Simplify Sunday-Preparing for Moving Day

  As someone who hates having stuff around, it’s super hard for me (mentally) to pack up all of my belongings and move. I want to just get rid of all of it! Where did all of this crap come from and why do I still have it?

I actually love the related activity of going through all of my belongings and picking out things to give to charity. February’s purge is above (just the four bags in the front and the mirror. The tote, tire chains, yoga mat, and blanket live in my trunk). It makes me feel good to get things out of my space. A cluttered space, for me, equals a cluttered mind. 

Those bags went to Teen Challenge today. In their place, I hauled in a bunch of cardboard boxes. Soon those boxes will be filled with everything I own, and I will see how much I really have. There’s no way to deny it when nothing is put away or hidden out of sight. It will be interesting to see how much more I find that I just don’t feel I need any more. I truly feel that I just got rid of everything I wanted to… But I’m sure that will change. 

Does anyone else feel anxious about having too many belongings? Is this some sort of mental illness? I don’t feel it’s a bad thing to be neat, minimalistic, or organized. However, I do sometimes feel a little crazy because no one else except my sister understands this need that I have to constantly minimize. How do I know if I’m taking it too far? Maybe when I don’t have “enough” stuff left? I don’t know that such a thing is even possible. 

Jillian 

Simplify Sunday- Use it or Lose it

  Someone awesome gave me this roll of duct tape for Christmas. I do realize that sounds ridiculous, but I love the Packers and I actually needed some duct tape. One of my dogs (offender pictured here) had chewed up this gate- to the point where I worried the bar would snap. The gate is meant to be more of a reminder to people not to let the dogs out than an actual foolproof deterrent, but still. Holes are not good! 

So, I went ahead and classed up the apartment by “repairing” the gate with Packers themed duct tape. For related reasons (Lambeau likes to crawl into the fireplace), I used the duct tape to cover the opening to the fireplace with cardboard. 

The gifter came over this week, and remarked that he was so glad I was using the tape. I told him that I loved it! Then he expanded on his point, and I realized that wasn’t what he had been getting at. 

He said that he would probably have just saved it because he liked it so much, and then brought up that he tends to save things like samples for a trip or something special. Then those occasions never come and they expire. 

I definitely used to be like that! When he said that, I remembered how I used to save everything for the future. You know what happens? Products and food expire, clothes that are saved for special occasions go out of style or no longer fit, your tastes change and (gasp) maybe you don’t even like the Packers anymore so you throw the duct tape away. The special dishes for guests get broken in a move or just sit around collecting dust.

One day I just realized that the special day is TODAY. I should use and enjoy it now. It sounds trite, but life really is too short. I used to force myself to use lotions I had been given with scents I didn’t like. I didn’t want to waste them! I would save the scents that made me happy for after those I didn’t like were gone. It takes months to use a container of lotion! What am I doing? Am I running a freaking lotion conservatory here?! I’m robbing myself of a moment of joy every time I smell the lotion, and replacing it with a grimace. 

It’s just stupid. Use what you like now. Live your life to the fullest. Use your best dishes for your family. Who is more special than them? While you’re at it, get rid of the dishes you use every day that you don’t even like but they are cheap. Or, if these dishes really are too expensive to enjoy using without stress, display them. 

If you have duct tape that you want to display, I have plenty of ideas for that, too. 😀

Jillian 

Simplify Sunday- A More Streamlined Life

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” Lin Yutang 

I was going through an old book where I have written down quotes over the years that have touched me. A friend wanted some quotes, so naturally I flipped through my book. I selfishly kept this one for myself, and for you.

As much as I am a doer, someone who must accomplish and be on top of everything, someone who will never forget your birthday… I am also a firm believer in keeping life simple and trying to let things go.

Don’t misunderstand- I often SUCK at letting things go. However, I have made a large effort over the last year or so to do just that. Love and let live. Say no more to things that I just don’t want to do. Stop creating ridiculous tasks for myself that just don’t need to be done. I do still have a running to do list, but I don’t force myself to not relax until everything is done. Sometimes (okay, often) I just sit at home and enjoy the company of my Shibas.

