HOUSE & HOME           MIND           FINANCE           TRAVEL         CONTACT

August 11, 2016

FINANCE: The Importance of Breaking the Shopping Habit

spending with debit card

To fully embrace minimalism and put an end to the accumulation of clutter and the amassing debt, you need only make one change to your life:

Break the habit of shopping for leisure.

August 8, 2016

MIND: Redefining "Enough" and Ending the Cycle of Want

minimalist shop display

The minimalist lifestyle and philosophy are built around a central idea--to focus on living your best life by eliminating the excess that holds you back. The catch? To determine what is excess, you must first define enough.  

July 19, 2016

TRAVEL: My Minimalist Basics for Summer Vacations and Other Travel Adventures

As someone who lives with less, traveling light is still a concern for me. I took a weekend trip earlier this month and learned that even the few things that I'd packed in a backpack were still more than I really needed (or wanted to lug around) for the short time I was away from home.

With just a few weeks of summer left here, my family is gearing up for a week-long road trip and each of us is planning to pack like a pro using some of the lessons I learned on my recent weekend away. Did I really need three tank tops and two t-shirts in case I changed my mind about what I wanted to wear? No, I just needed to make sure everything was comfortable, flattering, and could mix and match.

This time, it's just the necessities--no frills--in one small bag per person.

Since the trip will be taking us to several different places, we'll need to make sure we're equipped for lots of city walking, some rural outdoor activities, a nice dinner out, and a short stay at the beach. Here's what we'll each be taking:

January 19, 2016

HOME: Clearing Clutter in Waves

The past few days at my home have been built around several long sessions of clutter-clearing.

How is it that a family who has adopted a minimalist lifestyle, purged more than half of their belongings, and has completely altered their buying habits still has so much clutter to get rid of?

It's not so much that there's more clutter, it's that the minimalist mindset has helped us to be more aware of what we use and what we love. Because of that, we can see that after the initial purge earlier in the year that we're still not using the majority of the things we kept.

Enter stage left: the second wave of decluttering.

December 31, 2015

FINANCE: How Old-Fashioned Advice Changed My Financial Life

When I was in my twenties, I lived like most of my peers: from paycheck to paycheck.

I figured if there was any kind of emergency, either my health insurance or my credit card could handle it. No savings account? No problem.

Any money that I earned that didn't right away go to pay bills went towards my social life, clothes and shoes, or vintage cars. (Okay, I may be the odd duck with that last one, but everybody has their thing.) Accumulating debt wasn't even on my radar.

I was fortunate back then that my plan of not having a real plan for an emergency fund or savings worked out okay and that I never really needed one. Pretty soon, though, along came kids and a house and all of the other things that accompany settling down and taking on more responsibility.

My credit card bills felt like anchors. The fact that I had no savings started to make me twitchy. It was time to get real, to look the scary idea of living paycheck to paycheck for the rest of my life directly in the face, and to do something about it before it was too late.

In researching my best options for getting rid of debt and accumulating savings, I came across one old-fashioned piece of advice over and over again. That advice?

December 27, 2015

HOME: Minimalism Is Not Just Black and White

When you ask most people what image comes to mind when you say the word minimalism, they will quickly describe to you a stark white room with little or no items inside of it, much like an art gallery in the 1980s and '90s or a surreal futuristic scene from a sci-fi film. If they do describe any decor, it's usually white on white or some other stark black and white palette.

Well, I'm here to tell you that minimalism comes in every color of the rainbow!

Thankfully, there is no set of rules when it comes to what constitutes minimal living for each individual. The items that I need to live my daily life may not fit in a backpack, but yours might. You may need a car to commute to work because jobs in your area are far from affordable living space and there is no public transportation, while I might ride a bike only a few miles to my job each day.

We can both lead minimalist lifestyles, but chances are that they will look very different from one another.

December 26, 2015

HOME: Quality vs. Quantity (or How Minimalism Helped Me to Have a Stress-Free Holiday)

This year was our first Christmas season as a minimalist family.

Sure, my husband and I have been making strides in the lifestyle for a while, but our children (now 15 and 10) are finally on board and have been enjoying the benefits of having easier access to the things they love while having to deal less with the chaos created by the things they don't. Hey, who wouldn't?

In the past, the winter holidays have been a source of stress and anxiety in our house. Maybe not all are quick to admit it, but we dreaded the sudden influx of Stuff and the responsibility of figuring out what to do with it when the whirlwind of December came to a close. Even getting ready for the holiday was a pain--pulling storage bins out of an overcrowded attic, rearranging the already-tight confines of our living space to accommodate a tree, and carving out a place to stash and wrap gifts were overwhelming tasks.

Our uncluttered home made decorating and wrapping easy this year, but there was still the daunting subject of the Stuff that would be showing up soon.