For the past several months I’ve been trying to work on fixing up my life, or lack thereof. This is a long-winded post about my journey into something resembling minimalism.
TL;DR Grateful I was able to start from scratch but wish I had done it sooner. I still don’t have any major life goals and don’t care that I don’t, but getting into minimalism and planning has started leading to betterish feelings about life.
“But wait!” you may say. “You never leave the house. You don’t have a job. You only cook for yourself. You don’t do anything notable. What could you possibly have to simplify, minimize, and organize?”
That’s what I also asked myself when I wanted to get into BulletJournalling last year. All I really had to keep track of was what I was eating when I was trying to figure out if food was causing my lips to randomly swell (I think it was Advil, btw). But then I sort of started cleaning as a hobby. Then I wanted to schedule my chores. Eventually, I gave up the BuJo because I was so sick and tired of creating new spreads all the time and got a Happy Planner.
Most of what I’m planning is my chores and meal ideas and Notable Things That Happen Even if Rarely. I’m still fine tuning my chore schedule and how I use the space in the planner.
I decided I wanted my planner’s theme to be #KAWAIIAF. So I’ve been buying a variety of stickers to decorate with and try to find my planner groove. Having this theme is giving me such a fun, delightful little space to go to whenever I want. It’s a little bit of sunshine in my life that I didn’t know I needed. I’m also trying to create a space where I can experience seasons since I don’t get them much here in SoCal. Thank the virgin babyjesus for themed stickers.
This month I’ve been doing 2 tarot challenges over on my tarot IG and you’ll see I have been writing one of them down. I don’t know why, or if I’ll continue doing so. But I think it is a great idea to do a daily tarot card and to keep track of it, so at the very least I’ll go back to the tarot shorthand I was doing in my BuJo.
I’ve got a morning routine and a bedtime routine. I did poorly at keeping these up when I went from my BuJu, where I could easily track them, to my planner. When I have the list out and ready I get things done at a much higher rate than if I don’t have it. Must be related to the “out of sight out of mind” thing.
This week I’m going to see how it works to write them down for every. single. day. Because the habits tracker sticker on the side there is just “meh” for the job. I disliked writing out the entire list every week for my BuJo though so it may not go over so well.
I’ve got an extremely fancy and cute cover coming from Woodland Cottage Farm. It will be able to hold a lot of things so it’ll help me streamline my planner life.
I want to start trying to do my daily chores as soon as possible after waking up because I tend to just mope about online for several hours before doing anything else. Maybe if I get the Daily Chore done ASAP, maybe even before caffeine, I’ll be able to do more with the rest of my day because the way I have things queued up in my head is…. well that’s a post for another time.
Starting from Scratch
Around the same time I got my planner I started watching minimalist videos on YouTube. This reminded me of when I went all KonMarie on my clothes and art supplies before leaving New Orleans this last time around. I’ve been cozied up with a KonMarie mindset since then. I’m careful about what I buy and try to *toss stuff as soon as I recognize that I don’t need/want it. It really helped when bf and I moved here with just what we could carry.
So starting with a blank slate was nice. Sure we were sent some of our stuff here and there, as time and money allowed. But I’d try to be ruthless about what I kept from those boxes. I was extra ruthless when we went to visit for Christmas and I had a chance to confront my junk again. I’d say I culled half of our stuff but I’m not entirely sure. It’s mostly books and doll stuff (and nail polish) now. I managed to bring back some clothes and most of my dolls on the trip back.
I don’t like being materialistic and I wish I had clicked with this minimalist mindset after getting this “fresh start”. It felt so freeing to be able to toss the same exact stuff that I was feeling anxious about not having with me. My thinking was “I spent so much money on X and it’s just sitting there rotting away!”.
And even more in hindsight: I would have felt so much better all this time if I didn’t have all that stuff to begin with.
My wardrobe is one of the things that I have been lucky enough to build from scratch. I try to keep a KonMarie filter on so that everything I buy is very much needed or desired. I buy all my clothes online so I had some duds and changes-of-heart.
I’m happy I decided to “go back to goth” around the time we moved so I had a theme to work towards. I have carefully built up around 20 complete (ready to wear from the hanger, no mix and match) outfits. Because I have learned that I really don’t like mixing and matching. I’m far less stressed when I don’t have to figure out what works with what.Sure it costs more in the long run, and it’s not at all minimalist, but damnit sometimes you have to pay for peace of mind.
I keep going through them every few days trying to decide if I should get rid of some things. I recently divided them into “Everyday Wear” and “Not-So-Everyday Wear”. That wasn’t quite right so I recently picked out about around 10 “LOVE THESE OUTFITS” outfits. And I have picked out one “Really Lazy Day” outfit.
The other outfits I have are very likable but I feel too guilty about getting rid of them because they cost money and they were so recently obtained. I’m terrible at selling and don’t know anybody in person I can gift/trade with so they would be completely wasted. So I’ll probably keep them until something else happens to them. Maybe I’ll have another mental shift that will let me let go of them or love them more.