A critical part of my success is minimalism. I have never been able to relax in a messy environment. I’m sure anyone who is into minimalism already knows about Marie Kondo’s book, the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In the spirit of minimalism, I put it on hold at the library (I almost never buy books. I read very quickly, and just don’t like having things sitting around that I no longer need. I always end up donating them, so I try to not waste my money.) and waited for a few months. This week, it was my turn and I was excited to pick it up. I haven’t finished it yet. I got too excited about going through stuff, and went and did that instead!

Really, her philosophy is very similar to what mine has been for a while- get rid of as much as possible. You don’t need it, you won’t miss it. If it doesn’t give you pleasure, get rid of it. In the YEARS I have been doing this, I know there have been one or two things I have missed, but I literally cannot think of what they have been.

I consider my “things” to be pretty parred down. Still, I regularly go through them and almost always have a bag in my closet where I place things to be donated. This time, I filled six bags. Four will go to Teen Challenge and two will go to a women’s shelter. I noticed I was getting rid of several pieces of warm clothing and a blanket. Honestly, I’m lazy, but my conscience won’t let me out of making that extra stop in the dead of winter. It makes me sad to think of others being cold and wet. So, there were a few items that I was on the fence about getting rid of; but once I realized I would be making the trip to to shelter it was easy. I may get pleasure from looking at this scarf, but I have worn it once. It can make someone else warm, so let’s get rid of it! This post on reallifeofanmsw.com inspired me to try to make better use of the things that I’m donating.

I want to live in a cozy, peaceful environment, and for me I can do that best with no clutter. Then I can cuddle my dogs and be happy with all of the warmth and love in my life.

Jillian

Simplify Sunday- Minimizing the Apartment 

gorgeous kuma For some reason, I’ve been feeling a little more anxiety lately. When I saw this picture of Kuma the Shiba, I instantly felt more calm. He’s just so fluffy, happy, and relaxed. He’s literally laying in a field! What’s more relaxing than that?

A weird thing that calms me down is purging my stuff. I read a post this week by Anne this week that really resonated with me. She touched on how getting rid of physical things can help clear emotional space. That is so true for me. I think some of it probably is based on my anxiety, because I get over the top and sit around thinking about things like “there are too many unorganized pictures in my photo albums. They need to be in order. I’m sure there are even duplicates.”

I know these thoughts are a bit irrational (maybe “a bit” is generous?). However, there is definitely truth to the idea that physical things can hold me back. I love to know exactly what I have and where it is. If I need something, I have it instantly because I know how to find it. If I need to move, I can do so pretty easily because I don’t have a lot of stuff holding me back. I love that concept, I don’t know why. I just know that it gives me peace.

All of this to say- I went through most of my stuff last night. I did everything except my pictures (and, of course, that’s why they’re mentioned above. I’m still thinking about it.) and my one under the bed storage box that I allow myself for sentimental things. Cards, journals, the corsage my great grandmother made me for my prom- that’s all in there.

I found four bags of things to donate. Some highlights include extra throw pillows that are always on the floor instead of my bed and seriously who needs that?!, clothes that will never ever fit again, a tennis racquet I’ve literally used once (and I was so bad that my partner almost strangled me), and a record that I have never heard of and don’t even remember owning. I have a bag of papers to shred from my safe, and threw away a few things.

What’s amazing to me is that I always find clutter that I don’t need. How does it find its way in, and why is it so hard to let go? I’ve talked myself out of getting rid of that d*mn tennis racquet so many times, thinking I might play again. Really?! It’s not.going.to.happen. I love sitting on the couch, and I have the hand eye coordination and attention span of a drunk, blind, one armed squirrel.

I tend to make goals for far longer amounts of time then are manageable. For me, for this week, my goal is to feel peaceful- whatever that may require.

❤ Jillian 

Simplify Sunday- My Craigslist Coffee Table Turned Low Dining Table

 table 
I just moved a few months ago, so it is kind of soon to be redecorating. However, I didn’t have the money to get everything I wanted right away. Also, while I’m fine with my apartment, it’s not exactly huge. 

All this to say, a dining table was not a priority. I figured this was an opportunity to simplify. I put my rowing machine in the dining room, which was already small for a table. I planned to just use the two barstools I got and the counter for eating. 

