Book Review: The More of Less by Joshua Becker

To be clear, this book is [NOT] a memoir about my own journey in minimalism. Although I share some of my own story along the way to illustrate what I am saying and hopefully provide inspiration, the book isn’t about me. It’s about you. It’s about the joys of owning less. It’s about how to implement minimalism in a way that transforms your life for the better.

Heya,

When I first started this adventure into Minimalism, I knew one of the first things I would do is read books about the topic. I wanted to get first hand accounts from others who have become hoarders, or semi-hoarders, like me. Joshua Becker is one of the authors that I discovered while doing research.

less

I really liked The More of Less. It chronicles the time when Becker first discovered minimalism, via a neighbor, and the almost immediate change it made in his life. He goes on to give great advice on how to become a minimalist, inspiration from his own experiences, and ways to let minimalism set you free from the confines of clutter. Sounds woowoo, but he does it in a very tasteful way.

minimalismempty

“Minimalism…it may conjure up images of sterility, of asceticism, of bare white walls, of grim frugality, or of someone sitting on the floor because he doesn’t have any furniture. How boring and colorless! Who would want that?”

In one chapter, he lists all the misconceptions of minimalism, and what normal people – who haven’t done the research – decide what living with less means. A Cult. A Fad. A misguided attempt to feel sorry for all the things they bought on their over-extended credit cards. He talks about the different ways to combat these thoughts and how to discover for yourself what it truly means.

There’s a humorous tone to the novel that allowed me to feel that this whole ‘minimalism’ thing doesn’t need to be stuffy or stuck up or serious or devoid of emotion and color. (One chapter’s title is The Battle of the Jell-O Molds) It can be jovial and exciting and tiring but yet exhilarating. That last one I felt, myself, when I went through my first de-cluttering session. I’d taken all the boxes of books out, for donation, and my table was completely clear. I could see the white! There’s was a feeling of euphoria as I noticed that it looked so together. So…adult-ish.

Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own

At the end of the book, Joshua Becker includes his chapter notes on minimalism. From there you can get the names of authors, books, articles, and bible versus that have inspired him in his journey.

 

I would definitely recommend this to all newbie minimalists who are looking for guidance on starting out. If you’ve already read this book and want to discuss it, leave a comment below. I’m always down to chat with you guys!

 

Joshua Becker Creator of BecomingMinimalist.com

 

 

Good Readdance,
Jade

P.S. Yes, I hope to start writing book reviews again! Follow the blog to get more updates.

Emotional Hoarder to Minimalist: Can I do this?

Heya,

One of the hardest things for me to do is get rid of things that, I believe, hold sentimental value and make me feel safe. As a young foster kid, I had my things stolen, broken, spit on, drawn on, torn a part, or made fun of. You would think this would harden me, make me want to get rid of everything, own nothing, feel nothing.

A Minimalist by happenstance.

That’s not what happened. The few things I was able to keep safe, mainly books – because no one else loved reading like I did – were suddenly the most precious things. I hid them everywhere. In the back of my little closet. In drawers. Under my mattress. In the pillowcases. I even found places around the foster home (because despite the fact I eventually got adopted, I still lived in a foster home) that were covered in dust. It meant that no one would find the things I hid there. And when that worked I began to hide other things.

Things to hide:
Small pieces of paper.
Books.
Notebooks and Journals (because I thought “one day I’ll write about my life”)
Necklaces
Keys (I was obsessed with keys for some reason)
Food

The older I got this didn’t change. If anything it became stronger. I carted boxes of things from one apartment to another, often times without opening any of them first. I took my baggage everywhere and it weighed me down mentally and physically.

When I moved from Missouri to Florida I finally started over. People didn’t believe that I was driving cross country and not coming back. Even my own parents tried to make plans with me when I had already told then I was leaving. It was crazy to me, the amount of people that said ‘no one in our family has ever left…’ or ‘you’ll be back because…’. That was the exact negativity I wanted to get away from. I thought I was suffocating. I didn’t know what was going to happen in Florida but I knew SOMETHING had to change. I had to change.

