Posted in less is more, Purging

Project Ten Things

Confession: I never considered “decluttering” a conscious part of my minimalism journey because I’m really so sick of seeing this word. I was adamant that I wasn’t going to declutter anything. I convinced myself that if I didn’t need it, then I’d just get rid of it, but I wouldn’t turn decluttering into a “project”.

Fast forward to now: I’m starting a decluttering project. Why now? Because I found myself just shifting things around putting them in their proper place with intentions of using them at “some point”, but six months later, they’re still laying around in their proper places, collecting dust and making me itch because I know now that I have zero intentions of ever using them again.

So, this brings me to Project Ten Things. Inspired by this article, by taking one room at a time and just getting rid of ten things per room, to begin, I would feel far more accomplished than trying to tackle my entire apartment (about 675 sq ft) at once.

I have 5.5 rooms (my foyer is the .5) and 4 closets, and as I look around as I type out this post, I already see at least five things that I can immediately get rid of. I already feel accomplished! Over the next six weeks, I’ll present a room, including the closets, along with ten things that I’m getting rid of. I’m actually looking forward to this.

See you next week when I tackle the coat closet and foyer! Pray for me…

Posted in less is more, Money Matters

C.R.E.A.M.

C(ash) R(ules) E(verything) A(round) M(e)

Although having a minimalist mindset, for me, isn’t so much about spending less as it is about living with less, I find myself seriously evaluating where all my money goes. I, mean, I have worked in banking for the last twenty-three and a half years, so I check my bank account damn near every day. While I see the money trickling in yet pouring out, I haven’t been mindful (There’s that word again!) of where the moolah is actually going. I’ve always been focused on is my balance correct and not so much on “Why the fuck did I just buy that?!”

Well, that’s changing, and I know the above statement may be somewhat controversial, but let’s face it: You need money! Specifically, you need cash to obtain freedom — freedom from debt, freedom from worry about not having enough money, freedom from everything that suppresses you from not having enough money!!!

What’s so upsetting for me right now is that I’ve always maintained the belief that I don’t have “enough money” to pay down my debt. I challenged my own mindset by pulling my last three bank statements and highlighting every purchase that wasn’t a necessity (rent, utilities, food, insurance…) and the numbers were staggering! Mind-blowing is more like it. After I crunched the numbers, I realized that I could’ve cut the balance on a debt-consolidation loan I have by half. HALF!!!!

Y’all!!!!!! I wish I could kick my own ass! But I’ve allowed myself five minutes of anger and sorrow, and now, it’s time to get to work. I have never been as serious about getting out of debt than I am at this moment. I’ll be fifty in three years, and I want to enter the next phase of my life debt-free. I don’t want to be paying frivolous bills on shit that I probably will no longer own.

That’s another thing! I’m paying debt today for shit I no longer own! If that ain’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is…

My plan? Track my spending for thirty days, and I mean, log every cent that I’ve spent, along with why I felt I needed to make that purchase. At the end of the thirty days, I’ll reassess and determine if the purchase was a necessity or a frivolity. Then I’ll determine if I could’ve done without the frivolous purchase and created other ways to satisfy that need without having to spend money.

Yes, I’m probably overthinking this, but that’s what I do. I’ll follow up next month with my findings.

Posted in Health, Life

2018: The Year of Self-Care

2017 really tried a sista, and if I take one thing away from the year that was, it’s I did not take time for me. I received a very demanding yet rewarding promotion at work (an actual highlight) that literally consumed everything in me. I was so focused on proving that I deserved this promotion (Duh, why would I get promoted if I already hadn’t proven myself?) that I neglected myself—physically, emotionally, even spiritually. I often worked ten plus hours a day and many Saturdays (with no overtime!) because I wanted to be the woman! Coupled with my indie editing side-hustle, which I find equally rewarding and satisfying, I had no time for me, Patrice.

Sleep (what’s that?) was often an afterthought where I averaged anywhere from five and a half to six and a half per weeknight. I was lucky to clock in up to ten on the weekends.

Eating was often on-the-go. Fast food from Five Guys to Fridays kept me full, broke, and malnourished (I still love you, Five Guys ❤ ).

What free time I did have I spent vegged out in front of the TV or social media, fawning over people, places, and things.

So, what does this all have to do with minimalism? E-VE-RY-THING!!

I was a prime example of “unmindful” living. Nothing I did was with focus or intent. When existing on auto-pilot, you do what is necessary to simply survive or get by. All of these things attributed to my wasting money—eating out daily for at least two of my meals, internet shopping, extra doctor’s visits (which means extra co-pays) because my body was telling me, Not today, Satan…

I have vowed to make 2018 the year of me. Self-care has always carried this stigma (at least to me) of selfishness. If you put yourself first then you don’t care about anyone else. This couldn’t be further from the truth. How can you give yourself to others while neglecting the mind and body that sustains you? I came to this realization when I literally looked in the mirror and saw dark circles, overgrown chin hairs, chipped, uneven nails, a larger than usual stomach pooch…

Now,  I know I have just described the physical manifestations of my lack of self-care, but looking your best is also part of feeling your best. It’s not vain or selfish to take an hour or two out of your week to pamper yourself physically. In fact, I need to add that to my self-care goals. And no, you don’t necessarily need to spend money to do it. But if spending $60 on a mani/pedi every two weeks is part of your self-care must-haves, then by all means, do you, boo…

By incorporating some mindful self-care rituals into my daily life, I know my minimalism journey will only be less rocky and more maintainable.

 

Posted in less is more, Life, Musings

Goodbye 2017

2017 Wrap Up

 

I’ma keep it real: 2017 was an incredibly shitty year for me. Now, we all endure different levels of shit, and while I have a job and a roof over my head (for which I am grateful every, single day), I am not happy. I’m not happy with this clusterfuck I call a life, and do you know how I self-medicate? I buy shit. Yup, if I’m feeling down or if I’m mad at the world (and there’s plenty to be mad at), Amazon or Gap or my IG feed is a literal click away, and BOOM! “Thank you for your order” never felt so good! “Your order has shipped” was fucking euphoric!

And this is why I have not posted a thing since October. I really thought that adopting this freer, cleaner, leaner lifestyle would be easy. NOT! When you’re raised with a consumerist mindset, that having “things”, quality, expensive things, is the ultimate sign of success then you are destined for failure. Especially when you don’t have a plan. Especially when you think just by getting rid of all of your shit that you’re suddenly a minimalist.

Welcome to The Brown Sugar Minimalist…

I’m ready now. I really am. How so? What makes things different from the first time you decided to “become a minimalist”.

Whereas the first time, there was this need to just purge and live with less and label myself a “minimalist”, this time, the desire to want to live simpler—and save some damn money in the process — is burning a hole in my soul.

Speaking it into existence

2018 will be a new beginning. I’m not saying it’s going to be a piece of cake because like a drug addict, the cravings never truly go away. But the desire, the wanting to do better, to be better, to live better is more powerful. I’ll continue to use this blog to hold myself accountable — and to call myself out.

I’ll be back on the 1st to list my 2018 goals beyond. Happy Holidays and Merry New Year!

 

Posted in Money Matters, Musings

The Holidays Are Coming, and I’m Nervous AF!

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…