Adventures in Minimalism

March 27, 2017

So you’ve probably heard of this new minimalistic trend – tiny houses, capsule wardrobes, less money on “stuff” and more money for adventures. For me, the “ah, ha” moment was the fact that I could never keep up with the clutter. I spent my entire weekends cleaning our house, and there is only two of us! I was reading an article on minimalism and she mentioned how less stuff, meant way less time cleaning and that was it, I was sold.

Consumerism is a bad habit, and it’s not easy to break. For years i’ve been going to Costco, Homegoods and Target every weekend. I’ve had to break up with scented candles, seasonal decor, and constant shopping. It’s not easy, I still have relapses, but i’m consciously trying. It’s probably been about 9 months of trying to break bad habits and slowly cleaning out the house.

As we prepare for a baby, the house is full, the kitchen, the closets… there’s no room for the mass amount of baby stuff we are about to acquire. We live in a 3 bed, 2 bath with a very large backyard storage shed… how did we accumulate so much stuff?!

Right now, there are two main things I am trying to achieve. 1) cleaning out the entire house before baby comes and 2) keeping the incoming baby stuff to the bare minimum.

Here are some tips I have if you are interested in minimalism: 

If you have tons of energy and can spend a whole weekend clearing out all the clutter in your life, good for you! If you are like me, that is way too overwhelming. Instead, pick bite sized projects each week. This weekend, I went through my swimsuit drawer and makeup. For larger projects, like the pantry re-do and going through all my kitchen drawers, I waited until my mom and sister were visiting and could help. Also, it’s helpful having an outside opinion about whether to save something or not.

There are also some super easy first steps you can do: 

Unsubscribe to all consumer emails (retail stores, home decor, etc) so you aren’t constantly reminded and tempted. Before minimalism, with our babymoon coming up, I would have bought a whole new wardrobe and could have totally justified it with “I need maternity vacation clothes.” This time around, I’m trying on all the clothes I already have and putting outfits together. Because we live in LA, I already own plenty of warm weather sun dresses that still fit. Would it be fun to get some new outfits? Sure, but i’d rather spend that money on a spa day or sailing. I feel like I have to disclose I did end up buying some new swimsuits for the trip, but thats after trying on what I already owned and my swimsuit tops no longer fit.

Stop buying beauty products, use up what you have – as you’re cleaning out you’ll be surprised what you find and didn’t realize you owned- 15 tubes of mascara, an entire shelf of shower products and face masks, 40 different colors of nail polish, 7 bottles of barely used body lotion… Whatever you have a surplus of, stop buying those items and use up what you have!

– Work on eliminating food waste – I’m still struggling with this. This is a big one for me. I want to eat healthy, so I load up on perishables – fruits, veggies, proteins, and then end up throwing out a significant amount. A few years ago I was shopping at Costco, Ralphs and TJs all on the weekend. I’ve really paired it back and now buy enough ingredients to make two dinner recipes (which, plus leftovers, lasts us for about 5-6 meals). Start being more conscious about how much you are actually eating. When i’m buying fruits and veggies, instead of buying a full bag of each item, i’m getting realistic with my eating habits, 1 to 2 bananas, 2 apples, 1 zucchini, 1 bell pepper, etc. If i have to go back to the grocery store mid week I can do that, but that actually hasn’t really happened.

Stop buying home decorations – This Christmas I didn’t but any new decor items. I was surprised how easy it was. I was also surprised we had 4 extremely large Christmas bins in the shed and i’d forgotten about 80% of the decor items we already had. I’ve been able to decorate for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and V-day so far with decorations I already found around the house. I’ve survived. Gasp.

Stop buying candles – If you are a candle addict like me, this needed to happen. I had about 30 half used scented candles hidden away throughout the house. For the past few months, I was using up what I had, I had about 7 half-used candles to use up this Christmas. Now that i’m pregnant, I don’t want to use scented candles in our home anymore because of chemicals so i’ve been diffusing essential oils instead. I’m really liking the “motivate” blend and peppermint & lemon. Both give me energy and help with nausea.

And 1 big step i’m taking in minimalism: 

Working towards a capsule wardrobe- First step, going through what you already own. I did a first round purge a few months ago and pulled out clothes I still really liked that won’t fit me during pregnancy & put them in a bin.

I also pulled out clothes I didn’t like and put in 2 piles – giveaway, and for name brand/lightly worn clothes am selling on Poshmark. I’ve sold about $200 so far. I’ve been pricing my items cheap to sell, but it’s still more money than if I just donated. Whatever I still have left a month before the baby comes, I’ll donate.

I also threw out/donated SO MANY SHOES. It feels AMAZING! I’m throwing out all my cheep-o $20 pair of shoes that kill my feet and slowly investing in good quality shoes. I love the Walking Store.

Now I just have to get the guts to do that with my purses…. baby steps!

I think i’m due to do a second purge as it’s been about 4 months. I still have more clothes than I know what to do with, I wear about 20% of what I actually own and have clothes in drawers I haven’t opened since I did the first purge round and can’t remember what’s in there…

I’d love to hear any tips you have on minimalism if you’re also trying to live a consciously uncluttered lifestyle. If you try any of my tips, let me know how they work for you! It’s a process, i’m already almost a year into trying to implement this change and there is still so much clutter but I can’t imagine if I hadn’t started and i’m going to keep sticking with it.