How We've Simplified, Living Minimally

Hi friends, are you still out there?!

I'm teasing, but it has been way too long since I've jotted things down here! I fell under the pressure of "blogging" how I perceived it needed to be. No fault of anyone but myself but it became heavy and the pressure of the perfect photos, linking everything and updating on a schedule took the creative fun out of it. So here I am, back and ready to bring back the 2010 version of my blog! Wha-hoo!! My journal, thoughts, tips, tricks, pretty photos thanks to a talented husband and just more of my heart, I'm excited!

Now back to today's topic, I talk a lot about minimalism on my Instagram and a few of you have been interested in more details of the why and how we have done that. I know "minimalism" has become super trendy which is kind of annoying to be honest because while I feel like there are SO many amazing benefits behind it, the real point of living minimally sometimes gets lost. You don't have to have a white home decorated in light woods, black and white everything and clean lines. If you want bright colors, crazy prints and photos on every wall that can still be true as long as it is true to YOU! You can have both!! Shocking, right? Living minimally is getting rid of the excess that you don't need in all aspects to be able to open up space for the things you LOVE. For me getting rid of things around the house and living on the essentials more has opened up time and space physically as well as head space, creative space, play space and brings such a peace to our home. I love a well decorated home, living comfortably, having the boys look clean and well put together, having a stocked fridge and none of that has to be given up. I feel like Carl and I have gained so much in getting rid of the extra stuff. We don't have a storage room in our current home and while it can be annoying at times for things like a Christmas tree, we do actually love that it helps us stay mindful of what we do have! Clutter for me adds stress and stress makes me grumpy. Two things I really try to avoid. I love the quote, "decluttering is getting rid of the things we don't want. Minimalism is realizing how little we actually need." It is SO freeing. Think of all the mindless trips you make to Target or fast fashion stores to grab things you'll wear once or twice. I spent years doing this. If I had a fun event coming up that meant a new outfit! I'd go to the store and find something cute, nothing I really LOVED or would wear a million times but it would be fun for that one thing. I'd buy it, wear it a couple times then it would collect dust in my closet. Such a waste of money, space, energy and time. Don't tell me I'm alone in this cycle. We all fall into these traps and sometimes I still do but thanks to having my boys with me and growing another one inside me I just don't have the time and energy to run around, so in turn I've learned to really think purchases through. It's been a huge blessing being able to train my mind to wait it out when I think I really want something. I'd say nine times out of ten I walk away and never think about it again! Things like "swipe up" features on every app makes it so in our face all the time but next time you see them just simply don't swipe up! After awhile it won't feel so daunting and you'll be able to save for the few things you really do need/love and will use or wear over and over!

Here are some of the basic things we do to keep ourselves in check, we are constantly a work in progress but I do feel like we have come such a long way!

- Go through our closets monthly, you will be surprised how little you need to have an amazing wardrobe that you actually love every piece in there. Always get rid of things you haven't worn in 6 months or that don't fit. Don't hang onto things for when you get to your "goal size". Love where you are and when you need to, purchase something nice that will last and fits! I read the book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" a few years ago and while I don't do everything she suggests in her book there are some things I still do. If you have pieces that were given to you or that you're hanging onto to maybe wear if you had this specific thing... thank the article for bringing you joy and donate or sell it to someone else who will have that joy now!

- Toys. We do have quite a few toys but they all have their place organized and put away. The boys know they can have one big thing out at a time and if they want something else you have to clean up the other first. This keeps things from getting so out of hand, overwhelming and chaotic.

- Meals. We eat a lot of the same things week to week, this makes meal planning and grocery shopping easier. I love making a big batch of salsa chicken every week that we can use on tacos, salads, in quiona bowls, quesidillas or plain. It is simple and we all love it! I make healthy zucchini oat muffins every week that we have a few times a week for breakfast as well as grab and go snacks. We keep carrots, raw nuts, cucumbers, applesauce packets, kids cliff bars and apples on hand for easy snacking. We all love them! One tip I have with food, if you're wanting to eat and feed your family healthy meals, buy healthy groceries! It seems simple and really it is, if you're buying good quality healthy bread, eggs, milk then things that kids love like a grilled cheese is still giving them the nutrients they need, it's simple and they love it! Don't over complicate meals, I would love to make things more fancy but in our stage of life with little ones that aren't as adventuresome this works so well for us!

- Laundry. I've written a whole post on how I do laundry but simple don't allow it to pile up. Don't buy so many clothes that you can go weeks without washing, ironing and putting things away. It will help keep things SO simple!

- Makeup/personal items. I used to love trying new makeup, lotions, lipsticks things like that but I would never use them up and they'd go bad or I'd get sick of them. Now I have a few brands I love and I just rebuy those same things as they run out. I don't have stacks of extras lying around I just know when I'm getting close to the end I will order or pick up one more. This keeps things organized, less wasteful and you always know what you have.

- Junk drawer. We all have one, its somewhat of a necessity but it doesn't have to be a "junk drawer" more of just a catch all but keep it limited to the things that will help you. Tape, stamps, pencils, scissors things like that need a place but keep an eye on it that that is all it is and not fill it will junk. Go through it often.

Hopefully this helps give you some ideas on how you can make the switch in some areas of your life! This way of living isn't for everyone but if it sparks your interest I encourage you to pick something today to sort through and keep just the few essentials. It's addicting the freeing feeling when your things don't own you and weigh you down. Don't be afraid to throw away, donate or sell things, I really think you'll love it!! Comment below and let me know what you have done to simplify your life!