The Phrase I use to Curb Overspending

The Phrase I use to Curb Overspending

The Phrase I use to Curb Overspending

Saving money is incredibly satisfying. Don’t we all love getting a great deal? I love when I’m able to get something I want or need for free or cheap, but often I run into those not-so-good deals. You know, when you’re going to the grocery store and the grapes are $2.98 lb or the recliner you’re eyeing is still full price. That’s when it’s tough. It’s hard to not give in and overspend.

Have you ever caught yourself saying or thinking: I deserve this? But I worked hard for this? Or I really want it? Most of us rationalize a pricey purchase with these types of phrases. The truth is, no amount of rationalizing will cover the fact of overspending. Dollars and cents add up. It’s simple math. If you overspend, there’s a literal price tag on that.

According to CNN, Americans aren’t living within their means.  More than half of U.S. citizens are living paycheck to paycheck or going into more and more debt each month.  Now this statistic probably isn’t a shocker to us.  It’s human nature to want more stuff, but it’s also our job to have some self-control.

If we don’t set up healthy limits and live within our means, overspending is inevitable. What I’ve found to be my own mantra to help me limit my spending and stay on track is this: ‘That’s not good enough.’ Yes, it’s super simple but incredibly effective.

So when I push my grocery cart with my kiddos in tote past the grapes that are $2.98 lb. and my kids are wanting them, I say, ‘that’s not good enough.’ I know that I won’t spend over $1.00 lb. for grapes, so I don’t purchase them. I know grapes are an inexpensive purchase in the grand scheme of things, but all the little purchases adds up quickly over time. So, don’t neglect the smaller and cheaper items.  

If you want to learn how to save 40% on groceries without clipping coupons, you’ll need to read my post here.  It’s even more important to have self-control on the bigger purchases. My husband and I had been eyeing a recliner for two years. Yep, two whole years.

 

We know the Costco system for marking down prices, and each time we went there we would check the price of a leather recliner. And that recliner stayed at $399.99 for two years. The truth is, we never saw the price change and we never ended up buying it. I don’t look back and wish we would’ve bit the bullet and just gave in on the purchase. We both felt like it wasn’t meant to be.  If you want to quit overspending at Costco, check out this post.

We have to not give into everything we want or desire. By practicing this kind of self-control we are not only saving money, but we become more content with what we have. Plus, as a parent, I want my children to see that I don’t get everything I want all of the time. I want my children to be content with what they have and not ask for a new toy every time we walk into a store. As a parent, I must demonstrate the behavior I want my children to have before I can expect them to have it.

Now, I don’t want you to take this too far and get to the point where you never buy anything full-price or feel guilty when you splurge. If you have the financial ability to do that, go right ahead. But, no matter what income level you’re at, practicing self-control is important. Create your own mantra or steal ‘that’s not good enough’ from me.

Start being ok with not buying something today. It’s ok to sleep on a decision before making a purchase, even a small one. Buyers remorse is real. You don’t want to get home and realize that you were emotionally-charged when you purchased and now you regret it.

Questions to Ask Yourself to Curb Overspending:

Here are a few questions beyond, ‘that’s not good enough’ that will help you see if you really need to purchase something and will help curb overspending. So the next time you’re in Target and you find a cute sundress that you’re eying ask yourself:

  • Do I want this or do I really need this?
  • Do I have something similar to this already?
  • How often will I actually use this?
  • Will this make my life easier or better?
  • What is one reason why I shouldn’t buy this?

After you answer all of those questions, you’ll have a better idea of whether you should buy it or not. If you start second-guessing the purchase, don’t buy it.  These questions will help you not have a closet full of clothing with the tags still on it or whatever your purchases may be.  

I’ve even heard of people who will shop, but won’t buy anything that day. If they wake up and still are thinking about what they wanted to buy, they’ll go back to the store and purchase it. Now that’s the opposite of an impulse purchase.

 So instead of just buying what you want, take a little bit of time to ask yourself some deeper questions. Practice some self-control. It will save you some serious cash and clutter. 

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent

I love reading parenting books. They give me ideas and inspiration to help me be a better mother and raise my kiddos well. Each parenting book I read gives me more tools in my parenting toolbelt.  I just listened to probably my favorite parenting audiobook ever. Brene Brown’s audiobook “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” is a true gem. In this post, you’ll see four parenting tips from Brene Brown that will challenge and encourage you to level-up in your own parenting.

