Monthly Archives: November 2011

Happy Space

When I became a Romantic Minimalist I decided
to take matters of space into my own hands.
I was no longer a victim to consumerism.
Deprivation didn’t enter into my thoughts.
I just wanted to keep the important things
and leave the chaos and stress behind.
My people have asked me how I did it.
How did I part with so much stuff?
This is how I became a Romantic Minimalist.
I have never looked back…

I watched my children have to clean out
their Grandmother’s house after her death.
It was painful watching them have to go
through all that stuff and try to decide
what to do with it. There were arguments
among their father and his siblings as
well as manipulation. It was sad.
This event coincided with an illness of
my own that took me dangerously close
to my own death.
I thought about all of the things that
my children would have to take care of
in the event of my own death.
That changed things in an instant.

This is how I did it:

1) Clothes
I cleaned out things I hadn’t worn.
Next, I narrowed down to black as a basic.
I threw out shoes that hurt my back.
Practical clothes were kept.
I kept what I loved to wear.
The donations were constant.
It felt good.

2) Crafts
I narrowed down my crafts to one project at a time.
Embroidery was dear to me.
My Grandmother had taught me at an early age.
I donated every other project.
Now I embroidery quilt squares.
When I finish I will choose one project next.

3) Housewares
I sorted out the gadgets we didn’t need.
Appliances and baking supplies were given away.
When I want to bake I buy a mix.
I keep a 9×13 pan for everything.
We gave away our extra sheets and towels.
The china is going next.
Have you ever used your china?
Is it sentimental?

4) Paper
As a writer and a reader I decided
to save trees and space too.
We went digital.
Instead of buying books we bought Xoom tablets, and smart phones.
We now get free classic books.
Notes are taken on colornote on tablets and phones.
No clutter on the desk or counter.
We gave our paper books to others.

5) Consumables
We buy less processed food.
Basic vegetables, rice, oatmeal,
and fruit are on the menu.
Simple meals with little preparation.

I have chosen simple beauty now.
No expensive jars of cream.
Olive oil, vit E, and lemon juice
are my choice for skin.
I cut my own hair and limit
makeup and beauty products.

In every category I thought
about what I truly loved.
The things I chose had meaning.
Sometimes practical was important.
What I found in the end was amazing.

Happy space was there. I choose to live
knowing that there are few things
left behind without meaning.

Categories: All the Rest, Home, Mind, Soul | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

How Do You Simplify Your Life?

When life became more than I could keep up with and anxiety began to take its toll on my body and mind I took a step back to breathe.
I had a “light bulb” moment.
Instead of seeking more I needed less.
Less chaos, less worry, less debt, less stress, and less heartache were what I needed to simplify my life.

Ask yourself these simple questions:

* How do I get to less to lead a simple life?
* What if I to make some radical changes to be happy?
* What if I only keep the things I absolutely love?
* Is being happy worth the risk of going against the crowd?
* What if doing my own thing makes me happy?
* What if people laugh? Would it really matter if it makes me happy?

Here are the radical choices I made to simplify my life as a woman:

1) Ditch the Makeup
I found myself worrying constantly about what to put on my face.
I drove myself crazy.
After endless stress about how to keep minimal makeup I decided to just ditch it all.
Stress over.
Hint: I accidentally found that if you announce your minimalism, others are accepting.
I just smile and use my SIMPLE BEAUTY without a care.

2) Stop Keeping Things “Just in Case”
I had a lot of things around just in case I needed one.
I started thinking more about the present and less about the future.
If I kept all that stuff, the odds of me finding it in the future were slim to none.
I rid my home of the extras that cluttered the closets and other places.
Think present moment.

3) Stop Buying Gifts
Now before you think I am callous, read on.
I changed the gift.
Now I give of my time.
I babysit for new mothers, run errands for elderly or the busy family member.
Time is the most valuable thing you can give.

4) Minimize Your Clothes
I picked a few things that I really loved and gave away the rest.
I kept what I loved and used the most.

