Showing posts from 2022

No-Spend November: Week 4 & Wrap-Up

No-Spend November is a month of resetting spending habits, reevaluating priorities, and overall just making better decisions. In this post, I've detailed how my last week and change of No-Spend November 2022 went. November 22-30 My goals and resolutions for the month are all about making more mindful use of my time and paying off lingering CC debt from a long summer season of travel. Last week I described how I was feeling stressed by the artificial limitations I put on my money, which ended up being a theme for my last week and change of No-Spend November. Here's the wrap-up! Day 22: (Tuesday) My boss was busy after work so we didn't work out. I left early so that I could spend time on my treadmill at home. I wound down for the night by cooking dinner with my husband, and watching some TV. Day 23: (Wednesday) I had a migraine all day long, and did not do much as a result. I did, however, decide that I wanted to wipe out my remaining CC debt with some money I had i

No-Spend November: Week 3

No-Spend November is a month of resetting spending habits, reevaluating priorities, and overall just making better decisions. In this post, I've detailed how my third week of No-Spend November 2022 went. Week of November 15-21 My goals and resolutions for the month are all about making more mindful use of my time and paying off lingering CC debt from a long summer season of travel. I've set out to do things like meal plan, work out more, and make healthier decisions in general. How's how this week went: Day 15: (Tuesday) I worked out with my boss after work. I was feeling a bit mentally fatigued so I mostly relaxed after work with a little bit of mindless TV. My boss and I talked about whether or not we wanted to leave Twitter, and I chatted with some other friends about miscellaneous other stuff. Day 16: (Wednesday) I didn't have much energy after work. Normally, Wednesday would be my deadlift day, but I opted to spend time on my stationary bike and read a book inste

No-Spend November: Week 2

No-Spend November is a month of resetting spending habits, reevaluating priorities, and overall just making better decisions. In this post, I've detailed how my second week of No-Spend November 2022 went. Week of November 8-14 My goals and resolutions for the month are related to making more mindful use of my time outside of work, and paying off lingering credit card debt from traveling between Memorial Day and mid-October. Basically, no more "bovinating" after work, and a break from spending money on anything but the essentials. Here's how I did day-by-day: Day 8: (Tuesday) ELECTION DAYYYYYY!!! After working out at my hospital's exercise room, I went home and got out to vote with my husband to do our part to keep/get more DFL candidates in office. Once I got home from voting and could wind down, I helped my husband make dinner and enjoyed a drink. That was about it for the night, as I was pretty tired and ready to sleep. Day 9: (Wednesday) Despite seeing a l

Why I Wish I Found Minimalism Sooner

One thing that frustrates me when I search for other posts about minimalism is that I occasionally see posts like "how minimalism ruined my life" and "how minimalism isn't for low-income people". I was never happy as a mindless consumer or maximalist, and not too many years ago, I was making less than $10,000 per year and could only survive on the backs of credit cards. I wish I had found minimalism when I was low-income, and in this post I'm going to explain why. Minimalism would have saved me money. This is the biggest reason that I wish I had become a minimalist sooner. When I was making less than $10k/year, I was lucky if I was ever out of the red when it came to what I had in my bank account versus what I had to pay on credit cards to get by. If I had been a minimalist, I would have realized I needed less than I thought I did, and would have shopped less as a result. I did not have the luxury of shopping for new clothes, so I made do with thrift store f

Building a Minimalist Wardrobe

I'm sure most of us are not lucky enough to have jobs that let us show up in our pajamas or underwear (or nothing at all, for the exhibitionists of the world). Expansive wardrobes stuffed to the point of bursting with different options can lead to a "nothing to wear" feeling that stems from decision fatigue. Before I was a minimalist, I was one of those people with an expansive wardrobe but could miraculously never find anything to wear. In this post, I'm going to share my tips for creating a minimalist wardrobe that will alleviate decision fatigue and that "nothing to wear" feeling. I find that a lot of "minimalist" wardrobe blog posts (and even books) fall into the trap of assuming some set number of items will work for everyone, kind of like a broad-spectrum prescription. I'm very much not of that mindset. I don't have a wardrobe that fits the "Project 333" model, or "only 10 items" model. I have a wardrobe that's

