Saturday, April 16, 2016

Minimalist Lifestyle?

An interesting thing has happened since I have been working on decluttering my house.  I have started to really think a lot more about my purchases and what I truly need to buy.  I have had bouts in my past of "retail therapy".  In fact, it was one of the ways I managed to stay in a bad marriage years ago.  While I am not nearly that bad these days, I still buy too much. And as I have been getting rid of things, I really don't want to fill the spaces back up.  I've started to learn that there are always going to be things to buy.  But in order to get something new, I have to get rid of or use up what I am purchasing.  Clothing has been especially bad for me in the past.  Not only clothing for myself but also my girls.  I love dressing them up in cute things and I love shopping for those cute things.  Or at least I used to. Bags are another one I have a problem with although I have done a lot better this last year.  I am still carrying a Fossil bag that I bought over a year ago and still think it is the best bag I have ever owned.  I know the reward now of taking my time to select the just right bag.

I have found the last couple of years, I enjoy shopping a whole lot less.  I also enjoy cleaning and organizing a whole lot less.  Perhaps that is because the two go hand in hand. I'm starting to really want to think through a purchase even if it is small and determine if I really need it and will use it.  There are things I've purchased in the past because I thought they were cool or I wanted to be like that thing but in reality, my interest once I got the item home began to disappear.  You know it isn't good when you don't even want to remove it from the bag. I also used to buy things because I could surely find a use for it or had good intentions for it one day.  One day never came over and over and over. I was also horrible at returning items... they just sat forever in my house gathering dust.  I have been so wasteful.

So my mind has been drifting towards a lifestyle change.  Nothing immediately drastic but a slow migration over time.  I'm more successful with this approach anyway, I've learned.  I really do want to continue to pare down my belongings and only own what I truly need and use.  My collectable hoarding family may revolt against me but this feels right to me.  I really only want to own things that I love and use.  I don't want too full shelves or cabinets.  I don't want to hold onto 10 different bottles of lotion when I only really love one.  I expect this migration to be a continuous pare down of items, continuous passes that I make in the house to remove items that are not being used.  As items continue to dwindle down, the more at peace I expect to feel. 

Shopping smarter is a component of this plan as well.  Today I have made major improvements to my necessity shopping like groceries.  I only buy for a week and I buy things that I know I will eat vs. complicated ingredients that I have good intentions to use but never quite get around to it.  I've noticed that the more space I have in my fridge and cabinets, the more likely I am to make something from my fridge or cabinets.  As far as clothing goes, I plan to get my clothing down to about 25% of what I currently own.  This is happening a bit on it's own because as I have lost weight, things that are too big have been let go.  I am hesitant to replace much because I feel like the weight loss will continue and I don't want to spend the money only to have to replace the clothing a month later.  I did save quite a bit as I had gained weight so I have been able to dip into the back of the closet and pull out things that are smaller and now fit.  I have bought a few basic things to get me through like plain t's but for the most part, the spending has been pretty low on clothing.  I have also stopped buying all the kids clothes.  This was harder than buying clothing for myself!  We have gotten down to reasonable wardrobes for both the girls that I can supplement each season with a few new items.  Makeup shopping is coming to a halt for awhile.  I may also cancel my ipsy bag here soon.  I like the surprise of each month but I don't try half the things they send me so they sit in drawer collecting dust.  One thing I do want to change about makeup and health items is what I purchase going forward.  I have a real desire to buy eco-friendly, no animal testing products.  I plan to use up what I currently own but brands that aren't kind to the environment will not be repurchased after they are gone.  Crafting supplies will be reduced as well.  I actually don't buy much these days anyway but when I do, it has to be because I am doing the project that day.  Not in two weeks or a month.  The same goes for supplies for house projects.  I have stopped purchasing physical copies of books and music for the most part which has really cut down the on growth. (Although I do need to get my music all saved to our family shared drive and go through books that I will never read or read again). 

I have been spending a lot of time researching minimalism.  There are some great blogs and youtube channels out there that are helping me to change my mindset.  I can't picture myself a minimalist just yet but am looking forward to the transformation and the positive impacts it will have on my life.

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