5) Start Drinking Water
I stopped drinking caffeine, alcohol, and soft drinks.
Essentially I determined that drinking water was what my body needed.
Our grocery bill went down more than $50 a month by not buying these anymore.

6) Start Eating Healthy
I stopped eating processed food and sugar and now eat a vegan diet.
Our grocery bill once again went down significantly.
Eating vegan made my cholesterol levels go down as well.

I didn’t do everything all at once but when one thing felt so good, I was anxious to do more and it was easy to change. When my friends and coworkers walk up to me and ask me what I am doing to look so good, what do you think I say?

“I simplified my life.”

Categories: All the Rest, Soul | Leave a comment

To Hell With Fashion Trends

Marketers suck us in by making us think we are never good enough. Whatever we have is not the beautiful of the moment. We should buy jeans that don’t make our butt look good but they are in fashion. We should buy big purses for outrageous prices to get attention from our friends. Redecorate yourself in something new every year because what you have isn’t good enough. You aren’t good enough but you deserve the best things money can buy. Your life will be better if you just have one more thing that’s in fashion. Where did your authentic self go? When was the last time you wore something because you loved it but it wasn’t “in”? When was the last time you felt comfortable in your own skin?
Now is the time to say to hell with fashion trends and think about what makes you feel beautiful.
I saw an older woman at the grocery store the other day. She had on jeans that fit her well but weren’t the current style. She wore a crisp white blouse that is classic and never goes out of style. A simple belt with classic boots topped off her outfit. She looked FABULOUS! She was put together, ready for anything, and simply beautiful. The lesson here is that you don’t have to get complicated to look great. Be who you are and let natural beauty shine.

I recently cut my hair short again. It’s not the popular choice to do. I didn’t want any complicated beauty regimen. Short works for me. I get out of the shower, towel dry my hair, put a bit of gel in it and go. I gave away the hair dryer, curlers, and numerous products that cluttered my bathroom cabinet and never made me feel happy. It’s not the choice of everyone but its my choice and it suits me. It makes me think more about being at a healthy weight instead of hiding behind hair. It allows me more time to spend with my family and doing the things I love instead of standing in front of a mirror every day hoping I don’t have a bad hair day.

I choose not to wear high heels anymore. My back objects and I don’t feel that the pain it inflicts on me is worth the attention I might gain. I am also 5 foot 10 and tall enough already to make a statement. I’m also okay with going unnoticed. At 45 I am beyond the need to make an entrance or to make an impression on the opposite sex. I am happily married and my husband is quite happy with who I am. That is all the attention I need.

Once again I have reduced my wardrobe. I wish I could be like the guy that travels with his backpack, two pairs of jeans, two shirts, his computer, and his phone. That’s not exactly realistic in my current life. I have made some changes that I like and have reduced my wardrobe down to the basics that I absolutely love. I love wearing black. My Mother taught me that black is classy and hides flaws. I chose black for my base neutral color. The combination that I have fallen in love with for work is bright top, black pants, and pearls. It’s simple and it works with my life. When it’s cooler I throw a sweater over the top and go. Black pants can go from work to dinner and never look wrong. When I decided to embrace Romantic Minimalism I fell in love with the idea of wearing only those things that I really love. No exceptions. I stopped buying jewelry and just wear my pearl earrings. They have always been my favorite accessory.

Finding your authentic self starts with not exposing yourself to marketing. Stop shopping for recreation or therapy for your woes. Buy only what you need. What you need should also be something you love that will last. Determining what works for you as an individual is something that only you can discover but oh it feels good to be yourself.

Categories: Home, Soul | Leave a comment

Following the Herd

It’s easy to follow the crowd. Follow fashion. Follow trends. Follow the herd. We are like sheep sometimes. In every herd or flock there tends to be a more aggressive soul. It’s the one that leads the others along the path. She is the first to the feed, the first to the green grass, and the first to get stuck in the mud. The leader is followed mindlessly by the herd. They see that one is headed in a certain direction and so they follow with the thinking that there must be something good there. No thought is given to the individual. This is the mentality of the herd. In order to be considered one of the group, each member must follow another in order to remain together. To be off alone is simply not heard of at all. To survive one must be part of the herd right?

