Tag Archives: Clutter

My Complete Capsule Wardrobe

This is every single piece of clothing I own for all seasons, all occasions, and all moods. I consider it a capsule because it has a very basic, but strong frame with a few specialties. It is simple, versatile, and put together. I love the style I’ve curated and feel confident wearing my clothes. It’s basically a uniform, but with variations for weather and special occasions.

After delivering my last baby, I got rid of a bunch of maternity clothes and added a few needed items. Now I feel like I’m “finished” – at least for a while. I believe I have everything I need and am not really wanting for anything. I expect the next changes to be made to my wardrobe will be to remove items, from being too worn or not fitting anymore once I get my pre-pregnancy figure back. Otherwise, I will just replace as needed.

Instead of storing out-of-season clothing in the attic or boxes, all of my clothes are ready and available all year long (something I learned from Marie Kondo in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up). This makes being prepared for weird out-of-season weather super easy and it eliminates  the chore of swapping clothes out of storage every season. I’m always a fan of less chores.

And now… the complete list!

Dans Mon Armoire (27 hangers, 1 shelf)
1. blue striped tank-top
2. yellow flower tank-top
3. white button-up tank-top
4. blue button-up tank-top
5. blue dot button-up tank-top
6. black v-neck t-shirt
7. grey v-neck t-shirt
8. blue v-neck t-shirt
9. white v-neck t-shirt
10. white v-neck t-shirt
11. white v-neck t-shirt
12. blue long-sleeve button-up
13. red long-sleeve button-up
14. black long-sleeve button-up
15. blue wrap dress
16. purple wrap dress
17. black pocket dress
18. blue striped maxi-dress
19. black maxi-dress
20. purple and yellow flower dress
21. beaded dress (with 2 slips – white and purple)
22. black and gold sequin dress
23. blue patterned maxi-dress (maternity)
24. blue gown
25. floral sweater
26. yellow flower scarf
27. purple flower scarf
28. blue patterned scarf
29. straw hat
30. black zip-up hoodie
31-40. my shoes (10)

Dans ma vaisselle (3 large drawers)
41. blue v-neck sweater
42. purple v-neck sweater
43. black v-neck sweater
44. white chunky knit sweater
45. white knit hoodie
46. grey shorts
47. blue shorts
48. purple shorts
49. blue jean shorts
50. blue jeans
51. medium-wash blue jeans
52. dark-wash blue jeans
53. tube skirt (maternity)
54-65. underwear (12)
66-69. bras (4)
70-73. pajama tank tops (4)
74-76. pajama t-shirts (3)
77-79. pajama long-sleeve shirts (2)
80. pajama shorts romper
81. pajama pants
82. leggings
83-96. long socks (14)
97-103. short socks (7)
104-106. tights (3)
107. knit scarf
108. leather gloves
109. fingerless gloves
110. knit gloves
111. knit hat
112. bikini
113. swimsuit
114. sarong
115. work jeans
116. long-sleeve work shirt
117. short-sleeve work shirt
118-121. sports bras (3)
122-123. sports tops (2)
124. sports pants
125. sports capris
126. tennis skirt
127. snow pants

Dans le placard (4 hangers)
128. light blue jean jacket
129. dark blue trench coat (with removable liner)
130. snow coat

130 items might seem like a lot compared to Project 333‘s limit of 33, but I’m pleasantly surprised by my number of 130. True, it doesn’t include jewelry or bags, but I’m hardly wearing any now anyway. And it does include all undergarments, exercise/specialty clothing, and clothing for the entire spectrum of weather in New Jersey – from below freezing to nearly 100°F – which Project 333 does not always encompass. Also, Project 333 allows 33 items of clothing each season (33 items for 3 months – 333, get it?), so 132 items are allowed for the year – so I’ve got even less!

It’s not a contest, though (even though I won). It’s about having less clothing choices to make getting dressed everyday easier. I think Project 333 is great. I learned a lot from when I did it. It helped me figure out what I like to wear, to be mindful of curating pieces that coordinate, and realizing I really don’t need as many clothes as I had once owned to be properly dressed.

Go forth – clear your closet, clear your mind, and look and feel fabulous!

Letting Go – Maternity Clothes

I don’t plan on getting pregnant again. I was so uncomfortable at times during this last pregnancy that I just couldn’t wait until I wasn’t pregnant anymore and could get rid of those big yet tight, stretchy yet restricting clothes. (It wasn’t, probably, the clothes themselves that were so uncomfortable, but just, you know, my body.)

