Just wanted to sit down and share some thoughts on settling and why I won’t settle for good enough when it comes to stuff. It’s a minimalist win for me.
It’s a little more than 3 years since I decided to adopt a simpler, more minimal approach to life and consumption. I was already interested in green initiatives, but, naturally, this led to an increased interest in low waste, DIY, conscious consumerism, curated collections, and introspection. Like many, I started with a copy of Marie Kondo’s Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up and took off from there. The book really was life-changing, altering my philosophy on home, spending, and happiness in general. My initial goal in reading the book was to inspire my mom to change some of her own habits and overcome her fear of letting go, what I found was a new outlook that resulted in a happier, simpler me.
I filmed a few videos describing my early experience with “sparking joy” (I’ll be restarting that that series soon, re-titled “minimalist transitions”), but here are 5 things that facilitated the process and/or inspired me to think about what I consume.
5 things: minimalist transitions
This is the book that started it all for me. I borrowed it from my library and learned so much, I wanted to share it with everyone. I still apply KonMari’s philosophy and strive to surround myself with things that spark joy — in life, work, and home.
I have a coffee habit, and while I’m still working on minimizing my use of disposables, this was a start. KeepCup has since become the cup du jour among the cool kids.
I am not a cool kid, just a posh nerd.
Fjallraven Kanken (classic and mini)
I have two of these – the classic in red and the mini in brick. I work at a university and I have a lot to carry. I also travel for work and love Swedish design. These bags hold EVERYTHING and don’t make my back hurt (joy all around); they also helped me re-evaluate what I carry, and learn that I value comfort and practicality above all. I wear a Kanken on most days and have gotten sooo much use out of them. Fun fact, I used my amazon reward points to purchase both of them. I paid $0 for each.
Lesson: use those credit rewards!
I’ve talked about these before (here, here, here, and here). These were the 1st big, well-researched fashion purchase I made after re-evaluating my spending and shopping habits. Purchasing a pair of $175 shoes is an investment and not one I made lightly. This purchase forced me to re-evaluate my relationship with fashion, and appreciate the quality and durability of well-made shoes. Two years on, my first pair is still one of my most-worn items.
Another happy side-effect, I was able to let go of all the shoes that made my feet hurt. I reach for tieks whenever I’m not wearing my Lotta’s (another purchase made for comfort and durability).
Note: I have the luxury of being able to afford these. This is a luxury that I did not have once upon a time, but one that I am aware of. Buying secondhand, quality items that live up to their value is always an option. Quality does not always = $$$.
project use it up
Not a thing, but a concept – “project use it up,” or tracking my empties, has resulted in a greater understanding of what I buy and use, which leads to fewer impulse buys and more selective purchases.
Do you need these things to adopt a lower waste/minimalist philosophy? No. Do they help? Sometimes, but you can find your own joy sparking alternatives. The items listed are items that I love and appreciate for their style and purpose; they have a classic, timeless style and will serve me for years to come.
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Welcome to another round of “what I used up last month”
- ACURE radically rejuvenating under eye hydrogel masks: I’ve posted these before. Love them and they’re easy to find at my local Target and Whole Foods when I need a pick-me-up.
- California Baby Calendula Cream (for babies and sensitive adults… I’m def. a sensitive adult): one of my favorite creams when my skin is reacting or experiencing a psoriasis flare.
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream (citron scent): Another good cream when I’m experiencing a flare. The active ingredient is Colloidal Oatmeal and the orange scent is lovely is you like a light citrus (fades quickly).
- NEST fragrances in Dahlia and Vines: at the time of purchase, this was a Sephora exclusive scent. Light and floral, lasts a long time and didn’t give me a headache (always a win).
- LaVanila The Healthy Deodorant, vanilla scent: When I’m not using Schmidt’s bergamot and lime, I’m using this. It works for me, but deodorant works differently on every body. If you’re new to natural deodorants, this might not be enough to cover the initial detox stank.
- ACURE seriously glowing facial serum: This was a nice blend of nourishing oils, just what I needed when my skin was going through a dry spell. ACURE may have discontinued or renamed this since their rebranding.
- Desert Essence spot treatment: one of my favorites.
- Weleda Almond Lotion sample: Came in a sample baggie. I’ve used this before and continue to enjoy it. Very light moisturizer.
- avatara Calm Down blackhead pore strips: bought these on a whim at Target, they really work.
- Yogi Chai Rooibos tea: another tea successfully used up. Red tea with chai spice, no caffeine and no weird headaches (some chai blends give me a reaction)
- Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night: for when I need a little help to fall asleep.
- Solgar Zinc Picolinate 22 mg: part of my thyroid support protocol
- Mr. Bubble Meltaways Bath Candies: part of a Target discovery box. They do what they do.
- Kiss my Face Sensitive toothpaste, orange mint flavor: My favorite SLS/fluoride-free toothpaste. Been using it for at least 2 years.
- Weleda salt toothpaste: This… was weird. Part of the same Weleda bag mentioned above.
Just another random assortment of empties. #declutter
- ACURE radically rejuvenating under eye hydrogel mask: I was quite impressed by these. They really soothed my under eye area. I keep them in the fridge and have already bought more…
- ACURE facial cleansing gel: Picked this up after I ran out of my last wash. Nice and gentle, but it did not last as long as the cleansing creme from the same brand.
