you need some inspiration, see our friends over at The Burning House. They’ve been thinking about this long and hard.
In my next post, I’ll tell you what I’d take out, and what I hope to bring with me to my next adventure spot. :)
I know I’m supposed to be deep in the #fall10x10. My name is Aspiring Minimalist for Pete’s sake! But for me, minimalism has never been about as-little-as-possible; it’s been about “just enough,” and giving yourself what you need, but not to excess.
On Wednesday, I will have been in non-stop travel nomad mode for six months. S I X. That means six months of restricting my wardrobe to fit into a backpack, six months of having to trek to a storage unit in order to swap out seasonal garb, six months of foregoing a few outfits so that I can pack a pillow or a towel or my toiletries, because they have to come with me too.
I don’t want 10 more days of restrictions: I want 365 days of freedom. I want to be able to shop my entire closet, so I don’t have to buy clothes upon landing because Spirit Airlines only allows a purse. That’s where the real challenge lies anyhow: in having the world at your fingertips, but being keen enough to choose wisely.
My most favorite quote, told to my by my brother-in-law, is:
Well, I must be off the charts happy because I want what I have so badly, but I have limited access to it. Or perhaps I want it that much more because I can’t have it.
Either way, I’m ready to have it all with me, in a stable locale, Enter The Slow Life, and settle down.
Did you 10x10 this time around? What were your intentions surrounding the challenge?
A few months ago, someone on a subReddit I follow asked for a yearly capsule. I promised her I’d eventually get to it, and that day is today!
She sent me a link to her Pinterest account to get a sense of her style. I would describe what I saw there are “ladylike, vintage/retro-inspired, and practical.” So I’ve put together my very first…
This wardrobe, save for a corresponding yellow polka dot bikini and some woolen outerwear (hat, gloves, scarf), should help any diva through all 365 days in all weather.
The patterns and styles that I’ve used to create this retro effect are:
The pinup clothing silhouettes are meant to imitate an hourglass, either with a fitted top and fitted bottoms (like a halter and pencil skirt or skinny jeans), a loose top and flowing bottoms (secretary shirt and wide pants) with a tight and/or belted waist, or a combo of loose and tight.
As well, I’ve kept the color palette to three colors (white, black, yellow) but I think with a predominantly black & white wardrobe, any other three corresponding colors can be used. The retro gals love strong tones, either saturated and pure—like primary colors, and hot pink—or saturated pastels, like mint, lavender, periwinkle, and blush pink.
Most of these amazing finds are from Miss Candyfloss, Top Vintage, Unique Vintage, Pinup Girl Clothing, Bait Footwear, or an amazing Etsy seller named Violets In May.
I made sure that there was enough great combinations to go the full-year round. Here’s some examples of outfit combos I love for warm weather:
And for colder climes:
I also know that for many of you, work-appropriate outfits are a big concern. So I’ve also gone ahead and create a capsule-within-a-capsule. Here are the pieces that would work in a more conservative office setting:
What do you think?
Is there anything else you’d need for a year?
Any items here you could do without?
From July 17-29th, I participated in a special wardrobe challenge created by Lee of StyleBee called a “10x10,” and in this case, a #Summer10x10. The rules of the challenge are to wear only 10 items for 10 days, with no repeat outfits. These limitations tend to bring forth increased style creativity, mixing items you would’ve never thought to match together before. It’s fun, and it gets your fashion brain wheels turning. Also, summer is my fav season for dressing, so, easy sell!
If you do the math on those dates, you’ll count 13 days, so it was really my #Summer13x13. I knew I had a back-to-back trip planned when this season’s challenge was due to begin so I packed my suitcase accordingly. I know the temperature would vary between 65°-90°, and that I would be mostly doing “city life” activities (concerts, museums, theatre, dining out). Commonly, the 10x10 includes shoes and outerwear; I did not count these items. I used 3 pairs of shoes and a jean jacket in addition to the following 13 items:
I actually ended up changing clothes on two occasions to go from day to night activities, so these 13 pieces actually yielded 15 outfits! I’ve outlined them below, along with my rating of how comfortable/stylish/utilitarian they felt:
Day 1: 3+12 (+1, as needed)
The first day was a travel day, so I knew I needed to be comfortable, limited accessories for the metal detectors. So I chose a shirt with a pattern, unbuttoned the bottom of the blouse and tied it up crop-style, which worked great with my high-waist jeans. I wore my knockoff “Crocs” sandals for easy-off for airport security.