This audiobook doesn’t give you phrases to say to your kids or a step-by-step program. This book is different. There isn’t extra fluff added here and there.  Every word is noteworthy.  “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” challenged me to become a better example for my kids and equipped me with new parenting tool for my toolbelt.

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown’s Book:

ONE

Shame versus Guilt:

Most of us know what shame and guilt are, yet I didn’t fully understand the difference when it comes to parenting. And I sure didn’t realize the different outcomes of shame versus guilt on children as they grow up.

Brene is a shame researcher. She distinguishes shame versus guilt in this way. Shame says I am bad and guilt says I made a bad choice. Do you see the difference? Shame-based parenting puts the negative behavior as who they are, while guilt-based parenting focuses on the behavior.

Shame-based parenting is what was the norm in past generations. It’s slowly becoming less popular as new parenting methods are becoming more prevalent.

What blew me away was the long-term effects of shame-based parenting. Those children who are raised with shame are more likely to be depressed, drop out of school, be involved in risky sexual behaviors, drugs, and alcohol. While children who were parented using guilt are more likely to graduate and be involved in less risky behaviors. This is a big deal and the biggest factor between the shame-driven versus guilt-driven kids is the way they are parented.

Obviously, Brene Brown recommends that we should parent using guilt, not shame.  She states, “I’m just going to say it: I’m pro-guilt. Guilt is good. Guilt helps us stay on track because it’s about our behavior. It occurs when we compare something we’ve done – or failed to do – with our personal values.”  This is what we want our children to experience- guilt, not shame.

TWO

Developmental Milestones to Look for:

 

Brene Brown talked about a study that was done in the 1960’s where they put 12-18 month children with their mothers in front of a mirror. They put rouge on the mother’s nose and watched what the children did. The children would look in the mirror and try to wipe off the rouge off of their own nose, not their mothers.

 

From this study, they determined that young children cannot distinguish themselves from their caregivers (attachment theory). But when children hit around the age of two, they are able to see themselves as separate from their parents. That’s why when you ask your two year old to come they run the other way.

 

Brene’s husband is a pediatrician and he wants to hear that the two year old is being a challenge. If a two year old isn’t being defiant and doing the opposite of what you ask them to do, he’d be concerned about their developmental stage.  What we see as frustrating behaviors are often times developmental milestones that should be celebrated.  

 

Since I have a two year old, this really resonated with me. It changed my perspective and gave me a better understanding about his behavior. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t give our children limits.  Brene says our job as parents are creating limits and boundaries and sticking to them.  My big takeaway was understanding why my child’s behavior is really a developmental milestone.

 

THREE

The Power of Play

Obviously playing together as a family is important, but I’ve never heard research that backed this up. A violence researcher studied case after case of people who are incarcerated because of violent behavior. He was trying to find a common factor from their childhood, and his conclusion was that there was a lack of play as children.

This research was really interesting to me and encouraged me to play more with my kids. Brene Brown wanted to put this into action in her own family, so she had a family meeting where each person talked about what activities they enjoy so much that they lose track of time and laugh to the point of tears. They were able to determine what they love as a family and they plan activities and vacations around those activities. I love this idea.

FOUR

Practicing Gratitude as a Family Tradition:

We live in an age where entitlement is a huge concern for our children.  Brene says the cure for entitlement is practicing gratitude. Her family makes this a practice when they eat dinner.  They say a prayer before the meal and then each family member says something they are grateful for that day.

She says that they have had deeper dinner conversations because of this technique.  Sometimes her kids reveal something that they are dealing with like ‘I’m thankful for my grandparents.’ Her child who said this had a friend who was dealing with a grandparent that just passed.  I’ve loved this idea and have started incorporating this gratitude practice into our dinner routine.

  

Brene Brown‘s audiobook “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” is full of so many wonderful parenting ideas.  This isn’t a book you’ll just want to skim- every word is powerful! I listened to this audiobook three times, it’s that good! Plus, it’s only two hours long.  

I recommend listening to this audiobook with your spouse. It will give you valuable information and great talking points to help you both approach your parenting together. So if you’re looking for a refresher in your parenting or a good dose of encouragement, I’d highly recommend Brene’s book.  

Feeling Judged as a Parent?

Feeling Judged as a Parent?