- Kiss my Face moisture shave: Lasts FOREVER and makes my skin incredibly soft. The peppermint is especially cooling during the summer. Always repurchase.
- Solgar Vitamin D3 2200 IU: I regularly take Vitamin D to help with my lack of energy (hello, thyroid). I amped it up to 2200 IU, but I’ve since switched back to 1000 IU because I’ve started taking Cod Liver Oil again (which also has Vitamin D).
- gaia herbs Turmeric Supreme Joint: I don’t take this regularly, but it’s helpful when my TMJ is flaring and I think it has some effect on my migraines (needs further testing). I’ve switched back to the Extra Strength, which is a slightly different blend of herbs.
- Japanese green tea, Twining’s pure rooibos red tea, and Zhena’s Ambrosia Plum white tea – three teas done!
- Tea India Chai Moments Chai Tea Latte Mix, Ginger: The last of the chai mix I purchased at the Diwali festival. Will miss it.
- Traditional Medicinals Health Cycle: A regular repurchase. Helps with cramps and makes my stomach feel less awful.
I’ve managed to keep a fairly streamlined collection since my first round of KonMari de-cluttering, but times change and things that sparked joy no longer spark. Rather than hold on to every thing, I’ve learned to let go and edit on a regular basis.
Here are the results of my latest round:
A quick review of my closet revealed a few items that I failed to reach for this winter, or which no longer fit as I prefer. The two smaller bags are items from my makeup collection that I cannot donate or share, and a few bits of paper and miscellany clutter that needs to go.
A review of my unmentionables revealed some items that no longer serve, whether because the fit is off or the fabric is too worn.
I use a diffuser to scent my home on most nights, but sometimes I just like the look and feel of a candle. Because candles come with jars, I’ve amassed a fair number of them. I’m getting rid of these, but looking to rehome or recycle where possible.
Decorative pillows and stuffed toys from the ikea bin. I have a weakness for cute pillows, but these serve no purpose beyond gathering dust. I traded them in favor of the toys and pillows that I do use (mostly to prop my arm up while I sleep).
Not pictured: the freestanding mini elliptical machine I bought two years ago in an effort to move more during writing days and have an alternative to outdoor walks during the rainy season. I used it for a few weeks and found that I didn’t like it, but it was too late to return it. It’s too large for me to try to sell it, and I can’t stand seeing it gather dust. I set it on the curb and hope someone picks it up. It’s wasteful, but a lesson learned.
A few months ago, my mom unearthed my old cd collection. This is good, because it means she finally cleared out enough of her own stuff to return what was left of mine. However, there was something about sorting through those old albums that made it really hard to purge. It had been years since I played any of the cds in the box, but the thought of parting with them was extremely difficult. They were tied up in nostalgia and sentiment in a way that surprised me. So I left them in a box and let them gather dust for a few months.
Three, to be exact. I looked through them a couple of times, but couldn’t do it. Then, the day after the Garbage concert, I was ready. I knew what I needed to do and I did it. The result is a small collection of albums that were essential to my young adulthood, and includes those that I still enjoy today. I sorted them into three sleeve cases, and kept a handful of soundtracks for future library events and writing sessions. The rest, I donated. They’re gone and I’m free of the baggage (in more ways than one).
Another makeup declutter, and a new name for the series: Minimalist Transitions.
In lieu of a proper “view from Sunday”, I give you a quick little update on “project use it up,” wherein I commit to using the stuff I have before purchasing replacements or backups. It’s all part of my goal to live more intentionally and minimally.
My goals included using up my collection of scented candles (impulsively purchased throughout the year) and at least two of my perfumes. I used up nearly all my candles, and currently burning Wilfred Wax’s steamed&frothed, along with my favorite vanilla from IKEA, and a Healing candle from the Crystal Journey collection sold at my local Whole Foods.
Time to clean these out and repurpose!
I decided to shelve Honey & the Moon until the fall (it’s just too warm a scent for spring/summer) and am only a few spritz away from using up my spirit of moonflower from The Body Shop.
I also used up two pens, which was not part of the original plan, but deserve recognition, nonetheless. I am a pen hoarder by nature, though I’ve seriously decreased my collection over the last two years, and have made a concerted effort to only replace those I really love.
I’ve been thinking about the things I buy — the things that add to my life and the things that make me cringe at the waste (mostly of space and money). I’ve been making a concerted effort to shop mindfully and really think about the things I bring into my life. Where will they fit in my home? How will they add to my state of being? Will they last or will I regret the purchase in 6 months? It’s a challenge, particularly because I have no one to answer to but myself (part of the reason I decided to document this process in the first place is to hold myself accountable). I’m learning and growing. There are some things I’ve purchased recently that I should have checked myself on, but I bought them anyway. I’ll try harder next time.
Now that I’ve rambled long enough, watch the video to learn more about the things don’t buy anymore and the things I’m working on as I move towards a more conscious lifestyle.
I recorded this before the shiz hit the fan… so I give you *dun dun dun* a minimalist’s what’s in my bag video 🙂
Next week may be a little off-kilter. I’m starting the claims process and things may get a little rough. Enjoy and let me know how you handle your bag situation.