Lifestyle, Minimalism

10 Things I Do Now That I’m A Minimalist

Ever since I decided to practice minimalism & live a more intentional & simple life, I’ve noticed so any wonderful changes. My perspective on life is quite different now that I don’t revolve it around consumerism & “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Although it may seem abnormal to go against the grain & live happier with less, I strongly believe EVERYONE would benefit by just simply adding one of these changes into their lives. Here are 10 Things I Do Now That I’m a Minimalist

1. I Look For New Experiences

When I stopped wanting for the next trendy piece or expensive item, I realized adding these things into my life left me feeling empty. Or, they would bring me joy for a short period of time but I would quickly want the next best thing. Instead, I look for new experiences to enrich my life & help me grow. And when I talk about experiences, I don’t just mean extravagant vacations overseas. I also mean local adventures like hidden hiking trails, new restaurants & activities. Simply trying a new drink on the Starbucks menu counts as a new experience. I’m more inclined to spend money on these forms of happiness than material items that just sit in my home because it’s another story to tell. It’s an added memory that makes us who we are or want to be.

2. I Actually Use Up Products I Buy

I try to adopt the rule of using what I have before I purchase a new one. It’s not to say, I don’t have a few backup products in the hall closet; but most duplicates are essential to daily living. I no longer experiment too often & I stick with what works. You know the phrase, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” That’s the mindset I try to keep when advertisements try to entice me with something new & trendy.

3. I No Longer Try To Keep Up With The Joneses

Comparison & competing with people is honestly so exhausting. You can never really keep up. And why are we so wired to prove things to people? We need to feel more content with the lives we create for ourselves. In a world where social media snatches joy from right under your feet, we can’t allow ourselves to see highlight reels as the only depiction of success. Wouldn’t it be more refreshing if people showed all sides to the story? And if you still find yourself comparing yourself to other’s feeds, maybe you need to consider getting rid of the platforms that aren’t serving you well. For instance, I deleted my Instagram & haven’t looked back since.

You Might Also Like: Social Media Detoxes Are Good For the Soul

4. I Enjoy The Little Things

I used to feel like my life had to be so extravagant. I had to spend tons of money, visit the most fancy locations for what? To show people I can? To make myself feel more whole? This year has taught me happiness can be found in such simple ways. I embrace that type of life now. I’ve become a real homebody. I don’t go searching for things to fill a void any longer. I’ve become a stronger person this way. And like I said about experiences, sometimes the more simple moments are the most precious.

5. I Have Better Relationships With People

I was someone who focused on my own happiness harder than others. Not in a spiteful way either. More like an oblivious way where I would stay in my own safe bubble. Now that I’m more aware, I ask people how they are doing more often. I listen to their stories instead of quickly telling them mine. I listen harder instead of being a burden. And sometimes keeping things to yourself is ok. There’s a difference between vulnerability & word vomit. Those who practice a minimalist lifestyle, tend to focus on decluttering material items. But the decluttering process can be useful for all aspects in your life. When you choose your friends wisely, the ones that remain can be the best ones for you.

6. I Know Who My Real Friends Are

I love the friendships that are there for your highs & your lows. The type of friends who love coming over your house, sit on the floor with a glass of wine & talk about life. Each stage holds different phases of friendships. They change & you evolve as well. Rarely does anything ever stay the same. Find the tribe of individuals that encourage you & show off your best self. Let go of everything else.

7. I Show More Confidence

When I was a teenager, I would get myself so upset if my outfit wasn’t perfect. I was too much of a try hard & honestly the outfits weren’t that great. I worried about not being pretty enough, not having the latest trends or whether people would notice of my boots were knockoffs. Now that I’m older my fashion sense has improved so much. The only reason for this is my sense of confidence has improved. I don’t own the most unique clothing pieces. But I know what works for me & I rock it.

You Might Also Like: How I Boosted My Confidence During a Pandemic Year

8. I Save Money

The amount of pointless purchases I’ve made in my life is astronomical. I try to be more intentional with my purchases. And no, the joggers from Target were probably not on my NEED list, but during quarantine, they were an essential. When I do decide to treat myself, I appreciate it more. Before, I would spend so often that I stopped being grateful. “Oh that $50 Anastasia Beverly Hills Highlight Palette? Trash! And like that palette, it just sat in my drawer untouched. I try to maintain the mindset of purchasing items that are purposeful, fit in my capsule wardrobe or would truly benefit me evolve as a person.

