Posted in less is more, Life

Are We Related? Embracing and Rejecting a Minimalist Lifestyle

I love my sister dearly. She’s my best friend and confidant. We gossip together. We confide in one another. We have the same tastes in food and music. We are practically alike in every way except looks—I’m darker, she’s lighter; personality—I’m an introvert, she’s an extrovert; and lastly, lifestyle—I’m trying to live minimally; she acquires new things on the regular and has no shame nor gives any fucks how anyone feels about it. And you know what? I totally get it. We grew up in a direly dysfunctional household where we didn’t have a lot, so as we got older and were able to do for ourselves, we did. And grandly.

Sis and I overcame some serious odds to become fairly well-rounded black women. We both make good money in our respective careers, which afford us the means to basically buy whatever we wante. From designer purses to craft supplies (We’re both huge crafters), if we wanted it, we bought it.

I no longer buy purses, even sent a few to a consignment-like online boutique, and I haven’t crafted anything in almost two years, and I miss nothing. Sis still has a closet full of Coach purses, some nearing vintage status, and a room dedicated solely to her craft supplies. The funny part? We now both cringe at each other’s lifestyle.

Our “distaste” for how the other sister now lives is all in good fun. Clutter now literally makes my skin crawl while sis finds comfort in her possessions. She’s never met an empty space she couldn’t fill. Add two kids to the mix, and her home is drowning in a happy, lovable mess. At least, that’s how I view it. She sees my home as a dwelling with bald patches in need of some serious Rogaine for homes.

One thing I can say is that sis and I are respectful of one another’s choices, even if we vehemently disagree with them. Do I think she could benefit from paring down and getting rid of some shit? Yes, I do. But that’s her life and her clutter. She tells me that I’m a crunchy weirdo, in so many words. To that, I respond, “Why yes; yes I am.”

Posted in Purging

Ten Things: Kitchen

After two months of major slackage, I am back with a brand new ten things. I apologize in advance that there will be no photos to accompany this post as I forgot to take them before a pickup from the Vietnam Veterans of America.

I have a galley kitchen so it’s small. And I love my kitchen. It’s not fancy nor does it have modern appliances, but I throws down on the regular! My gut and butt can attest to it :/

Your remodeling options are limited when renting, so I gotta make it do what it do…Contact paper will be your BFF.

In spite of the limited space, I managed to fill my little kitchen with unnecessary shit. I am a gadget fiend. If it promises to do something cool, I buy it, past tense — bought it. From digital food scales (Because, yeah, I’m gonna weigh every crumb before I inhale it) to digital meat thermometers, ya girl bought it.

Enough jabbering; here are the ten things (Technically, more than ten, but I’ve grouped like things together) that I purged from my kitchen:

  1. That oblong, black speckled roaster that damn near every black family I know uses around the holidays. I am a party of one (plus cat). I ain’t roasting no turkeys or inviting company over for mass quantities no time in the near future (That’s the next five years in introvert speak.)
  2. Two Foreman grills (Eff George Foreman…)
  3. Assorted travel mugs acquired from gift bags and subscription boxes (I mean, how many adult sippy cups does one really need?)
  4. Any mismatched dishes just taking up space to be taking up space
  5. Chipped drinking glasses and keepsake tumblers. Just, bye…
  6. Old, warped plastic food storage containers. No explanation needed
  7. Scratched-up, non-stick pans. They were uglying up my storage rack. And besides, I already have a shitload of pans. I could probably stand to get rid of a few more, but I need them. I really do!
  8. Unwanted bakeware. I’m not much of a baker, so I didn’t need a second loaf pan or the round cake pans.
  9. Old rags and half-used or near-empty bottles of cleaners that were piling up underneath the sink. I still need to do a separate purge for that. I still have an unused Soda Stream thingy from 2006 that I haven’t bough refills for since…
  10. THE PRINTED INSTRUCTION MANUALS TO EVERY KITCHEN APPLIANCE I’VE EVER OWNED! Ok, I’m embellishing a bit, but one instruction booklet is too many when you can go online and get the info you need. Amirite?

The kitchen is not completely decluttered. I know I could realistically get rid of a dozen more utensils and cookware, but I also know the moment I do, I’ll need it for something. And I’m not making the same mistake of doing another blind purge only to kick myself because it was something I frequently used. The struggle is too real!

I’ll be back the next time with Operation Dining Room aka my “attic”.

Posted in less is more, Purging

Ten Things: Coat Closet

Do you say “foy-ay” or “foy-er”? I say the latter, but po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe…

Y’all! I can’t believe I actually followed through on a decluttering project. Not only did I find ten things to purge, I found 13!!! Thirteen!!! So, without further ado, here are my thirteen things in pictures.

Not the cat! Although, sometimes… I bought this wrap from Urban Outfitters back in 2006 (I remember all of my purchases vividly) and probably wore it five times since. It was cute but not my style but I paid a lotta fucking money for it so yeah; it collected dust in my closet for over a decade. Deuces!
It’s lizard scarf! I bought the yellow and blue pieces off Etsy a few years ago. They were cute for a minute, but again, not my style or color. The bucket hat is an early 2000s relic that gave me perpetual helmet head. Sayonara to all three…
Just two pairs of ugly gloves that should’ve never been in my life to begin with. I don’t even remember buying the colorful pair and the black ones are Isotoners that my old boss gave me one Christmas. I think she got them from the sale bin at Macy’s…
I just wore this Gap coat two weeks ago, but I have a similar one in black, faux fur hood and all. I’m sure it will bring happiness and warmth to someone in need 🙂
I’m 5’1 and cropped anything makes me look like a stuffed pastry with my ample assets. But, as usual, I see something on a statuesque model and have to have it. Can I get my money back?
Another had to have purchase from 2003. I was so pressed for this rain trench, but it was rigid and uncomfortable af! But it was from the Gap, and I paid $38 for it at the time, so I hung on to it. Wore it ONCE! One time!
I loved the idea of this aubergine wool coat with the turtleneck collar, but it didn’t love my body. It was too tight in the bust, so it bunched out awkwardly. But eggplant is such a lovely color… I’ll buy a lipstick or nail polish next time…
My co-worker gave me a lovely 4-ft Christmas tree that sits in planter-like container. It’s much nicer than the 3-foot one I bought from Target two years ago. I don’t need two Christmas trees. Merry Adios!
It’s a torn bag. I don’t think any justification is needed.
I didn’t like this rug when I bought it but I needed to cover up some stains in my foyer, so it served its purpose — until my cats decided to use it as their personal scratching post. Assholes…

So, there you have it! Project Ten, Round 1, is complete. And all of my donate-able items are going to The Vietnam Veterans of America.

I’ll be back next week with the kitchen.

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.