Day 2: 2+11
I spent my first day in town just walking around. I tied up this black shirt in front like the other, because the skirt is high-waisted as well. I wore this with my black Bernie Mev wedges and felt high-style, but still ultra comfortable.
Day 3: 6+9 (+1 as needed)
Movie theatres are cold! But girls nights call for floral, so I went all out. Wore my tan fisherman sandals, and a tan belt to tie it all together.
Day 4: 4+12
A chill house party called for a chill outfit. I wore that blouse knotted at the front like the others, and put a matching bandana in my hair, vintage-style. Shoes were my fisherman sandals, which were perfect for my long walk home. Knocked off a point only because I wish I would’ve brought #1, my sweater!
Day 5 (day): 8
I found a secret beach in a middle of a park, complete with a lifeguard and everything. I wore my itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini underneath this dress, and it was the perfect easy-on, easy-off outfit, especially with my Crocs.
Day 5 (night): 2+12
After the beach I went to co-work with my friend at a rock gym, so I needed to be a bit less dressy than my fab kimono. Wore a hair turban to up the style game, and my Crocs, to stay cajz.
Day 6: 1+5+12
This was my debut singing at a jazz club in a new city. I had a matching blue flower in my hair, and Ramsey Lewis’s drummer told me I sounded just like Billie Holiday–and that I was the only one “doing her right.” I only wish I would’ve worn the white skirt, as it would’ve photographed better, and my Bernie Mevs instead of my sandals, to give me some height!
Day 7: 7+13
I was surprised that it took my a whole week to wear either of these items, because I really default to them at home. But I’d never worn them together, so this was a new combo for me! For short-shorts mixed with leopard, I wore my fisherman sandals as not to look like a streetwalker (especially as I was walking the streets in a pretty shady part of town so as to find the best Asian food!). Wore my hair in a black turban to cover my rollers.
Day 8: 10
Another plane night to another new city, and wanted to be comfortable, but also not be krinkled when I arrived because we were going straight to the theatre. I wore this dress with my jean jacket, and my Crocs (damn security checkpoints!). Tied my hair up in a leopard turban to keep the pincurls in check, and took it off and set the curls free for the show!
Day 9 (day): 4+13
It rained this day :( We had planned to go to the beach but it wasn’t in the cards, so before it got too wet, we went to the park, did cartwheels, and then hung around the house all day. I tied the blouse up in a crop-knot as before. Fisherman sandals were king on a slippery day like that, and I matched them with some natural wood jewelry to pull in the brown tones.
Day 9 (night): 1+3+13
Went to an intimate music venue to see my two favorite artists play some jazz, and this outfit was perfection with my fisherman sandals and matching tan vintage Coach purse.
Day 10, or The Day I Saw Hillary Clinton: 1+5+11
I ended up with free tickets to Hello Dolly on Broadway with theoneandonly Bette Midler, and Hillary Clinton sat in my row, a few seats away. The entire theatre was enraptured, standing ovations for both Hill and Bette… but I digress: I loved this outfit. Wore the skirt and wedges I wished I’d worn to the jazz club, but this time the combo of legs showing + higher heels made me feel too exposed, so my new rule is one or the other!
Day 11: 3+9
Stripes and florals are a match made in heaven. On July 4th I wore 5+9, and I loved it, so I tried with a subtler, fatter stripe, #3, and loved it. I was also having dinner with a friend who long hence told me never to wear black because my soul was too colorful to be clothed in such a dark color. He was right then, and I still try to adhere to his wish to this day! Crocs sandals because much more rain.
Day 12: 2+12
I was supposed to go a barbeque, but actually ended up at a long-lost-family dinner. This was professional enough (once I tucked the shirt in) for that. Fisherman sandals and wooden jewelry and leopard turban to add color.
Day 13: 6+12
Comfort was key because I spent 6 unanticipated hours on a bus. Thank you, stretch jeans, thank you breezy tunic, thank you Crocs sandals.
Definite tie between my two dress days (Day 5 and Day 8). I didn’t think that silk dress would be on the map at all, but with that leopard turban, anything can become my favorite outfit… ;)
My jeans were definitely my most used item. Had they not been high-waisted, however, I would’ve assuredly worn them half as much, because I was really into the crop tops this time.