You Might Also Like: How To Save Money The Intentional Way

9. I Have Gratitude

That house you live in. The nice bedding you sleep on. The pets you own. Never take those things for granted. I used to have the mindset of always wanting the next best thing. Although I do own less, I’ve learned to really appreciate what I have. I still love owning nice things. I just don’t let them define who I am or my happiness. I try to keep things into perspective & prioritize the people, animals & experiences I have in my life above all else.

You Might Also Like: I Wrote in A Gratitude Journal For An Entire Year

10. I Live A Happier Life

Minimalism wasn’t the end all be all cure to my life but it has made me happier. I thought I knew what happiness was before, but I’m more enlightened. I didn’t realize I used material items to hide from my problems, my emotions & people. In no means am I a perfect person. I am still a work in progress. But I will say practicing this lifestyle has helped open my eyes to the important parts of life.

Twitter / Pinterest

-B

Lifestyle, wedding series

Why Spending Money on Travel is Worth it: Honeymoon in Maui

It sounds a bit dramatic when I say our honeymoon in Maui changed my life. But I’m a Leo, & we are rather dramatic individuals, so I stand by this statement. Anytime I feel like I’m in a rut or need to make a change, I always know some form of traveling will be that cure. This past year has been one of the most trying years with the loss of my dad in the fall & planning a wedding in the middle of said grief & healing. But now that phase of my life is over [ the wedding planning part] , I’m looking ahead to a summer of continued healing & focusing on what I want my life to be moving forward. I strongly believe in the idea of immersing yourself into experiences to grow as individuals. When we simply remain in our bubble, thats when ignorance develops & the perception of believing our lives are only tied to what’s right outside our front door. We are so much more than that & a 10 day trip on island time showed me the type of person I want to strive to be which is more adventurous, tied to nature & one who continues to focus on the more simple aspects of life like experiences.

Focus on What Truly Matters

I’ve been following the minimalism lifestyle for around 5 years now. It’s been a slow journey & in no way am I a perfect minimalist [ i don’t think there ever is]. But I definitely strive to focus on the bigger pictures & refrain from putting my attention on frivolous material things. It’s not to say I don’t spend hours putting together outfits for my travels, but I also let go of the notion in thinking I constantly need new or better items to have a good time. I’ve learned through packing light, you can actually enjoy more of your surroundings & prioritize the connections & memories you make. While on our honeymoon, we did a lot of adventurous activities that lead to ruined clothing, muddy shoes & losing my $5 pair of sunglasses on the beach. I don’t focus on that because through those instances, we drove ATV’s up a mountain, we went 10,000 feet past the clouds on top of a mountain & star gazed. We snorkeled with motorized scooters. My husband jumped off rocks into the ocean, while I casually soaked under a few waterfalls. We hiked for miles, trudging through mud, rock & bamboo forests. We saw an array of sea life including two sea turtles while snorkeling. We also ate tons of different foods & visited local gems. It was truly an experience & memory I will hold onto forever.

Capture Those Moments & Stay Present

We took countless photos & videos during our travels, but we made sure to make the conscious effort to go off the grind for these 10 days. Not answering calls or texts [ unless they were true emergencies ] & staying off social media. It was truly refreshing. And I want to make the habit of doing this during our mundane days. Leaving your life a mystery is actually a powerful thing.

Reminiscing the Memories

I’m not the hugest fan of gifts or souvenirs. If I do bring something home from a trip, it usually holds some form of purpose or I know I will have it for a long time. One of the fun things we did was collect stickers during our trip. We plan to display said stickers as a collage & hang it up on the wall of our home. I love displaying photos or DIY projects like these because it showcases what we love to do as a couple – travel. I did find a few other souvenirs along the way including a Maui hook t-shirt [ I’m a sucker for a new graphic tee] & a sun hat [ which I plan to wear all summer long ].

