The journey began in 2017, after losing a family member to Cancer.
A few months after their passing, we were clearing out their home filled with 30 plus years of memories. Memorabilia stacked on shelves, papers & trinkets spilling out of drawers, photographs hung on every inch of the walls. Possessions of all kinds being sold, donated or even trashed. It got me thinking, “If you can’t leave with any of your physical items, what makes them so important? You see, in my eyes I find the moments you share & relationships you have with others are far more valuable than any form of materialism.
Ok, now I’m not saying because I devalue materialism that I live in an empty apartment, sleep on the floor and not own a damn thing. On the contrary, I i enjoy many of my possessions. Ive just simply learned to live with less & have downplayed their importance.
See, the idea of minimalism to me is not necessarily living with x amount of items, or painting your walls white, & only wearing neutral colors. It’s more so living intentionally. You see, it’s time to prioritize your life. The idea of stuff can easily consume your life to the point of no return. And it’s not just those physical items that can bog you down too. Look at every aspect of your life – the things you own, your career path, the people you’re spending time with…all of which are important. Why spend your life with unnecessary possessions, a career that’s not going anywhere, or people you can’t stand.
Simplify your life.
“Make room for things that matter by removing everything that doesn’t” – Brian Gardner
After being on this journey for a few years now, I can say living with less has given me more clarity & helped me focus on moments instead of things. I can’t tell you how overwhelmed I used to feel when items ruled my life. I used to be an avid therapy shopper. Instead of dealing with my emotions or certain obstacles, I would mend those feelings by purchasing new clothing or makeup products [I can expand on that a bit later]. Bottom line is, going on this “less is more” journey has made me feel so much happier in my life. I live in the moment more. I have better relationships with family, friends, and loved ones. I have an overall sense of gratitude for life.
It’s the day after Thanksgiving (if you live in the US) & typically it’s a day to be thankful & blessed for the life you have. I believe you should have this sense of gratitude everyday. Why? Because once I shifted my mindset to a more grateful one, I saw my life in a more positive light.
I’d like to first thank you all for 500 followers! 😊🎉 My goal was to maybe hit this milestone before Blogmas & I had no idea we would get there before then. So, thank you! If it weren’t for my readers & fellow bloggers supporting me each and everyday I wouldn’t be where I am today. So, I am grateful for you all.
How I Got Started
At the start of 2020, I was at a point at my life where I felt I needed more positive energy. In the past, I’ve loved journaling for getting out my feelings, sharing my thoughts & reflecting on my life. But I never thought of simply focusing on the positive aspects of my days. I knew how to vent & share my problems on paper, but writing the good parts of my day? Never crossed my mind, until I discovered gratitude journals.
So, I went to Target, picked out a moleskin & began my journey to gratitude. It started out pretty simple with statements like “I’m grateful for this cup of tea.” Or “I’m grateful for my orange tabby, Tigger.” Eventually it grew to more intense statements like “that vulnerable conversation was much needed & I grew from it” to “I’m grateful for the person I am, flaws & all.”
Writing in this journal everyday for almost an entire year has been life changing. And this was way before the pandemic even started. Best believe I’ve needed all the gratitude I could get during these tough times for many reasons.
Fake It Until You Make It
In the beginning, finding the good in each day was kind of difficult. But it’s interesting to notice the shift after just a few days. It became easier as the months went on. And now even during an unprecedented time, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I think writing down these thoughts can actually trick the brain a bit. And “when you focus on the good the good gets better.” (That’s my favorite quote & has been my phone screensaver for almost a year now).
Manifest Your Dream Life
Whether you believe in manifestation or not, I think we can be the writers to our story. We determine the outcome. So, by focusing on the positive & writing down dreams & aspirations more often, you may find yourself headed in those directions. I know my life has changed in a positive way by “scripting” or writing down what I’m grateful for. How do you expect more things to happen, if you don’t appreciate what you already have? Quit wishing for the next best thing. Live more in the moment.
Now It’s Your Turn
I’m giving you all homework. Go out & buy yourself a nice journal. It can be moleskin or one with a cool design. Bring it home, sit down in a comfy chair, date it & write down something you are grateful for that day. It can a sentence, a word, an entire page or a drawing. However you want to express gratitude on the page, do that. Then, keep going. Write something each day or every few days of your wins of the day, the people you care about most, places you’ve been. Even though the world is tough right now, there is plenty to still be grateful for.