So I got rid of almost everything. I threw away my furniture. At the time, I lived by myself in a two bedroom apartment. EVERYTHING MUST GO. I stored things that I absolutely loved, but couldn’t take, in my parent’s attic. In favor of my books, I threw away more and more. I then packed only what I could fit in my compact car, with a friend in the passenger seat, and I drove 9 hours to Chattanooga, TN. We stayed the night in a hotel and the next morning drove the 10 hours to Florida.

Any minimalist reading this would say “GREAT! Only a car’s worth of possessions? That’s a great start!” and you would be wrong. That car’s worth quickly doubled after I settled in. My inner sentimentalist out to play. When I moved to my next apartment, just 8 months later, it took 3.5 packed-to-the-brim trips in order to get all of the things I had accumulated in that time. This was despite the fact that I didn’t even have my own room and lived with three men.

It was very emotional and so, of course, the amount of things I owned grew. They were MINE. I was in control and, because I was an adult, no one could take them away from me. At that time I was escaping a toxic home life in that packed apartment and my guy pressed me to get out. Knowing I couldn’t leave right away put me in a bad spot and I held my items tighter. Eventually my guy helped me find a new place and I took my baggage, physical and emotional, with me to the next apartment.

Fast forward a year to me moving in with my guy, Tony, and things only went downhill from there. I now had more space and it was all mine. As ever my supporter, my guy helped me feed my book habit, I bought more bookshelves and my count went up to over 3,000 books. I felt happy. I felt safe amongst my paper friends. Everything that happened in my life had culminated into a HOME filled with things that were mine and a man that I loved. It was heaven.

My wake up moment:
Years, and an apartment switch, later and things were riding smoothly. I thought. Then we moved to our current apartment in 2018. Finally fed up with carting unopened boxes, my guy told me over, and over, and over, and over again that I needed to get rid of my nonsense. I fought him so hard. I was upset that he wanted to take my books from me. Even though I knew he was right, I wasn’t ready. I likened him to the people in my youth who wanted to control me and my things. I was angry and said things I regretted. Once I even told him ‘my stuff isn’t bothering you, why the hell do you care?’ and I’m pretty sure that divided us in a way I didn’t notice. At the time. Now it’s funny because as it was early in my fourth (and only successful) pregnancy, and so I wasn’t the one out there carting heavy boxes. HE was. It was hurting him and I was blind by my own hoarding.

In April 2019, I gave birth to my rainbow baby. This is what you would call a baby born after a pregnancy or infant loss. I’ve had three losses. Naomi is my rainbow after the storm. I love her with all my heart. I will never do anything to hurt her but I was not yet ready to get rid of “my nonsense”.

Once, when I was walking about the apartment I was holding Naomi in my arms. I needed to go into the bathroom – for something I don’t remember now – and there was a pile of clothes thrown on the floor next to the bed. I was never one to do laundry the same day that I wash it, something I’m sure a lot of you understand, and so the apartment was usually littered with clean clothes.

I slipped. While holding Naomi. I slipped on a pile of tank tops and, as I was falling, I could feel my body grow hot. It was adrenaline, it was. I was terrified, as a mom. The wall between the master bedroom and bathroom comes to a sharp point in the place where I slipped, and I held her in front of my body. I was so sure she would crack her head open and I screamed under my breath. Trying my best to twist my torso, I took the brunt of the fall on my shoulder. Naomi screamed out because I held her so tight against my belly. There was also a box sitting next to the wall and I hit my shin on the corner of it on my way down to the floor. I lowered Naomi slowly to lay in the crook of my knee and leaned forward to kiss her face. She sobered quickly, not actually hurt, and looked up at me with a cheeky smile.