Now that that time has come, I am feeling hesitant. And I wonder: Why is it so hard to let go sometimes?

Am I hesitant to admit that that time is my life is over, even though it’s a decision I made myself (with Andrew, of course)? Am I afraid that making that decision might be a mistake? I could always buy more maternity clothes, if I ever needed any again. But that’s spending more money when I already had perfectly good maternity clothes. But honestly, I don’t plan on needing any again.

Do I think that getting rid of those clothes will also get rid of the memories? Sure, I wouldn’t have the physical article to jump start pregnancy memories whenever I came across them, but I will still have those memories. Heck, I already got rid of some maternity clothes (out of season or just super worn) and haven’t had any internal struggles.

Maybe it’s because I packed up these clothes so soon after giving birth. I mean, I just brought my baby home yesterday! Do I need a period of separation before letting go? But it’s not like I’m going to wear them – they are too big or uncomfortable or out of season – why would I need to keep them around? To say goodbye? Maybe, actually, according to Marie Kondo. Goodbye and thank you. But I could actually do that quite quickly; like, on my way to the donation bin.

The more I write about it, actually, the more my reasoning is taking over. I may feel an odd emotional attachment to those clothes, but any actual emotional attachment I have is to my actual children.

I will get rid of them. Today. I will put them in a donation bin and hope they find their way to a pregnant woman in need of some maternity clothes that were just my size.

And I will move on. I will cultivate my wardrobe to my current lifestyle. That is, not pregnant, but caring for 3 wild and crazy boys, ages 0 to 3. And I will continue to slowly curate it to fit my lifestyle as it grows with motherhood, my job, my taste, and my fancy.

Goodbye, maternity clothes. And thank you for seeing me through 3 pregnancies, full of ups and downs, that ultimately led to my 3 children, the beautiful family I have created with my wonderful husband.

Check In – 2017 Reading Resolutions

In the beginning of this year, I laid out some Reading Resolutions for myself. After less than a month, it already impacted my reading experience. Now that we’re almost half-way through the year and I’ve hit an “end”, I have some more updates on the experiment.

Summary:

  • Books Bought – 3
  • Books Read – 22
  • Books Abandoned – 9
  • Books Listened To – 1
  • Books Borrowed – 7
  • Book Club Reads – 4
  • Books Owned Left Unread – 1

Books Bought. I have bought 3 books so far in 2017 and was generally happy with all of them. One I foresee myself re-reading over and over throughout my life. The other, my husband and a friend also read (3 reads for the price of 1!) and would like my sons to read it as they get older as well. The other was fun and interesting, but honestly I could’ve borrowed it from the library because I doubt I’ll ever read it again (although I do want to continue with the series).

Books Read. If you  care to see all the books I’ve read so far this year, you can check out my Goodreads. Some have been for pleasure, some for book clubs, some for research, and some out of curiosity. I’ve loved some, liked some, found some to be okay, and hated some. I don’t give books star ratings because I don’t think it is a complex enough review and doesn’t enhance my reading experience at all (I just don’t like doing it).

Book Abandoned. There were 9 books on my shelves at home (mostly “Andrew’s books”) that I attempted to read this year and gave up on. I abandoned each for different reasons, most of which can be summed up with “not my cup of tea”. That’s probably why I’ve never tried to read them before, but now I can say that I’ve given them a fair shot.

Books Listened To. I did listen to 1 audiobook version of a book I had not yet read on our shelf. I listened at work, but it was a quick book and not too intrusive. It was easy to listen to and I enjoyed it. I don’t think I would have kept with it if I had to put in the effort to read it myself, though. It may have been abridged, but oh well, I got the story.

Books Borrowed. These were books I still had out from last year, were for book clubs, or for my own personal research. Namely, the research was for potty training Wingnut and I’m so glad I borrowed that book. It was exactly what I needed, when I needed it.

Book Club Reads. I only enjoyed 1 out of 4 book I’ve read for clubs so far this year. There are 3 more books that are scheduled and in which I’m just not interested. I love books and discussing books, but I honestly don’t know if book clubs are for me. I may do another post entirely about this.