May I point out that we aren’t sheep? Each and every one of us has a brain and the ability to use it. Do you remember a time that you followed the crowd and got into trouble? Did you regret it?

We get sucked into thinking that we have to follow the herd whether what they are doing is right for us or not. One of the most insane herdisms is the low-cut jean for women. When they came into style girls and women flocked to dressing rooms to squeeze into them. We convinced ourselves they were comfortable, that they could look good on us, and that since it’s the fashion we MUST wear them. Females became even thinner to look good in the new “skinny jean” and Ann Taylor airbrushed images of models to make the bar even higher to be thin because thin is in. Perfection eluded us at every turn. We still followed the herd even though it made us ill and unattractive. Mindless sheep we were.

I woke up one morning and found my self to have transformed from a sheep to a romantic minimalist. It was an instantly freeing feeling. I bought jeans that I enjoyed because they fit me. I smiled when I wore them. It made me feel so good that I cleaned my closet and said “To Hell with fashion trends”. I sang to myself on the way to work. The herd was gone and I loved it. I introduced myself as a minimalist woman at work, to family, and friends. They got used to it and simply accepted my simple beauty and my simple exercise approach. They were happy for me. They started to follow me…

Categories: Body | 1 Comment

What You Choose to Keep

I refer to myself as a Romantic Minimalist. It’s a term I made up to describe my feelings towards my own minimalism. I decided to reach towards minimalism after a serious illness. The experience of coming close to death brought to mind what is important in my life. My thought wasn’t so much about getting rid of things as it was keeping only what meant the most to me and what I truly needed. What you choose to keep is much more important that what you choose to get rid of when you take inventory of your possessions.

What do you choose to keep?

No one else can give you a list of what to choose to keep. It is an individual decision that only you can make. I had a trunk full of keepsakes that I never looked at. When I cleaned it out I chose to keep only pictures and letters that were important to me. When it came down to it, the old prom flowers, endless cards, and scraps of memories didn’t hold me. It was my own decision and it felt right. I had held onto some of it thinking it would tell my children the story of who I was. Reality struck when I found that they weren’t the least bit interested. They are happy with who I AM.

I found that my closet was full of practical clothes that were of various sizes and colors. It felt good to minimize by letting go of the things that didn’t fit. I kept just the size that currently fit me knowing that I could buy clothes rather inexpensively at the second-hand store to replace them as I lost weight. My mind considered that there was someone out there now that needed them. Then I chose the clothes that I loved to wear. These clothes that I wear often reflect the inside of me. Bright colored tops and black pants dominate my closet now. They all mix and match to make dressing easy every day. It’s freeing to look inside my closet and know just what to wear every day. It’s never a hassle to decide what to wear. I feel good in clothes that I love and it shows.

After going back and forth on beauty items I decided to ditch most of it and go minimal. It’s an extreme for a woman that has spent a fair amount of time worrying about makeup, nails, and hair. I went back to basics in skin care because it feels right to take care of my skin with natural products. I decided to cut my hair short and color it at home. These are all too much you might think, but I have enjoyed the time it allows me for other things that mean more to me. The extra money in my pocket makes me smile.

I do these things because it makes me feel good not because I profess to be a saint or I enjoy deprivation. Romantic Minimalism may benefit the planet but it is really just for me. The freedom that having less stuff has allowed me is priceless.

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The Power of Three

It’s come to the point that I only own the bare necessities.
When I even think about adding more I get anxious about it.
I always find that I don’t need more than three.

*Three shirts ls
*Three shirts 3/4s
*Three sweaters
*Three pants
*Three outerwear
*Three sets of underwear
*Three pairs socks
*Three pairs shoes

One pair of pants is for around the house.
I can mix and match shirts with sweaters or not.
These are the clothes I love the most and what I need for my life.
There is nothing else.