It didn’t surprise me when a tear dripped from my cheek to her face. I had never been so terrified in my life. She looked at me with joy and trust, and here I was, unable to protect her because of my own messiness. I sat there for at least an hour, weeping into Naomi’s onsie. My back burning from where it hit the corner. My shin stinging from the box blow. I could see a bit of skin pulled back. I couldn’t believe that all of this ‘unnecessary bullshit’ almost made me crack my head open, or Naomi’s.

I had to let it go. I had to let it all go.

Things to let go:
The stacks of books that wouldn’t fit in the bookshelf that Naomi could knock over.
The piles of clean clothes that we could, and have, trip over.
The box of random things that sits by master bathroom wall.
The random things lining the counters in the kitchen that we don’t even use.
The boxes of crap in the closets that I take from apartment to apartment without opening.
The stacks of notebooks that were unused (I kept the journals from my childhood as they are perfect for refreshing my memory for my creative non-fiction pieces).

So here I am. An emotional hoarder that wants to be a minimalist. Let me get it straight. That IS a minimalist. I’m two months in and it hasn’t been easy. I want to buy things. I want to hold on to the things that keep me safe. I want to shop online. OH, HOW I WANT TO SHOP ONLINE but I know that I can’t go back.

I’m doing this for me, in mindset, for my daughter, in safety, for my guy, in partnership.

 

 

 

Follow my minimalist journey to watch me grow.
Good Readdance,
Jade

Meditation and Mindset

Heya,

As a part of the 31 Days of Introspection, I jumped into meditating. I read several books on the matter (You can find these in my Books: Minimalism, Meditation and Mindset post) and excitedly found time to meditate while at school, after my workout at the gym, while commuting (with my eyes open, of course) and before bed at night. I loved it.

Another thing that really made me excited about meditating is the app Headspace. At first I signed up for the free trial and then used the app’s free sessions. I love the cute little animations before each session and the topics were always great. I even made a google sheets page so I could keep track of the amount of times I meditated and for how long. My longest run was 15 days straight.

Then I fell off.

My parents came to town and quickly I forgot all of the things I wanted to implement for 2020. I didn’t intend to but everything disappeared in that first week. However, no need to dwell! Today I officially signed up for Headspace’s student account. It’s $9 a year instead of the normal $99 a year. —So if you’re a student, SIGN UP!!!

I plan to continue using the google sheet to keep track of the days I meditate and use my 2DR to stick to my Cherchez La Vie goals. If you do sign up, let me know!

 

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Good Readdance,
Jade

 

(this isn’t sponsored. If you use another meditation service let me know! I’ll check them out!)

 

* From a newbie to other newbies! *

Minimalism: Emotional Wardrobe Set Back

Heya,

Ugh, I don’t want to say that it was a set back but today, in terms of my mindset and the way I flopped on the bed in self pity after I got home, it was. I started off the day excited. Traveling to the local Ikea to get home office inspiration and to check out prices. Going to Target to do much of the same. Bringing Naomi with me and she was happy the entire time, chilling in her stroller watching people peer under the hood to stare at her.

When I got to Target I thought Hmmm…here’s a great chance to try out the new style I’ve been creating on Pinterest. As I said in my Minimalism = Nothing to Wear post,  from now on I want to only choose items that spark joy for me (Marie Kondo method). I want to figure out what my personal style is so I can feel confident, loved, and pretty. As I shopped through the aisles I happily picked out boho dresses, flowy tops, and a selection of bras (because yes, pregnancy, postpartum, and breast feeding all change the girls).

I’m one of those moms that talks to Naomi as if she were an adult and, because I’m a Chatty Cathy, she listens intently. Although we can’t seem to get her to talk to us directly, she murmurs to her own toys. So as I’m going through the racks, I’m explaining to Naomi about the importance of ‘testing out’ styles before you fully ditch your wardrobe and buy the new items.

