18 May 2011

Five Things I Won't Give Up for Minimalism

Inspired by Julie Rains on Wise Bread and Fabulously Broke in the City's "Ten Things I Won't Give Up to Save Money"... here are five things I won't give up to go Minimalist:

1. My Skinny Jeans. I have one pair of jeans that are the perfect color, the perfect length, the perfect cut... just not the perfect size (anymore). Although I have outgrown them, I cling to the hope that one day, my thighs will shrivel up. Probably not this week though since I just chased my spinach salad with a handful of nacho chips and a chocolate chip cookie.
Hope for tomorrow

2. Books. I'm committed to slimming down my library, but something about books - the smell, the texture, the promise of wisdom, I don't know, just something - makes a house feel more like a home. My Inspired Reading page catalogs the ones I've deemed most worthy of sticking around for this season of life.
The Promise of Wisdom

3. Kids' stuff. My journey is just that. It's my journey. As a family, we try to keep a handle on the sheer volume, but kids need to play. I won't deprive Tiny & the Tot of toys, games, board books, and art supplies until it all becomes overwhelming to them. Meanwhile, I'll be in the corner sobbing if I have to sort the balls from the dolls one more time today. When did I become OCD about anything, let alone toys!?!?
Organized for now, Minimalized later.

4. Heirlooms. I've gone from hoarding every item that ever belonged to my grandmother to treasuring a few that remind me the most of who she was. I have her barely-bound Bible, her tiny gold ring, and two sets of her best dishes. My girls will likely trash the Bible and bury me with the ring, but the dishes will serve their children and grandchildren for years to come.
Every Bible should be so well loved

5. Junky old furniture. When we reduced our clothing inventory, our dressers and armoire moved to the donate/sell/give away section of the garage. The rest of our furniture got repurposed. Instead of a trampoline, we have an old futon. The inherited swivel rocker serves as a playroom climber and a ratty Craigslist rug makes for a softer landing on the basement floor.
The futon trampoline / snack trap

I debated on adding a #6. My sewing machine, fabric, and card-making supplies currently occupy the closet of shame under the stairs. That's my "decide later" pile. Will they make the next "Five Things I Won't Give Up for Minimalism" list or will they be on a future "25 Things I Traded for Open Spaces" post? I don't know yet. My artsy Tot appreciates scissors and glue sticks, but I'm praying she will prefer a open, spacious reading nook filled with the promise of wisdom.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:
Five Essentials For a Minimalist Mama

10 May 2011

From Cluttered to Inspiring in 30 Minutes

I frequent this spot in our new house... well, I did.... Then it turned into a junk mail collection station. 
A quick 30 minutes took it from 



Next task: file my "to be filed" pile.

That basket you see under the desk is my sorry attempt to hide all the techie ugliness. I need something with a cover and a hole, but our modem and router need some regular attention (reset constantly), so I need easy access to power cords. I really despise that beast of a printer, but occasional use means it gets a prominent place on my desk until the wireless printer fairy blesses me with one that can be stowed in the back of the coat closet.

The cup is a stein from my dad's collection. The lamp is a remnant of my husband's bachelorhood... the birds hold my current reads and the chair doubles as a living room accent chair. For the true minimalist, I share the details of the pencil holder: one black pen, one blue pen, one pencil, one Bible highlighter and one black sharpie (for writing names on sippy cups).

As a procrastinator, I'm now officially out of excuses not to catch up on my writing assignments... the to-be-filed pile can wait.

Do you have a picture of your favorite place? If you are a writer, what places inspire you to write?

07 May 2011

New Title!

