The Pursuit of Less: An Aspiring Minimalists Journey 

Maybe the life you’ve always wanted is buried under everything you own. – Joshua Becker

So much has changed for us over the last 6 months. After stumbling upon minimalism and applying its philosophy, we decided our life needed an over haul. Getting serious about our health and fitness spilled over into other areas of our lives. We started defining and listing what is truly important to us and getting clear about our family goals and values. At the top of our list is freedom. We started asking ourselves questions about how we could create more freedom in our daily lives. For example, like setting a budget. Our savings and spending goals became much easier to track, taking the stress out of spending simply by implementing a budget. Obviously a huge factor in our freedom is debt. It determines how much we save, donate, need to work, and what retirement would one day look like for us.
An unexpected thing happened for us as a result of getting our camper this past December, we realized just how little we could get by with. I no longer required a large kitchen equipped with the latest gadgets to prepare dinner, or huge master suite with countless drawers and walk in closet to store my clothes and bath products. For an entire week, we got dressed, ate, slept, and bathed in less than 250 square feet, basically less than one room of our current home. It really got me thinking. Was our current living arrangement what fit us best? Could we get by with less? Do we want to get by with less? I thought of how much of our monthly budget was spent on our home and if that matches up with what we have determined most important to us. It was right for us at some point. However, that was years ago now and what suited us then, didn’t seem as suitable now. Our lives have changed so much since we moved into our big house close to town.
An important minimalist concept is to question everything. I am learning that each thing in our life should serve a purpose or feel that it’s beautiful and enjoy it. When I started questioning the things we own and how we were choosing to live, I began noticing how much we had that no longer fit our life anymore. Lamps and knick knacks tucked away for some future redecorating whim… Extra bedding we’d never be able to use up in a life time. Why were we keeping all this stuff? The upkeep for our home and all the stuff we’d accumulated over the years started feeling like weights holding us down.
We got educated on how others obtained more freedom in their lives. We started reading blogs/ books, watched documentaries, and joined online groups devoted to paring down and finding more freedom in life. We were able to rid ourselves of a sizable amount of stuff through on-line yard sales. We also created a budget and plan to get out of debt. With each bill paid off and item no longer needed sent away, we felt lighter, freeer and motivated to keep going! After seeing the restrictions our home placed on us, we knew we needed to look for solutions. We no loner felt our current living situation supported our goals and values. Getting totally out of debt would further support our freedom initiative and neighborhood life just wasn’t a good fit for us anymore. We wanted to keep our camper close by especially before trips and a little after to do some work on it, but the HOA didn’t support that. Our outdoor space was limited and the HOA had to be consulted to make any adjustments or improvements to our own property.
We expanded our search to include all of the husband’s work territory, which was about a 60 mile radius. Turns out, we didn’t have to look far or long. Within a month of our search, we found the perfect place. It was nestled along the coast just 20 miles away in a private sanctuary we knew we could make our own. It was rural and rustic and didn’t even have a traditional home. It was all about the land, the peaceful setting teaming with nature and solitude. It fit our budget and had future income potential. The mobile home was a bonus. Although I am not sure how we could have made it work without the double wide included, the property was a steal without it. There were so many possibilities for our future if we secured it. So we did! After we put a contract on the property we listed our home, and literally 1 week later sold it. Oscar and I always say when something is meant to be, it’s easy!
I seriously dreaded the selling and moving process but of all our past experiences, thankfully, this one was the least painful. By relocating, we were able to drop over $100,000 in debt and have continued paring down. Of course we’ve made some improvements to our mobile home, making it ours, that I can’t wait to share once complete! Now, we’re focusing on the essentials. Questioning everything we keep and how we set up our home. As we packed, we decided that we didn’t need a formal eating space and dragging around formal dining room furniture was not something we’d do this time. If we change our minds and want one later, we’ll get it then. I’m so over having stuff for the occasional need. If we have guests, we’ve got plenty of extra seating and I’m sure we can make due. I’m not saying I don’t still have tons of occasional things but I’m slowly working through and processing them out of my life. We’ve got a long way to go but we’ve made so much progress. We’re in a perfect spot here at our country coastal property, it’s peaceful with lots of space to spread out and relax. Our girl has plenty of room to explore and study nature. We’ve got options here we didn’t have before.

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My So Called Chemical Life

Living unstuffed pushes me to look at everything we have allowed into our lives. People, ideas, beliefs, products, and food to name some of the big ones. Lately I’ve been looking at the stuff that comes in our stuff, i.e. Chemicals. Its in our food, on our furniture, in bath products, toys, clothing, and nearly everything we bring into our homes. It preserves our stuff, makes it cheaper, more durable, gives it a longer shelf life, and makes it smell or look better. But at what cost? Trust me, I am all about convience, but not at the cost of health.

Terrifying disease and health decline is a serious issue in our country. Cancer, thyriod disfunction, digestive disorders, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s, to name a few, have all affected someone I know. I used to believe it to be random or maybe heredity related, however, the more I learn about food and healthy living the more clear it becomes that our modern lifestyle is certainly a major factor for the increase. Daily new research is being done and released warning us about some of the common ingredients found in everyday STUFF.

