March 2019 - Minimalist Home · Minimalist Home

Minimalist Home – Week Three – Books, Movies, Photos, Paper

Image result for beauty and the beast library
My five year old dream library.

In June 2011 I finished grad school and my Mom bought me a Nook as a graduation present. I was slightly appalled. E-Readers? Those were for people who don’t love books! And I knew I loved books. I spent, and do still spend, almost all my free time reading books. It was also important to me at the time that other people knew I loved books. I worked in a book store and I spent a lot of my free time there browsing books to buy at the end of my shift. And I bought a lot. So many that I had at least over a hundred books at one point that I hadn’t even started reading yet. I had a vision of collecting these books and one day getting that Beauty and the Beast library I’d wanted since I was five. I’m slightly terrified of this reality now. I love libraries, but I don’t think it’d be very nice to own a gigantic one that only I got to use. I’d feel pretty neglectful of them since I doubt I’d ever read them all or even read them more than once. I suppose a part of me still likes the idea of this, but in reality books are meant to be read and if you aren’t reading them then give them away to someone who will or get a dang e-reader. Since the Nook I’ve upgrade to the Kindle Oasis and it’s amazing. Stay tuned at the end to hear about how much I love my e-reader and how I haven’t bought a single book in eight months but have still managed to read a ton of new books for free!

When I moved out of my Dad’s house finally I remember looking guiltily at my now husband because I had about 14 boxes of books that he had to move down my stairs and then up his own when we finally moved in together. “Hey, you wanted to date a book lover, this is what you get. AND LOOK HOW MUCH I LOVE BOOKS. LOOK AT ALL THESE BOOKS I’VE READ. And look at all these others I’ve accumulated since I started buying and hoarding books that I HAVEN’T READ. Don’t worry – I’ll read them someday I’m sure. After I buy and read some more first before I get to the ones I bought four years ago and still haven’t read. Some I’ll reread, but most I’ll never read again. But don’t they LOOK nice. And now people know we love books. This proves it!” Oh me from the past. Slow down crazy.

I think what’s really helped with being able to downsize my books so much is having had to move six times in the last ten years. Every time I’ve moved since that first time I’ve downsized books. Those fourteen boxes went down to twelve, then eight, and for this last move four. Even four felt like a lot though. I mean, I had MULTIPLES of Harry Potter books. I don’t need three copies of Half Blood Prince. I went down to two copies per Harry Potter book a few months back and STILL didn’t realize why I was holding onto multiples so desperately. So I let those go. Then I did the Marie Kondo thing and I held each book for a bit and waited until they sparked joy or not.

I ended up getting rid of 22 books all altogether – more than I thought I would. I finally parted with a few YA books I didn’t really read anymore, and a few books I kept just because I loved the covers. Old me would have been horrified. I also finally let go of my college poetry books. I never read them. I just thought they were cool to look at.

Here is the old bookshelf (three total, really) with built ins on the left below, compared to the new much smaller one on the right that fits all of our movies and books (thanks Ikea!).

THAT’S ALL OF THEM. That’s everything. It still feels like a lot to me. That wicker basket down below has all of our video games too. I’d love to downsize even more, but for now the goal was to downsize enough to get everything to fit into this smaller shelf. We’ve also paired down our DVDs and Blu-rays to only the ones we watch at least once a year. Starting this weekend actually I’m going to flip them backwards and then if I watch them in the next year I can flip them facing out again. This time next year if I have any still facing the wrong way they get donated. We don’t have a lot which is nice, but still, they take up so much room and I’m much more of a reader than a movie watcher. Also, the internet has everything now so if I really want to watch something I can just rent it for the day for around $3.

The next step was photos. I only have one photo album, which is great and it’s not even completely full. It’s also got a real stupid old picture of me in front. It was a gift. Anyway, I have some old photos in here and I’m working on scanning them in through a phone app into my Google Photos drive. There is no point in keeping physical photos when everything can be kept digitally now. I’ve also never had anyone over and literally had them sit down and flip through a photo album. I’ll probably end up keeping 15-20 total in the end. I’m thinking a few that my parents or grandparents wrote on the back of, or ones that I’d like to put on the fridge or cycle through framing. Photos weren’t a huge problem before and since I only have this one album I’m not stressed about it. I would still like to make sure all my physical copies are backed up online in a private album though.

