Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Our Minimalist Adventure & God's Goodness

If you've been following this minimalist journey, you'll know I started in February of this year. I first started in my email inbox. I had thousands of unread spam just sitting there making me crazy. After that, I tackled my closet and other areas getting rid of a TON of stuff I knew I didn't need. At the time, we were living with my in-laws waiting for the next thing God had for us. I felt that whatever it was, we needed to seriously downsize. I felt a sense of urgency that we needed to be able to load up the important things as quickly as possible with as much ease as possible.

Little did we know, we would find ourselves with an open door that would move us from Tennessee from Missouri to take a church to pastor. We didn't have the money to load up a Uhaul (nor did we want to). So, we knew we could only take what would fit in our car. Thanks to our minimalist journey, we had seriously downsized and knew exactly what we would need to bring. We sold off our bigger furniture and relied on the grace of our in-laws to protect what couldn't fit this first trip. In the meantime, I knew we would be able to better determine if we really needed the things we left behind during this time setting things up in our new town.

Currently, the things we've brought are housed in my parents' basement along with us as we work to bring the parsonage up to par enough to live in. There is no doubt that my desire to become minimalist was inspired of God. But I had absolutely no idea how many more ways God would reveal Himself to us in the next phase of our journey.

Before we left, a few people gave us "seed money" for us to use to pour into our new community to help minister to the people we came in contact with. We were thankful for this and knew we would be good stewards of it. As great as that was, we knew we would need funds to pay our bills, live, and make the repairs and get the items we needed (things like a couch and bed). I had no idea how it would all happen. I decided we'd use the money we made selling the items left behind in the parsonage to fund the work we had to do on the house. So far, we've made $388 doing that.  I have no idea if we'll make enough to make all the repairs, but faith is blind. 

Along with that, over the past couple of weeks, we've had a few people come forward to give to us to help us with the house. Our parents have also helped us in sweat equity and purchased supplies. Recently, we were also gifted the funds to have a fun night out (which I'll tell you about later). I hadn't even thought about having dates. I've always been okay with the free dates I could come up with. But for someone to think, "These two just need a date night." Well, it blew my mind. For the first time since we've been here, we were able to go out just for work or stress about the things we needed to get done.

To date, not one bill has gone unpaid. We have not starved (in fact, a few people have treated us to meals). It all is evidence of one thing...God's goodness. We had the faith to make the walk through the be obedient. And God in all His goodness and mercy is supplying our needs every step of the way. I'm humbled and in awe. He's a good, good Father. Our minimalist adventures weren't just happenstance. It was God's way of showing us that we could let go of the stuff and let Him supply our needs. Not only that, but it was also God's way of showing us just how wonderful His people are. So many wonderful lessons to learn in the journey!

And a little update: I finished painting the bathroom today! I feel like it looks so good! Here's some before and after photos!


Here's to many more updates as we make progress on our current adventure! 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Our Minimalist Adventures Update

I can't believe it's been over a month since we announced our move to Missouri and our Minimalist Adventures Challenge. The great news is we were able to sell the $800 in more of our things to fund the move and some of this past month's expenses. A lot has happened since that blog post last month, and your jaw may just drop when I tell you about some of our "adventures" thus far.

As you know, my husband and I accepted a church to pastor last month and made the move from Tennessee to Missouri. Our first Sunday in Missouri, we realized how much work we had in our future. The church has a parsonage (a house owned by the church that the pastor can live in). This is a huge blessing to us because it means we won't have any rent/mortgage payments and no utilities. Since the church isn't able to give us a salary currently, this helps take care of us in a big way!

The cute little parsonage...
However, upon inspecting the house, we realized that it needed A LOT of work. The house had been sitting vacant for several months and you could tell little work had been done on it the last several years. It was in desperate need of updating as well as work on a leaky foundation and bad air conditioner. We decided to stay with my parents while we set to make the parsonage liveable. So, poised for the job and seeing what we could make it, we got to work.

One blessing was that the previous pastor had left several items (mostly large furniture) and did not want them back. So, putting my minimalist adventure selling skills to use, I decided to try the minimalist challenge again and sell off the items piece by piece in order to make $1000 to put into the repairs the house needed. So, far, we've made $238 from that project (I've added another sidebar graph so you can track our progress with this).

Our work was soon halted that first week as D arrived one afternoon to work and found both the parsonage and the church had been broken into. Several tools we were using for repairs were stolen as well as speakers and a DVD player from the church. We were stunned. Our family came together and patched up the broken windows and we set ourselves again to continue repairs (now with 2 windows to replace added to our list).

