Yeah, yeah, I know it’s only October 16th, but do you realize Christmas is nine weeks away?! I am a sucker for Christmas-the grandeur and excess of it. Yes, I admit it. It’s my most feel-good time of year, and I soak it all up.
But this year, I am determined to incorporate my new lifestyle into Christmas. I usually go all out with the decorating and gift-buying (not only for others but myself!) This year is going to be different -except when it comes to my babies. My nieces, affectionately known as my babies, are four and fourteen months. I will not cheat them out of the wonderment of a consumerist Christmas. Their parents are gonna spoil them rotten anyway…
This year, gift-giving will take some careful thinking and advanced planning. I am making all the gifts and cards that I plan to give this year (Thank goodness I’m an introvert and don’t have many friends. Ha!) I am a quiet observer. I pay attention to what the people I love like and care about and I plan to use that to curate my gift-giving this year. I’m both excited and nervous because my thoughts and intentions don’t always pan out the way I envision them.
But more importantly, I am nervous about all the temptation that will surround me once holiday ads are in full force. Pray for me…
I think I’m going about this all wrong. When I started this journey, I had a vision, but what I didn’t have was a plan. I literally decided one day that I was going to do this and belly-flopped into it. I just started pulling shit out of my closets and drawers and packing up stuff that I thought was done with.
Uhh, dumbass, you needed that!!!
I miss my sofa. And my coffee table. And my computer stand. Yes, I got rid of all of those things! That was over a year ago. In their place, I decided to “downsize” and buy smaller, more streamlined pieces. You know what I ended up replacing them with? A glorified futon, a fire engine red, metal coffee table, and one of those lap thingies that you rest your laptop on. All from Ikea. All still sitting in their original packaging. One year later.
WHAT WAS I THINKING?!
Oh, that’s right. I wasn’t thinking. I tend to be an act first, think later person in just about every aspect of my life. Once again, mindfulness is essential in adapting to a minimalist lifestyle. See, I got so caught up, listening to all these minimalist gurus who raved about how ridding your life of “things” make for a happier, more productive “you”. But that ain’t me!!! I like having “things” because not only are some of them necessary, but they actually do make me a happier, more productive me.
So, now, I find myself replacing the things I got rid of because I took the “less is more” mantra to the extreme. Living light doesn’t mean getting ride of every damn thing. It simply means getting rid of the things you know you don’t need or no longer use. Stop trying to be like Minnie Minimalist who can survive with two plates, a fork, one pot, and a wine glass. And for goodness sake, don’t get rid of your sofa if all you do is lay around and watch TV or read books. Am I buying a new sofa? Hell no! I’m stuck with this futon indefinitely. I don’t do a lot of entertaining, but after a long day, it would be nice to chill somewhere besides my bed without having to contort my body just to fit into it.
So, I was thinking to myself; Self, how can I live lighter and still keep the things around me that make me smile yet not junk up the place?
Make them functional and purposeful!
I love owls (except when the bastards are attacking eagle nests with the little eaglets in them!). I love their big, bug eyes, their majestic plumage, and those damned hooked beaks. But what I don’t love is a house full of owl shit that just sits collecting dust.
So, instead of dedicating a shelf or wall full of crazy owl tchotchkes, I decided to cutify my kitchen with some owl salt and pepper shakers and a scrubber dish (I really needed this because I was just sitting my used SOS pad on the edge of the sink, and it was gross!)
And looky, looky! I also found some owl candles! Okay, so, technically I could’ve done without these, but they were marked down to $2.00 after Christmas last year, and I always lose power during a really bad storm, so there! Shut.it.
My point is that you don’t have to give up the things you love and bring you joy if you can find functional, purposeful uses for them. Now, if I could only make art with all these useless lipsticks I have…
So, for the month of September, I created some pretty lofty goals for myself. One thing this minimalism journey is constantly teaching me is the art of mindfulness. I see that word used constantly among the more seasoned minimalists, and I always poo-poo’d it with a “Chile, bye”, but now, I freaking get it!
Once you’re mindful and intentional with everything that you do, you’re already halfway there. Trust me, I’m not trying to sound preachy, but it’s true. For me, I’m so used to doing what I want, when I want, and damn whatever else. I don’t think I’ve ever gone an entire month thinking about spending my money before actually spending my money. I have always been of the mindset that it’s my money; I earned it, and I’ll spend it any way I choose. Anybody like that? Enough chit-chat, let’s get to the results!
- E-book purchases: I have a small disclosure here. I did purchase e-books in September, but I did not spend money on them. I used my Amazon gift card balance, so the books I bought were gifts, not purchases 😛
- Clothing purchases: Honestly, I thought this would be the biggest struggle for me, yet it wasn’t. I think now that I’ve resolved that I don’t need any new clothes and that I’ll be creating a fall capsule wardrobe, there wasn’t anything I really needed, or wanted, for that matter. I was hella tempted, though. I have not unsubscribed to a few mailing lists of my favorite retailers, and I actually did go to a few websites and added some things to my basket. HOWEVER… I BOUGHT NOTHING!!!!
- Fast food breakfast: This also was a tough one. I love to cook but not 6:30 a.m. in the morning. Yeah, yeah, do it the night before…But I don’t like reheated breakfast food. Sue me… I love Panera and Chic-Fil-A, which are directly across the street from my office and oh so convenient… I toughed it out and got my ass up to cook a hot breakfast in the morning. The question is, can I continue this? Not gone lie, the answer is probably no. But I will be more mindful of this. Shit, I saved about $50.00 not buying breakfast in the mornings. If that ain’t incentive, I don’t know what is…
- Grocery shopping: I was fully expecting not to meet this goal, and I did not disappoint myself I am a horrible grocery shopper. I rarely make lists; I don’t comparison shop; I’m an impulse or “good intentions” buyer, knowing damn well, I don’t eat yogurt or squash like that. I’m seriously working on this, and I expect to make significant improvements in the coming weeks. I ended up spending well over $300 in groceries. Admittedly, my breakfast food items slightly contributed to the spike, but not that damn much!
In conclusion, I’m pleased, overall, with this self-imposed challenge. There is room for improvement on all fronts, but I feel good. I hope October’s is just as, if not more, successful.
See y’all next week…
I have a love/hate relationship with October. The weather is wonky. Like, do I wear a jacket or nah? The days are getting shorter. I don’t know if it’s the Leo in me or if it’s in my head, but I truly get my energy from the sun. And I tend to buy more unnecessary shit this time of the year. You know, Halloween ain’t even here yet, and some places are already advertising Christmas…
Antyway… I’ve created another set of lofty, yet attainable goals for myself. It’s time to create some new fall habits.
I’ll be back on Thursday with my September wrap-up. Th good, the bad, and the