Minimalism is For Messy People on a Budget

 

Since I stumbled across the ideal of minimalism 6 months ago, I’ve learned a great deal about the philosophy behind it and a bunch of different peoples views on how to go about adopting this lifestyle. 

I’ve read quite a few books in an effort to really get the best grasp on it that I could, because I really loved the idea of living with less and being thankful for what I already have. 

When I started blogging, I was heavy into consumerism. I was buying things left and right trying to “stay relevant” to the fashion world all the while feeling like I was doing too much and this wasn’t really ME. 

By nature, I’m a messy person. Not slob messy, but I would tend to leave a trail in my wake. I’d leave things on the counter in the kitchen, leave my purse on the dresser, my hair products out on the bathroom counter. My husband would complain although he’s just as bad as I am. 

I used to get irritated that there just wasn’t enough space. But we live in a pretty large apartment (almost 1200 sq ft), so THAT definitely couldn’t be the issue.

Let me drop a truth bomb on you: You don’t need MORE SPACE or MORE STORAGE, you need LESS STUFF.

When I got serious about decluttering our home in January 2019, I realized JUST HOW MUCH stuff we really had. And how much of it was shoved into closets and cabinets never seeing the light of day for months at a time. Things we never used but kept anyway for a variety of reasons. 

The more stuff you have, the more chances you have to be messy. Having stuff you don’t need stored in your home means that the things you actually want to use are forced out onto the counters to take up space and make things look messy.

One specific example that sticks with me and makes me laugh is when I was cleaning out our kitchen, we had 4 coffee makers. Yes, FOUR. Two that we actually use, and two that were sitting in the laundry storage closet never to be touched again.

We got a pour-over coffee maker and a Keurig for our wedding, the first for Jake (a self-proclaimed coffee snob who is all about ‘the experience’) and the latter for me (I prefer the ease and convenience of my re-usable K-Cup). The other two hadn’t been used in quite a while, and I knew it was time for them to go. They were both pretty big and took up a good amount of space!

Now that I’ve gotten rid of those, as well as a whole myriad of other things, our house stays tidy. 

So, how did we both just BECOME tidy people? 

I’ll tell you, it wasn’t an overnight transformation. I didn’t just read those books and *POOF* become tidy. It became a habit over time. 

THE BEST STARTING POINT

My favorite book that I’ve read so far is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. You’ve no doubt heard of her for her awesome Netflix show, but the reason that show came about was because of her books. She is a world-renowned tidying expert. This book made ALL the difference for me. I would definitely say life-changing.

She is one of the only people who encourages you to do all of your tidying in one quick burst. That can take 6 months for some people, but that’s much better than drawing it out over a year or more. Although it can be overwhelming to say you’re going to declutter your whole home in that time frame, the results are astounding.

She has never had ONE client slip back into being an over-cluttered mess. She calls it “rebounding”. Although she never mentions the world minimalism, the idea is still there: living only with the things that spark joy for you. 

Once I read that she has a 100% success rate for people not falling back off the wagon, I knew I had to give her way a try. There are tons of people who say you can declutter slowly over time, but I disagree.

The reason her KonMari method works so well is because it shocks you into seeing just how much you have ALL AT ONCE. It requires you to touch and handle every single item in your home in a certain category. The categories can be done at different times so it doesn’t overwhelm you, but just seeing all that you actually have in your home, hiding in boxes and storage containers, drawers and cabinets. It’s shocking. 

The categories she separates things into are Clothes, Books, Papers, Miscellaneous and Sentimental. By doing each category all at once, you can make serious progress. Since clothes are typically the easiest way to start, and the most fun, that goes first. You can also break things down into sub-categories if you have a LOT (shirts, pants, accessories, etc.). 

Now that I’ve gone through all of the categories in our home, the things we have left are things I want to keep. Although, it’s funny…the further I get into decluttering, the more things I’ve found after my initial purge that I’ve decided I can let go of. I think of it as a snowball effect. 

The idea of minimalism is to rid our lives of anything (physical things, ideas, relationships, etc) that doesn’t bring us JOY. Living with less leaves room for the important things in our lives like people and our favorite things that we love. 

I’ve gotten my wardrobe down to my favorite pieces now, and the best part about that is I don’t feel the need to “save them” for a special day like I used to. I wear them often and feel great in every outfit. 

I also don’t feel the need to BUY things anymore. I don’t even want to go shopping or look around online. Jake is THRILLED. But so am I, because I don’t feel that need to buy anything to feel good anymore. 

When I got a new job recently, my first instinct this time last year would have been to go out and buy myself something to celebrate. Instead, I felt perfectly content just how everything is and just chose to be thankful instead. 

Since we have less stuff, our house just STAYS tidy.

I took almost everything off the counters and gave it a proper “home” or storage place. Now, after we use something, we put it back where it goes instead of leaving it out.

When there are already things around it on a counter space, it doesn’t look as bad to our mind. But when the counters are bare, the thing out of place LOOKS out of place and we want to put it back to maintain the clean look.

Tidy spaces ease anxiety. 

As a typically anxious person, I love coming home to our home feeling tidy and put together. I used to just buy things to buy them. I had a whole hodgepodge of knick-knacks that didn’t go together that I bought on impulse at TJ Maxx that were scattered everywhere. I also felt the need to have something on every wall in our home. 

Now, the I find the white spaces on the walls comforting. We still have plenty of decor, but it’s not overdone. Simple is better for us. 

For decorating tips, I recommend The Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith. She gives great tips for how to make spaces look amazing and cozy with less STUFF.

