Thursday, February 23, 2017

Netflix and Chill for Minimalists: "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things"

While you might think a post of this title would be about how to organize and purge your Netflix queue, it's not. In fact, I can't be a good example of a minimalist's Netflix queue at the current moment because that stuff is just a disaster right now. Don't judge; I've only been in this thing for a couple weeks. What I can say is that I took the time to watch "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things" and loved it.

Follow along with "The Minimalists" Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus as they talk about minimalism.  While I don't foresee myself ever living with only the materials that fit into a small bag as my only earthly possessions, their freedom from stuff is inspirational. One of the biggest things I noticed about Joshua and Ryan is they are extremely open to the world and people around them. People seem to gravitate towards them because, well, they are genuinely nice human beings.  In preparing for this blog post, I was myself graced by their openness and gratitude. It can only leave me to wonder if their warm natures and positive attitudes towards life and their various environments are due to the fact they aren't bogged down with "stuff."  Honestly, when people meet me, I would love for them to see the same attributes in me that I saw in these men. They are so nice and open, in fact, they give free hugs to everyone they meet.  Sorry, guys. I'm just not a hugger. It's extremely uncomfortable for socially awkward people like myself. However, I would be very open to giving you a hearty fist bump! My fist bumps are world-renowned, by the way.

Here's a trailer for your viewing pleasure!

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things from The Minimalists on Vimeo.

If you want to check them out, go to  They've got some pretty cool stuff on there including some tips on decluttering (which I am finding insanely helpful at the moment).  I'll ignore their hatred of lists, though. Lists keep me sane and while it might be considered all kinds of "anti-minimalist", I'm still Type A, so that's gonna stick. Plus, "list" is in minimalist! Coincidence? Well, maybe.

After watching this, I'm even more confident I'm on the right path in my journey towards minimalism.  I may never make it to a professional minimalist status, but every day I can become a little freer of things and a little more open to the world and experiences around me. At the end of my life, I don't want to say, "I had a lot of cool stuff." I want to say, "I met some amazing people, had some wonderful experiences, and enjoyed every moment of God's creation!"

If you have Netflix, take a gander (yep, I just typed "gander"). Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Minimalism & Grace

It's been almost 2 weeks since I've decided to take control of my life (and my stuff) by becoming a minimalist. When I say minimalist, I can't say I fit into any sort of box. I feel minimalism means different things to different people  One minimalist's way doesn't have to be another minimalist's way (and I'll likely write about this later). However, one thing I did discover is the need to give myself some grace.

For instance, I began pairing down office supplies this week. This was incredibly difficult for me for a few reasons. First of all, when I managed a doctor's office, I was in charge of making sure we were stocked up on office supplies. I would stockpile free supplies like I was preparing for the apocalypse. At one point, Pharma guidelines changed meaning pharmaceutical sales reps could no longer leave pens, paper and things of the like. When this happened, I literally offered to take extra products off the hands of some friends of mine who were drug reps and had boxes of the stuff still in their storage units. I kept all of these items in our supply closet and they lasted for quite awhile. I'd like to say I saved the doctor a small fortune in my prepping savvy, but it probably didn't amount to as much as it did in my own mind.

Now that I work from home, I buy all my own supplies. Thus, while I was looking at them deciding what I wanted to keep and get rid of, my "keep" pile grew bigger than I wanted.  Right now, my office pretty much runs out of my laptop bag and a local coffee shop.  Since we are still with our in-laws at the present time, I keep telling myself, "I'll need this when I have my own office again." Of course, most of the stuff I've had in my arsenal for a couple of years. Suddenly, after disappointing myself for a few hours, I decided to give myself some grace.  I've gotten rid of quite a bit.  I determined that this pair down would be my first pass and I wouldn't get bogged down with the need to get rid of everything in sight.  Instead, I would celebrate the many things I was able to let go of. So far, I've gotten rid of a whole storage tower of supplies.  Maybe after I make it through the rest of my things, I'll circle back around to the areas I still have a lot of things in and try again.

I think throughout the journey, grace is important.  Rome wasn't built in a day! Pairing down a whole lifetime of things that I've grown attached to won't happen overnight either. The fact is, I'm letting go of things that have set unused for a very long time. I can't be disappointed in my progress and I know as time goes on, I'll keep feeling good about letting things go.

What about you?  What things do you have a strong attachment to?  What area of your home would be the hardest to pair down?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Going Minimalist: The Struggle with my Wardrobe

Over the last week, I've started purging my wardrobe.  It feels good to get rid of pieces that really aren't my favorites but for some reason, I never let go of them.  I've also let go of damaged clothing. I can't lie...I wear stuff with holes in it.  It becomes comfortable and so I just keep wearing it. However, after my doctor noted the hole in my sock at my last well-woman exam, I figured I'd spare myself that embarrassment again and just get some new socks.

A few of the successes have been...

1.) My socks and underclothes drawer.

I love fuzzy socks, but I have so many that I never wear.  Those were the first to go.  Then any other socks or undergarments with stains or holes were the next things I purged.  Considering these items are so cheap, it wasn't hard to let go of it.  I can't say the same for the rest of my wardrobe.

