Last week I realized that I’ve gone a month without writing anything for my blog, and decided to pull one from the drafts that I had written a while back and never published. I thought it would be worth touching on why I haven’t written as much lately, and what this journey has been looking like lately.
Minimizing my Life
It’s all fine and dandy to be writing a blog about my journey with financial independence and minimalism, I was finding myself writing more about minimalism versus actually minimizing myself. The last few weeks, I have dedicated some serious efforts to downsizing the stuff in our house, with my birthday weekend being one of our more productive weekends.
Our change was noticeable enough that when my son came home from a night at his grandparent’s, he asked “where did the room go?” My husband later commented that it looks like we just moved in, and I personally felt a huge sense of relief.
Earlier this year, we made a simple change to keep our island clear of clutter. Clutter attracts more clutter after all. Surprisingly with this clean surface, I found us motivated to keep our kitchen table clear of clutter as well. From there, it seemed to spread, and we’ve made some huge progress to downsizing the stuff in our kitchen, bedrooms, and living room.
I’ve continued to watch videos of people on a similar journey to minimalism, and it’s a reassuring reminder that this doesn’t happen overnight without effort and that the results are worth it. Here are some of the techniques I’ve been using and ah-ha moments I’ve had:
- We started with one clean surface and didn’t stress about anything else
- Realized that clean surfaces are really easy to clean and was motivated to continue
- Stopped feeling guilty about holding onto gifts when I knew my kids wouldn’t or couldn’t use them.
- Gave myself 1 month to sell anything of value, otherwise, it went to goodwill. While I tried to sell, the items were quarantined where we couldn’t see them.
- Intentionally started pairing down my closet (and my kids) on essential items and acknowledged that it is possible to own too many sweatshirts and leggings.
- Acknowledged that a family with two adults did not need 50+ things to drink from in our kitchen. My husband even parted with some of his beer mugs and that was a big deal! Or maybe he was being nice because it was my birthday.
- Implemented a quarantine bin technique to temporarily remove things without the commitment of donating them for a month or two.
- Stopped buying food in bulk. It’s ok to pay 20 cents more for mustard if it means that space in my closet is free for the next 6 months.
Maximizing Mental Health
I suppose it’s not all about minimizing around here, and I realized a few months ago that I needed to take some time to focus on my mental health. This came in the form of exercise, eating well, and carving out some time for some hiking and exercise.
Unfortunately, I still suck at most of those things, but I continue to envision the person I want to be 5-10 years from now and reflect on the habits of that person. The pandemic has been a challenging year+, and like many others, I’ve put on weight and haven’t been exercising as much. Having a baby and many sleepless nights have certainly not made the journey easier, but I continue to focus on the few things I can control, and that snowball into other good habits.
- Making health non-negotiable – scrap the excuses and take the 30 minutes to exercise. The world will not end.
- Fill my fridge with plenty of fruits and vegetables and focus on eating lots of them.
- Allow myself snacks/treats only if I’ve had enough water for the day and I am not snacking due to dehydration.
- Yoga and breathing/meditation are extremely beneficial to set my day off well and work for lazy people like me.
- Identify ways to give back to our community that align with my purpose/passions in life, and appreciate feeling like I am adding value to others’ lives.
- Take the time to connect with others
Speaking of connecting with others, I have been spending time researching day hikes and backpacking. My husband will continue to think I’m crazy, but I’m optimistic that in a few years as my kids get older, that I can go for a night or weekend trip somewhere nearby. I have been extremely thankful to connect with a group of ladies on social media that are preparing for their first backpacking trip overnight. While I’m certainly not ready to jump in yet, it has been a great experience to be part of their journey and read about their excitement while preparing for a journey I hope to join in on one day.
What have you done lately to support your basic needs and stay motivated to follow through with your goals?