No-Spend November: Week 1

No-Spend November is a month of resetting spending habits, reevaluating priorities, and overall just making better decisions. In this post, I've detailed how my first week of No-Spend November 2022 went. Week of November 1-7  I used the end of October to get my priorities, resolutions, and goals lined up in preparation for this No-Spend November. One resolution I made was to use my time after work more mindfully--no more automatic bovinating (ok, this is a word I made up that means "to cow" if you're silly, or "acting cow-like" if you're less silly, and entails grazing on snacks while mindlessly watching TV). A major goal I set out to achieve was to pay off lingering credit card debt from traveling from late May to mid-October.  Here's how I did day-by-day: Day 1: (Tuesday) I didn't encounter any real desire to buy anything. I kept busy at work and worked out in my hospital's exercise room, then went home to cook a healthy dinner, finish re

The Nothing New Approach to Shopping

Sometimes, a no-spend or low-spend month might seem daunting despite needing to fix spending habits. For recovering shopaholics, or even just minimalists like me who enjoy shopping a little too much sometimes, there is an alternative to no-spend/low-spend that can still help to curb bad spending habits and fix finances; the concept is literally Nothing New . What is Nothing New? Nothing New is a shopping method that allows someone to keep shopping, but not for anything brand-new. Instead of shopping in big box stores or online retailers, shopping for Nothing New happens in secondhand stores (both brick-and-mortar and online) and in social media swap groups. Benefits of Nothing New As with any spending challenge, the longer you commit to the plan, the more you can do to fix bad habits and get your finances on track. I definitely recommend trying Nothing New for at least a month, if not longer. Here are some of the benefits: It's eco-friendly . By shopping secondhand or swapping, ite

Low-Spend Winter Activities

In Minnesota, the onset of fall weather means that winter is fast-approaching. I just wrote about my plans for a No-Spend November, and shared a few things I'll be doing to occupy myself. However, I think it's time to make a more comprehensive list to hopefully keep myself more accountable, and inspire more folks to join me on my Low-Spend Winter efforts. Improve Cooking Skills I'm lucky insofar as my husband and I are pretty good at cooking. However, we've been kind of in a cooking rut since I started working further from home a couple of years ago. It seems like we've been making different iterations of the same few dishes for two years, which is a little boring. So here are some ideas I have for improving our cooking skills while also working within low-spend limitations: Play "Chopped" in our own kitchen to use up overlooked ingredients Learn how to cook other cuisines - we're in a Mexican-Italian-Chinese rut and want to learn more about French and

Preparing for a Low-Spend Winter

I'm using my No-Spend November this year to kickstart a Low-Spend Winter. There will undoubtedly be plenty of financial benefits to setting aside an entire season to spend as little as possible, but there's prep work involved to make it a successful season of saving money. I've broken down my approach to a Low-Spend Winter into prep work categories below. When, Why, and How Remember learning Who-What-Why-When-and-How in school when it came to story-telling? Well, most of those questions are important here for figuring out goals. When: determine which months or timeframes fall into your low-spend winter (or other season of choice). My when consists of your typical Minnesota winter months--November, December, January, February, and March. Why: determine why you want to have a low-spend winter/other season. My why is multi-faceted. First, I want to have a solid 6 months of expenses put away in a savings account. Second, I want to pay off my new car loan early. Third, I wa

No-Spend November 2022 is ON!

Early on in this blog, I wrote about a no-spend month week-by-week. This year I'm going to do a No-Spend November to set myself up for a low-spend winter. Read on to see my goals and ground rules. No-Spend November Goals I find that no-spend months are most successful if there's a meaningful goal to reach by the end of the month. For this No-Spend November, I want to use the money I save to tackle some credit card debt I accumulated while traveling all summer (Memorial Day to mid-October travel has not been kind on my CCs). Here are my plans to achieve those goals: Limit grocery shopping to the essentials and use up what's already available in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. My usual monthly grocery shopping totals between $400 and $500, and my goal for No-Spend November is to limit the grocery budget to $200 or less. This gives me $50 to work with each week for my Misfits Market orders. Totally doable! Cut back on driving for errands. Every month, I put about 1300 miles o