2.) Clothes that I never wear because I don't really love them.

I held on to a Ralph Lauren sweatshirt that I rarely wear.  It was that much easier when I sold it for $5 on Facebook yard sale.  Same goes for a pair of skinny capris that I was never actually comfortable in (how in the world does anyone wear skinny anything?!).  Then went a pair of shoes that I only wore once in the past year and they were insanely uncomfortable.  So far the grand total of my clothes purge has been $15 with more to go.  It's so much easier to let go of when it's replaced with money in my pocket.

A few of my struggles have been...

1.) Letting go of pieces I love but are too small for me.

Oh, the heartache of being too large for your favorite pieces!  Two years ago, I dropped 25 pounds. Since Christmas, I've gained about 10 of that back because of all the awesome desserts that fell into my mouth (on accident, of course).  Not only did I figure after the 25 pounds were lost that I'd keep losing more, but then some things became just a wee bit too uncomfortable after 10 more pounds found their way back on.  That weight is coming back off especially with Lent around the corner.  I'm not even Catholic, but, you know, solidarity!  So far, I've let go of pieces that are similar, but still kept smaller items that I'm on the verge of fitting into.

2.) Not really knowing what my staples should be for each season.

I started out not really feeling like I had the appropriate wardrobe.  I'm good on sweaters and jeans, but my life sometimes calls for a skirt or two.  I have 1 skirt and 1 blouse that I'm comfortable in. However, I'm finding I wear that same outfit every Sunday and, well, people are going to think that I lack variety.  I have decided I may need to buy a piece or two, but I'm just not sure how many of each thing I need.  So far I feel like I need 1 neutral skirt and 2 more blouses with a cardigan.

What are your thoughts on closet staples?  What are the things I may need for various events besides jeans and sweaters?  What are your struggles with your wardrobe?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Minimalist Incentive: Declutter to Pay for a Vacation

I need a vacation.  Not a trip to see family (don't get me wrong, I love those).  I need a lay-around-all-day-do-nothing-on-the-beach vacation.  My husband and I haven't had one of those for going on 2 years.  So one of my motivators for becoming a minimalist is having the time and money to take a vacation come our 3 year anniversary in May.  I'm not yet sure where we'll go, but I'm determined to go somewhere.  Life has been hard since our last vacation and I think we deserve it.  I'm also willing to put in the extra work to purge my things for some cash.  So, over the next couple of months, I'll be documenting how much money I make from my things as I sell them.  Actually, you can track "Kari's Minimalist Vacation" on the right sidebar of this blog.

One of the ways I'm able to get rid of some of the things I'm purging for money is Facebook Yard Sales. Nearly every geographic area has Facebook groups that are used specifically for buying and selling yard sale type things.  Last night after purging half of my closet, I just started taking pictures and posting them on one of the many Knoxville yardsale groups.  So far, I have a few meets set up to sell a couple of my nicer clothes.  The other stuff that I didn't think would sell as well will either go in a box to have an actual yard sale this spring or be consigned or donated.

I've found as with any lifestyle change, it's good to have something to motivate you. Besides gaining freedom from stuff, having a vacation to look forward to after months of letting go of things I've held on to forever will be some great incentive.

What about you?  What are incentives that work for you?

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Best Gifts for a Minimalist

With Valentine's Day a day away, I've been thinking about things to gift the hubs and the wonderful gals in my life.  It's then that I realized holidays may become something of a challenge as I'm striving to become a minimalist.  I love gifts, but some gifts are more minimalist friendly than others.  So, I've compiled a list of gift ideas for the minimalist or minimalist wannabes out there.

1.) Treats

Nothing says I love you more than a favorite treat!  A favorite candy or snack can brighten anyone's day.  It gets used (aka eaten) and the special feeling of being gifted with something you love is still there without the item taking up space!

2.) Fresh cut flowers I hear a lot of people knocking the gifting of fresh cut flowers because, well...they die.  This is actually why I think they are perfect.  First of all, fresh cut flowers are a luxury that not many people spring to buy themselves.  They brighten up a room and the smell is divine!  The fact that they die should be a benefit for a minimalist because they will only take up space as long as they're alive and then when the time comes and they whither away, the space will be free again.

3.) An experience or adventure

You don't necessarily need to gift someone something tangible.  Sometimes the best gifts come in the form of quality time doing something you enjoy.  It could be a great conversation over dinner, catching a favorite movie, or attending a concert...experiences together are the most enjoyable gifts!

4.) Gift cards

While lots of people think this to be impersonal, I actually LOVE gift cards.  Gift cards to my favorite coffee shops are especially appreciated.  A lot of times my husband and I will decide to eat out if we have gift cards.  So, by giving a gift card, you're actually gifting an enjoyable experience to be used at the discretion and convenience of the person receiving the gift.  Gift cards to retail shops are also possible as it gives the person receiving the gift the freedom to decide what they bring into the home.

What are some of your ideas for the best gifts for a minimalist?