One folder of papers

Downsizing papers was a hard one. I used to have this giant file cabinet I got when I turned 18 so that I could do what I thought you were supposed to: start saving and hoarding every adult document ever. I finally went through this massive cabinet with several different folders and files last year. I went from seven folders to three. The seven folders were filled with documents for old cars I had, but didn’t even own anymore, and they also contained every single paycheck I ever received in my life. This was useful when I was going through the steps for Your Money or Your Life (highly recommend), but now they were just pieces of paper. Then for this week’s challenge I paired it all down to one file. It no longer stays in the file cabinet and it fits neatly in my desk drawer. The cabinet will be donated this week. I kept anything that I need as an original that I couldn’t just take a picture of. I kept a sealed transcript, my vaccinations, original birth certificate, etc. Things that were irreplaceable. The next step is to purchase a fire proof mini safe to keep them in along with the social security card and passport. The goal is to have that safe sit neatly in my desk drawer as well.

This week was a hard one for discarding. There’s something that just hits you about looking at old photos and old books you remember buying and thinking you’d keep forever. I’m getting much better at letting go though.

So back to the BOOKS. How have I managed to read so many new titles in the last eight months and not have had bought a single book? The LIBRARY OF COURSE. I could kick myself for not signing up sooner. I’ve saved so much money! The best part is almost every library now has an account with Libby or Overdrive to get FREE E-BOOKS SENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR E-READER. You can even get Audio books for free! Cancel that Audible subscription and save some $$! I encourage you to check out your library and do this. I didn’t even have to go in and talk to a human to get it done. I did it all online and ten minutes later I was reading a book that was on my wish list forever but I didn’t quite want to spend the money yet to buy. It’s been my favorite discovery of the year. Check. It. Out.

Next week I’ll close out the minimalist home with some really good insight on some of the minimalist books I’ve been reading.

Items 46/30 – AHEAD OF SCHEDULE!

December 2018 - Minimalist Wardrobe · Minimalist Wardrobe

Minimalist Wardrobe – Week One

My wardrobe makes me feel…

Lizzie knows what’s up

That’s the first prompt  Jessica Rose Williams has for her readers in her Year Round Capsule Wardrobe Guide. So how does my wardrobe make me feel? Overwhelmed, unhappy uncomfortable and annoyed. That’s a lot of  negativity and once I started to get to work on my wardrobe this week I could see why. I really only had four items of clothing I actually liked wearing. So what in the world was I doing with the rest of this shit? How come when I was asked what are things I never wear I said dresses, but still owned a whopping total of TWELVE DRESSES.  Why did I say I felt good in three-quarter length sleeve blouses but owned only one? 

The workbook is great in helping you decide your personal style needs, what your goal is when it comes to your capsule wardrobe and really assessing why this is something you’re interested in. Me? I’m sick of staring at my closet and drawers every morning feeling overwhelmed and unimpressed. I’m sick of walking around the office feeling uncomfortable four out of five days a week because once I wear my favorite outfit I have to wait another week to wear it again. Why isn’t my wardrobe full of favorite outfits? 

I want to tie my work with William’s ebook guide to another book I’ve been reading this month by Marie Kondō. In her book, the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up she suggests when beginning to tidy there are only two decisions to be made about stuff: Whether or not to dispose of something and deciding where to put it. She insists that tidying has to begin with discarding. William’s suggests taking every single item you own out of your wardrobes, cupboards, drawers and any other hiding places. Lay it all out in front of you. I mixed this advice with Kondo’s belief in tidying by category. Don’t go drawer by drawer because sometimes you have sweaters in a drawer and sweaters hung up. Place all like items together and get a good idea of what you really have. 

Once everything was out of hiding I took another leaf from Kondo and held every item and asked myself ‘does this spark joy?’ Along with that I added in Williams questions: Would I wear this right now? Have I worn this in the last year?  Does it fit me properly? and Do I feel confident when I wear it? 

“Do you feel happy wearing clothes that don’t give you pleasure? You thought it looked cool in the shop…then why did you never wear it? Was it because you realized that it didn’t suit you when you tried in on at home? If so, and if you no longer buy clothes of the same style or color, it has fulfilled another important function – it has taught you what doesn’t suit you.”

Marie Kondo, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

So here are all my clothes out of their drawers, sorted by category and laid bare:

Inventory: Cardigans, 10; Shirts, 7; Leggings, 6; Blouses, 2; Tank tops, 10; Jeans, 10; Pants, 3; Skirts, 1; Sweaters/Zip Ups, 8; Pajama bottoms, 7; Pajama tops, 10; Shorts, 5; Workout bottoms, 4; Workout tops, 3; Shorts, 5; Dresses, 12; Coats, 3; TOTAL ITEMS OF CLOTHING: 106

It’s amazing to have one hundred pieces of clothing and really only wear or like half of them. I already mentioned my 12 dresses….yikes. I also had ten pairs of jeans, only four of which I ever wore. There was a huge imbalance of items I liked to wear vs the amount of those items actually in my closet.  Through William’s journal prompts I found that my three key words for my personal style are neutral, timeless and relaxed. It’s boring, but it’s me. I feel comfortable in black, gray, brown and sometimes floral print. That’s about it. So why did I have so much of everything else I didn’t like? Time to toss!