Life got in the way. I found myself eating at my coffee table. I liked having more room than a counter top. Then, I got a television last weekend! When I put it in the living room, I rearranged everything so many times. No matter how I did it, the coffee table didn’t fit. 

I thought I would get rid of it, and just put it in the dining room for the time being. I got the living room fixed up (these rooms are really an open floor plan, it’s more like a miniature great room) and then took another look at the table. 

Suddenly, I actually liked it there. I put an empty vase in the middle and threw some pillows on the floor. I loved it! I could use the coffee table I got cheap off Craigslist as a dining table! 

I found four chair cushions at Cost Plus and cut the ties off. Now they are the perfect size cushions to store under the table, then pull out for floor pillows for eating! Combined with the pretty dahlias my friend K gave me- perfect! I love it! 

What do you think? I got some feedback that no one wants to sit on the floor, but I like it. I guess I can just sit there by myself… 🙂 I love the simplicity, bright colors, and small footprint. 

❤️ Jillian 

Simplify Sunday- Furniture Shopping on a Budget

Bookshelf, already had/ lamp (similar), Fred Meyer (had 30% off coupon)/ picture, $40 off Craigslist/ coffee table, $20 off craigslist/ sectional pieces Furniture Outlet (20% off sale)/ pillows, Cost Plus (buy one get one 50% off)/ chair, gift/ liquor table, Fred Meyer (had 30% off coupon)/ rug, Home Depot

When I moved, I knew that I would need to buy a lot of stuff. I had two priorities- not spending more money than I needed to, and not buying too much stuff. I didn’t want to undo what I had done with my minimalism. I planned out what I needed and hoarded coupons. I feel like I ended up buying a ton of stuff, but I did try to only buy what I really needed. For example, I don’t have a lot of space, so I decided to skip a table and chairs and just get two bar stools for the kitchen counter. 

bookshelfThere are a few good reasons, in my opinion, for buying things used. To start, it’s obviously much more cost efficient. Possibly more important to me, it’s good for the environment. I’m giving new life to something that is no longer useful to someone else, and I’m not buying something that had to be made brand new. Not buying new stuff saves on raw materials, transportation costs, saves me from going into a store and having to hear those super fake marketing spiels… So many ways to win, y’all.

I used Craiglist a lot when I was looking for stuff. Everything I needed (except the couch and bed), I checked Craigslist first. I got this bookshelf for $20, and the bar stools for $45 for the pair. Purchased new, the bookshelf would have been around $100 and the barstools at least $60 each.

bedroom That said, I wasn’t prepared to buy anything “soft” used. I am afraid of bed bugs and general grossness. I’m squeamish and I’m not afraid to admit it. My first purchase was a bed. I measured my apartment and decided that the biggest bed I could get was a queen, and that I could save money and space by just getting the basic metal frame. I went to Sleep Country, tried the three that fit my price range and firmness level, picked one, and was done. I love it when things are easy!!

I’m a little ashamed of my general lack of thriftiness with my bedroom. Everything was new except the painting, which I got for $20 on Craigslist (and I LOVE it!). The lamps were super discounted from Crate and Barrel, which means they were still more expensive than regular lamps 🙂 ($30 each, but now they are $20!). My bedding came from Amazon. Shiba Inu came courtesy of NW Shibas 4 Life!

sara nightstandI looked for a while for nightstands used, but couldn’t find anything small enough to fit one on each side. I ended up loving these Sara nightstands from Cost Plus. I personalized them by switching out the plain gray drawer pulls for cute colored ones, and putting a layer of clear contact paper over the top. You can barely see it, and it protects the top from water or stains. It’s super easy to wipe off, and I can have water by my bed with no messes. Also, it peels right off if you don’t like it!

bathroom The last thing that I bought was this over the toilet shelf (similar) for the bathroom from Fred Meyer. It was $30, and I was lazy and didn’t feel like looking for something cheaper. I’m so happy I have it though- it really helps keep my bathroom organized.

What do you think, does my stuff look too crowded? Soon it will be time for more stuff purging! My favorite splurge purchase was my sectional, it’s so comfortable I could sleep there instead of my bed.

Jillian