It was nice to have the variety of multiple colors and patterns, because I tend to get bored really easily, but since I had more access to laundry/drying spaces than I anticipated, I think I could’ve left two items at home and yielded similar (or more interesting!) results: my leopard crop top (#7) and my solid blue collared tank (#4). The leopard turban gave me the animal print I crave in my life, and the blue striped crop top and the solid one seemed redundant since I was cropping the latter as well.
You can see all of my outfits under the Instagram hashtag “#summer13x13″ and see everyone’s items under #summer10x10 or #10x10friends.
Did you do the #Summer10x10? What were your favorite outfits? What did you learn? Are you going to participate in the 10x10 fall edition?
Back in the day, Unfancy used to write about minimalism. I want to get back to caring about curating an intentional “life of less” again, so I offer you some inspiration for that reignition, one of my fav Unfancy posts:
Over the course of my life, consumeristic culture has been quietly feeding my brain this idea:
You want to change your life? You need to buy something for that.
For example, last week:
I wished I was better about working out. So I wanted to buy cute workout clothes.
… Instead of just getting up right then and going for a jog around the neighborhood. Which would have been real progress — and free.
And I wished I was more outdoorsy and adventurous. So I wanted to buy a camper and renovate it with a modern, minimal, all white and wood interior.
… Instead of just getting up right then, bundling up, and hiking around a new park. Again, real progress — also free.
And I wished I was a better friend — AKA I wanted to be someone who brought people together and hosted fun gatherings. So I wanted buy a welcoming home out in the country.
… Instead of just inviting a few friends over to our apartment to watch Downton Abbey. Progress — free — you get the idea.
I had to ask myself: Am I actually living the life I want to live? Or am I just buying things that represent that life?
And I had to ask myself: Am I putting off a full life now because I’m waiting for the day I’ll be able to afford a certain thing?
I mean, don’t get me wrong, sometimes in order to start things, you do need to buy something. Or sometimes, you just want to make fun purchases. And that’s okay. We’re all on our own journey.
The important thing is to simply notice … with no judgement … when progress is attached to a purchase.
For years I have sought a natural deodorant that actually works, and has a pleasant smell. I’ve tried
Primal Pit Paste
I’ve spent probably a hundred dollars and countless DIY hours try to keep myself dry and well-smelling, to little avail. And when I finally found a deodorant I liked, I had developed some weird armpit infection from my friend’s dog (yep) and couldn’t wear anything, or shave, doctor’s orders.
Dealing with an itchy rash in a sweaty pit was hell until last week, when I realized I could use my face primer on my pits without issue since it’s a non-chafing gel made for sensitive areas (and diaper rash…), along with a non citrus essential oil, to make a simple, functional antiperspirant AND deodorant!
* ½ dime-sized squirt of Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel
* 3 drops of rosemary essential oil
Rub together and apply to pit!
Serving size: 1 pit. Double recipe for full coverage. ;)
Enjoy a sweat-free, stench-free summer!
I pinch pennies like it’s going out of style. Most of the time it’s to the point of “accidental minimalism”: I’ll deny myself something I want on the rationale that I don’t *need* it, when really, the rationale is cost.
This is bananas in part because I work constantly and save every nickel, and in part because sometimes I conflate wants and needs and end up in dreadful predicaments, particularly in regards to housing.
But today I want keep it light and talk about two essentials in any minimalist’s wardrobe:
As it turns out I barely have either!
Every time I encountered a chance to get great lingerie for my narrow-chested well-breasted self, I denied it on the rationale of “not needing” it, because I had 11 bras. That’s more than one per day of the week!
But I tried them all on recently and you know how many fit? 2. Because the rest I’ve had for 4-7 years! So while before I thought of bra shopping as “treating myself” (at a size 28G, a single lingerie set runs about $90-250), it has come to the point where what once seemed like dessert is actually a main dish—because I’m starving!
On the footwear front, I am so sad to admit that my miserly self has resulted in footwear that falls into two categories:
This, I will admit, was not for lack of trying. It’s hard out there for a wide-footed fashionista! Even harder when she’s capping her budget at $40…
But recently I discovered two brands that I pray will fit me (fingers crossed, Amazon!):
I’m excited to try and review these two conscious, well-meaning brands and let you know how they feel on my dogs. :)
I’m writing this to say that Minimalism is NOT about having the least items, or spending the least money, or buying the least frequently: for me it’s about conscientious spending, and supporting yourself without supporting a rampant culture of unconscious spending. THAT’S a minimalist. That’s who I want to be. And having sagging breasts and painful feet won’t help to get me there so… it’s time for a change!