Your house will not be EMPTY when you finish decluttering, I promise you that. A lot of people are hesitant to look into minimalism because they think it means all your walls will be blank and you’ll have 3 chairs in your living room and that’s it. Quite the contrary. 

Our living room has plenty of decor, I have quite a few throw pillows and blankets, we still have all of our furniture. 

We just have less stuff we don’t love or didn’t use, mostly in the hidden spaces. Because there is more room to store the important things now, the counters stay clear and everything has a place. 

HOW MINIMALISM CHANGED OUR BUDGET

The simple way to say it is we’re buying less stuff because we simply don’t WANT to buy things.

We don’t feel the need to replace things we already have or add anything to our home. The things we do buy are things we actually need.

Does this mean we’ll never again buy something frivilous that we don’t need? Absolutely not. There will be times when we want to get things just because. But we are MUCH more intentional now with our spending.

I’ve re-vamped our budget and scoured it for things that cost us excess money. I recently cancelled ALL of our subscriptions except Netflix and one for my contacts.

When I went through our bank statements I found a bunch of unnecessary charges we were racking up and decided to declutter our subscriptions. This one act is saving us over $2000 a year. Yea, that stuff adds up. 

When I grocery shop now, I mostly get my groceries online and pick them up at the store. This helps with no impulse spending because I’m hungry when I’m shopping or I see something I like. I plan out our meals for the week so that we use all of the stuff we get and have, which cuts down on the cost of food waste.

I’m trying to go as long as possible without buying new clothes which used to be a good portion of my spending a month. It makes me sad to look back on it now and realize how bad it was. I’m very happy to be looking forward to saving all of that excess money I was spending to pay down our debt and save for a house. 

Minimalism has helped us go from messy to tidy and from a tight budget to realizing where our money was going and becoming intentional with our spending. It’s by far been the best lifestyle choice I’ve ever made and I hope if you’re considering looking into it or have any questions, you’ll reach out to me! I’d be thrilled to talk to you about it. 

Until next time,

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  • “Maybe the life you’ve always wanted is buried under everything you own” -Joshua Becker

This quote hits home because I never realized how cluttered our apartment was and how that clutter, even though it was organized, was holding us back in unexpected ways. 
This weekend we re-arranged our house a bit and I’m so in love with the results. We used to have our computer desks both in our bedroom. Although our room is pretty big, having so much furniture made it feel small and cramped. Not at all relaxing. 
Since I’ve been getting rid of things like it’s my job, I sold all of our guest room furniture except the bed, leaving a whole lot of space in there. We moved the desks into that room and it made both rooms feel like a whole new space!! It’s amazing what happens when you let go of things. Happier, quieter, less cluttered. Have a wonderful Monday!
  • “Don’t confuse having less with being less, having more with being more, or what you have with who you are.” -unknown

Happy Friday!!! I’m so excited for the weekend 🙌🏻I love this quote because people sometimes think having and buying more will make them better somehow. Happier, more stylish, cooler, more liked. .

Sadly, in high school, this was true. When I started wearing brand name clothes, people literally treated me completely different. I got invited to more things, different people started talking to me. It was crazy. But those people were not my real friends and I literally haven’t spoken to any of them since high school. So, goes to show how those things don’t actually matter!! Have an awesome weekend 😘
  • In honor of #nationalproposalday I want to give a shoutout to my handsome husband @jacob.thompson87 for totally nailing my engagement ring 💜😍
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 I knew I wanted something unique with a colored stone. I didn’t want a big expensive diamond or a ring that would look like anyone else’s. Jake knows my favorite color is purple so he got me a lavender sapphire with a petal halo. I also love my simple twisted wedding band. I took this picture on our honeymoon because I was so happy to finally be able to wear them together! I love how they complement each other. I never want to take them off. Have a wonderful Friday Eve!
  • “Forget the Sales price. Everything is 100% off when you don’t buy it.” .
As a fun challenge for myself, I’m going to do a shopping ban. If you’re familiar with the book “The Year of Less”, Cait goes an entire year without buying anything unnecessary (actually she ends up doing a second year after). I just finished reading it and I love the idea of not buying anything new that I don’t need. 
While I’ve been purging, I’ve seen just how much I really have. There isn’t anything I need. The sales price used to get me. That seductive little red sticker would catch my attention and convince me I needed that piece in my closet because it’s such a great deal. BUT it’s not if you don’t need it. Save your money for things you truly love and put thought into buying, not impulse buys that will hang unworn in your closet.
  • Have you ever been so excited about something that every time you talk to someone who you see could benefit from it, you just want to tell them every single thing about it because you just want to help them? That’s how I feel about minimalism and living with less. It’s changed my life and my mindset in so many ways and all I want to do is tell people about it. But I don’t, unless they ask. 
You can’t force change on people. They have to come to their own conclusions in their own time. They have to have their own inspiration *ah ha!* moments like you had. You can talk until you’re blue in the face, but they won’t HEAR you until they’re ready. The best way to show them how great something is is by being an example! Be the change you wish to see. Maybe you can inspire others with your happiness. Happy Tuesday!
  • “If you don’t have time for things that matter, stop doing things that don’t.” - @bemorewithless .
This weekend (and in general, lately) I took a little break from social media. Since I started my new job, this weekend was the first actual weekend Jake and I have spent together since we got back from our honeymoon in October. Crazy, right?! It was wonderful to spend time with family and get stuff done together and just enjoy the time we had. Making time for what’s important is so crucial to your mental health and the health of your relationships! If you’re too busy, remove the things that aren’t actually important and make time for the things that are.

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