I head to the dressing room, she’s giggling because I’m tossing my dreads back and forth and entire with anticipation. As I put on each item I could feel the confidence and excitement draining from me. I could see my eyes in the mirror and every time I pulled another shirt over my head I lost a bit more. The first two shirts were horrible. They huge from my breasts and had no gathering. I basically looked like a flowy box on a pair of stilts. I took a photo of how ridiculous I looked, hoping to show it to my guy later and make a joke at my own expense and yet…hours later I still haven’t shown it to him.

The next shirt was so adorable on the hang. You know what I mean, when it hangs on those tiny white shoulders and you think, oh yeah, I’m TOTALLY this small. When I put it on I realized just how out of shape I really am. The dress was no better. It also hung awkwardly from my boobs, making me feel like Fiona from Shrek. Ugh. Today is just not a good body day, I’m bloated and I somewhat still look pregnant. That’s despite going to the gym consistently, using my 2 Day Rule, and I’m not happy about it. Just the other day I was looking small and trim. Now here I am. Set Back.

Back home I curl into bed and stick my face into the pillow. I want to cry. For a second I think, I wish I hadn’t gotten rid of the comfy stuff that I hated. At least it didn’t make me feel like crap. I hear the door open but I don’t crawl out from under my rock.

My guy came into the room, Naomi riding him with one leg pulled up for stability and so she can get a good vantage point to look down at all us peasants. He sees me and after weaseling the truth from me he says ‘Don’t worry, babe. The gym is a life style. You just keep going and keep going until you are where you want to be. And then you don’t stop. You keep moving. You keep doing ab work outs. The baby weight will come off, trust me. You’re beautiful and I love you,’ he lifts Naomi from where she sat on his lap and dangles her over me. ‘Naomi loves you. She thinks Mommy’s pretty, don’t you?’ and I release the comforter from my clutches just a little bit. Once I’ve regained a bit of my dignity, I uncover enough so that Naomi can climb onto me, her big smile filling me with joy. He bends to kiss me on my forehead and then my cheek. The support is overwhelming. Gosh, how much I love this man.

So yes, today was a set back. I was frustrated with all the bodily changes, the lack of joyous clothes, and my own issues with confidence. But I’m better now. I got up, pumped some breast milk for Naomi, hit the gym harder than I have in weeks, and walked Naomi around the living room. I plan to redo my Pinterest board. Now that I ‘tried out the style’ as I advised Naomi, and it didn’t work out I can re-evaluate and move forward. I also plan to stick to my 2 Day Rule and hit the stores again on a happier day with my goals in mind. I love peplum tops. I love clothes that are comfy. I love solid colors more than patterns —something I just recently discovered and solidified today. I do like stripes, HEY! They’re slimming. So, whew. Deep breath. I have a plan, a vision, and I’m back on track.

NOs: I really liked these dresses, this style, but today’s endeavors said these are going to be a NO.

YES: So I already owned a few items like this before I decided to become a minimalist. There were my few items that sparked joy. Here are items I’ve added to my Pinterest that align with my new style.

 

To see more selections for my new style as I add them, via Pinterest, click here to see my board!

Good Readdance,
Jade

 

 

* From a newbie to other newbies! *

Taking My Writing Seriously!

Heya,

How’s your 2020 going? Have you been keeping up with your goals? One of my Cherchez La Vie goals was to write more and to take steps toward being a better, more mindful writer. I want to baby my inner writer. Let her know she’s loved and that she can come out to play as much as she wants. In order to do this, I had to make take a critical look at what’s going on in my life that is stopping me from achieving my dreams.

Nothing but me. ME.

I’m the one stopping myself because I am not taking it as seriously as I need to. These things aren’t hard at all. I’m a procrastinator, and if you are too you know what I’m talking about, and I need to work on my will power. I can be completely honest with myself, as I’ve stated in other posts, and I know that ‘Just Do It’ should be my new mantra. (As a nod to Nike of course.)