Tips for Successful Decluttering

To me, there's almost no greater pleasure than a tidy and well-organized space free of excess and clutter. Honestly, it's an ideal that's hard to attain and even five years into my journey as a minimalist, I haven't been able to attain a fully clutter-free life. But what I have done is learned a lot of useful techniques for being able to declutter quickly and decisively, which I'm going to share today without much more ado. I will give a few words of caution speaking from my own experience: Living with another person who isn't as hardcore into minimalism has been one of the biggest obstacles in having a totally clutter-free life. The mismatching levels of interest in minimalism combined with shared responsibilities that are hard to equitably balance (just by virtue of being imperfect humans) has made it hard to achieve a house completely free of clutter. Living with another person who brings me great joy is a fair trade-off for having to admit that I have some i

How to Shop Secondhand as a Minimalist

I just posted about how to shop new as a minimalist, and now it's time for the secondhand shopping counterpart! If you're a seasoned thrift shopper, flea market fanatic, or antique shop admirer, shopping secondhand can be a dangerous game. ( Hey, how did I manage to fill the back of an SUV with stuff in two hours?!) Shopping secondhand has a lot of economical and ecological benefits, and it's possible to shop secondhand while also resisting the temptation to bring home too much. I have been shopping secondhand for clothes and household items since my late teens when I was a broke college student. I've continued secondhand shopping into my (not so broke) thirties now, and since starting my minimalist journey I have picked up a lot of insight on how to shop secondhand successfully. Something is a worthwhile secondhand purchase if...'s a useful item in great shape. I live in a rural area where the saying goes, "The richest farmers have the oldest tractors.

How to Shop New as a Minimalist

For some minimalists, buying brand-new items sometimes comes with varying intensities of guilty feelings. Feelings of guilt might come from the standpoint of "I shouldn't buy more things... I'm a minimalist now!" or from ecological or economical concerns such as, "But I could have bought it secondhand and kept something old out of the landfill!" or "I saw something similar for half the price in the local swap group." I'm here to tell you that it's okay to buy things new, and that you should feel no guilt to buy something in brand new condition. I do love secondhand shopping when it comes to things that I want (but don't need) or think they might be nice to have. There are some situations, though, where buying new is perfectly fine, if not outright the better thing to do versus buying used.  Trust your gut when it comes to buying brand new items if... ...they spark joy! Strong gut feelings should generally be trusted. If something makes

Minimalism in a Capitalist Economy

The title for this post probably sounds like it could be radical and politically-charged, and you're probably thinking I'm going to come down hard on capitalism and claim that minimalism is anti-capitalist. Wrong. Minimalism and capitalism can coexist harmoniously when we approach each one from the right angle. And unlike other Western minimalists, I'm not going to chastise anyone for being a consumer in a capitalist economy. I've read a lot about minimalism in the West and one thing I don't like to see other Western minimalist authors do is try to shame people for being consumers in a capitalist economy. While I can agree that I think we largely have too much stuff, I don't have any interest in making anyone feel bad for their purchases. Consumerism is necessary. Mindless consumerism, though, is not so necessary, but it happens. We're generally overworked, underpaid, always stressed, and sometimes acquiring excess stuff happens as a byproduct of emotional e

Minimalists Can Have Hobbies

Not a lot of minimalist writing (that I've read, at least) delves into hobbies. So many books are about discarding stuff and forming better relationships with material things, and might offer only a couple of paragraphs about hobby stuff--if the topic is approached at all. Hobbies require material things; minimalist lessons teach us how to part with material things. But hobbies and minimalist lifestyles aren't, and shouldn't be, at odds with each other.  I have learned a lot about how to live a calmer, happier life the deeper I've gotten into minimalism. Hobbies have always been a huge part of my life, and I haven't given them up even through years of decluttering and restructuring my life. I expect that no one really wants to give up all of their hobbies just for the sake of owning less stuff. So that begs the question... How do hobbies fit into minimalism? First off, so much of minimalism today is about getting rid of the excess of things or stuff that distract