Who do you want to be?
Cait Flanders reflects upon life post shopping ban:
M is for makeup
a simple recipe for vegan mascara:
- ¼ tsp activated charcoal
- ¼ tsp bentonite clay (or another loose powder such as cornstarch)
- ¼ tsp filtered water
- 3-4 drops of grapeseed oil (or coconut/ jojoba/ olive oil)
- Take activated charcoal and mix well with bentonite clay
- Add 3-4 drops of oil and mix a little
- Add your water until smooth, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl
- After a few minutes, you’ll get a smooth consistency which you can then pour into a small container.
- Let the mixture sit for at least an hour before applying. The mascara will have a wet consistency, much like store bought mascara.
and a recipe for liquid foundation (found here: https://wellnessmama.com/27328/liquid-foundation-recipe/)
Either use a natural pre-made moisturiser and add colours and pigments until you get the desired colour and coverage or make it from scratch which allows for more customisation.
for the DIY version you’ll need:
- 2 tsp of argan oil or jajoba oil
- 1 tsp of shea butter
- ½ tsp vegetable based emulsifying wax
- 1 tbsp aloe gel
- 1 tsp witch hazel
- OR 3 tbsp of natural pre-made lotion (in place of first 5 ingredients)
and for the base colour and coverage use either or some of these powders:
- 1-4 tsp zinc oxide (non-nano and uncoated) or white cosmetic clay
- ¼-½ tsp organic cocoa powder
- ½-1 tsp mica powder in colour of choice
- ½ tsp clay of choice (e.g. kaolin clay, Earth Clay or Bentonite Clay )
- OR 2-3 tsp natural mineral powder in colour of choice
- Melt the shea butter, argan oil and emulsifying wax in a double boiler until completely melted.
- Add the aloe and witch hazel and whisk until completely incorporated and smooth.
- Turn heat off.
- Slowly, start adding colors. Start with zinc and clays until desired coverage is reached. It will still be too pale at this point.
- Add mica powders and cocoa powder a tiny pinch at a time until desired colour is reached.
- Let cool for a few seconds and test the colour and coverage on your forehead to make sure you’ve achieved the right tone for your skin.
- Spoon the mixture into the desired container and let cool.
“The best thing to do with the best things in life is give them up.”
I’m moving, at least temporarily, to New Orleans. Which means that all the furniture and housewares I’ve been saving for a rainy day… they need to go somewhere, beautify something other than the bottom of a Rubbermaid bin.
It’s been a huge emotional upheaval to know that I’ll come back to having nothing to brighten up my own space, but it’s a system of checks and balances, the weight of that burden tempered by the extreme lift brought from the absence of “stuff.”
And so I let it sail away. Mostly to friends who will love it, so that I can still see it’s doing well. That’s my trick, actually: if you let bear to watch things go far away, let them go closeby. ;)
Whether it’s material items, or your time and energy, it’s important to carefully consider how you’re investing. I love this perspective on it; it’s so positive and goal-oriented. You can do it!
Let’s talk first about clothes. Everyone wears them, eventually. Some you have to own out of necessity, and some you want to own to make you feel beautiful, or cozy, or sexy, or to fit in.
Sometimes, when you go shopping, you see something great. Maybe you need it or maybe you want it, but you impulse buy it nevertheless. Maybe you like the way it hangs, but you don’t really think about whether the vibe jives. Or maybe you love its color, but it’s really poorly constructed, so you know it’s just going to fall apart sooner than the rest.
Now go back and read the prior two paragraphs replacing all references to “clothes” with the word “relationships.”
See the similarities?
When we’re thinking about picking out a dress, or a partner, we need to decide what we want, what our lifestyle looks like, and determine from there what “fits” us. Only then can we even broach the idea of putting our money where our mouth is.
Because thinking of all the times you’ve bought something you’ve later regretted, what happened to that item?:
Is that what we want for our partnerships?