I feel like this post is a little all over the place, but the bottom line is traveling to Maui reminded me of my love for travel. And I want to continue to make the effort to travel more often [ locally or across the world ]. There are so many times where a holiday comes up & we choose to do the same boring routine when we could be experiencing someplace new. For instance, I would love to visit Chicago during St. Patricks Day. Or going to Disney World or NYC around Christmas time. My side of the family is choosing to gift experiences over wrapped gifts under the tree this year. I think the pandemic taught us to enjoy the simple moments in life but it also ignited the urge to see more than what’s out your front door.

Where would you love to travel to next?

-B

Lifestyle

Answering Your Minimalism Questions: Decluttering Regrets, Is my Husband a Minimalist? & Why I Even Started…

The minimalist lifestyle is a fascinating one. Although it’s become rather mainstream through documentaries & books from The Minimalists or decluttering queens like Marie Kondo, the minimalism lifestyle is so much more than that. And ever since I started my blog, I’ve received so many questions about my own journey, ways to declutter & how I don’t get bored being an outfit repeater. Today, I wanted to take this time to answer a few of your questions. And I hope this sheds some light into my simple living choices.

Questions from Simply Alex Jean

How often should you declutter a space?

I think this depends on how much clutter you feel like you have & how much seems to accumulate regularly. I tend to declutter seasonally, especially with my wardrobe. Most recently, our wedding & the time spent planning, lead to accumulating lots of items I wouldn’t usually own [ ie. gifts, bridal merch or accessories for events]. I tried to declutter as I went along, but have definitely found myself in a post wedding declutter session. I’d say, the best motto to have is to evaluate what you own every few months & ask yourself these few questions:

Have I used this in the last 6 months?

Do I plan to use it in the next 6 months?

Is it worn out or damaged?

Do I even like this item?

What are some essentials for decluttering to help as you organize?

Have a trash bag on hand! And then sit two bins or boxes on the floor in front of you for any donations & things you want to keep. You want to get rid of as many items as you can before you organize the rest. This is the one reason why I don’t like storage bins. They are the breading ground for hoarding junk. I also recommend, if this is one of your first decluttering sessions, to have someone with you to hold you accountable. One of the first times I REALLY decluttered my closet back when I still lived with my parents, my mom sat with me as I tried on EVERY piece of clothing. I was a bit of a hoarder back then, not going to lie. This moment really transformed me into the minimalist I am today.

Questions from ThePlainSimpleLife

What was your original motivation for wanting to start a minimalistic life and is it the same motivation that keeps you going today?

What really motivated me to start on my minimalistic journey was the feeling of being overwhelmed by my belongings, which in turn was causing me to feel overwhelmed in all aspects of my life. I felt like my life was being fueled by what I owned, striving to have the next best thing & believing success lies in material items. I also want through a series of losing loved ones which caused me to evaluate my perceptions of life. I realized the important things are the relationships you have, how you treat others & the experiences you choose to make. And as I’ve been following this lifestyle for a few years, I go about it in the same way. I find the less I own & the simpler my routines are, the less overwhelmed I feel. Mundane tasks, like cleaning take less time & energy. And I have more time for more important things – like making memories.

Questions from Amethyst AP

Whats your most important advice for living an intentional life?

Live in the moment & be present as much as possible. Decluttering is just the start of an intentional lifestyle. The most important thing to practice is being more present in your day to day life. For instance, I stepped away fully from social media during our honeymoon. We took tons of photos & videos throughout the trip, but I refused to share or document our adventures in real time. Instead I wanted to be sure I was giving my relationships it’s full attention. I think a lot of us can relate to being so distracted by the outside world. One of the biggest culprits being social media. I suggest taking social media breaks regularly, creating routines that work best for you, eat slower, get enough rest, & really take in your surroundings.

Is minimalism as beneficial as people make it out to be?

From my experience, I find minimalism to be very beneficial. I can’t speak for everyone, but I honestly believe minimalism changed my life for the better. Even if you simply make just a few changes, [ like declutter your closet before each season], I think you will notice the benefits. Minimalism isn’t for everyone. And it is defined in many different ways. I’d say I’m more minimalistic in some aspects of my life than I am with other parts. Intentional living has taught me to be less materialistic, helped me save money & budget accordingly. It has helped manage stress & anxiety. It has taught me to appreciate people more & create a social circle I’m proud of. It has taught me losing a pair of sunglasses in the ocean isn’t the end of the world.

