The Truth About What Happens When You Become a Minimalist

It’s funny to me how this happened. I remember hanging out at a bar, talking to my new friend Phil and learning about minimalism for the very first time. He talked about how much it changed his life, how little he owned now, and this new-found freedom he felt.

Well, here I am about six months later… I caught the bug.

Diagnosis: Minimalist in Training

I have significantly decreased my belongings to about 25% of what I used to own (yes, literally). And. you know what? I have to say, minimalism has made my life a lot less enjoyable in a lot of ways.

It was a few weeks ago that I stumbled on Erin’s post on A Welder’s Wife that talked about some of the same feelings that I have had and am currently processing: 10 Ways Minimalism Ruined My Life Forever. Here are some of my own takeaways…

Shopping pretty much sucks now

One of the top things that I now struggle with is shopping.

I used to be a shopaholic.

I used to shop for therapeutic enjoyment and to try and fill whatever void was manifesting itself within my heart or mind. It was the instant gratification that I used like a drug. There was a thrill of the buy. I could even get a fix by just putting something in a virtual shopping cart. Needless to say, I had a problem.

Today? Ugh. The thrill is gone. Now, when I’m at the store, instead of having this itch to fill a void, I walk around Target (yes, the mother of all money sucking stores) and look at all the useless things that I don’t need to buy.

Before, I could have easily filled a shopping cart with anything and everything to put into my apartment without getting rid of a single thing, just adding to the chaos. Today, I look at the beautiful light gray linen comforter set and know that I would love to have it and get rid of the one I have, but I really don’t need to drop $130 on something that I really don’t need right now.

I have so much time to dwell on … life

Since I am doing less dishes, cleaning less junk up, cleaning less junk, and not spending a half an hour before I got to bed picking out an outfit out of the zillion clothes that I barely wear, I now have all this time for my brain to stew about life.

I have been feeling this big, empty void, like I have all this time to think about heavy life changing things that I was able to push aside. I now have all this time to ponder about all the debt I have racked up over the past couple years, about how I’m going to be able to afford life, and how to try to retire when I’m in my 40’s. (Yes, financial independence is on my bucket list.) This is all instead of worrying about what smokey eye look to go with for the day, I am having to pay attention to the big stuff…

I feel like I don’t make any easy choices anymore

Since I have drastically downsized my wardrobe and gotten into such a set routine, I feel like I’m not actually making any everyday decisions anymore. I just go through the motions for my basic needs and get on with my day. There’s no more hemming and hawing about what to wear because I just look at what I have and make a choice. It’s not a huge ordeal when you have way fewer things to pick from!

When I get ready in the morning, I listen to a podcast or an audio book, which focuses on how to pursue what I believe is my purpose. See, more life dwelling again…

I save so much time that my free time is overwhelming

Minimalism = less cleaning, less decision fatigue, less organizing, less having to think about how to try to use things that haven’t been being used.

Before I got rid of half of my dishes, I would spend at least an hour loading and unloading my dishwasher a few times a week. Now, I barely have to do any dishes, because there are barely any to do.

Like I said, I used to spend a half an hour sometimes before going to bed just trying to look for outfit inspiration. (And, if I’m lazy, this time would spill itself into my morning routine instead.) Time on Pinterest, time trying things on, time deciding whether or not what I was trying on was a good choice. In the morning, I now decide shirt or dress and then throw on what I have that goes with just that. I have go-to outfits for each thing. This gives me time to read more of a book before bed and make a breakfast shake for myself in the morning too.

Just this morning I reflected on how clean my apartment always is and realized that I am not going to have to spend hours upon hours trying to clean my place for move out. It’s already clean! I’m thinking during that time saved I could go for a hike or a bike ride or go to the beach. The options I have are endless now.

I have less hobbies to choose from

I can’t tell you how many times I have taken out some old craft stuff and stewed about how to create something new that I just didn’t feel like making just because I had the stuff lying around. About five or six years ago, I was a drawer. I loved to draw cartoons and create collages. About four years ago, I was going to teach myself how to play the guitar. Paper crafts? I stopped doing those about five years ago.

Guess who still owned all the stuff to do that stuff? Me. 

Today, I love to read, write and crochet. So, I have only kept the books around that I actually think I will read (I still have a good number of  books, because #forevernerd), I downsized my powerhouse laptop down to a writer-friendly Chromebook, and all of my yarn has been lovingly displayed in my bedroom ready for inspiration to hit. The only extra things that I am really holding onto are the sewing machine that my grandma gave to me and the box of jewelry making stuff, because I know that making jewelry for me is a seasonal craft.