Books Owned Left Unread. I acquired this one this year as a free give-away (darn free stuff clutter). I haven’t read it yet and I’m not sure if I want to. I may keep it around, though, because it’s a classic. Maybe one day I’ll want to read it? (Doubtful, but defo possible.) Maybe my children will need to read it for school? (Our school district usually provides all books.) I don’t know. Maybe I should just get rid of it — like I never even free-stuff-clutter-collected it in the first place.

My Resolutions were originally designed to last the whole year, but I’ve read through all of my unread books much faster than I anticipated. (Granted, abandoning books is a very speedy way to get through them.) Therefore, I don’t think I will continue the resolution of not borrowing books for the rest of the year. I will continue to read my shelves — there are a few books I want to re-read before the new release in the series comes out — but I will allow myself to borrow books now, too.

I will only check-out ONE book from the library at a time, to continue with my slow, enjoyable pace. I will only read what I really want to read. And I will buy books if our budget allows it. I have deep inner contention between whether I should buy or borrow books — perhaps that can be another post in and of itself.

I feel like this experiment has gone very well. I feel very free knowing I’ve experienced all the books on the shelves in my house. It opens a lot of possibilities for what to read next. …Almost too many possibilities. We’ll see how it plays out for the rest of the year.

For now, let’s try this:

  • Read only 1 book at a time.
  • If the budget allows, only buy a book when I am ready to read it.

I’ve always wanted to be at this point — where I have no TBR (to-be-read) at home so if I feel like going to the bookstore, I can buy a book and start reading it right away with no guilt! Amazing. I’m here! I’ve done it! After years and years and years. I’ve finally successfully minimized to-do clutter when it comes to books and it feels amazing. 🙂

 

2017 Reading Resolutions

These resolutions are designed to help me read slower. I’m going to challenge myself to follow (or experiment with, if you will) all of these rules for the entire year to see how it effects my relationships with books. Hopefully they will help me be less stressed by books and enjoy reading more.

I’ve already written about slow reading, but honestly I was a bit crap at following those rules. I still read more than one book at a time, listened to audiobooks (while working), wasn’t choosy enough (only certain books are available on audio), and didn’t abandon one or two that I probably should have.

This year I’m going to go quite extreme (for me) and not let myself borrow any books. I work in a library. The largest library system in the entire state. This is going to be verrrrry hard for me.

I’m going to try this because I think it is the best way for me to actually SLOW my reading. Having access to millions of books all the time has just gotten to be too much. I see so many books, then I want to read so many books, I check so many books out, and they pile up. And then I have to lug them all back and forth from the library. I get ahead of myself because it’s free. Accepting free stuff is probably my worst clutter habit.

Not allowing myself to borrow, I hope, will make me better appreciate my own bookshelf. We have over 100 books at home, maybe even 200. Some I’ve never read (mostly “Andrew’s books”), some are favorites that I’ve nearly completely forgotten, and others are stories I like to read over and over again. But my own books have fallen to the wayside in comparison to all the NEW! and FREE! books at the library. This year, I will give my own books the love they deserve. And I already know that I like them!

This year’s resolution also still allows me to buy a book if I really want to. I’ve tried book-buying-bans before and it makes me feel a bit deprived, if only temporarily. Going to the bookstore and picking out a book to buy is a pleasure for me. So I’ll still get to do that this year! But, honestly, not that often because there isn’t a lot of room in our budget for books. So maybe a book or two per season.

So. In a nutshell, like a Grimm’s fairytale dress, the Resolutions:

  • Do not borrow any books.
  • Read only 1 book at a time.
  • Be very mindful of the monthly budget when considering buying a book.

And, of course, the Exceptions:

  • I may finish the 1 library book that I have checked out now since I am half-way through.
  • I may still borrow books or audiobooks for the book clubs in which I participate. This year, I expect 18 book discussions between 2 book clubs. There’s defo not enough money in our budget for that.

I’m excited — this should be interesting.

The Urge to Purge

Lately, when I’m feeling overwhelmed or discontent, I want to get rid of stuff. I have the urge to purge. And although it sounds like it almost makes sense within the parameters of minimalism, I don’t actually think it’s the right response.

Minimalism claims that more stuff does not equal more happiness, contentment, status, fulfillment, fill-in-the-blank-goodness. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the opposite — that less stuff equals more happiness, contentment, etc — is quite true.