I think we all can relate 2020 has been a stressful year. All of us have become superheros in our own rights wearing more than just our usual hat & juggling responsibilities like we are professional circus clowns. Some of us are in lockdown for the second time, having to bare the boredom that is being stuck between the same four walls of our homes. How do we manage such a lifestyle change? Today, I’m here to discuss the ways to find peace during the uncertainty & keep our stress levels to a minimum.
Drop A Plastic Ball
Now, I can’t take full credit on this suggestion. But I was blown away by this one so I had to share. Youtuber, Allison Anderson discussed the idea that we as humans are constantly juggling both plastic & glass balls. Most of the time we are unable to handle the weight of both types. We tend to focus our attention to the plastic ones which are daily tasks, responsibilities, deadlines & obligations. But we must not let the weight of those hinder the glass ones. What do the glass balls represent? Your mental health of course. We don’t ever want our mental health to suffer or our glass ball to drop. Unfortunately, I think we all have had moments where we have let this happen. And that’s when our stress levels go through the roof. So, to prevent this, we must let a plastic ball drop instead. Stop filling your calendar with too many obligations when you know you won’t be able to handle it all. It’s ok to say no. Have a sense of balance with your life. Protect your mental wellbeing.
Write Your Thoughts Down on Paper
Have you ever had those moments where your mind is racing a mile a minute & you can’t get any of those thoughts straight? Sit down, take out a piece of paper & start writing. There is seriously something powerful about writing thoughts down on paper. It’s like once those thoughts are etched in ink, they are free from the overthinking mind. I think venting is a great way to get those feelings out. And there is something beautiful & private about having such a moment with yourself. I myself don’t always hold onto my venting pages. I usually just shred them right after. But you can always look back on your thoughts a few days later & see if you feel the same way. Usually you don’t have the same perspective. The idea of writing down your thoughts on paper is taking your internal feelings & releasing them externally. And with that, you should feel lighter.
Ask yourself, “will this matter in the future?”
This question has saved me from hours of overthinking. Most situations, solve themselves pretty quickly. And even when they are heavier topics, such as grief, even those become better with time. But for the majority of daily tasks & responsibilities, worrying about the outcome is wasted energy on your part. Things will play out when they should & how they should. Sometimes we have no control whatsoever. Once you except this notion, you’ll become more at peace.
Take a Moment for Yourself
Mental health & self care are one in the same. And I’m constantly talking about its importance. Especially during this time, we MUST put ourselves first. I don’t care how busy you may be. Put down the laptop, put the baby in their crib, let the kids do their thing, let your significant other play video games & take time for yourself! Run a warm bath, exfoliate your skin, put on a face mask, paint your nails or apply a leave in conditioner. These all sound like superficial things, but I’m telling you, when you feel good on the outside you will be able to handle whatever life throws at you. My favorite me time activity during these cold months is curling up with some hot chocolate & a good book.
Change Your Scenery
If you are in lockdown again, this might seem difficult, but I’m telling you it’s not. If I feel like I’m spending too much time in the living room, typing away, I’ll sit my ass down on a different chair in my blogging office or at the kitchen table. If I’m really bored of being at home, I’ll drive around & hit up the Starbucks drive thru. Sometimes I’ll just drive around different neighborhoods & listen to music. Another great idea is to take a walk in your neighborhood. Fresh air is so crucial. And if the temperature is dropping, just do what I do & put on a bubble coat that goes down to your feet. I also have been decorating our house for Christmas already. It makes me feel happier & brighter during these cold dark nights.
Bury Your Social Media Apps
I read about this tip as well & thought it was genius. I’ve already discussed the importance of decluttering your digital space but I never thought about this idea. To help use your apps more intentionally, hide them in the back of your folders on your phone. As someone who constantly checks Twitter & news outlets for updates about this virus mess, it can all become too much sometimes. I tend to always find at least one upsetting article that puts me in a bad mood the rest of the day. So, to help get away from the chaos, why not hide them from plain site.
Let Go of What is Unnecessary
Like the concept of plastic and glass balls, sometimes you need to let go of some things completely. Whether it’s toxic people, work environment or social media platforms, there are times where you need to clean house. And before the new year I always like to clean up a few things to start fresh. I’ll be sure to discuss these topics closer to the new year.