So, now when I want to decide what to do or what to create, I spend less time trying to decide between so many different options and just role with what I’ve got.

I am forced to get to know myself

Since I am spending less time working on aesthetic decisions, I am now forced to work on intrinsic decisions. I am now reading who knows how many blog posts on minimalism and wellness and clean living and fitness and clean eating and all other things to do with bettering my life habits. I have been reading books that make me think deeper about life and I am spending a lot of time alone with myself and with my thoughts.

Over the past few months of major purging, I have been forced to make real decisions about who I am and what I want to surround myself with. Some days are a struggle and I really don’t like myself or I am frustrated with myself because I can’t make up my mind, but, overall, it has been a totally radical process.

As I look around at my world, I am now surrounded by things that truly represent me and the life that I want to live. It hasn’t been an easy process by any means, but it’s been worth it ten times over.

Have you given minimalism a shot? How have you felt along your minimalist journey?

The Truth About What Happens When You Become a Minimalist

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Life Update: Why Less Really is More

This post is a bit different than my others and is going to set the stage for my posts moving forward. No more gimmicky stuff. I really just want to share with you what’s going on in my life, what’s working for me, what’s not working for me, and everything that I am using to fuel the positive changes in my world.

You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been on a bit of a writing hiatus throughout the month of February and I want to give you some background into what I’ve been doing and how I found myself there.whylessreallyismore

As you know, my word for 2018 is FOCUS.

So, in true New Year’s resolutioner fashion, I began to drastically change my life — I made the decision to focus my life and I was going to do it. I made the decision to focus the things that I surround myself with and made the decision to choose what I wanted to focus my time on. So, I began to minimize.

Mission 1: Read More »

Five Ways I am Focusing 2018

As I approach the new year, I am doing something different.  I am using 2018 to hone in on what I want out of life, what I want to see from myself, my surroundings, and my relationships. With all the reading I have been doing, all the content about mantras and mindfulness, I have made the decision to identify my word for 2018:

FOCUS

For those of you who know me, you may be laughing right now. As someone who has been diagnosed with ADHD, my life’s word may just need to be focus…hah! But, all joking aside, this word and what it represents for me is so much more than just making sure I am paying attention when someone is talking to me (yes, active listening…)

Here are the Five Ways I am Focusing 2018:

1. I am taking control of my addiction to stuff. 

This year, I want to focus on what I like and don’t like and what I am keeping around just because “I have to”. Today, for example, I went through my earring box (DIY Hack: it’s a tackle box organizer) and effectively went from 50 sets of earrings (real life) down to 20 sets of earrings (still don’t know how I can wear that many, but it’s a start). How someone could ever need 10 different size/shapes of plain round metal studs is beyond me. I’m now down to TWO sets of plain round metal studs. The number of Goodwill trips that I have made within the past month (see Getting the Jump on 2018 for why I started early) is exorbitant and as I pair down my life I am grateful to contribute to their mission. Let’s ditch some stuff. 

2. I am shaping my world to reflect what I seek to manifest within. 

When I moved into my apartment last summer, my main goal was homey AF. My house growing up was always full of knick-knacks, furniture to fill all the spaces, and  totally covered walls. Thus, I have a seemingly innate need to fill every nook and cranny. It’s time for a change. It’s time for me to bring order to my world, to use my environment as a vessel of accomplishment and not that of overwhelming demise. My apartment felt heavy – time to lighten up. Over the past month, I have gotten rid of: two tall bookcases, a couch (I still have another), an over-sized coffee table, a dresser (I still have, you guessed it, another), and numerous pieces of art and mirrors I have since out grown. I now have a smaller coffee table in my living room and a smaller chair next to my couch. Oh, the room for activities! To increase the use of my farm desk (and by that I mean: to actually use my farm desk), I moved it out of my bedroom and into my living room next to my sliding glass door. My bedroom now serves as my sanctuary of sleepy time and my desk is now flooded with daylight for maximum productivity. Let’s get sh*t done.

3. I am going to have fun being active!

Something that I struggled with this past year was finding a workout regimen and sticking to it. I. Just. Can’t. So, instead of creating imaginary goals for myself that revolve around what the cool kids are doing on Instagram (crossfit, powerlifting…), I am going to create and follow workouts that actually align with my fitness goals (and are possible in the gym I workout at!) What are they? Look and feel fabulous while having fun doing it! There aren’t any competitions with anyone but myself and I am all about mirror motivation. So, here’s to dropping my weight a bit and upping my reps, because I want a bodybuilder bod. And, working in more super sets because I love getting sweaty and pushing myself every time I step in the gym. Let’s get ripped!