The Switch

In my attempts to become a better fiction writer, while attending other writing workshops, I’ve discovered that I love creative non-fiction. It was something I never knew I could write before. I always felt that no one wanted to read anything ‘real’ from me. That the things I’ve gone through in my life (child abuse, foster care, racism, shame, sexually-intended attacks, pregnancy loss, etc) were too hard for people to read. Especially coming from one person. I’ve been asked how do I stay so optimistic about life, when up until a handful of years ago mine hasn’t been the greatest, and a part of me always wants to put a pinkie to the corner of my mouth and say ‘keep reading my non-fiction and you’ll find out’. So if you are a fan of my non-fiction writing, please comment, subscribe and like my posts to let me know.

Anyway, so during the 31 Days of Introspection I discovered this overwhelming love for creative non-fiction. I no longer cry when I try to write out my experiences, and if I do it’s because I feel a sense of weight being lifted from my shoulders. I’m able to release all of my demons onto the page and hope that the fact that I’m still standing is an inspiration to others. The reactions that I’ve received have been amazing and fill my heart.

Who wouldn’t want to feel that?

The MFA

Due to my switch from fiction to creative non-fiction I have suddenly realized that I need to rethink my choosing of MFA (Master’s of Fine Arts) programs. I have these large lists of fully funded programs that accept Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Non-Fiction and so far I’ve only been looking at schools that take fiction. Now I need to restart my search to broaden the circle. But I guess, now that I’m thinking about it, I’m also closing the circle. I know now exactly which program I want to go for and whichever schools don’t align with that are automatic NOs.
A Minimalist Office

Another way I’m taking my writing more seriously is by setting up a home office. I have created a Pinterest and everything. I’m just so excited. I’ve included a few photos from my board that are giving me major ‘writer’ vibes. I’m looking at Walmart, Target and Ikea’s websites for a nice desk with a drawer, a computer chair (I have one so I could replace my dining chair and move this one to the office area, I’m not sure yet), an organizer, and a desk lap. I’m really happy about this because I can section off time for homework when I’m at home and Tony, and Naomi, will know that when I’m sitting at my desk I am not to be disturbed. Hilarious that I think that’d work, right? A girl can hope.

 

How is your home office set up? Did you have a list of things to buy in mind? Did you create a pinterest board like I did? By the way, here’s the link to my Writer’s nook pinterest board! YAY!!!
Good Readdance,
Jade

Books on Minimalism, Meditation, and Mindset

Heya,

Because I’m a reader, above all else, I just knew that I had to share my list of books to help me dig deeper into Minimalism, Meditation, and Mindset. I usually lead a busy life due to school and Naomi and so lately I’ve been listening to a lot of the books through Overdrive.

Overdrive is an app (don’t worry, it can still be used through browser) that syncs to your library account. It is completely free. You can either get audio books to download or listen in browser, or you can get the eBook. It’s absolutely fantastic for when you need to be hands free – like when holding a baby or on your commute to work or school. Otherwise, the library is a great way to save money and space should books be an aspect you are minimizing.

If you’ve read any of these let me know! Also, if you have some great books about these topics, put them in the comments. I’d love to check them out!

That’s where this list came from! 

FYI: I’ll be adding to this list as I go and I’ll put a big fat X next to the ones I’ve completed. Check the KEY at the end. I hope to write short reviews of these books as well. 

Fingers crossed! 

Books on Minimalism: 

X —The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker
XThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (Manga or Book version)

X —The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything by Neil Pasricha

—The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

X — Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver

X—The More of Less by Joshua Becker

—Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

C — Everything That Remains by The Minimalists

— Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

 

Books on Meditation: 

X — Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris — A 10% Happier How-To Book
X — 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found a Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story by Dan Harris

 

Books on Mindset:

C —The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

—How to Stop Feeling Like Shit by Andrea Owen

DNF — The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

— Adulting: How to Become A Grown-Up in 535 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

C — The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz

—How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living by Rob Bell

 

Authors Suggested to Me:
Colin Wright
Courtney Carver
Leo Babauta
Joshua Becker

Good Readdance,
Jade

 

KEY:

X: Finished

DNF: Did Not Finish

C: Currently Reading/Listening

 

* From a newbie to other newbies! *

Messy Minimalist: 4 Steps to Sticking With It

Heya,

One of the most difficult things that I’ve found, now that I’m on this journey, is that becoming a minimalist is very different from being a minimalist.