In a somewhat rash decision, I changed the title of "Plain & Simple As That" to "Minimalish." My rationale:

  • Quite frankly, I've realized I don't have the authority to say "It's Plain & Simple As That" about all the things I want to write about. 
  • I'm working on focus. Focus. Focus. Focus... that means I need a clear direction. 
  • I'm passionate about my family living a simplish, minimalish lifestyle ~ not in a sacrificial sort of way, just in a free-of-clutter kind of way. 
  • I have other outlets to download my non-minimalist-seeking soul writing: I can save my kid-drama for Oh Baby and my Christian-ponderings for guest posts on sheLivesOutLoud (or just my journal).
So, there you have it! Welcome to Minimalish. I hope you like it.. and I hope you will consider sticking around :) 

06 May 2011

The Perfect Gift for your Minimalist Mom

Image Credit: Creative Tools on Flickr
If you've ever attended an estate sale for an elderly woman, you should know better than to purchase knick-knacks for your mother! I look back now at how many little tschotskes we bought for Gramma Christmas after Christmas after Birthday after Mother's Day. Every nook and cranny of her house was stuffed with junk she was "saving for the nursing home" when in reality I sometimes wonder if she just didn't know what to do with it all.

My poor husband now has this dilemma every holiday... what to do for the woman who honestly doesn't want anything? So, my Dearest, this is for you, and all the others out there who have to figure out a no-gift gift.

Clean Something ~
Wash her car, and I don't mean just taking it by the drive through. I'm talking Shop-Vac until all signs of baby snacks and curdled milk drippings disappear. If you can't get her car for the day (and that's how long it'll take if you have small children), do something around the house that she despises ~ scrub the shower floor or clean the oven (after you make her a nice meal perhaps).

Take her on a Date ~
I hesitate with this one. Your mother does not want to spend her special day in line at the local family diner to eat a piece of over priced pie because you forgot to plan ahead. Trust me on this. If you have reservations, fine, take her out to eat. Otherwise, pack a nice picnic and go for a family outing. Maybe take her to the movies and buy her a popcorn and a big box of Milk Duds. But don't take her to a waiting room.

Tickets for a future date ~
How about tickets to a play, the ballet, the zoo, the museum, a rodeo, a ball game (if SHE is into that), a concert, or some little island off the coast of Italy ~ whatever she enjoys (that happens to match the depth of your pockets). Check your local Chamber of Commerce page for events and venues in your area.

Membership Has it's Privileges ~
Nothing makes you feel more special than jumping to the front of the line because you have a special membership pass. What's in your area that your mom loves to do: is there a museum, a theatre, an amusement park, a gym (careful with that one)? Maybe a two-for-one deal so you can enjoy regular time together.

Make it Personal ~
Think about what makes her tick, and go with it...

  • For the chef: substitute flowers with a bouquet of her favourite fresh herbs
  • For the nature lover: plant something in her garden ~ my preference would be a red bud tree. 
  • For the sweets lover: a dozen cookies or a loaf of homemade zucchini bread 
  • For life's student: sign her up for a fru-fru class (like a sewing, painting, writing or cooking) at the local community college  ... heck, go all out and get her horseback riding lessons
  • If she's a techy, or just "with the times": an iTunes gift card, a case for her Kindle, or upgrade her phone to an iPhone ~ got that for Christmas one year!! loved it! 
  • For the not-so-techy: upload all her old CDs so she can listen on her mp3 player
  • For the digitizer: a big-gig jump drive to back up her computer
  • For the adventurist: take her bungee jumping! 
  • For the practical mom : AAA membership
  • For the addict: Starbucks or Sonic giftcards. 
  • For the philanthropist: Make a donation to her favorite charity
  • For the newbie Minimalist: Haul off something she's been wanting removed ~ a old computer from the 90s or a piece of furniture taking up space in the garage. 
  • For the homebody: paint a room she's been wanting to dedecorate (not a typo.. a minimalist dedecorates while others redecorate). Add some crown molding to her living room or replace the tile in her bathroom. 
I know this is a long post, but I was trying to be inclusive. Hopefully, you'll can find something here for that certain special Minimalist in your life. ~ Plain & Simple As That.

Share your gift ideas in the comments!