Relocating

Y’all, life is hilARious. Like slap your mama kinda funny.

You know how I mentioned on Tuesday that I’ll be moving in 2018 or 2019? Well, yeah. I’m actually moving this weekend. Mmhmm. You read that right.

My apartment has had… odor issues since I moved in (turns out it may actually be sewer gas coming from the building next door – which would mean I’ve been slowly getting poisoned for the last year or so – cheers!). They weren’t constant, but would come and go at the most inconvenient of times. Recently, the odors combined with fibro have been making me miserably ill. After the millionth attempt to get my landlord to correct the problem, they offered to let me out of my lease, reimburse me this month’s rent and refund my deposit, so that I can move.

Hallelujah.

ish.

I’m not gonna lie, I’m fairly excited about the new apartment. What I’m not excited about is the headache of moving when I’m at 50% health and the curve ball this will throw into my afore mentioned money goals. Gah. Life.

Trying to think of this as an adventure. ‘Cause that’s exactly what it is.

Since I’ll be moving on Friday, I decided that keeping the clutter around until January 1st is entirely pointless. Why would I move it to the new apartment, only to move it again a week later? Nah, I ain’t about that life. So this morning I dropped off an entire trunk full of donations and gave a very hearty “Merry Christmas!” as I drove away. It felt amazing. Especially since the moment was book-ended by doctor appointments that really had me in a mood.

Anyway.

I’ll have to review my goals and see what’s going to change. I know a couple right off the bat are my “keep it under $1,500” and “pay off $10,000.” They’re going to need some modifying. Hopefully not too much; I was dang excited about that biz.

My apartment is packed and everything hurts, but soon I’ll be thriving in my new home. It’s been a busy weekend.

How was yours?

Relocating

How I Keep My Home Clutter Free

love to organize and declutter and purge. It’s one of my all time favorite pastimes… which is why I frequently offer to reorganize a friend’s bookshelf (color-coded? alphabetized by author? selected by genre?) or purge a relative’s closet with them. I just love taking chaos and creating peace out of it.

Because of this, it’s not uncommon for friends and family to ask me for decluttering advice. I’ve finally decided to share what I call the “10 Commandments of a Clutter-Free Home”! Hopefully it helps some, or all, of you out! 🙂

Commandment the First: Write down why you want to be clutter-free.

It’s so important to have your reasons written down. This is the first act that’s sets the tone for the rest of your attack on clutter. Why write them down? Because seeing feels a lot better than just thinking. I like to have something to look at when I’m considering getting rid of an item.

I’m a practicing minimalist (you can see my reasons why here), so I have narrowed my clutter-decision-making down to one word: simplify. I realize not everyone is as eager to toss items as I am, but it’s important to remind yourself of the simplicity of life when there’s less in it!

Aside from that, there is a serious feeling of elation when you look around a spruced up, clutter-free room.

At least there is for me. 🙂

Commandment the Second: Understand your needs versus wants and limit the latter.

Each need you have can be narrowed down to three categories:

  1. to live
  2. to work
  3. to thrive

Each of those categories have an exponential amount of potential for clutter, so it’s important to understand the why behind each. Let’s break it down.

To live, I need: a home, a bed, utensils, food, clothes & shoes, and hygiene products. Now I’d like that list to include hair products and books and photographs and bookshelves and.. well, there’s exponential opportunity here. But I don’t actually need the items in the second list to live.

To work, I need: a computer, a notebook, a planner, cleaning products and a vehicle.

To thrive, I need: hobby items (for me, it’s books), confidence boosters (for me it’s hair products and stylistic extras) and other miscellaneous items (my sewing kit that goes unused for long periods of time but I would too much if I didn’t have it) that simply bring me joy and that I use frequently or on occasion.

“Wants” are any items that don’t fit in those three categories. These items are generally old clothes you never wear but have fond memories attached to, books you’ve never picked up and never will, expired products, duplicate products, etc. You don’t have to get rid of everything that falls into the “wants” category, but if you don’t limit yourself, you’re bound to have a cluttered home.

Now a lot of people would say the “thrive” category falls under wants, and technically they’d be correct. However, I find that if I’m not keeping things that make me happy (books) or using unnecessary items to make myself look good (hair products, styling tools, etc.) then I’m not really feeling myself. That leads to the danger of not taking care of myself which increases risk of health problems. So you see, I actually do need those things.. even if I technically wanted them first.

Ultimately the rule here is if the item doesn’t make you happy and doesn’t serve a purpose, let it go.

Commandment the Third: If you forgot you had it, you don’t actually need it or want it.

We’ve all had that moment when we’re digging through a drawer looking for, say, a pair of socks and find an old tank top from four years ago that we haven’t worn or thought about it ages. It’s okay to let that item go! If you haven’t thought about it, you don’t really want it and you definitely don’t need it! This rule of thumb is especially helpful during a yearly (for me, monthly) purge-all, which I hope everyone does. 😉

 Commandment the Fourth: If you haven’t used the item in a year and it can be replaced for less than $50, you don’t need it.