Questions from Ashley Feldstein

Do you and your husband have similar views on life and clutter?

In terms of clutter, I’m definitely the more minimal one. He loves his knick knacks, photos on walls & stuff! While I would prefer nothing on our kitchen counters & less home decor. But within all relationships, there is always compromise. Now, I’ll say he’s slowly learned the benefits to decluttering some. I usually don’t mess with his side of the closet unless he strongly wants to downsize some items. Luckily, in terms of life we hold the same values of choosing experiences over material gifts [ most of the time]. Generally, we are rather simple people. He wears the same few shirts on rotation & the same few pairs of shoes. We don’t yearn for designer items, or flashy cars or even huge homes. We focus on spending quality time together & going on as many adventures as we can. I will say there have been a few moments where my husband asks where something is & I have to say, “Oh I donated that a few weeks ago, oops!”

What do you find to be the most difficult part of decluttering?

Decluttering can become as addictive as hoarding. Sometimes I feel like I don’t thoroughly declutter an area, just so I can go back a few months later & go at it again. There have been moments where I declutter a space, but leave the donation bags in our guest room for months. My advice to you & my future self is to get the donation or trash bags out of the house as soon as you can. There shouldn’t be time to second guess yourself or put anything back [ which I have done in the past]. Get rid of the clutter like you would ripping a bandaid.

Questions from Colleen of Choose Your Uni

Isn’t just getting rid of things to get rid of them more wasteful than keeping them?

I recommend you check out my blog post about “What If I Need This One Day” Type of Clutter. In that read, I talk about how holding onto items is actually more wasteful than keeping them [ especially if you haven’t used it in a while]. I always believe it’s better to donate something to someone else who will for sure use it, than have it collect dust in your home. Most items I declutter cause no regret down the road. But you have to really ask yourself, “will I use this?” And if it helps you, give yourself a deadline. If you don’t use the item within that time frame, get rid of it. Donating or selling items also takes away that feeling of being wasteful if you just simply threw it in the trash.

What if you regret getting rid of something?

You can usually always repurchase something if you miss it that badly. Think of the 20×20 rule where if you can buy something in 20 minutes for $20 or less, you shouldn’t have that regretful feeling.

Question from Tales of Belle

Where do you start with the process of decluttering? Other than the Marie Kondo method..

I think the best place to start is to ask yourself why you feel like you need to declutter? What space in your home is holding you back? Is it a junky office where productivity seems to have gone out the window? Or is it your children’s toy area that always seems to be a mess, no matter how much cleaning & tidying is done. Think of that one space that gives you the most trouble and work from there. A lot of people start with their own closets because getting dressed & ready for your day is a daily routine. And each decluttering session doesn’t need to result in 10 bags for donations. Even if it’s simply a few damaged shirts or clearing out a junk drawer, these actions are leading you down the less is more mindset. I personally find Marie Kondo’s way of decluttering a bit overwhelming for the beginner. Taking everything out of a space & seeing that pile does put things into perspective, but it can also cause people to not even start! I suggest, choosing one area at a time. Choose an area that isn’t super sentimental [ like your closet or makeup collection] & start just throwing away clearly empty products or damaged clothing pieces. The decluttering process is a journey & doesn’t always have a final result. It’s a continued cycle & routine. Even as minimal as I can be, I still find myself getting rid of tons of items seasonally.

Question from Riyah Speaks

When do you know it’s time to declutter something?

My rule of thumb is if you feel overwhelmed, lack motivation or are simply just drowning in junk – it’s time to declutter. Even if you aren’t someone who has an interest in becoming a minimalist, I think decluttering is beneficial to all. I can promise, once you’ve donated or gotten rid of just a few items you don’t use, you will feel a weight being lifted.

Thanks to everyone who sent in questions on Twitter. I received so many thought provoking & interesting questions, & would love to post a part two to this Q&A in the near future. Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested in a part two & if you have any further questions. I’ll be sure to answer them in the next one!

-B