Update on My Tidying Process.

July was slow for me.  I didn’t do any blogging at all, and my tidying process came almost to a standstill.

Now I am going through my sentimental items and I can’t say it is easy. It is better than it was at the beginning of the year, at least I am able to touch the stuff and it is out of boxes and bins. I did finally begin to toss envelopes to cards in the recycling and I have recycled some greeting cards. It’s just a few sheets of paper, but it really adds up to a lot of bulk and I am getting closer to my goal, which is to be able to access and view all of my keepsakes. I am hoping that by the end of the month I will be done with the discarding and recycling process.

Then I want to make it more view-able – photo albums/scrapbooks. But I will leave that for next month. I might even leave it for October. I have a lot of photos to get through, so we shall see.

I am going to set the goal/intention of writing at least one blog post per week, or maybe I should write four blog posts and schedule them? I’ll probably do that.



Giving Up On a Dream

Something I didn’t expect to happen in my minimalism journey is that I would want to throw away dreams.

One of those dreams I am particularly sad about today is the idea that someday I will live in a Monolithic Dome. It has been 10 years since I first laid eyes on the Monolithic Dome website and first wanted one. I was looking for a home that would never burn, would never get blown over by a hurricane or a tornado, would never be affected by an earthquake. If you remember 2008 was a particularly bad year for natural disasters. Today I am giving up on that dream.

I am never going to have one. There is sadness in that, but also freedom. I have gained time to pursue other things in life and my house is no longer a holy grail of accomplishment. I have given up on the idea that there is a perfect house out there. I will never be satisfied. I will never be content. I will never be perfect. And that is ok. I can rest in that.

Even if I did have my “dream” home I would find fault in it. I know I would. My taste would change, there would be something I didn’t consider, something would go wrong during planning or construction.  I would find something at fault with it because that is what I do.

So, what now? I have chosen instead to find perfection and beauty in imperfection and the wear of time. The Japanese concept to Wabi-sabi is something I have just stumbled upon, but I have heard of the principals before.

I am choosing to live in an older home. I will update it and improve it only as much as it suits me and I am going to intentionally choose something that has not been remodeled.  I am going to be patient in the journey of finding a home and once escrow closes I am not going to get too attached to it. It is just a house. It could burn to the ground and I want to be at peace with that. When I die I will be some other place, not in that house.

Leave me a comment. What do you think of monolithic domes? Have you ever heard of Wabi-Sabi? Have you ever intentionally given up a dream and were happier for it?

Minimalism: Where do I start?

This question pops up a lot. I always say start with the stuff that is trash.

  • Junk mail sitting on the counter
  • Keys that don’t unlock anything
  • Season pass cards from last year
  • Receipts from taco bell and any receipts you are not going to be using to return something, or for tax purposes.
  • Lint and old candy from the bottom of your bag.
  • Socks with holes in them
  • Underwear with holes in them
  • Any clothes with holes in them
  • Pilled sweaters
  • Uncomfortable shoes, how many shoes do you have? How many do you need?
  • Extra mugs you never need that are cluttering up your cabinet,
  • Chipped plates – unless you really love that plate
  • Expired food in your pantry
  • Salad dressing you don’t like
  • Ketchup packets in the fridge door (empty them into a clean jar if you feel bad about it)
  • Paper you don’t need, like bank statements from 2003
  • Tupperware without lids and lids without Tupperware
  • Old makeup
  • Rusted razors
  • Consolidate your shampoo bottles, use up what you have before buying new
  • Dead batteries – recycle at a designated area and when you buy new buy reusable
  • Worn out elastic bands
  • Broken hangers
  • Pennies – or any change, put it in your wallet
  • Magazines from last month – you can give them to the library

That’s what I call the “top layer.” I find that once the top layer of trash is gone it is easier for the clutter blinders to come off, then you will find some other area to clean up and clear out. Most people find the closet has the most impact on the day to day. You know you are getting close when you no longer feel the need to buy new storage containers. Read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. You can probably borrow it from the library so that when you are done reading it you don’t have to minimize that too. When you are ready for it you can read Goodbye, Things.

Should I Give Up Baking?