I have suffered terrible allergies and digestive issues for years leading me towards finding out why and how to heal. Through many hours of reading and researching I’ve gathered some insight into what we should be using and avoiding. The consensus seems to be that choosing stuff as close to its natural state is the best way to go. For example, choose fresh over canned and wood over plastic when given the option. We have recently thrown out the majority of our kitchen plastic replacing it with glass, stainless steal, and cast iron instead. Luckily there are many blogs, books, and resources on the topic of health and chemical load, so much so, that it can actually be overwhelming. Often advice changes as new research is done and the way our bodies work is better understood, making it vital that we take charge of our health and make informed decisions about what we are doing with our bodies. Certainly every BODY is different and we all have to figure out what works best for us but continuing this so called chemical life is certainly not.

Below I have listed some of our favorite clean items/ products and a few resources on how to reduce your chemical load. If you choose to purchase any of the items through the link provided we will be compensated a small amount through Amazon.

How have you changed in recent months/ years to reduce your chemical load? I’d love to hear about some of your favorite healthy STUFF!

Also, if you scroll to the bottom of this page you will find a place to enter your email and get notified when I’ve posted anything new here.

Thanks for stopping by.

Websites:

– draxe.com

– mercola.com

– wellnessmama.com

Clean Products and Resources

1. Stainless steel straws

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2. Cast iron pan

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3. Instant Pot

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4. Book

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5. Stainless water bottle

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6. Soap

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7. Deodorant

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I Bought the American Dream With Mostly Credit and My Freedom

Start school, behave, get good grades. Hopefully you can get into a good college. Go ahead and start thinking about what you want to be when you grow up, so that you can decide by the ripe old age of 17 or 18. It’s just the thing you are going to do for the rest of your LIFE. No pressure, take your time choosing but don’t take too long… you need to graduate in 4 years, especially if you plan on going to graduate school.

Get student loans. They are a great help with books, living costs, and tuition. Don’t worry about them, they a super low interest and once you are in the real world making the big bucks, you will have them paid off in no time!

Oh what’s this.. a credit card offer…sure! You need to build some credit. Oh cool I only have to pay $25 month! SWEET! Crap, this card is charging me more in interest than my minimum payment. This could get out hand…

Great! You are graduating this spring, YAY! Only took 5 years… Whoa, you need to get a real job. These student loans and credit card balances are crazy. Get an entry level position start building some experience, work your way up. You know, it’s time you drive something nice to celebrate all this success!

Shouldn’t you be getting married soon? Did you get a promotion yet?

Time to buy your first home… it’s an investment. Congratulations! Such a huge step! Well it’s a huge bill each month. Get a better paying job, upgrade the car. Take some vacations. You need to think about starting a family soon. This neighborhood isn’t zoned for the best schools though, something to think about when the kids come along. Better schools are closer to nicer neighborhoods. Time to upgrade to a bigger house. What will that mortgage look like…

Fast Forward a few  years:

You know we should really look into finally paying these student loans off. Yeah but the interest is lower than all our other loans… true, all the credit cards should be paid first then the car notes. Well that will be a while…  How’d we get to be 30 so fast, we haven’t had any kids yet, we still have student loans, and don’t feel any happier than when we first got out of college making the least amount of our career… what is going on here? When will we be making the big bucks, have more freedom, and actually relax? Oh no, not until we are 65… if we are lucky… and of course not dead by then.

This doesn’t sound like a dream at all. More like a nightmare…

Am I Still Living Unstuffed?

It’s been a while since I posted anything here. The past year and half rocketed by at a break neck pace with so many changes it’s hard to believe when I say them aloud. To name just a few, our family dog of over 16 years passed away, our SUV was struck by lightning, and Hubby’s mom came to live with us for a while… yeah I know, and that’s just SOME of the changes.  Lucky for us, moving here and taking a more minimalist approach towards living our life helped in so many ways. For example, the unexpected cost and time of replacing our SUV wasn’t a massive financial burden or huge inconvenience trying to balance a hectic schedule.

As for our new abode, I’ve poured my heart and soul into making it cozy, comfortable, and our kind of stylish. After trying a super minimalist approach, I decided that really wasn’t me. I need some color in my life, although not much, and a nick nack or 2 can really set a space off. Finding our minimalist style is evolving. I more or less work towards finding balance between just enough and not too much. For example, technically we don’t NEED 2 sets of sheets for our bed but in the event they are soiled in the middle of the night by a sick child, we can just grab the old ones from our cabinet to get us by until we do the wash. It’s also become apparent that decluttering is an ongoing process. If you bring new in weekly, then weekly we should be letting go of the old. When we both worked outside of the home plus played hard on the weekends, we NEVER made time to declutter. We just shoved everything in a closet, under the bed, or up to the attic. Decluttering involves decision making and according to Tim Ferris in the 4 Hour Work Week we max out at a certain number before reaching decision fatigue. I’d burn 50% of mine just deciding what to wear each day in my maxed out, over stuffed walk in closet. We still have a large walk in closet, but it feels calmer now. There is space and I have put some systems in place to make decluttering faster and easier. For example, there’s a box in each of our closets to toss old clothes or items in when its time has come instead of just shoving in back in the line up or in a corner until “one day” when we can get around to clearing it out.

This year has been less eventful, however we’re still picking up the pieces from the crazy of 2017. It feels good to slow down, take a more serious look at our health, relationships, and budget. And get back to writing about how we are creating our unstuffed life.