getting started

img_20161225_021133Christmas is over and although I said we wouldn’t go overboard this year, we did. Now the clean up begins.

Before I start purging, de-cluttering and re-organizing I need to clean. Because if I don’t start with a clean slate I will lose my mind. My goal is to pick up and clean every room and get caught up on the laundry. You know, that lovely mountain that has been collecting and overflowing out of the hamper. I know that if I don’t take the first step and get everything tidy I will become too overwhelmed.

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I want to share my journey honestly. Which is going to be really difficult at times. It’s not easy to let people see the things you work hard to hide. I’m ashamed of the state of some of the things around here.

When people share things, they tend to only share the good parts. I’m guilty of this myself. If I take a photo of my children and there is a mess in the corner, I will either push the mess out of the frame, or choose a new place to take the photo. I’m sure there are others out there who can relate. We have a certain reputation to maintain, and who wants to tarnish that by showing how things really are and not how we want them to appear to be.

My husband works from home and we homeschool our children, so we spend a lot of time at home “living” in it. But this year I took a job and I am gone for a good part of the day. When I get home we are running around to different sports and activities. Then it’s dinner time and after dinner we do our school work. I have not yet found a routine that allows me to keep up with the house. And honestly, I am so tired at the end of the day that I don’t feel like giving it any thought. I really feel that by downsizing our things there will be less of a mess to clean. The house will appear cleaner just by the lack of clutter! My children are getting old enough to start helping and having more responsibilities too. And again, with streamlining our possessions, I really feel like that will help out enormously.

Do we really need as many clothes as we have? Shoes? Dishes? Blankets and sheets? Soaps and lotions? Art supplies? We have so many puzzles and games that we don’t even play them. Why not just have a few that we actually play with? Don’t even get me started on my yarn and fabric collection…

I know in the beginning I will have a hard time letting things go. Maybe, eventually one day ,we’d like to play that one game that we used to have. That  pair of shoes that we never wore would have looked cute with this ONE outfit, or that small piece of fabric remnant that had been sitting in my closet for years would have been perfect for this ONE project…

I can’t hold on to it all. My happiness in the present is more important to me than the tiny bit of hope of happiness these objects MIGHT bring me in the future.

confessions of a consumer

The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. So, here goes.

Hi. My name is Valerie. And I’m a consumer. My life has been consumed with consuming. My family of 5 and I live in a 1,700 square foot home and we are busting at the seams. Any little bit of space in my home is used to store things. Every closet, cabinet and shelf is full. I’m running out of space. And money. And sanity. And happiness.

When my husband and I first married and started our family I considered myself a pretty frugal person. I prided myself in saving money. After my son was born I started cloth diapering to save money on buying diapers. It was about that time that I also started recycling and trying to be more environmentally friendly. We bought a house in the country and I enjoyed gardening and we even raised chickens.

But somewhere a long the way I have lost myself. I haven’t gardened in years and those chicken coops have been empty just as long.

I find myself more materialistic than ever these days. I spend way too much money on things we don’t need. I’ve filled our house with so many things that I can’t even keep up with it all. My house is a constant mess and I’m always stressed.

So I am starting a living with less project. My goal is to de-clutter, simplify, save, make more conscious purchases, worry less and reduce stress. Instead of spending money on material things, I hope to be able to travel more and make memories with my family. I want to live a more simple life and focus on the things that really matter to me: relationships and experiences.

I’m starting this blog to document my journey into minimalism. I want to use this space to share my experiences and interact with others who are trying to downsize and live more simple, meaningful lives.

I hope you’ll join me.