In addition to determining our desires, values, lifestyle, and fit, we also need to teach ourselves to admire better. To acknowledge the beauty, sexiness, allure, charm, novelty, color, pattern, or style of something… and recognize that it’s not for you. Maybe it’s gorgeous but it’s not your vibe (too proper) or up to your standards (poorly constructed) or too delicate to handle your gogogo lifestyle (wrinkles easily). Maybe it’s a bad shape/style for you (makes you feel fat, or slutty, or is too comfortable that you just want to be lazy all the time in it). Or maybe you just can’t afford it at this place in your life, whatever that may mean. Whatever the reason, once you acknowledge “that thing would be so much better going home with someone else,” the guilt of not making it yours? Evaporates. Even though you won’t have some shiny new thing to be excited about, you find a special kind of solace in knowing that your “sacrifice” is furthering someone else’s pleasure.
Because we deserve to feel as happy about our partnerships as we do about our favorite clothes.
*This is really important. Respecting our gifts is paramount—in life, but especially in love.
You deserve happiness. We all do. So hopefully now you can go out with wider eyes and a clearer mind, and stave off a few counts of buyer’s remorse… ;)
Was cleaning out my photos this morning (great wakeup ritual!) and found this one from late August last year, right before I moved. Most of this stuff I struggled with tossing, so I ended up packing/moving it… and the clutter has haunted me for months.
But six consignment trips, a clothing swap, and a meetup with my yoga mom friend later, everything in this photo has now been sold, repaired, gifted, or tossed.
How does it feel? Like a million bucks. Like ten trillion bucks. To have a closet full of only what you love, is a gift. One that you gave yourself, and that you have full control over maintaining.
I think that’s part of what holds us back from decluttering, actually: the fear of accountability.
We want Instagram-famous homes and Pinterest-worthy wardrobes, but we are scared to admit that the only reason we don’t have them yet, the only person standing between us and our dreams… is ourselves.
The only way I was able to get to where I am today, where instead of 20 Rubbermaid bins I have 6, was to acknowledge that I was the source of the problem—and accept that without judging/guilting myself—and vow to move forward with a new perspective. One that frames my relationship to “things” as one of complete freedom and the power to change, instead of one of responsibility and burden.
The only way to break the shackles, is to realize you’re the one who put them on, and that you’re actually…completely free.
I want to point everyone’s attention to the first half of this blog’s name: aspiring. I feel that I should de-bunk the notion that “I have arrived” in any way. I am in process. I am trying, and sometimes achieving. But the “road to less” is paved in, well, in a bunch of stuff you want to buy but probably shouldn’t. I don’t want to diminish the struggle that exists when trying to disband from a consumeristic society. There are temptations every day. So how do we stay the course?
I have long thought that “what we believe is all we have that is truly our own.” Turn off the TV, close the computer, and think about what is important to you… and what isn’t. For me it’s important that my life is beautiful, easy, filled with people I love/believe in, and kind to the environment.
For me, this journey is about small triumphs, not one big sweeping purse and one-day life overhaul. I didn’t want to throw anything away that could still be used, so I’ve been slowing using up all the things I don’t believe in (example: Windex) and replacing them with things I do (in this case: plain ole’ white vinegar). I also acquired an inordinate amount of junk from former tenants in our basement, but because one of my values is ease, I didn’t spend days on end listing items on eBay and 10 other platforms; I sold what I could when I had time+energy to do so, and vowed that when May hit, anything not sold would go to the curb. It’s May 2 today but I’ve been busy, so I’ll bring it to the curb when I can… but I’m not gonna stop my life to pursue minimalism—and you shouldn’t either.
For most of my life, I wished I lived in another decade. The 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s… anything but today. Now I feel so thankful to be living in 2017, because we have evolved to make products, and company promises, that are better for people, for Mother Earth, and for society. We’ve invented fabrics from abundant resources instead of scarce ones, we’ve placed new (rightful) value on human labor, and bloggers are making money by encouraging people to be better global citizens. Holy crap our world is amazing right now, amiright? I feel especially thankful to have discovered the following resources early, and rabbit-holed into discovering an even wider world of “conscious figureheads” to inspire me. In no particular order:
What are your values? What are your goals? Have you found your community?
7×10ft bunkhouse in Northern Idaho
Submitted by Woods Wheatcroft:
I built this little bunkhouse from scraps from our local dump. The structure is 95% reclaimed. It serves as a sleeping space and a meditation room and I keep it mostly empty and free of any clutter.