This goes for kitchen utensils, household equipment, swimwear (I don’t swim anymore, so I recently parted with my swimwear), extra blankets, cake decorating tools, etc. For me, the rule is that if I can replace it for less than $100, I don’t keep it. This figure should be adjusted depending on your income and lifestyle desire. I find that $50 is a good middle ground.

I chose $100 because if I truly want/need the item, I can scrounge $100 up in a paycheck, but I want to live minimally so this lets me get rid of more things. 🙂

Commandment the Fifth: If it’s got holes in it or stains on it, why are you keeping it?

Seriously.. why? I used to have several tops with holes that, yes, I would still wear in their horrid condition and try ever so hard to keep people from seeing the holes.. but why? That’s just silliness- especially if it’s easily replaced.

Commandment the Sixth: Mend the seams this week, or toss it.

I used to have a huge pile of clothes that I wanted to shorten the hem on or attach a button to, and never got around to it. This taught me three things: one, I’m lazy, two, I wasn’t using those items, three, tossing/donating them was a lot less stressful. I now have a rule for myself: if I don’t mend the item within a week of the problem’s occurrence, I part ways with it.

Commandment the Seventh: Don’t hold onto hobbies you no longer enjoy.

For ages I held on to scrap booking supplies because years and years ago, I adored the hobby. I used to take trips out of town with friends so we could devote an entire weekend to just that. Buuuut it’s been a while since I’ve felt the urge to paste photos to paper and decorate. I just don’t enjoy it any longer.

The same went for my knitting needles and yarn.. I haven’t knitted in ages and seeing the yarn just sitting there, waiting to be transformed, made me feel stressed. So I bid it adieu. Should I ever decide to knit again, it will be a fairly cheap hobby to start up again.

Commandment the Eighth: Sell it on Facebook.

Facebook is the best. But seriously. You can use it to connect with long lost friends, to update relatives you see less than once a year and now to get rid of your junk. Selling on Facebook is simple, convenient and easy as all get out. Take a picture, write a short description and assign a price tag, then watch your friends, family and neighbors bid to buy!

Okay, so it may not turn out to be an episode from Auction Hunters, but probably at least one person will want to buy it. This is how I made $140+ off used books that were just sitting on my bookshelf, more than six times what I would have made on them by selling at Half-Priced books or some other used bookstore. All I did was spread the books out on my bed, snap a photo and post it with the caption “A Buck a Book Sale!” If friends from other states wanted to buy, I’d ship them. They just had to send me money via PayPal upfront to cover the cost of the item+shipping.

Facebook is genius. Facebook is bae.

Commandment the Ninth: Give to those in need.

Donating is almost always a good idea. But listen. If you’re getting rid of something because it’s moldy, filthy or smells like cat pee, don’t expect people to want it. I’ve seen people drop some nasty stuff by Goodwill’s door.. it’s just sad.

Not to mention some of the books donated at the library.

YUCK.

BUT, if your item is in nice shape, smells like a delight and is something others are sure to want, donating is a great way to go. You can do this by giving to a charity, food pantry, thrift store benefiting those in need, or by posting a pic on Facebook and captioning it “free to a good home.” They’ll thank ya for it!

Commandment the Tenth: Buy experiences, not things.

This is the most important commandment for a clutter-free home. We need to understand believe that things won’t make us as happy as living will. And by living I mean taking on adventure! So rather than purchasing three new shirts and two skirts when you have a closet full of perfectly good clothing, consider taking your family to a museum or the zoo.

On your death bed, you won’t be excitedly telling those gathered around you about the perfect chair you purchased ten years ago that now sits, unused, in your basement.. you’ll be telling them about the time you took your daughter to the zoo and she got to ride an elephant because of their special exhibit, or the time you saved up and bought a plane ticket to Rome where you met your spouse.

These experiences are the things that matter.

Not items that just clutter up your house and leave you frenzied and stressed.

So choose to be free.

Choose to focus on living and not gaining, unless your gaining in experience. 🙂

How I Keep My Home Clutter Free

6 Reasons Why I’m Becoming a Minimalist

I’m on a minimalism kick. I’m not taking it to the extremes a lot of people are (for instance: I have more than 30 clothing items, I have candles on my counter-tops and I have more books than I technically need) but I have purged so much of my stuff in the last month that it’s almost overwhelming.

Overwhelmingly beautiful.

Here’s the thing, now that it’s gone: I don’t miss it. I don’t even think about it. And about twice a week, I’ve been loading a Wal-Mart sack with even more stuff to donate, trash or sell. You could say I’m addicted.

I started this journey because I am stressed to the gills with work and general life clutter (be it physical or mental). I decided it was time for a change and after stumbling across some great minimalist decluttering videos on YouTube, I figured I might as well give minimalism a try.