Feeling Judged as a Parent?

I’m calling all you perfect parents out there, those with Ph.D.’s and parenting expert titles. If you have children that listen the first time you ask, who eat all the food on their plate, and who never have a tantrum, please do share your insights with us.

But for the rest of us out there, parenting can be a struggle of figuring out what works and what doesn’t. And once you think you’ve got your parenting methods down, your child changes. And let’s not forget about adding more children into the mix with different temperaments and personalities. Our kids are constantly changing, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that we can struggle parenting a moving target.

I’m not a parenting expert by any means, but I do try to be the best parent I can be. I think most parents would admit that they are trying to raise their kids to the best of their abilities. (I’m not referring to parents who are neglecting and abusing their children.) Yet, why do so many parents (including myself) feel like the way we are raising our kids isn’t good enough?  Most of us are feeling judged as a parent.

Parenting is challenging as is, and then the way we parent is often judged by othersThere are so many labels out there making parenting even tougher waters to navigate. Am I too much of a helicopter mom? Or am I a tiger mom? Maybe I’m just a #badmom and the list goes on and on. Labeling just divides us and creates parenting shame.  

Brene Brown says, “Ironically, parenting is a shame and judgment minefield precisely because most of us are wading through uncertainty and self-doubt when it comes to raising our children.” Isn’t that so true!  My mother-in-law always says parenting isn’t for wimps, and I can wholeheartedly agree with her.

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling opposition in the way I raise my own kids. As parents, we have so many decisions to make for our children. Should we vaccinate? Circumcise or not? Breastfeed or formula feed? Sleep-train or not? Spank? Do time outs? What about sleepovers? Give screen-time or not? Eat organic food? Y’all this list is endless.

As parents we make decisions on behalf of our children all of the time- it’s our job. And that makes this parenting gig tricky. Often times our parenting decisions are different than the decisions our family and friends would choose. It’s easy to feel personally attacked when we see others parenting different than us, especially if they comment on the subject.

I’m not immune to those unpleasant comments that stop you in your tracks and make you feel like you’re a #badmom. I’ve had people confront me on hard issues like vaccinating my kids, circumcision, and so much more. Yes, I didn’t enjoy those conversations. At times, I second guessed our decisions that we were so adamant about.

But most of those conversations came from people who care about my kids. I doubt that they wanted to make me feel like a #badmom, they said what they said because they care. That being said, it’s hard to not take those comments personally. It feels like you’re being told you’re doing a bad job at parenting, and no one wants to hear that.

I don’t want to neglect the fact that sometimes we do need to change our parenting approach. If someone says something about how you parent that you don’t agree with, try not to take offense. There may be validity to what is being said.  If that’s the case, change what you’re doing.

We all should be teachable in every area of our lives. So, if someone has a helpful comment, use it. Our kids change so quickly, so we need to be open to changing our tactics. But if their comments aren’t valid or line up with what you and your spouse believe is best for your child, keep doing what you are doing and try not to get offended by it.

So How Do We Stop Feeling Judged as a Parent?

The sad reality is that I’m guilty of fueling this judgment fire myself. I used to have such strong convictions about sleep training to the point that I thought every parent should sleep-train. Hands down, the book “Babywise” helped me navigate the early years of my children’s lives. I thrived on the routine of the plan. Instead of feeling completely clueless when it came to parenting and what my infant needed, I felt confident in what to do. If you haven’t guessed, I love routines and schedules. Knowing when my kids napped gave me the freedom to plan my day.

Needless to say, my love of sleep training got out of hand. Because the Babywise method helped me so much, I thought I should start preaching about it as if it were gospel. I earnestly wanted others to reap the benefits I experienced, yet I’m pretty sure it didn’t come across that way. Looking back in my own life, I’m guessing that most people who push their philosophy or parenting techniques on others is doing it out of helpfulness, even if it doesn’t come across like it.

I began to notice that I started to look down on parents who didn’t have their kids on a schedule. My mind couldn’t fathom that kind of existence. Honestly, just thinking about the lack of routine stresses me out. Then I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t in the majority. Most parents don’t set eight timers on their phone to remind them when their child should be awake and go to bed. Many parents would probably cringe at the rigidness in sleep training. Nonetheless, I would tell every expectant mom all about how amazing Babywise was as I touted its praise.