Stuff is just stuff. Finding the separation between and happy balance with stuff and contentment is the holy grail. And when I’m feeling dissatisfied or stressed, it is easy to think that jettisoning some stuff will automatically make me more at ease. And it might… for the moment.

Minimalism promotes less stuff because it helps clear the space and your mind to find what really matters — to find the things and ways that bring contentedness to you individually. The landscape becomes more clear when the cluttery fog is lifted. But it is still not a sure thing. Even though you can see the landscape better, you still need to survey the paths and decide the route that’s best for you. Definitely easier without a cover of fog, but still no small feat.

It’s been 3 years since I first discovered minimalism. I can’t believe it’s been that long — it still seems so new to me. (I suppose 3 years versus 26 years is still a pretty big ratio spread.) And although I’ve cleared a lot of clutter, I still have a ways to go. I haven’t gotten to that “after decluttering” part yet.

So maybe the urge to purge, as it is, will still benefit me in some way. As long as I can recognize when I’ve purged enough and kept enough (I doubt I’ll not keep enough). The trick will be how to recognize that, eh? I’ll let you know what I find out about that when I get there.

Over 45 Baby Things We Didn’t Need

Expecting a baby can be scary because you may not have any idea or frame of reference for what to expect. I know I didn’t. So when Andrew and I were expecting our first baby, we did a Baby Registry. (I also hadn’t heard of minimalism yet.)

We were the first of our friends and semi-extended family to get pregnant so we couldn’t expect a lot of hand-me-downs. Without knowing what having a baby would be like, we followed the big box store’s Baby Registry Buying Guide to make sure we had everything we could possibly need to care for our hypothetical baby. Two actual babies later, I’ve been able to see that we didn’t need a lot of what the store said we would.

Sleep/Bedroom Nursery

  • matching furniture – we were gifted a beautiful crib and glider that we use everyday. We got a secondhand changing table, bookshelf (for toys), side table (which we don’t really need, but is nice for holding a plant and a glass of water for me during nursing), and toddler bed. The closet attached to the room is more than ample for their clothes.
  • matching crib bedding – we used a breathable crib bumper (only from 0-9 mo.) and just 2 sheets per baby. We were gifted so many blankets we donated a bunch. We kept only a lightweight and heavyweight blanket each (we like homemade crocheted blankets from family the best).
  • waterproof mattress covers – most crib mattresses are waterproof anyway. Ours is. So we got rid of the covers and cut down on a lot of laundry.
  • sheet saver – again, just another piece of laundry to wash. And I worried about it as a suffocation hazard.
  • wearable blankets/sleep sacs/structured swaddlers – muslin blankets satisfied the purposes of all of those things. And don’t worry, with practice, you will get better at wrapping a swaddle.
  • table lamps – our ceiling fan/light is extremely useful and out of the way; a nightlight is nice for late-night feedings or diaper changes; but table lamps can be a space-eating hazard
  • any decor – babies don’t care. They want to see their parents’ faces, and that’s it… well except for some breasts or a bottle. We have decorated our boys’ rooms over the years with posters that have come with books or DVDs.
  • mobile/white noise machine – yes, the mobile is very cute, but we only used it a handful of times and didn’t really need it.

Diapering/Bathing

  • wipe warmer – superfluous
  • wipe dispenser – extra-superfluous. Wipes have their own dispensing mechanism built-in. I’ve never had wipes in the pack dry out on me and I’m not even careful.
  • changing pad cover – we used these because we had them, but the changing pad is waterproof so it is easily cleaned without the extra piece of laundry
  • changing pad saver – again, just more laundry
  • 6-8 baby bath towels – we have 4 (for 2 boys), but now I’m thinking we could have just used our regular bath towels.
  • 10-12 wash cloths – we have 6 and don’t need that many.
  • grooming kit – we only used the baby nail clippers
  • air purifier – I believe that babies should learn to breath the same air as everyone else; it builds strong lungs
  • baby bathrobe – cute on the hanger, but I don’t even know what it would’ve looked like on my babies… we never got it on them. Being wrapped up in a towel was always good enough. And just easier.
  • dental care – wait until your baby has teeth, then your dentist will give you what you need for free
  • tub faucet cover – I don’t understand why this would ever be needed. Because it’s cute? Look at your baby – I bet he or she is 1,000x cuter.