I say this because I was so excited to get started that I jumped right in. I had already ingested as much Marie Kondo as I could and requested tons of books on decluttering and having a comfy home. I created the 31 Days of Introspection and even before December 1st I was packing things away to donate or throw away. I swept through the clutter in almost the first day and was finished by the first week’s end. Everything was given a place and everything was then put in its place.

Then the reality set in.

Minimalism isn’t just about decluttering, just as I’d read. It’s more about the mindset and I just didn’t have it down yet. Well, I should say ‘don’t have it down yet’. I am a messy person. Messy, not dirty or gross. I clean things (bathroom, kitchen, lint from the dryer) but I’m less likely to have an empty table, books will be strewn about, and clothes aren’t put back in their place. I couldn’t figure out why this new thing I was so obsessed with wouldn’t last. I knew it had to change. I wanted my apartment to reflect the changes consistently.

Step 1: Be Honest

No, I’m not going to tell you ‘Click here to take this test at this link and get this…’ and all that jazz. I’m more interested in finding out your personality type strictly in relation to cleaning. We can talk about the deep dark depths of your soul another time. (Unless you just really want to tell me what your personality type is. I’ll take it. Comment below.) 

In order to get the best out of this step is to be honest with yourself. Seriously! Be honest! Figure out what type of person you are. Are you the ‘I’ll take the trash out later’ three days in a row type? Are you the ‘I can’t start eating until I completely clean the kitchen’ type? Do you need a checklist in order to keep you on top of chores? Do you just let dishes pile up until you have to clean before you can use your sink? If you set the goal “I’m going to make my bed every single morning when I get up” will you stick with it?

My Truth: Through Introspection and trial and error, I found that I wasn’t the type of person to pick up all day. One of the reasons I struggled in the beginning was because I am a mom and a full time student. I don’t have the time, or the motivation, to clean all day. I lie to myself and say that laziness doesn’t play a part but it does. When I have a moment to sit and hang out, I want to read, not clean. During that short period of craziness I would run around like a headless chicken and scream at anyone that left things dirty. Yeah, that’s not for me. I don’t want to become THAT minimalist. 

Step 2: Solve

In order to keep on top of things you must create a schedule or idea that could help you stay on top of things. 

Once I was honest with myself I was able to come up with a solution. I’m currently writing this as laundry sits on the floor in the bedroom, the living room has toys all over the place, and the kitchen is in disarray from roasting chicken and my parent’s 5 day visit. But I’m not frustrated by this, as I would’ve been only a month ago. In that 2nd week of the 31 Days of Introspection, I would get frustrated every time things were out of place. I had this “idea” of what Minimalism (capital M) looked like and any time we forgot to put a dish in the dishwasher or left Naomi’s toys out I’d go running to frantically make sure the apartment was clean. I was burnt out in less than two days. Now, I know what I’ve set in place for myself, and I’ve been sticking to it. 

My Solution: I follow the 10 Minute Clean Up. I came up with this on my own but you’ve probably heard of a quick clean up or created a mini version of your own. Throughout the day, I go about life as normal. Of course, I try to be “mindful” (my word for 2020), by putting things back in their place after I use them, but I don’t spend all hours fumbling after myself, the baby, my guy, and myself again. 

At the end of the night, before I grab a book and go to bed, I walk around the apartment. I spend 10 minutes straightening, wiping things down, picking up Naomi’s toys, loading the dishwasher, and taking out the trash. I set myself up for the next day by putting my laptop where it should go or making sure my backpack is set up for school. It doesn’t always take 10 minutes and sometimes I race against my own clock because I’m weird like that. Once all of this is done, I do my skincare routine and moisturize my dreads (newbie at these too, and I love them). Then I hit the sack.