Then my thinking shifted. I started having real conversations with moms who didn’t parent like me, and guess what? They are doing a fabulous job and they are trying their best. Just because the sleep-scheduling method I used worked well for me and my children, doesn’t mean that every child birthed into this world should be practicing the Babywise method.

It was a reality check for me. My narrow view shouldn’t be the only way, and could you imagine every parent parenting the same way? Goodness, our society would be so boring and predictable! I’ve started to recognize and correct myself when I start going down judgment ally. It’s a nasty journey that harms others and myself.

 

I love this quote by Brene Brown about parenting judgment. She says, “If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people’s choices. If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because we’re using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived deficiency.” Brene’s conclusion to the whole mom-shaming debacle is that we cast judgments on others because we aren’t comfortable or confident in the way we are parenting.

If you are feeling judged by the way you parent or feeling like you’re not good enough for the job, I want you to cling onto this. The truth in the matter is that God chose you, yes YOU to be the parent of your children. There is a reason your children are yours. God has equipped you to make those decisions for your children. Instead of playing the comparison game with all the other parents you see, lean into the fact that you are your child’s parent for a reason.

I truly believe that we need to stop viewing other parenting techniques and methods as the enemy that needs to be battled or debated to death. Instead of feeling like we have to have impenetrable armor and our parenting methods as our weapons, what if we became vulnerable and walked alongside other parents? What if we talked openly about our struggles without fear of feeling like a failing parent? Could you imagine having that kind of support even from parents who parent differently than you?

 

There is no Holy Grail parenting book or method that has all of the answers. Let’s stop viewing the way we parent as a competition. All parents struggle. We have good moments, and we have ones that we aren’t proud of. The thing is, we all are trying to raise our kids well, yet we see so many different ways to parent. It’s so easy to judge others who parent differently than we do and often times we feel like we are on the receiving end of judgment from other moms.  Check out my post all about mommy judgment here

So let’s quit labeling our parenting and feeling guilty for being a bad parent. What if instead of viewing other parenting ideas as competition, we gained insight from other perspectives? We need to focus on raising little humans that will be a positive influence on the world. We are the example our children see. So let’s stop the name-calling, judgments, and rude comments.  Let’s come alongside other parents as we are raising the next generation.

8 Steps to Create a Cozy Minimalist Home

8 Steps to Create a Cozy Minimalist Home

8 Steps to Create a Cozy Minimalist Home

I’m a huge proponent of minimalism, but decorating a home with less is tricky. If you look in magazines and through Pinterest, most of the homes are full of stuff. Bookshelves are filled with knick-knacks, books, and artwork. So how do you have a put-together home without adding more clutter?  How can you have a cozy minimalist home that is welcoming?

When most of us envision minimalism, we think of stark white walls, a single sofa, and maybe a lone painting. That may work well for a swanky bachelor pad, but come-on, what does a REAL minimalist home actually look like? Ya know, how about a minimalist family home? We don’t want guests to look at us like we are aliens who lost everything we own in a freak accident. Don’t we all want our homes to have a lived-in welcoming cozy feel?

To be honest, I’ve never felt like I’ve had this decorating sense dialed in. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to spend the excess money, go shopping, or whatever lame excuses I may have. Bottom line, my home works, but I don’t love every look in it. That’s why I read, “The Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff” by Myquillyn Smith. Let me tell you, Myquillyn walks you through her philosophy and how to discover your own style without taking a quiz. I actually took away quite a few new tools in my design toolbelt.

Here are a few of the insights I gleaned from this binge-worthy book… (I read it in an evening). Each step is meant to be followed in order, so you don’t have to over buy items that you don’t need. Myquillyn recommends focusing on one room at a time, so you create momentum. She equates this to Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball.

8 Steps to a Cozy Minimalist Home

ONE

Discover Your Style: 

Myquillyn believes that we all have a personal style, we just have a hard time knowing it and expressing it. She recommends that you create Pinterest boards for each room you want to redo i.e. living room, bedroom, bathroom, etc. You should pin with purpose and passion. The more you pin, the better.  Check out the Pinterest boards I created to give you an idea about how to create your own dream boards: kitchen, bedroom, living room, dining room, kids playroom, and work space.

Sit down with a few friends who have homes with a style you admire and ask them to look through your pins to see anything in common. By having other people look at what you like, can give you a better understanding of yourself and your own style.