4. I am investing in healthy relationships

For some time, I have had some walls. This year, the healthier, shinier version of myself will invest in healthy relationships. I am going to dedicate myself to developing rewarding and long-lasting connections. The kind of relationships that don’t go up in a firey blaze and go out in the blink of an eye. I’m looking for those good simmer on the stove relationships that just get better with time. In 2017, I have made decisions for myself based on what I want from my relationships and have made some not so easy choices, but I know moving forward that I will thank myself for taking the hard road. Because, I’m worth the time and effort. Let’s love our self and others!

5. I am giving RLI the ultimate makeover.

This year I am going to take RLI to the next level. I am honing the focus of my content and making my site reader and, ultimately, SEO friendly. I am committed to consistently publishing content and getting my email list up and running. By the end of this year, I will have finished my first eBook and made it available to my following. If you’re reading this, you can expect big things from me and I want to take you with me. 🙂 Let’s crush 2018!!!!

Do you have a word for 2018? How are you going to focus your new year? Leave me a comment! I love to talk goals and how we can reach them together. 🙂

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Life’s Little Breaks: Getting Back on Track

The Holidays. Oh-so-loved by all for the rib stickin’ good food, hilarious times, and much-needed vacation that comes with them. There is really nothing like getting to spend quality time with fresh-baked pie, your loved ones, and (hopefully) yourself as you take in not having to go back to work until the New Year. But, now it’s over.Read More »

Getting the Jump on 2018: Finishing Well

My mom and I were all snuggled up on my couch, full from downing some of my homemade chili, and taking a break from beginning the transformation from my everyday apartment to Christmas Wonderland. After browsing through what felt like hundred of curtains for her living room, the phrase “finishing well” came up in our conversation. The connection didn’t hit me until later that night when a Three Bullet Sunday email from David Bach came to mind. He took the time to share with his readers the importance of finishing 2017 well to jump-start the success of 2018.

Why is ending 2017 on a good note so important for the success of 2018? Read More »

Making Your Own Adventure: NYC’s High Line

IMG_20170907_140028788_HDRVisiting New York City is one of the most incredible experiences I have had thus far as a baby explorer within the US. From the architecture, to the incredible cultural diversity, and the uniqueness pouring out of every crevice. Every time I looked in a new direction I saw something different and interesting that caught my eye and made me thankful for the incredible adventure I was embarking upon. One of my favorite highlights from my trip was NYC’s famous High Line.

The juxtaposition between urban and natural makes for such a refreshing take on the city. In an area with such limited green space, the creativity put into this attraction is surely not to disappoint.

So, what is the High Line?Read More »

Making Your Own Adventure: MKE Edition

I LOVE MY CITY! Milwaukee is my favorite city that I have lived in (thus far.) This place is full of interesting places, amazing things to do, and wonderful people to meet. Towards the end of this summer, I decided to combine two of my favorite things: being active and going on an adventure. This is the story of my self-made Milwaukee bike tour.Read More »

Be the Snowball: Generating Your Life’s Momentum

The Snowball Effect. We’ve all heard of it. The once little snowball packed by tiny hands at the top of the sledding hill suddenly comes barreling down larger than life. Little do most of us know: this is your life.

Have you ever just gotten into a habit without even realizing it? Just started doing something and then one day have a realization where you become conscious of the fact that you have begun touching the tip of your nose to avoid touching the rest of your face so that you don’t keep breaking out because of your dirty, grubby fingers and it’s actually kind of weird? (May or may not be a person example…) Well, it happens to a lot of us and it can be used to your advantage!

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The clock in my bedroom the constantly keeps me on time in the mornings.

I have a routine, or a string of habits, that I go through almost everyday when I get ready for work. I start byRead More »

Goals: Purpose, Passion, and Blazing Eyes

Let’s start by reviewing some of the most cliché goal evaluations right off the bat: Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you see yourself in ten years? Most answer these questions with where they see themselves in their career. I challenge you to do something bigger.

Today, I want you to start setting goals for your mind, body, and soul. I want you to start setting goals that use your career to propel you towards your passions. Goals that move you towards doing things that you love, stimulating your mind and soul, nurturing your body, and surrounding yourself with things that make your heart swell with gladness.

Today, I challenge you to make your passion into your purpose and your purpose into your passion.

Read More »

Sticking with It: Feeling the Balance

Please do not replicate without permission. I’m now well on my way into my commitment for a healthier and chemical-free world! Almost everything that I am using on my body is now homemade — woo! My hair care is totally natural, my skin care routine is completely natural, and I am slowly working my way into the world of homemade makeup.Read More »