A few days later (on a Sunday morning), D and I pulled up to the church to prepare for service and we came upon yet another break-in. Unfortunately, the burglar got away and we had another broken window to replace. On the bright side, he was unable to take anything with him this time. Again, our family and the congregation came together that morning and cleaned up the broken glass and patched up the third broken window in a week.

One of the 3 window casualties...
We have dusted ourselves off again and have set off to complete the repairs. Despite the activity that first week, our tribe has really come together to get things done and we are so blessed and happy with this change. So far, we've painted a couple of rooms and have pulled up some carpet to discover hardwood floors! Yay! It's certainly been a fun adventure thus far.

Bedroom before paint...
Bedroom after paint...

Bedroom...after I pulled up the carpet to reveal hardwood floors!

Our minimalist life is definitely at its height as we were only able to bring 2 car loads of our things. We left some items back in Tennessee that we will get later, but we're currently living VERY minimally. This will also help us determine if we really need the items we've left behind. Once we get settled in the parsonage, I'm sure I'll be able to take inventory and settle in nicely in a space sans all the stuff.

So that's where we are currently. There are so many more stories to share, but it may take a few days and a few blog posts to recount them all. Suffice it to say, we're enjoying this adventure we're on and know the best is yet to come!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

My Big Announcement and the New Minimalist Adventures Project

Hello one and all!

If you've been following my Instagram, you'll know that I'm now on the other side of my Minimalist Vacation Project! Yep! I made $1000 selling small household items over the last 3 months and took an Anniversary trip with my husband to the wonderful Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was a great trip and I'll be blogging my recap about that this week! Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can check out my Instagram for pictures of our wonderful journey funded by going minimalist!

However, today I wanted to make a BIG announcement and roll out my new minimalist project!

Drum roll, please!!!

My husband and I will be moving to the great state of Missouri...THIS WEEK! Yep! We'll be loading down our car with as few possessions as possible to go back to my midwest home state. My husband has accepted an appointment as a senior pastor at a church in my hometown. I've been away from home since 2012 so this will be a big but exciting adjustment for me to be around my family and friends on a regular basis again.

That being said, the new project starts now! It is the #minimalistadventures project!  After seeing such great success with the minimalist vacation, I figured...why stop there? We continue the adventure with the next one being our move from Tennessee to Missouri. Once we got back from Myrtle Beach, D and I immediately started in on selling off our things again. In less than a week, we've sold off an additional $600 of our stuff! Crazy! We need to take as little as possible with us because, well, Uhauls are expensive and we're wanting to start with a clean slate!

The Minimalist Adventures Project will include many sub projects. We will use our desire to go minimalist to fund our experiences. Each project will likely have a different funding source (since eventually, I'm going to run out of stuff to sell). For example, one project may include couponing during grocery trips with the money saved going towards an adventure. The next may include counting time as currency. In other words, there are many ways to fund your adventures through minimalism and I'm going to introduce them to you and try them all! Our first minimalist adventure will be to sell off the remainder of our things and use the money to fund the cost of the move (mostly gas, food, and lodging) and our first month of expenses after our move. We would love to make another $1000 before we make the move, but considering we only have a few days left, I'll be happy to leave with $800 in our pockets. Like before, I'll keep our money-making progress graph on the right of the blog post so you can follow along.

So...there you have it. The next few days are going to be jam packed with lots of activity as we work to make the transition. They will also be bittersweet considering we are leaving friends and family behind here in Knoxville. I'm looking forward to all that is in store in the coming days and months and all the adventures we can have with less stuff to hold us back!

Have you made a big move before? Willing to share some wisdom? Leave it in the comments below!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Planning My Minimalist Vacation: Booking Hotels

Hello, everyone! I know it's been awhile and you'll have to forgive my absence! We've had A LOT going on lately (of which I am sure you'll hear about in the not-so-distant future). However, as you might've noticed in our trusty sidebar graph, we are reaching the end of our Minimalist Vacation Challenge and only have $102 of our $1000 goal to go. So...that means, it's time to plan our vacation!!

And the location is....


Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!!!!  I'm so excited! My husband and I went for our first anniversary and loved it. It's within just about a 7-hour drive from our home in Knoxville, so transportation would be cheap and easy. With a $1000, we want to make sure we have plenty of spending money for food and activities.

We have chosen The Breakers Resort for our lodging and got an Oceanfront Delux Suite! With taxes and fees, it'll come out to $444.53 for 5 days and 4 nights of tropical bliss!

I wanted to give you a rundown of how we picked our lodging.

1.) Determine your MUSTS

There were a few things I knew I had to have. Here are MY musts:

     **Must be an oceanfront room (not to be confused with oceanview) so all we see is ocean.
     **Must have a queen sized bed or larger.
     **Must have a balcony.
     **Must have a kitchen (we like to make our own breakfast and eat on the balcony).
     **Hotel must have a Starbucks (yes, I'm serious. I love me some Starbucks on the beach).