TWO

Let Your Room Speak:

Work one room at a time and remove everything- curtains and all. Pay attention to the space and what you have to work with. Determine what are the highlights of the room. Do you have a fireplace, a window with a great view, interesting architecture?

Myquillyn talks about the overall feel of your home. If your home feels rustic, add the opposite. By adding some industrial modern pieces into a rustic home, you create balance. Most of us don’t want our home to look like a movie set, so don’t put rustic headboards in a rustic home unless you want your home to look country.

THREE

Start Slowly Adding in Furniture:

Start with the most important pieces, like the couch. She talks about primary and secondary seating. Don’t look back to where you have put furniture in the past, allow the room to speak and determine where it should go.

Myquillyn recommends leaving space behind a sofa instead of putting it directly against a wall. Then slowly add in secondary seating i.e. loveseat, recliner, chair, etc.

FOUR

Add Rugs, Drapes, and Lighting:

In “The Cozy Minimalist Home,” Myquillyn tells us that rugs, curtains and lighting can add the most style without taking up massive amounts of space. Most of us are buying too small of rugs and and too short of drapes. Small rugs make a room look small, so don’t choose the typical 5’ x 8’ rug. The bigger the rug the better. If you don’t have small children, a jute rug is an inexpensive rug and can come in very large sizes and adds texture.

When it comes to curtains, most people hang curtains right above a window. She recommends hanging them as high as possible to give the illusion of larger windows, hence you need longer drapes.

Myquillyn is a huge proponent of secondary lighting because overhead lighting is harsh and hurts our eyes. Most rooms should have three different lamps, sconces, or some other secondary lighting. Choose the larger lamp to give a stronger visual impact without adding clutter.

FIVE

Paint the Walls:

You would think that you’d want to paint the walls when your room is completely empty, but she doesn’t recommend it. Once you have the drapes, rug, and furniture put together. It is much easier to choose a paint color to match with existing decor than to try to match an existing paint color.

SIX

Put up Artwork:

For a minimalist style, you want the most impact with the fewest amounts of items. So, go big here. Put the oversized painting up, choose the larger mirror or architectural find.

Myquillyn talks about the ⅔ rule. Artwork, a t.v., really anything should be ⅔ of the size of what it below it. If you want to put artwork above your sofa, the piece should be roughly ⅔ of the size of the couch. Most people put something smaller there and then end up having to add more to it because it just doesn’t look right.

SEVEN

Add Accessories:

Instead of filling your home with loads of knick-knacks, choose larger statement pieces. Focus on texture, scale, shape, and mass to create a put-together look.

Add in large plants for added impact. You can even add branches, evergreens, and flowers from your yard. Myquillyn discusses how to decorate your home seasonally without all of the extra items that need to be rotated throughout the year.

EIGHT

Get Rid of the Rest:

Instead of purging to see what is left, this method focuses on what you love and what works. Everything else you can get rid of. Hence, what didn’t make the cut, donate, give, or sell. This is reverse decluttering.

I wanted to use the new techniques I learned from “The Cozy Minimalist Home” with this shelving area above our murphy bed.  The first picture had a set of drums there, I’m not sure why, so forget that was there. I used items I already had in my house to decorate this area. It’s clear to see that my after is much better than my cluttered before photo.  The texture of the bead board on the back of the shelves is so much more prominent once I used the Cozy Minimalist Method. I was surprised with how much more impact these items had when I displayed less.

I really enjoyed this book. It gave me a better philosophy on how to decorate with a minimalist style that is still cozy and welcoming.  

The biggest unanswered question I am left with was how do you decorate like this if you rearrange often? My husband and I love to rearrange our living room at least every other month. The way Myquillyn Smith talks about decorating is that this is going to be a permanently arrangement- at least for a few years. I would love to hear her take on being flexible with rearranging.

But overall, this book is inspirational and thorough. If you’re wanting a decorating book just so you can peruse pictures, this isn’t the book for you. If you want to be taught core concepts, and a step-by-step approach, “The Cozy Minimalist Home” is a winner.

7 Minimalism Lifestyle Benefits

7 Minimalism Lifestyle Benefits

7 Minimalism Lifestyle Benefits

What we own impacts our wallets, time, energy, and our stress level. Don’t we all want to have the freedom to do more of what makes us feel alive? But most of us aren’t living in that freedom. We shop for more, spend more, clean more, and get stressed out more. Our accumulation of possessions don’t satisfy. That little retail therapy high only last the afternoon. So what’s the cure?