The first time I heard of this I thought, “that’s ridiculous, I am all for minimalism, but that’s just not for me.” I first heard of this idea from Melody, a blogger and YouTuber. If you want to read Melody’s article take a look: Simplicity Hack: Baking

Typically I make all of my children’s birthday cakes at home. Last year my mother in law was minimizing her baking collection and I was the lucky recipient of all of her Wilton’s baking pans. Including some that are no longer made. Before I had children I thought that birthday parties would be so much fun. I had fantasies of baking home made cakes and doing complicated decorating to match the theme.

Reality is beginning to set in. Usually I will bake and do a crumb coat of frosting a month ahead of time and put the cake in the freezer. A day or so ahead of the party I take the cake out of the freezer, finish the frosting and decorating and let it thaw in the fridge.

This time while the frosted cake was hanging out in the freezer it was ruined by one of the children. I’m not going to name any names, but it was the one with the extreme sweet tooth. It shouldn’t have been a big deal. The party is a month away. I have plenty of time. But, as I threw the ruined cake in the trash I realized that I didn’t want to spend another two mornings baking, frosting and cleaning up. I just don’t enjoy the process.

I like looking at pretty cakes and I like the end results, usually, of my effort. But the actual process of baking and frosting is not enjoyable for me. I want it to be fun, but it isn’t, it is stressful.

I am also thinking about all the space and time that is dedicated specifically to baking. I have several tote boxes of just baking supplies in the garage. I also have a cabinet dedicated to baking. And a Pinterest sub-board. I also spend a lot of time before the birthday party thinking about the cake. Flavor, filling, decorations. I watch tons of YouTube videos on cake decorating to get ideas. I even thought about going to a bakery across town to buy those popular french style macaroons to decorate the cake with. It’s excessive.

There is also the issue that Melody brought up, baked goods don’t contribute to health. Yes, they are very yummy. But they are best consumed in moderation, if at all. I find that I only bake around holidays and birthdays and most of the stress isn’t around the decorating or the presents or the other food items, I stress about the cake. Most of the time the cake is not completely eaten. We are all watching our weight. It is a difficult thing to do in the US, we gain weight by just breathing the air here. So most of the cake is thrown away.

Minimalism started for me as a way to help me keep the house cleaner. Now I am realizing that it is so much more than that. Not having baking supplies isn’t going to put a dent in how often I clean the house. But I think that not baking is going to significantly reduce the amount of stress I experience around birthday parties.

Now, one more minor issue. Money. In the grand scheme of things the cake is a very minor expense. I spend around about $20 to bake each cake. It would be less if the parties were closer together and I didn’t have to buy fresh ingredients each time I baked, but ingredients do go bad, especially the baking powder. I can pick up a cake at my local grocery store for only $6. If I were on an extreme budget that would be a better option.

As my friends on facebook suggested I am thinking about putting everything, all of my baking supplies, in a box in the garage. I might get back to it in a few years. Would it be better to just buy everything again when I need it? Would I enjoy it more in a few years if I had new things or would it be better to keep the equipment that I have? I am moving more and more toward a healthier style of eating. Will baking even have a place in my life then? Would I still prefer to outsource baking? More importantly, did I ever enjoy baking, or was it just a fantasy?

What are your thoughts? Leave me a comment.

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Why Bangs?

Every, I don’t know, month or month and a half or so I get this urge to cut my hair. Or color it. I’m done with coloring my hair. I’m over it. Now it’s cutting it. This time I want bangs. Why? I know that bangs don’t work for me. This is what is going on in my head: “Oh, that girl on Pinterest, she looks so good with those messy-but-not-sloppy-bangs. I could totally do that.” Then I start playing with my hair and looking up best hair styles for my oblong face shape, yes bangs are one of the ones listed and I think, “YES! bangs! but then I remember that oh, yeah, I’m growing my bangs out, I don’t like bangs, but why, why was it that I don’t like bangs, I can’t remember. I should totally do it.” But then I have it written down in all caps in my style note book NO BANGS. I don’t have a reason why. Why do I not have a reason why? I have pictures of myself with bangs, and I do look really cute. Really, really cute and I can’t for the life of me remember why don’t I want bangs. My hair is finally long enough to say that my bangs are grown out, but now I want them again. There is legitimately something wrong with my thought process.

I do remember vaguely the last time I cut my bangs that I liked it for about three or so days. Maybe I have it written down somewhere what happened.