Then I have an assortment of items that need to be worked into complete outfits. It would be a good idea if I just got rid of all of those. We’ll see what happens with them this month.
Shoes: I have 5 pairs of shoes. 1 is my Fuck Me Now heels that everyone should have but I need to give them to a REALLY GOOD HOME, some quick slip-ons, stompy boots, bat boots, and platform mary janes. I would like at least 1 more pair of shoes which will keep me at 5 pairs if I ditch the heels, 4 if I don’t get the new ones that I certainly don’t need.
Jewelry: I had some random cheap shitty things I already got rid of. I have a jewelry box/floor mirror-in-one and have LOADS of room for more. But I’m going to be very choosy about what I get in the future.
Awhile back I started thinking about the hobbies that I’m currently capable of doing i.e. I have all or enough supplies/tools to do them. Can I minimize the number of hobbies I have, and thus stuff needed for those hobbies, while still feeling creatively fulfilled? So I have so many hobbies that I’m spread thin? Do I even want these hobbies? etc?
I started trying to keep track of them in my BuJo and then my planner. I didn’t do a good job of it but was just enough to start figuring things out. Spoiler alert: I wasn’t doing much. I’m a very depressed person so I figured it was just because of that.
This process highlighted an already obvious bit of knowledge: I spent most of my time watching YouTube/Netflix, browsing Reddit, and cleaning. When its spelled out like that it just sounds so depressing. So I wrote down one list of Non-Computer Centric hobbies and one for Computer-Centric. I only included one hobby that I can’t currently do because I lack the proper tool.
Then I decided I needed to figure out my excuses for why I don’t do these things much more often so I wrote a sentence or two about each thing. This helped me figure out the things most important to me. I ditched Journalling (regular, already quit Bullet), Canvas Art, and Art Book art (which will turn into just a junk/gluebook sort of thing) from my Non-Computer Centric list.
The Computer-Centric hobbies are a little weirder to deal with so many of them are in limbo while the rest are sticking around.
So this week I hope to toss out things related to the art hobbies.
A few weeks back I went through Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram to unfriend/unfollow/leave as many people and groups as possible. I ditched people I never talked to, only talked to once, etc. I also ditched people in some places but kept following them in other places because they post the same stuff to all their various accounts.
This is been one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done! I’ve done it on a small scale here and there before but doing it on a large scale was so nice. It’s amazing what intangible cleaning can do.
Last week I cleared out a bunch of e-mails and I’m constantly unsubscribing from stuff that I was somehow subscribed to. There’s only one thing I get updates from and I prefer keeping it like that.
I went vegan in Juneish of 2015. In a way I think that’s when I really kickstarted minimalizing. And now I’m trying to think of how I can simplify my diet while still keeping it (mostly) healthy.
I hate cooking and I hate eating, no matter how delicious the food is. It’s just such a fucking chore. If I can figure out how to make it less of a chore, that would be great. I do all my cooking with an Instant Pot so that helps a great deal. I’ve considered having a big meal prep day once a week or month but that would just take up so much energy, I don’t think I can do it.
I tried Soylent but it’s just so ugh. It’s gross and unsatisfying, even adding flavor to it. I can’t live like that.
I had a long love affair with a lentil curry dish from one of my cook books. Right now I’m in love with burgers with aoli and roasted red peppers. I sprinkle some other stuff in my diet but I seem to have 1 to 2 obsessions at a time. I guess that’s not a bad minimalist approach but I do want to see if I can do better.
I have been watching a lot more minimalizing videos these past couples weeks, trying to make sure I have all my bases covered. For example, I didn’t think to clear out my kitchen junk drawer until someone mentioned tossing appliance manuals.
I seem to have tackled everything I possibly could, which was easy due to not having much, but I “joined” Muchellb’s 30-day challenge just to see her list. I’m not following it day-to-day because there’s already so much I’ve done. This tells me I’ve done things right so far and I’m on the right track. This week I’m going to make sure it really is all done.
I may never be one of those people who can put all their possessions into one bag (I love too many dolls, tarot decks, having furniture, and you couldn’t pay me to give up my InstantPot), but I can sure make it a lot easier to deal with the next inevitable move. And I already feel betterish in general for not having much.
I expect some major cash savings now that I’m content with my wardrobe (seriously I’ve been buying clothes non-stop) and I need only a couple things for the kitchen. Maybe we’ll be able to buy that couch sometime this year! (hah… hhahaha…. omg I miss having a couch).
So I guess that’s it for this particular ramble. I hope everyone is happy and stays safe out there.
*You will notice I talk a lot about tossing stuff in this post. I don’t mean I dumped each and everything in the trash. I gave 99% of my makeup and brushes to a friend who absolutely loves makeup and is 100x better at it than me. I gave away/donated and recycled/trashed all the appropriate things.