Minimalism. There are so many Minimalism lifestyle benefits that will change your life.

Joshua Becker describes Minimalism as, “the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” I just want to follow up with a whopping big Amen!  Minimalism gives us clarity of what’s important to us and what isn’t. It isn’t just about having less; Minimalism gives you the ability to focus on what matters.

Decluttering is a large component of Minimalism and it takes time. Most of us are so overwhelmed by our stuff that we feel paralyzed and don’t want to start. When you look at what you own and determine if it ‘sparks joy,’ like Marie Kondo says, it will take time.

Personally, I’ve been on the journey of pursuing a life of less for the past few years.  My life has drastically changed for the better through practicing Minimalism. Before I started practicing Minimalism, I was stressed and exhausted. I felt like I was failing in motherhood because I spent more time doing housework than with my kids.

The way I was using my time was not lining up with my priorities. Something needed to change. That’s where Minimalism came in. Minimalism reduces my stress and frees up my time. I cannot sing enough praise over the power of Minimalism.

 

7 Minimalism Lifestyle Benefits:

ONE

Reduce Stress:

Did you know that a study through UCLA discovered that for women, the more stuff they own, the more stressed out they become. I don’t need a scientific study to confirm this, I believe it hands down. The more we own, the bigger the mess and the more we have to clean, rearrange and organize. Most of us want a peaceful home, but clutter gets in the way.

Once I started purging my home of the excess, the hand-me-downs, and all the things that weren’t serving our family, I felt a wave of relief. It was like I reclaimed my motherhood.

My mood is directly linked to the level of mess of my home. I wish it wasn’t that way, but it is. By having a decluttered house, my home is so much easier to manage and stays neater even with two little ones.

TWO

More Time:

Minimalism and time management go hand-in-hand.  Envision time management like creating a spending plan or a budget. If you just spend however you please, your money is going to disappear out of thin air. But once we get intentional with how our money is spent, we have the ability to save more. It’s like getting a pay raise, without the raise.

When we start looking at how we spend our time and get intentional with it, you become more productive and have more time to work with. Minimalism gives you the opportunity to take charge of your time and your possessions, since you are focusing on what is important in life.

It takes quite a bit of intentional time investment to purge and declutter your home. But once that first wave of decluttering occurs, your time investment pays dividends. There would be no way that I would be able to create my own website, consistent content, learn all the new skills required, and still be present with my kids without Minimalism. I now have the time to pursue my own passions, and I’m enjoying motherhood so much more.

THREE

More Freedom:

Decluttering gives you a high, I’m not gonna lie! I couldn’t believe how freeing it is to give and let go of what isn’t serving our family. Instead of feeling stuck and needing to clean my home 24/7, I now have the freedom to take my kids to the park on a whim. Minimalism gave me freedom to do what I want to do.

The women I have helped declutter their homes have all said that it’s like an invisible weight has lifted. They didn’t realize that they were drowning in a sea of their stuff. Once their homes were lighter (literally), they were able to focus on other areas of their lives they were neglecting and didn’t feel capable of tackling like exercise, nutrition, and more family time.

FOUR

Save More Money:

Do you ever go to a store and buy a cute shirt on sale and then it sits in the closet and barely gets worn? I used to buy amazing deals on clothes and what not because they were a great deal and I didn’t want to miss out. 

Once I started practicing Minimalism, I saw what I owned with a more critical lense. I started asking more question about what I owned. It became harder for me to be ok with bringing new items in unless they were necessary and I loved them. I don’t want to undo all my hard decluttering work.  This is one of many financial benefits of Minimalism.

I look at purchases differently than I used to. When I wanted new curtains for my living room, instead of looking only at the clearance racks, I started to think about what I really wanted. What drapes would I love to see everyday in my home? The clearance curtains would be a band-aid solution (if I didn’t love them). I would end up being unhappy in the long run causing me to spend more and shop more.

I don’t buy things willy-nilly anymore. Nate Berkus says, “be a ruthless editor of your home.” What a wonderful concept that I’m learning to live out. I shop less and buy less than ever before, which gives me more money to save and spend on what’s important to me and my family.