Travel

  • car seat saver – I’m not even entirely sure what this is exactly, but it sounds like more laundry
  • sun shade – We use a blanket with little babies and sunglasses for our toddler.
  • mirror – We registered and received one, but it did not work out very well. First, it was hard to find a good place for it in our car. Then, it didn’t stay in the correct position so it reflected things like feet or just seat. Finally, it kept falling down. Much more hassle than it’s worth.
  • bunting and foot muff – Infant carseats come with enough safety padding for infants. For warmth we just used blankets.
  • booster seat – we will probably need this, but we didn’t need it in our pre-baby preparation. We will buy it when our boys outgrow the carseats they already have.
  • car seat travel bag – Another thing to carry around more things? Definitely not essential.
  • any stroller accessories – We just used blankets for extra shade and brought a toy or two from the house when needed.
  • fancy expensive diaper bag – We’ve used backpacks, totes, and duffels we already had laying around the house. Keep your travel accessories simple and a simple bag will do. I like using my small canvas “gym” duffel the best.

Feeding

  • more than 6 bottles – that’s about 3 small bottles and 3 bigger bottles with 3 slow nipples and 3 fast nipples. I breastfed for the first 6 months with Wingnut and 10 months with Pigpen with some combination feeding before going solely formula (a little over 4 months with Mo and 2 months with Pigpen). Wash your bottles daily or twice daily — preferably without a dishwasher — and you’ll be fine.
  • infant positioner – We used our laps and arms for the infant stage and the high chair when the babies could sit up on their own.
  • 6-8 pacifiers – pacifying is a totally personal choice. We allowed it. We got buy with 2 to 4 pacifiers.
  • bottle warmer – Used a mug filled with warm water.
  • bottle sterilizer – A pot with boiling water.
  • special bottle drying rack – Our plain drain board in the sink worked fine.
  • dishes and bowls – we use our Corelle flatware for our children. Some times we let the baby eat off of his tray; we taught Wingnut to be careful and he has proven to be quite responsible with with porcelain and glass as early as being 1.5 years old.

Clothing

  • baby shoes – annoying and useless. I like getting shoes when the baby (toddler) is standing and starting to walk around — the shoes are good for outside when they want to be a part of the action and explore on their own.

Playtime

  • door jumper – we were excited for this classic piece, but our babies are small so the sizing never worked out. They were either floating and sliding around the big bucket seat, or old enough to walk around and very unhappy about being trapped in a hanging seat.
  • play yard – We have a small house and let the babies explore most of it on their own.
  • play mat – Replace with a blanket and toys.
  • seat walker – Like the door jumper, it wasn’t a good size for our boys. They prefer(ed) the standing walkers. We were lucking to receive one that did not require batteries or have too many bells and whistles.
  • DVDs – We limited screen time until Wingnut was 2 years old. Even when Wingnut watches now (we use a streaming service), Pigpen isn’t interested. He’d rather play with toys or people.
  • a lot of toys – We keep the toys limited to 3 shelves on a bookcase in their room. We rotate the toys a few times a year to cooperate with the seasons and keep things interesting.

Wow. That was a lot of stuff. And I’m sure there’s even more stuff you don’t need out there that stores are trying to sell to you and your baby. Maybe I should have made a list of all the things I actually did need and find to be useful, ha.

But anyway, maybe some of my little stories and tidbits will help you decide you don’t need a few things you were considering after all. You’ll save yourself and/or your loved ones some money. And you’ll save the planet the cost of more consumerism and waste. It’s a win-win.

Cheers!

Minimalism In My Family | Stash-and-Trash

I dunno how to compromise about getting rid of stuff. I mean, is it even possible to compromise on something like that? You either keep it or get rid of it. Not much grey area in there.

I wish there was one fail-safe rule that we could follow. Like, if at least one person wants to get rid of it, it’s gone. Or if at least one person wants to keep it, it stays. Or if things had clear owners as opposed to being owned by no one and everyone. Or if it hasn’t been used by anyone in X amount of time, it’s gone. Or name one good reason and it stays. But things just don’t seem to be so cut and dry in my home. I mean, who decides what’s a “good” reason?

Maybe it is or could be so decisive in your home. And if you feel that’s the case, pick a rule and go for it! See how it goes. And let me know all about it!

Unfortunately, I’ve found so far that for us, the process for almost every shared item is unique. We usually disagree about something, discuss it, forget about it for a while, bring it up again, there’s some persuasion, perhaps we argue about it a bit, maybe forget about it again and repeat the persuasion bit, and then perhaps agree. Moooooostly, it is me trying to convince Andrew to get rid of something or other.