I used to hate the dishes, and let me be honest – it’s still not my favorite thing, but it really doesn’t take that long. Especially if I am being mindful during the day by immediately rinsing them. The only real issue with the night time pick up is trying not to wake Naomi with all the clinking, clanking and water pressure.

Step 3: Stay Focused

Once I was honest with myself I realized that a 10 minute clean up before bed would help me round out my day. 

My apartment was clean, things were in their place, I’d already cut down on my ‘getting ready’ time by decluttering clothes and keeping a small shoe rack by the door. Also, my backpack or purse was already set (via the 10 minute clean up) and I can grab and go. Now, I just needed to stay on track. I was able to release the stress and stop chasing my guy around whenever he put a cup down on the coffee table or forgot to fold the blanket from the couch. Okay, that’s not true. I still do that sometimes because he’s not on this journey with me and so he hasn’t quite caught on to the concept yet. But he is working on helping me keep things together and I’m sure he’s much happier, in general, that our apartment is de–cluttered and consistently clean.

Every night, that 10 Minute Clean Up needs to happen. That being said, should something happen stopping me from doing it (too druuuunk, tired beyond exhaustion, in pain or hurt…there are reasons), I can’t let myself freak out. Light and Happy. Light and Happy. 

Step 4: Remember

This one is easy and not really a step. When I notice the apartment is getting a bit messy I remember why I decided to de–clutter in the first place. If I’m getting into bed and I haven’t cleaned, I get up before that warm plush mattress pulls me in. I do my quick clean up and get in bed happy, knowing that my apartment is clean, I’ve kept a promise to myself, and that I’m stress free. I can breathe.

So…Mission Accomplished.

What about you? Are you a messy person? Do you struggle to keep up with the neatness that minimalism has imparted? What was your solution to being a messy minimalist? Is it working? Have you had to try different things?

Good Readdance,
Jade    

 

 

* From a newbie to other newbies! *

Minimalism = Nothing to Wear

Heya,



In April 2019 I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl Naomi. She was everything that I hoped for, wished for. I loved the idea of being a mom and after she was born I fell in love with her even more. During my high-risk pregnancy I embraced all of the things that changed. I loved my stretch marks and even called them my Baby Ink. I took the engorged breasts in stride and the swelling feet was an uncomfortable thing I knew I could handle. My fluctuating weight – and fears of not gaining enough – didn’t hold me back from feeling optimistic. Any time someone mentioned a downside about their body, in regards to pregnancy, I took in the positives and thanked Naomi for remaining healthy.

It wasn’t until I was five months postpartum, that I felt in loving her, and all that a new babe brought to my life, I had somehow fallen out of love with my body. I still embraced the things that had changed but I just didn’t feel beautiful anymore. I didn’t feel happy with the way I saw myself in the mirror. Then, I noticed it wasn’t my body. It was my clothes. 

I hated my wardrobe. Most of the clothes that I wore during pregnancy would no longer fly. During those 9 months, I donned tons of cute crop tops, high-rise leggings and jeans. I wore tight dresses because they looked beautiful over my ever-growing belly. I didn’t realize that, after birth, I would no longer feel happy in these. My stomach was flabby. I often still looked pregnant due to swelling or bloating. My breast milk filled boobs wouldn’t fit into the tighter tops I’d worn just weeks before. Instead, I wanted to wear flowy things. I wanted to twirl in boho dresses that flowed around my thighs. I wanted to wear jeans again. I wanted to wear leggings beneath peplum tops and billowing blouses, at least until I lost the baby weight. Then after I wanted the carefree feeling and aesthetic that style would give me.

I had none of those things.

 


So I turned to my closet. The drawers were overflowing. There were clothes strewn about the floor because I didn’t have enough space to pack them in the already packed closet (that’s also filled with non-clothes items as well). I instantly recoiled and for a week I tried to put the daunting task of decluttering and figuring out my new personal style out of my mind. 