FIVE

Stop Looking for Missing Items:

Can you believe that Americans spend 2.5 days a year looking for lost/misplaced items according to a recent study? These lost items cost American families $2.7 billion annually to replace! Holy smokes!! That’s insane!

How often do we keep something because we think we may need it someday, and then we end up unable to find it or completely forgot that we even owned it. That happens way too often. If we assess what we own and each item has a home, we save ourselves time and money.

This used to be me to a T. I knew I had a set of wire cutters for the shoffice (my husband’s shed office) we were building, but they could be anywhere in the garage. It would be easier to drive to the store and buy a new pair than to go through every nook and cranny hoping to find it and that’s what we ended up doing.

You could say my house used to be pretty disorganized, until one day I realized that everything in my home needed to have a home. I know that that’s common sense, but that thought seriously never occured to me. Maybe it was divine revelation that brought me this notion.

Here’s another example, I used to get so frustrated when my kids wouldn’t clean up well (I still do, but not nearly as often). After I talked to them about it, my oldest told me they didn’t know where everything went. My kids were overwhelmed and so was I. It was like a lightbulb went off and I realized that I wasn’t training my kids where I wanted them to put their toys. I had tons of unlabeled totes for them to fill with their toys, it’s no wonder they were confused and overwhelmed. So I made labels with pictures for each tote. That alone made a world of difference.

SEVEN

The Ripple Effect:

Once I saw how my life changed through Minimalism, I wanted to share it with others, especially moms. Most of us moms feel like our home is our territory, we’re typically running our homes. If our home is a disaster, we feel like our house is reflecting our character, so we’re a disaster. When our homes have less, we have time for more of the important things in life. I sure don’t want my kids to remember me by constantly cleaning and maintain our home. I want them to remember me as the mom that’s interactive, engaged, and plays with them.

Once I had my home simplified, I chatted with a neighbor friend about it. I helped her declutter her whole home, garage and all. She started sharing about the freedom she’s experienced from having less with her friends and relatives.  Many of them were inspired by her success, and decluttered their homes. Decluttering, if played right, can be a positive chain reaction. When you discover something this good, it’s hard not to share it.

SIX

Become More Generous:

I used to keep my mini-hoard just in case I may need it someday. It was all about the someday. I may need to have fifty washcloths, just in case a school bus drops off 50 kids that all need to wash their faces at the same time. Really?! The likelihood of that happening is slim to none. And don’t be like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber and think that you’re telling me I have a chance.

Instead of keeping every little thing that might be remotely useful someday, I started to ask questions like when was the last time I used all these washcloths? Do I really need two drawers that are designated to washcloths? The answer was no. So I got rid of more than half of them. I chose my favorites and donated the rest.

By purging what I owned, I was able to help multiple new mom’s with baby items. I gave toys away to a few families I knew who were in need. Minimalism sparked generosity in me and my kids in a new way. Instead of keeping my stuff just in case, I started to think about who would enjoy what I don’t use. Seeing that my clutter was making a positive difference by giving it away is contagious. I realized that for years, I was keeping things just in case that could’ve been blessing people.

I prefer giving what I own directly to people who could use it instead of Goodwill or other thrift stores. You can contact local shelters and churches too.  If I can’t find a good home quickly for it, I’ll donate it. But seeing my clutter help others, gives me more of a desire to keep just what I need so we can bless the socks off of others with our stuff.

I never would have imagined that I would call myself a Minimalist, but I sure do enjoy the lifestyle benefits of Minimalism. I’ve always wanted a peaceful home, but I didn’t realize how much I was self-sabotaging myself by buying more and more. Minimalism has reduced my stress, freed up my time, given me freedom, and has saved me money.  I’m not looking for lost items like I used to, I’m more generous, and I love how Minimalism continues to create a positive impact on my family and others.  I never expected to experience so many positive effects from pursuing a life with less, but I’m so glad I did.

My hope for you is for you to take a look at what you own and ask yourself a few questions.

  • Do I love this?
  • When was the last time I used this?
  • Do I really need it?
  • Would this be able to bless someone else?
  • If my house was on fire, what would I really want to keep?

Too many of us are owned by our stuff. We feel suffocated by the sheer amount of it. Don’t wait until someday to go through it. Do yourself and your family a favor by having less.  Once you start, you’ll be surprised how much better you feel.  

What is one of the hardest areas or items to declutter? Please leave a comment below…

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