Today’s #aspiringminimalist message: Elegance doesn’t have to come at a high cost. 🕶 I hosted a clothing swap this weekend and nabbed this dolman sleeve top, belted with a 100% leather waistbelt from my fav local consignment shop @cambridgeraspberryberet wrapped with a scarf from Goodwill, blinged out with a gold necklace from local thrift shop @shopboomerangs which donates all proceeds to AIDS research ♥️ and a wide brim hat from @marshalls @tjmaxx and my @girlfriendcollective leggings you can’t see cost me only shipping. 🤞🏽If you cultivate PATIENCE and DEDICATION to a life of REUSE and RECYCLING, delicious fashion will come to you. 👗👠👛
#cambridgeraspberryberet #raspberryberetfinds #goodwill #thriftshop #reducereuserecycle #reusebeforerecycle #fabfind #fabfinds #maxxinista #clothingswap #girlpower #fashion #clothing #fashionblogger #minimalism #minimalist #thejoyofless (at Union Square (Somerville))
I want to start doing some product reviews, because while I don’t care much about many things, the few things I do care about, I care a lot about, and want to help promote companies doing good things… for people, for the earth.
Up first is Desert Essence Toothpaste in Cool Mint. I love this toothpaste. It’s flavored naturally, with essential oils of wintergreen and tea tree. It tastes mintier and freshier than any other toothpaste I’ve tried. It isn’t gritty like all those baking soda-based pastes, and is the only toothpaste in the DE line that contains whitening properties.
More importantly, here’s what it doesn’t have:
But the #1 reason why I love it? It never ever leaves me with morning breath.
Sold yet? You can buy it here on Amazon for less than $6.
* * *
Then there’s my toothbrush addiction. I just love Brushing with Bamboo. Something about the feeling of wood in my mouth (o.O) just feels good to me. Like I’m one with nature. But here’s why these are cool:
So literally, you use this toothbrush til it’s dead, then you compost it, or bury it in your garden, and no harm done. I love it.
You can buy a 4-pack here on Amazon, which will last you a whole year!
What are your favorite dental hygiene products?
My best friend is on a Konmari journey right now and I feel so blessed that she allowed me into her anthropomorphizing behaviors and precise folding rituals. It reminded me again how little we need stuff, how unimportant it is to keep an abundance of it, but most of all, how clean and clear one can feel after clearing the *energy* of clutter.
I won’t ever talk to my things, but I do appreciate that they have energy, and I think Marie Kondo’s encouragement to acknowledge that energy is where I align. To say “stuff” isn’t “important” isn’t exactly true. Indoor plumbing is wonderful. But the idea that it can “live” a life cycle and “move on” to its next life makes sense to me, but anything that used to take up energy leaves energy behind. So I want to be more conscious of that, and increase my gratitude for, and separation from it, when the time comes.
Do you thank your things for the life they’ve lived with you before letting them go?
-Things that ruin your focus
-Things that damage your sense of self worth
-Things that get in the way of who you want to be
-Things that harm the planet
-Things that harm animals
-Things that harm other people
-Things that make you feel disconnected from the world
-Things that make you feel overwhelmed
-Things that are in control of you
-Things that draw you away from the present moment
-Things that don’t serve their purpose
-Things that don’t have to be owned to be appreciated
I would like to do a month by month of these things. Maybe next year, in lieu of other resolutions. There are twelve, after all
If we await incontrovertible proof that we’re doing the right thing, we may miss this opportunity in a haze of anxiety and fear. The truth is we can never really know (…) All we can do is follow the nudges from within that speak of promise and potential, of courage and commitment, of a path bearing many crossroads that will test our mettle, open our hearts, and strengthen our soul.
This is a time of choices, and those made now with a bold heart and courageous spirit carry alchemical force to change our lives.
Sarah Vargas via @aeodesigns
Happy New Moon in Pisces, y'all.
I said my intention for 2016 was to be more humble. I think this is what I meant. Aware of my privilege, my place, my fortune, my gifts—and using that awareness to generate gratitude, and that gratitude to fuel kindness and happiness.
I have decided to travel for the summer. I don’t know how or if I will make money while I do so, but I feel a strong urging for change, and I want to listen to that urge.
In order to make this plan feasible, I must sell nearly all of my belongings. I tried to do this upon moving in September, but this FOMO (fear of missing out) feeling kept me from parting with “things” because they felt like “opportunities.” But I am slowly learning that there will always be more opportunities. I just need to regrow my faith.