2.) Determine your budget and compare.

I like to use Priceline and To find the hotels with Starbucks, I used my Starbucks app to locate all the Starbucks stores along the shoreline in Myrtle Beach. There were about 3 plus one that I knew of that wasn't an official Starbucks but served Starbucks coffee. I compared each of the 4 places by price and whether they checked all the boxes on my list of musts plus their prices.  The Breakers Resort won it! Then, I looked at both websites to determine which one had the lowest listing price. won that race.

3.) Be mindful of dates.

We're around the season of Memorial Day and it turns out lots of hotels jack their prices up on holiday weeks. So, check the dates before or after major travel holidays and you're likely to find some great hotels at really awesome prices.

4.) Look for coupons.

Both Priceline and use coupons at times. In this case, I searched google for valid coupons for, found one and used it and ended up saving an additional $30.

So folks, that's where we're going. Dates and activities to be determined!

Have you been to Myrtle Beach? What was your favorite hotels, restaurants or activities?

Monday, April 17, 2017

5 Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

If you've been following along with me, you'll know that my Minimalist Vacation project is in full swing and I'm becoming a minimalist and selling the things I'm getting rid of to fund a vacation next month! My husband and I decided that this Saturday would be a great day for our first of two yard sales. Mostly because we had stacks of boxes of things to get rid of and I was ready to see it leave our bubble! I have to say that this is probably one of the very best yard sales I've ever personally had. We made $333 on all small items! If you look in the sidebar on the right of the screen you will see that I've now made over half of my goal of $1000! I'm so pumped about that I can practically hear the waves crashing already!

There are a few things we did to make this sale a success and I wanted to share with you what worked for us that helped us get such a large amount of money on smaller household items and clothing.

1.) Signage
This is probably the biggest one. You can't sell a whole lot if you don't have enough people show up. The key is to make sure the signs are legible and clearly state the facts. We used a full poster board for the main road leading into the subdivision and put "Yard Sale" in big letters along with the address and the times along with an arrow pointing in the right direction. At every turn, we had another sign that was about the size of half a posterboard with the same information. At one point, one of the shoppers complimented us on our excellent signs and told us it made it so much easier to find us! My husband is to thank for this and we stayed busy ALL DAY! We did share the event on the local Facebook yard sale group, but that's about all the marketing we did. Some put it in the local papers and Craigslist, so I couldn't imagine what would've happened had we done all of that.

2.) Organization

People don't know if they want something if they can't see it. So, making things easy to spot is key. I organized the sale into areas: clothes, accessories, office, kitchen, home decor, technology, books, movies, and music along with a small box for kids items (we didn't have much in that area). When people picked through the areas, we would go and rearrange the items so they were all easy to see. Because of this, I noticed people who were looking for specific items knew exactly where to go and usually found something they wanted.

3.) Variety

Along with organization, we had so many different things. It didn't matter who showed up, there was something for everyone!  Since we're significantly pairing down all our stuff, this made it easy to have a variety for the sale. But if you find yourself only having only a few groups of things, perhaps find a friend who would be willing to work together to do a sale. Multi-family sales are great at having a variety!

4.) Price

Sometimes when we value something, the price we ask for it ends up being a little more than the average person would want to pay for the used item. Understanding the original price of the items is great, but also understanding what people are willing to pay for it is important. If you search for garage sale price lists on Pinterest, you'll find several very helpful guides about how to price items. Keep in mind that some people may also try to negotiate a lower price. In that case, use wisdom.

At the beginning of our sale, a man came by and offered me $20 for a box of over 50 DVDs. Knowing I could get that amount by selling them online, I turned him down. He acted like I was crazy. However, over the rest of the day, I made about $20 off that box selling them off one by one. At the end of the sale another man came by and offered me $20 for the rest. I accepted his offer. Had I jumped the gun too soon, I would've only gotten half of the total I made off that box of DVDs!

5.) Day and Time

I don't know a whole lot of Friday yard sales that work well. Most people are working. I find Saturdays are the best. Also, people who frequent yard sales come out early and are done by mid-afternoon. We elected to have ours between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Yet, people were still showing up well after 1. I think the next one, we may try staying open until 3 p.m.

Another important factor is weather; if it's hot, you may not have a whole lot of people show up in the afternoon (which is the hottest part of the day). If there's rain, you can just forget about it! A partly cloudy day in the 70's and 80's is best with a light breeze. Saturday gave us the perfect weather and we succeeded because of it.

What about you? What are some things that have helped you have great yard sales in the past?