How to Let Go of Clothing

 (...and shoes, jewelry, accessories, etc.) I've just covered how to let go of books--one of the most difficult categories when it comes to discarding. Clothes are pretty well tied with books when it comes to the level of difficulty of parting with items. If you suffer from an overwhelmed laundry room, piles of dirty clothes left at the side of the bed or outside of the shower, or a closet packed so tightly that it's a struggle to get anything out of it to wear, this post is for you. Before you commit to discarding anything, be honest with yourself about how you want your wardrobe to reflect you. Whether you want to develop a personal uniform or a timeless capsule wardrobe, it's important to keep those goals and ideals in mind while decluttering your wardrobe. And of course, no matter what your ideals are, they should not have any room for ill-fitting or joyless garments. Let go of any... (#1) Clothes, shoes, and accessories that do not make you feel confident. It's the

How to Let Go of Books

The category of belongings that I have had the most difficulty discarding is books. I know I'm not the only one, either--several of my own friends, as well as one of my favorite minimalist authors (Fumio Sasaki), also struggle, or have struggled to discard books. I have been on my minimalist journey since about 2017. It's now 2022 and I've still struggled (until now) to get rid of the huge shelves of books taking up a lot of space in my home. I'm going to share the realizations I've come to that have helped ease me into getting rid of a lot of books, leaving myself with a manageable stack of only my most beloved tomes and an e-reader. Get ready though, because I'm going to start off with a punch to every book lover's gut (including my own)... Realization #1: Most Books are Useless This is a realization that I struggled for too long to reach, but it's true. Most books are useless. I don't mean that the content is poorly written, or that there's no

Books on Minimalism & Mindfulness: Part 2

As I promised in another post over a year ago ( read it here ), I'll be using this post to review a couple more books on minimalism and mindfulness. In the past week, I've revisited three and read one new book. I'll review a couple of them now, and hopefully it won't be another fifteen months before I review the others. Review 3: Project 333: The Minimalist Fashion Challenge that Proves Less Really is So Much More ISBN: 978-0525541455 Author: Courtney Carver The most common and often most difficult category to tackle as a budding minimalist is clothing. Shirts, pants, dresses, shoes, jewelry--all of these things are hard to part with at first because we typically use them to show the world who we are. Carver focuses exclusively on creating seasonal capsule wardrobes (33 fashion items used for 3 months at a time) to minimize wastefulness with our fashion choices. The concept is that every 3-month season will have 33 fashion items associated with it (it's important t

Discarding, Meet Carding: A New Way to Declutter

I think a lot about ways to make Minimalism as approachable as possible to everyone, and sometimes inspiration for new things to try comes when I least expect it. I was rereading The Art of Discarding when this particular revelation hit me. In game terms, discarding is to remove a card from your hand--why don't we treat items like cards before we discard them? Deciding to discard in a game means you've analyzed its value and decided you're better off without it in your hand. We can treat any item this way with a little bit of effort and creativity. "Carding" items will not only make you think critically about the effort each item is worth, but it can also help to gamify your efforts to discard and declutter. What is Carding? Carding is the exercise of writing about items, essentially writing down what the items are, what the justification was for buying them or bringing them into the home, and justification (if any) for keeping them. Think of all of the cards you

Declutter with the Jasmine for Miles "Yes, No, Maybe So" Method

There is almost no way to declutter incorrectly, and most of us seasoned minimalists have our own unique way of approaching clutter. Yes, clutter can still happen to experienced minimalists (especially if you live with other people who aren't minimalists in the same way). I like to call my own method "Yes, No, Maybe So" because it not only makes distinct "Yes" and "No" piles, but it allows for some deliberation on more difficult "Maybe" items. How to Make it Work "Yes, No, Maybe So" works best when items are all gathered up as a large category similar to the KonMari method. Think emptying all of the closets out into one big pile of clothing, then sorting from there. There are only a few things you'll need to facilitate the sorting process, and it's likely that you have them all in your home already: The Yes Pile simply needs the existing organizational supplies that keep the category organized. For example, if your category