Donation Pile!

Two hours later here is the Inventory and much less exhausting closet: Cardigans, 5; Shirts, 5; Leggings, 3; Blouses, 1; Tank tops, 8; Jeans, 6; Pants, 1; Skirts, 0; Sweaters/Zip Ups, 4; Pajama bottoms, 3; Pajama tops, 6; Shorts, 4; Workout bottoms, 3; Workout tops, 3; Shorts, 5; Dresses, 4; Coats, 2; TOTAL ITEMS OF CLOTHING: 63

I ended up with a lot of extra hangers. I’m storing these for now because even though I have cut down the wardrobe I’m eyeing ten or so more pieces that I don’t like that much, and would like to replace with things that suit me better and can be more versatile. The reason they’re still in there now? Well, I can’t go down to 2 shirts and 2 cardigans at the moment. It won’t work with my work week. So as I start to learn more about my personal style this upcoming week I’ll be keeping an eye out for new clothing items that are neutral, timeless and relaxed and can all mix and match together to really create that perfect capsule wardrobe look. 

I’ve made big strides this week, but I still have a bit more work to do this month. Updates next week!

December 2018 - Minimalist Wardrobe · Minimalist Wardrobe

Minimalist Wardrobe – Intro

Dressing yourself is hard. I always say if I won the lottery the first thing I’d do is hire someone to dress me. Everyone thinks they have a weird body type. I’ve heard people of all shapes and sizes complain about it, so if you think someone has the ‘perfect’ body, they’re probably pissed off about something you’ve never even really noticed in them. 

“I’m too tall, my pants always turn into capri’s.”

“I’m too short, everything has to be rolled up.”

“I have a [insert: pear, rectangle, hourglass, inverted triangle, big bird, pencil, noodle, barge] shape.”

“I can’t do crop tops.”

The point is, we’re all a little insecure. I have so many clothes and shoes and only two outfits I feel really comfortable in. So what am I doing with all this extra stuff? Feeling bad about myself, that’s what. Once I wear my two favorite outfits I itch to do some laundry so I can wear them again, then suffer the rest of the week with outfits I don’t feel comfotable in.

The idea of downsizing has come to me over the past two years and the more I sit with the idea the more I like it. Since I’ve committed to it, I’ve donated multiple bags of books, kitchen items, etc. that I once thought I couldn’t live without.  I thank the universe every day that I became an e-reader as I would have a home that I could barely walk through with the rate that I used to buy books at. The part of my home that remains untouched though,  is my closet.

I have done some minor things. For instance, I only have one pair of heels now. It took years of me trying to be a heels girl to realize I am not a heels girl. I’m short enough to be a heels girl, but I have this thing about loving my toes more than my appearance and also my coordination is flawed. There’s nothing wrong with being a heels girl though. If you love ’em, wear ’em and rock ’em then you do you. I’ve had enough rolled ankles to give up on the entire thing and just whittle it down to one pair for special occasions. Also, I threw out all my old plastic hangers last year and gave myself some Blair Waldorf ones just to feel less cluttered and also because, well, Blair Waldorf. 

For this month’s challenge I’ll be creating a capsule minimalist wardrobe and I’ll share photos of my progress each week as well as the challenges that come up and bits of fun information I glean along the way. Jessica Rose Williams defines a Capsule Wardrobe as:

” A wardrobe full of your favourite clothes. It’s a well curated collection of quality items that you’re happy to wear again and again, suit your lifestyle and won’t go out of style. It isn’t based on trends or a one size fits all formula. Everything in it compliments each other and as a result you need less clothes. A year round capsule wardrobe needn’t be more than 50 pieces, it may be less (mine is 32), and owning one will show you how little clothes, shoes and accessories you actually need.

Jessica Rose Williams – How to Build A Year Round Capsule Wardrobe

My research to prepare me for this will be the lovely Jessica Rose Williams book and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō

Also, before pictures are so much fun and so, here are mine: 

Next week, I’m taking every single item out of the closet and dresser and throwing it on the bed for inspection of worth. That photo should be fun. Until next week! In the meantime you can see my thoughts on twitter, photo updates on life and monthly progress on instagram and goodreads for my progress on the books I’m reading for this challenge.