The one thing I have found quite effective — probably because it’s pretty difficult to make an argument about still needing the stuff — is gathering stuff up, putting it in a box labeled “stuff no one will miss” and the date, and stashing it out of the way somewhere (I use our attic). Eventually, we’ll see the box up there, months later, and feel pretty good about getting rid of that stuff. 97% of the time, I don’t even remember what was in the box, and I put it there myself. 98.5% of the time, Andrew never notices anything missing.

Aha. So I guess that’s the way for us then. The Stash-and-Trash, we’ll call it! Kazaa!

What’s your method to coming up with family minimalism solutions? Tell me, tell me, tell me!

9 Tips for a Simple Kitchen

I can’t say that the kitchen is the most used room in our house because we have a small house and, frankly, all of the living areas get used a lot everyday. The kitchen is, however, the hardest room to keep clean.

We are in other rooms a lot, but a lot happens in the kitchen. Our only table is in our kitchen, so in addition to cooking and eating there, we use that surface for playing and working, too. Things are always being used and moved and dirtied and cleaned. Here are some tips I use to keep this complex area just a little more simple.

  1. Get rid of appliances and specialized or redundant tools. You don’t really need a hand mixer, an ice cream maker, a quesadilla maker, or a toaster oven and a toaster. You can use a spoon (or a stand mixer), a blender, a pan, or just the toaster or an oven. Keep only multi-use tools or appliances completely necessary for your style of cooking. Remember: owning less things means less storing, finding, cleaning, and replacing.
  2. Stash appliances and tools in the cabinets, cupboard, or a closet. Even the toaster. You probably don’t use it as often as you think, therefore, you don’t need it within reach taking up counter space at all times.
  3. Make your tools versatile. I used storage bowls as mixing bowls and cutting boards as serving trays.
  4. Embrace your ugly or “outdated” kitchen. Reading this post made me completely release a pesky renovation list from my head. Replace “ugly” with “quirky”. Styles come and go, but that doesn’t mean your kitchen can’t still serve its purpose. Embrace your quirky kitchen. As long as it works, right?
  5. Pick a few colors or one theme. We used to have an assortment of hand-me-down and thrift-shop plates, cups, bowls, etc. There is nothing wrong with second-hand things in themselves, but having a cohesive set makes things simpler. Dishes stack better, fit next to each other better, and reduce visual clutter (ex: multiple dish patterns in multiple color schemes). I’m all for second-hand, but get a complete, matching set to simplify things.
  6. Use a small refrigerator. Food won’t get shoved to the back to spoil if there isn’t any room for you to add new food in front. Eat what you have and shop fresh. Meals are more flavorful that way. You will waste less, be more creative, and save space. And a smaller refrigerator uses less electricity — good for your finances and the environment.
  7. Get rid of your dishwasher. Read this post explaining 8 reasons why.
  8. Organize by use. When we first moved into our house, we didn’t have a plan on how to use our kitchen. My husband and I never had a kitchen of our own before and we were unfamiliar with this one in particular. 4 years of trial-and-error later we finally reorganized and I LOVE it. Tools, cans, grains, nuts, flatware, spices and flavorings, baking supplies, and storage pieces each have their own designated areas. This makes cooking A LOT easier.
  9. Organize by ease of cleaning. This is a tip from Marie Kondo. (She is the tidying boss.) Keep surfaces clear — utilize all of your drawers and cabinets. When everything is out of the way, cleaning counters, tabletops, and floors is much simpler.

Enjoy your kitchen and the delicious food you prepare!

Do you have any tips for a simpler kitchen to share? Post them in the comments below!

Why I Donate Instead of Sell

I’m reading The More of Less by Joshua Becker right now and I think it’s really good. He hits on so many great points of minimalism. More importantly, he highlights things little known and things easily forgot about minimalism that are so important and make minimalism so much more wonderful.

One of the things he writes about is how to get rid of unwanted items.

So many resources recommend selling unused or unwanted things. And it sounds really great. I’ll get money back! Sweet. Because I feel like I deserve that money. I put money out for it, why shouldn’t I get some back? And when I say “some” I mean “a lot”. I mean, I want most of it back. When I think of the money attached to an item, it is so easy for my mind to gloss over the value I’ve already gotten from the item — the actual value for which the item was intended.