Do A Bit of Cleaning
I know not everyone is as much of a clean freak like me, but I’ve always managed my stress by occupying my mind through organizing my room or cleaning around the house. I use it as a form of distraction & then get a clean house out of it. Win win for me. Also, when my space is clean, I feel less stressed out anyway.
Have a Heart to Heart
I know when you keep things bottled up it makes situations feel worse. It’s important to have people in your life you can go to for advice or simply someone to listen. Other people can provide other perspectives on problems that you may not have thought about. And sometimes talking things out just makes it seem easier. I know this year has felt pretty isolating. I feel for those who live alone. But luckily we have technology to help us feel more connected. Plan a zoom date or get together, text a friend, play Among Us or Fall Guys with someone. Even message a follower / “online” friend. Reading other people’s blogs & connecting with you all on social media has been a blessing during these times. It has made the rest of this year better.
Focus on a Brighter Future
I honestly feel like a better tomorrow will never come with the year we’ve had. But you have to remember, generations before us have gone through some tough times as well & they made it through. Start thinking about future plans & ideas. Where do you want to travel to next once things are better? Go back to the writing tip & start manifesting your dream life. Although it seems like this virus is with us for longer than we wanted, it brightens my heart when I see people getting married still, buying homes, adopting pets or even starting new careers & continuing education. Focus on those stories & moments. Those are the resilient ones. But at the same time, if you are feeling down & unmotivated, don’t beat yourself up for feeling this way. Your emotions are valid. Treat yourself with care. We will all get through this.
Now that I have a place to call my own, I can finally express my love for interior design, with Todd’s input as well of course. And I’ve definitely learned a thing or two about how to keep a home organized, clean & pleasing to the eye through the help of minimalism & my mom. Here are my 5 guidelines to home design according to a minimalist:
Let Your Walls Be Your ArtWork: I actually prefer open space & blank walls. I love showing off the paint color & crown molding. It takes a lot for me to hang up a piece of art or photo on the wall because I want to only display things that mean something to me. My mom actually gave me the advice to keep your walls picture free as much as possible. She believes your walls & paint color should be the focal point to a room & I couldn’t agree more. If you’ve read my post on How I Survive Living with a Non Minimalist, you know when Todd & I moved in together, there was a lot of compromise in this department. He loves filling every empty space while I find it so unnecessary.
The More You Display, The More You Have To Dust: I learned this real quick when I was younger, because I hated cleaning my room growing up. I was taught to only keep at the max, two items on each surface area of my bedroom. At first, I found this to be really annoying, as I had a lot of trinkets & favorite momentos. But as I got older, I understood this “rule” because it makes cleaning so much easier & faster. Every photo you have out, or every book you have on a shelf, that’s one more dusty item in your home. Plus, I’ve found when you choose a few things to have out, it looks less cluttered & those few items become focal points in your space.
Focus on the Big Picture First: When you first put together a space, make the larger items your focus. In a living room for example, find a comfortable couch & a tv stand or wall mount for your television. Everything else is optional. Well, the tv can also be optional, but I personally like my shows. When you prioritize the larger items, instead of decor first, you essentially save money as well.
Take a bedroom for another example, all you really need in there is a bed. Make finding the right size, comfort & quality the priority & worry about everything else later. I personally love having my own night stand, so we keep that pretty symmetrical. We do have dressers, but if I had my own walk in closet, I’d ditch those in a heartbeat. I’d much rather have more open space & all my clothing in one spot.
Show off Your Personality: A big misconception to minimalism, is having a home that is plain & boring. I don’t fit in this category. I love a home that has personal touches to the space & has little bits of what we love scattered around the house. One of my favorite parts of our home is our gallery wall. As you go up to the second floor, you are presented with photos of us from different travels & fun times. Everytime I pass by this area, I get a smile on my face. Along with this, we have other areas where we display trinkets & decor that show off our interests.
Make Rooms Practical For You: I love the idea of transforming different rooms in the house into useful spaces that fit your lifestyle at the moment. I personally, don’t understand the need for dining rooms anymore, other than the occasional family holiday dinner. I’d much rather use a space like that as an office, homework area for kids in the future or even a huge mudroom/closet. In quarantine especially, I’ve realized our homes need to include a few other necessities. Sometimes you need a home office, a homeschool area or even a gym. I’d hate to waste precious space on styles that are barely used. It’s your home, make it your own.