Yes its extreme.
Not everyone can do it.
It’s just for me.
Instead of thinking of what I lack,
I see what I have.

I found the diamonds in my life and kept them.
Then I got rid of the rest.

Categories: Body, Home | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Everything You Have Matters

Imagine having a life where everything you have matters.
Consider taking a day or a weekend to purge your life of mediocrity.
Tear your house apart and put back only the things that matter.
Is this so radical?
We as a society have filled our lives with things that marketing and other people tell us we need.
We buy clothes that we don’t feel good in because they are the fashion.
We decorate our homes with designs we found in the latest glossy magazine.

What if you just keep what makes you smile?

Start with the bedroom

Pull everything out of your closet.
Pile it on the bed.
Put back only the clothes you wear every week.
Pick three of your most loved outfits for work, love, and play.
Bag up the rest immediately.
Work quickly and act on instinct.

If you don’t adore it don’t keep it.

Now dump the dresser drawers on your bed.
Throw away singular socks, worn out underwear, and give away the sleepwear you never use.
Once again, work quickly and keep only what you love and use.
Now look around the room and get rid of magazines, perfume you never wear, and dust collectors,

Get rid of the boyfriend that leaves his stuff around and verbally abuses you.

Kick them all to the curb.

Start fresh.

Next comes the bathroom

Throw away cosmetics or personal care products that are old or never used.
Get rid of old shampoo bottles and the razor that has seen better days.
Donate the little bottles of things you brought back from travels.
Wipe down the drawers and shelves.
Throw away the towels with holes in them.

Put back only the things that you love.

Make your kitchen new again

What kinds of food do you make the most?
Do you eat out all the time yet own every gadget imaginable?
The first thing to do is to clear the counter.
Now you have work space.
Clean out the drawers one at a time.
Don’t stop to think too much.
If you used it this month keep it.
Donate what you don’t use.
If you don’t ever have time or reason to bake then don’t keep baking products or equipment.
We live in a world where you don’t have to “stock up”.
Pick up a simple brownie mix when you feel the urge to bake.
If you have a pantry or keep a cupboard of various goods move on to that next.
Donate anything that you don’t use.
Throw away anything that is outdated or is questionably old.
If you have sworn off junk food then get rid of it now.
Don’t keep things in your kitchen that will make you feel guilty to eat.
Throw away ratty dish cloths, pot holders, and dish towels.
Get rid of dishes that have chips or are a loner unless they are sentimental and you use them.

By the way, have you ever used that china?

Love your living room
Move on to the living room.
Sit down and have a cup of tea and look at it closely.
Take just 20 minutes to really look at it.
The first order of business is to get rid of magazines, catalogs, and newspapers as well as mail.
Cancel subscriptions or make a vow not to renew them.
Digital versions are usually available on the internet.
No clutter and financial gain are yours now.
Get rid of furniture you hate.
Call the Salvation Army or other charitable organization to come and get it.
List it on freecycle.org or sell it but act now.
Don’t put it off.
Put away anything that doesn’t belong in your newly found living room.
Make a habit to put things away as soon as you walk in the front door.
Dust the remaining furniture that you love and straighten the pictures.
Get rid of cheesy knickknacks.
Move things around to make it all seem new if you want.
Clean the rugs and you are done.

Now have another cup of tea and sit in awe.

What to do with the extras

If you have a garage or extra room that is stuffed, choose another time to tackle it.
Shut the door for now and enjoy what you accomplished with your main living areas.
The extras are actually pretty easy.
Donate or toss those things that you haven’t used in the last year.
If you didn’t love them enough to use them last year, you won’t use them this year either.
Free up the space for new adventures with the things you do love.

Keep it simple.

Now when you look around your home you will see that everything you have matters. You are now surrounded by the things that bring you joy. Less is not about deprivation. It’s about what matters.

Categories: All the Rest | Leave a comment

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