I read and read and read on the topic and everywhere I looked, minimalists said that it was important to list your reasons why. Here are six reasons that I came up with and have found really help keep me moving forward with less stuff.

#1 – I want to stress less about life.

Life is stressful as is. When you add all the items to take care of and put away and clean and.. ugh. There’s just way too much responsibility and coming home to clutter is never relaxing. I want to feel relaxed and peaceful when I’m there.

#2 – I want more time to learn and grow.

Having less stuff means having less to do. For instance, cutting my wardrobe down means less laundry and less time spent trying to figure out what to wear or hunting down a certain top. I want to find more nuggets of free time that I can invest in growing myself mentally and spiritually. I want to actually tackle learning guitar, freshen up on German and study more on leading worship.

i-like-black-on-my-black-polaroid#3 – I want to embrace me.

My wardrobe is primarily black. And I’m okay with that, because it’s me. The colorful clothing gets ignored unless I’ve completely run out of other things to wear. I always have black on.. to the point that when I show up in not-black, all my friends freak out. So why do I keep forcing myself to buy brightly colored clothing that I’m never going to wear? I want to embrace my likes and avoid my dislikes. There’s no reason to waste the precious little time life offers in clothes I don’t enjoy or books I’m dreading reading.

#4 – I want to learn to say no, so that I can more often say yes.

I need to find the willpower to turn down spending opportunities on things, so that I have the financial ability to start saying yes to experiences. Recently I went to New Mexico to celebrate my bestie’s wedding, and it was amazing and beautiful.. and wouldn’t have been possible if she hadn’t included my plane ticket into her wedding budget. She’s such a dear friend and it would have killed me to miss out on her big day. I’m planning to go to New York City in February to see my other bestie perform in Carnegie Hall – that will only be possible with less stuff and more time and more money.

#5 – I want to, in a moment, pick up and go.

Should God call me to move cross-country and start evangelizing on the streets in Oregon, I want to have the freedom to do so. That comes with less stuff, less responsibility and less… debt. Yes, I just admitted to that ugly word being a part of my life on a blog now viewed by thousands (speaking of, ohemgee this post went viral and has 80,000+ views to date! What. Even.). I used to be debt free. Oh what a lovely picnic that was. Now I have medical bills piled high, a laptop payment and a student loan that makes my heart ache to think of it. Basically. I need to spend less so I can pay more. Oi, what a fun time that will be.

#6 – I want to feel free.

It’s a tiresome burden owing money and time to people and things you don’t even like. I’m ready to be free of that burden. I’m so, so, so ready.

After compiling my list of reasons, I started the massive purge. I went through everything in my room: books, clothes, shoes, stationary, hobby stuff, furniture & equipment, medicine, and miscellaneous odds and ends.

Out the door went:

  • 90% of my books: it didn’t even hurt that much.. I sold them in “A Buck a Book Sale” on my personal Facebook and made $140 in just under 5 hours. The rest are in two huge boxes in my trunk that I will be taking to Half Price on Friday for even more money.
  • 60% of my already limited wardrobe: goodbye shirts with stains and holes, shoes too scuffed to be worn without embarrassment and all those things I was keeping just in case I gained weight again (#chronicillnessprobs).
  • 50% of my hobby items: I bid adieu to the boxes of scrapbooking supplies (a hobby I don’t even enjoy anymore) and another box of old sewing materials and scraps that I will never use. I kept just enough supplies to mend my newly freshened wardrobe.
  • 99% of my stationary: Someone please tell me why I was keeping 100+ pens and pencils, 10+ dry erase markers for the marker board I got rid of months ago, 13 tablets and 9 notebooks again? I do everything on my computer except journal.
  • 50% of my furniture and equipment: I tossed old cords to machines I don’t recall existing, donates headphones and speaker sets that I had been keeping “just in case” and got rid of two empty bookshelves (one was a gift for my sister and one sold for $15). Goodbye massive desk that I don’t need (though I will be buying a smaller replacement at some point in the future). I have another bookshelf and dresser to say goodbye to as soon as I get some bins for the empty shelves on my free-standing closet organizer (a hand-me-down gift from Faith & Darius… I’m obsessed with it).
  • 25% of medicine: That old stuff that was seriously expired and some cough drops that were now goopy from age.. because I kept forgetting I had them and buying new bags.
  • 85% of miscellaneous odds & ends: If I didn’t know what it was, where it came from, what purpose it served, why I had duplicates or if I had completely forgotten I owned it, the item went bye-bye.

And now, I feel clean. Watching seven trash bags, five massive bins and two large boxes exit my room was so freeing! There’s less stuff and more space. More room to breathe. More room to be me.

The single downside I can think of: I clean & purge when I’m upset (I’m sort of the exact opposite of people who practice retail therapy) and now I don’t have anything to purge.. Guess I better avoid upsets. heh.

Are you a practicing minimalist? Does the idea of minimalism thrill you or scare you? What is a downside you’ve experienced to minimalism?

6 Reasons Why I’m Becoming a Minimalist