Moving Toward Permaculture

I saw a documentary  about the shifts coming in 2012 and the move of society towards permaculture and sustainable living. I have to admit it enticed me and intrigued me to learn more. In the coming weeks I will post more information on it here at Romantic Minimalist.
When relating some of the information to my husband I was pleasantly surprised that he was interested in talking about using alternative energy such as passive solar, creating our own garden, and creating an energy efficient home when we move to our own living space. For now in our apartment I can make some adjustments to how we spend our money and get down to the basics.

Coffee and tea- I hope to allow these to just fade away. My caffeine consumption has been altered by my Graves disease and quite frankly I don’t miss it that much.  My husband travels most of the time so he drinks little of it at home. End of year should be the last.

Cereals- We gave these up. Now a simple piece or handful of fruit and sometimes some nuts make up our version of a healthy meal.

Cosmetics- I struggled for quite some time with wanting to get rid of makeup and expensive skin creams but didn’t want to look like a Gothic ghost.  Finally I decided to get highlights instead of coloring my hair dark brown and now I don’t really need makeup. I replaced my skin creams and lotions with olive oil. Done.

Clothing- Continuing my $1 clothing challenge at the second-hand store seems in order as well as using  Freecycle . Any clothing that we can’t wear anymore will be considered for up-cycling to something new to use before we discard it or give it away.  Using old clothing for quilts, pillows, and rice bags seems a good way to use what we have more than once.

Electricity and natural gas-we began unplugging those things that we weren’t using such as kitchen appliances, chargers, fans and other such items to save electricity. I don’t really need the digital clock on the microwave. To do away with kitchen appliances would be even better. We will get to that one gradually.

Space- Clutter just isn’t our style anymore. We want peace and calm in our home and we can have that while we still do all the things we love to do. We went paperless a while ago and do most things digitally. The result was so pleasing that we never looked back. There is no need to keep many files or magazines anymore. My next little project is to give my china away. It seems lonely collecting dust.

Simple Exercise- we adopted simple exercise a while ago and intend to keep it! Walking, jogging, dancing, and body weight exercises are simple, easy, and fast to do. We don’t use extra electricity playing an online game or watching a video and we don’t waste gas driving to the gym.  Right now is the time for me to ride my bike to work and not worry about gas prices!

Container Gardening- My favorite move towards permaculture and living a simple life is patio gardening. I’m planting some containers this week and it’s so exciting to think of fresh herbs and lettuce for our table!

I believe that this kind of living is a work in progress, a joyful work, and anyone can do it. Will you do your part to save earth?

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Take the Medication for Life

You go to the Doctor.
She writes a prescription for medication.
You take it to the Pharmacy.
The pharmacy fills a bottle and gives it to you.
You take it home and read the bottle.
Over and over again you read the bottle.

You can read all you want.
If you don’t take the medicine
it won’t help you.

There are many experts on different subjects.
Experts are fine.
The experienced are more rare.
Experience speaks a language all itself.

Read all the blogs and websites you want.
Gain knowledge if you need to.
Don’t just sit there in the end.
Take what you learned and do something.

You can’t change your life by gaining knowledge.
You can only change your life if you take action.

Categories: Body, Home, Mind, Soul | Tags: , , , , ,

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

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.

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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

When the Old is New Again

If you are reading this you may have chosen all or part of a minimalist lifestyle. You may have chosen to stop shopping and find your authentic self. Just because you have chosen this way of living doesn’t mean that it has to be boring. There are many ways to shake things up and make the old seem new again.

* Download one or many of the classics for a “new” book to read at The Gutenberg Project
* Move your furniture around in your house. Even think about changing pictures or paint a wall.
* Build a new board game out of scrap wood. You can find plenty around construction projects. Ask the builder permission before you enter a site.
* Trade things with a neighbor.
* Make new combinations of your wardrobe.
* Use ThredUp to swap children’s clothes, books, and toys.
* Check out Freecycle to find something you might need, then give away something else.
* Look around and see what you can do with what you already have.

What have you done with your old stuff to make it new?

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