One section of decluttering is Clothing and I followed all of the rules. In using Marie Kondo’s method of decluttering, I was able to go through my closet and get rid of all the things that no longer sparked joy. I threw out things I knew I would never wear. Donated clothes that I couldn’t fit. I even found shirts that still had tags. I then embraced the folding and stood my shirts and jeans up in the drawers for easy removal. I flipped my hangers to see what I wore often and what never left the closet and donated those pieces as well. I even pared down my gym clothes and the enormous collection of jeans that could use a dusting. You know, because I hadn’t gone to the gym in almost a year and hadn’t been able to fit into jeans in at least six months.

After I did all the STUFF, I felt happy. My bedroom no longer had clothes strewn about, my clothes only took up one small corner of the closet, and my drawers could close all the way. I thought that the only things I kept were items that “sparked joy”. However, after three weeks, I still couldn’t find anything to wear. I would return to the closet over and over asking myself ‘do I really want to wear this’? I would look in the mirror and feel sadness that my clothes didn’t suit me. I still didn’t feel pretty.

One of the things that they don’t tell you after having a baby is that you will never be the same. You are a completely different person. You’re a Mom now. You do Mom things. You have a Mom body. You have to look at yourself in a different light.

Those things I wanted to wear weren’t in my closet. My wardrobe didn’t make me feel together or like a mom. A part of minimalism is owning things with purpose and loving the things that inhabit your space. I still held on to things that were from the ‘old me’. I had nothing that showed I had grown as a person.

 

Remember, this was before I fully embraced the idea of becoming a minimalist. All I knew was that something had to change. I pared my wardrobe down even further. My new question wasn’t ‘Does this spark joy?’ My new question was (is) “Does this reflect the new me?” and if the answer was no, I threw it out. Mostly. I knew I had to keep enough things so that I would be clothed because, you know, they don’t let us run around naked, but the majority of the items went right into a box.

My next step was to hit the thrift store. Say what you will, be who you are, but I love thrifting. I love it. Finding great pieces at great prices has been something I’ve enjoyed my entire life. I would go to thrift stores and garage sales with my mom on the weekends and I always came home with something I enjoyed. Yes, this is definitely what contributed to my issues with shopping and hoarding but we’ll talk about that in another post. 

 

On my trip to my safe place, I found ten items that I loved. I pulled them off the rack with an excited flick of a hand. Then I stopped. I looked down at Naomi, who was happily chattering away in her car seat, and shook my head. I was about to do the exact opposite of what I came to do. Find things that reflect me. I took another look and aloud I said “Naomi, does this look like the new me?” She smiled when she heard my voice but was otherwise no help.

Taking a second, even third, look at my selections told me that no, they didn’t reflect me. They looked like the same items I’d just tossed away. I decided to take them to the dressing room anyway, to see if I was just being dramatic (which…I usually am). After trying them on, I realized that only four out of the three pieces made me feel pretty. They made me feel like an adult woman who knew who she was and had her own style. A mother who is taking back the reins of her body. One that is redefining what it meant to be stylish, in her own eyes. They are items that would also look good after I’ve lost the 25lbs (that I am pledging to lose in 2020 – also another converse for another time).

 

When I got home, I excitedly tried on every piece and did a fashion show for my guy in which I employed my best catwalk. He laughed and told me I looked happy, light. I did. I do. With every piece that I’m buying that reflects me I no longer feel that my closet is fighting against me and my happiness. I can’t say “I have nothing to wear”. It’s a journey, as I’m no expert at this, but every time I put on clothing that fits and makes me feel sexy, pretty, positive, and light I know I’m on the right track.

I hope that I’ve inspired you to not only ask ‘Does this spark joy?’ but ‘Does this reflect the new me?’

 

 

Good Readdance,
Jade

 

* From a newbie to other newbies! *