Joshua, on the other hand, recommends just giving them away.

He writes about his experiences with yard sales and online selling and how they usually end up being more trouble than they’re worth. I’ve tried yard sales — lugging out all of that stuff and spending my whole day waiting for someone to give me a few bucks is defo not worth it to me.

It’s hard for me to figure out the best way to sell online, too. I don’t like taking pictures of things (how is it that none of the photos I take are the least bit flattering or accurate of the object?). I don’t like filling out all the needed information. I don’t like monitoring the items selling process. I don’t like re-listing it if it doesn’t sell. I do like packing it up to take it to the Post Office, but I don’t like having a time constraint in which to do it. And, again, I rarely get the price I really want for it. The price that would make all the trouble worth it.

Giving things away relieves a bunch of those hassles. There are some things that just need to be done, like the sorting, boxing, and sometimes delivering of unwanted stuff. But every time I do a load, I’m reminded of why I shouldn’t buy so many things in the first place.

Joshua also writes about how donating benefits those on the receiving end and it makes you feel good to have helped someone in need. Those things are great. But they are really just side-benefits for me. I donate instead of sell because it’s just easier. Any money I have made by selling has been eaten up by frustration, strength, and time. Donating enables me to feel the lightness and freedom of owning less straight away.

So the next time you feel the need to sell something to get a “return” on your “investment”, consider just letting it go. Unless it’s a really big ticket item and really worth it or necessary to you (do you want to sell it, or do you need to sell it?), I recommend giving it away. Then you, too, will be able to feel the lightness and freedom of owning less… without the hassle.

Simple vs. Simple – Cosmetics and Toiletries

I like things simple.

For the past year and a half or so, I’ve been trying to simplify in all sorts of areas in my life. One of those areas is cosmetics and toiletries. And there are several ways in which one can do this.

1 Have less. An easy way in which I did that was to get rid of everything I wasn’t using. If it was something that I thought still had value, I made the effort to use it until it was gone, and then never replaced it. If I no longer found any value in it, and was really only keeping it around because I had once spent money on it, I just threw it out.

2 Use fewer products. This is made easier if step 1 is already done. Get rid of stuff you don’t use, then get rid of stuff you don’t need to use. An example of this, for me, is hair conditioner. I always used hair conditioner for as long as I remember bathing myself. I used it because my mom did, because they sold shampoo and conditioner together in the store in matching scents, and because beauty magazines recommended it. But I have the type of hair that just doesn’t need conditioner so I stopped using the product. My bathroom is less cluttered and my wallet is plumper.

3 Choose only a few brands. Instead of having multiple brands of lotions for different occasions, buy one that satisfies all of your needs. I find this helps reduce mental clutter, as well. If you choose one brand of toothpaste, for example, decision-making in the toothpaste aisle at the store is simplified immensely. Fewer choices equals more brain power for other, more important, things.

4 Use active ingredients. Choose products with only the simplest ingredients. Cosmetics and toiletries are filled with, well, fillers, when only a few ingredients actually do the job of the product. You can simplify your medicine cabinet by stripping away products that have a lot of useless, and sometimes harmful, fillers.

Now, number 4 is where things got a little crazy for me, hence the “Simple vs. Simple” title. I wanted to use products with the simplest of simple ingredients so I made some products myself. I made deodorant out of baking soda and corn starch and oil, lotion out of coconut oil and essential oils, and used plain baking soda as toothpaste.

It seemed simple because there was so few things in what I was using, but it actually complicated things. I did a few trials, but nothing really worked as well as products I could buy in the store, save for the baking soda as toothpaste. The deodorant made my underarms break out. The coconut oil lotion was alternatively solid or liquid, instead of a nice thick cream, making it difficult to apply.

And since I was using different toiletries than the rest of my family, it actually increased the amount of products in my house. There was toothpaste in the medicine cabinet and on the counter. There was yet another container of lotion (we got a lot as gifts for the babes).

To streamline going forward, I am finding effective products made with natural ingredients that my entire family can use. I have found a lot of nice stuff — for men, women, adults, babies, and children — so if you’d like any recommendations you can just ask. I’m still looking for a good, natural shampoo to satisfy everyone in the house, so if you know of any that you’d like to share, I’d appreciate the info.

Cheers!