Tag Archives: minimalism

Trash Day

19 Oct

People in my neighborhood throw out the most amazing things!  I have seen leather sofa’s and sectionals in great condition just sitting on the side of the road.  If we weren’t renting and had a garage I would be hauling these home to sell them on-line.  It is so disturbing to think of these items sitting in a landfill because someone never thought to call a donation center for a pick up.  But sometimes I find things that people are getting rid of that we can actually use.

That was the case with the dining table I just found.  Although I hated the color, it was a solid sturdy table and would allow us to finally return the table we have been borrowing from my sister for all these years.

before

Somehow I managed to get this baby in the car all by myself!  I don’t know how I did it since it was really heavy, but I didn’t want to wait for my husband to get home from work since I feared it may be gone.

Out in the yard I sanded the top and primed it.  Then it got a coat of teal paint and I dry brushed brown over that.  I did not sand or paint the legs, all I did was dry brush the brown paint over the light tan legs.  The result was very pleasing.  It looks like dark wood grain and goes really nicely with the top.

after after set

Like I mentioned in my last post, here is where I struggle with two concepts that I love.  One concept I strive for is simplifying my life which means minimizing our stuff, purging and getting rid of things.  The other concept is reusing as much as we can and buying or finding used items to refurbish.  Over the years we have really gotten rid of so many things and are trying very hard to keep our possessions from taking over.  However we have also found many useful free items, like a coffee table, a leather office chair, an exercise bike, yard ornaments and baskets.  I guess this will be a life long struggle in finding balance.  Meanwhile I will enjoy the challenge  and creativity that a found treasure presents.

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Thrift Store Scores!

14 Oct

As I simplify my life and remove myself from the consumerism and materialism of our society I find myself doing a balancing act of sorts.  I try to reduce, reuse, recycle, upcycle and refuse as much as possible. In reusing and upcycling I come upon the dilemma of saving things.  Saving things goes against minimizing and simplifying.  But it works with my desire to remove myself from consumerism, from buying new, from supporting companies that don’t pay their workers well and from supporting the consumption of “cheap crap” and adding all of that to our environment.  So I save some things and try to come up with ways of reusing them.

Right now I have a bag full of those mesh produce bags, the type onions would come in. I keep thinking there has got to be a way to turn them into dish scrubbers or something.  For awhile there I was in need of old t-shirts to be used as solutions for various problems I had.  At that time I had no old t-shirts and had to purchase one cheap in order to use the fabric.  Now I have several t-shirts that we are getting rid of; they are not good enough to donate to the thrift store, so I am going to save them for the next time I have a need for some soft jersey cotton fabric.

So do you see my dilemma?  Where do I keep those t-shirts and scrubby mesh?  How many of them do I keep?  Are they going to start cluttering my world?  Or can I get a good place to store them where they are out of the way, organized and not forgotten about?

I am however very comfortable with this new lifestyle.  We are not spending our money on anything new, except for underwear.  (Now in my head I am singing the “Underwear” song from camp… anyone care to join me???  “underwear, underwear, how I itch in my woolen underwear.  How I wish I had gotten a pair of cotton I wouldn’t be so itchy everywhere….”).  We are finding items we need used; either to purchase or put out on trash day.  We are shopping for needed items at thrift stores or on craigslist, and I am only purchasing used books when I want a book (I still like paper books, especially reference books).

The problem is, sometimes you find a lot at the thrift stores!  How do you limit yourself?  I think some of these thrift store scores are going to put a dent in our budget!  But how can I turn down a winter coat, boots and blouse that all fit me like a glove and that I have been looking for for years but couldn’t afford them at the regular store?  I didn’t and am enjoying wearing them already.

So I continue with my balancing act of clearing out the clutter, weeding down our possessions and staying out of the world of consumerism and materialism.  I guess if I am going to walk this tightrope I might as well enjoy it and put on a show!

Schlumpy Shorts

21 Jul

At the beginning of the summer I bought a couple of shirts for work.  After that time I decided to go through the whole summer season without buying any new clothes.  I have had to resist the urge to go shopping for a couple of “cute tops” or another pair of pants.  I have had to tell myself “NO! You don’t NEED anything”.  “Live with what you have.”  “Others have much less.”

So I have had to try to be creative with the clothing I have.  The other day I was wearing one of my favorite pair of shorts.  They were purchased last year, they are soft and comfortable and made out of a cool fabric.  My husband informed me they look horrible on me!  They are too baggy and make me look schlumpy.  “But I don’t have many shorts, and I vowed not to buy anything new this season.”  His response was “go out and buy a pair of shorts!”.

Often during this summer season of not purchasing, I have thought, “if only I had started this project AFTER I had just made a major purchase of all high quality clothing”, aaahhhhh if only.  But no, I made this decision probably after already getting rid of a bunch of clothing I no longer wear or that didn’t make me feel good when I wear it.  I made this decision after already slowing down on purchases and re-wearing the same clothes for many years.

Now I have vowed to make those shorts work, and of course I have two pairs of them!  I am going to explore taking them in and sewing them.  I am not sure if this adds to simplifying my life since it requires getting out the old sewing machine, trying to fix the knee pedal, oiling the old girl, and trying to remember how to sew!  But at least I will be saving money, reusing something I already own, and not contributing to the over consumerism world we live in.

Any sewing tips would be appreciated!

Obstacles in the Desire For Simple

17 Jun

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My desire for simple has to fight against my artistic, creative personality and my love of animals and plants.  Let’s start with the artistic part of me: I have a lot of art supplies, I have a lot of interests, I tend to pick up an old hobby years later and need the old supplies again.  I like taking things and reusing them, so I tend to keep a lot of things like old buttons, scraps of paper and ribbon.  In my old house I had a room dedicated to art, it was a large room, too large. It allowed me to keep all my supplies in excess, although neatly organized in labeled bins.  Then the move happened…  Then another move…  I started to see that although all the supplies were “neatly organized” they weren’t neat or organized at all.  And I was carrying with me all kinds of things I was never going to use.  Old dried out paint, markers that didn’t write, three times the amount of crayons any adult could ever need, supplies for hobbies I was never going to take up again, samples of materials, all kinds of papers and instructions.  It was time to dive in and PURGE.  So I did.  I still have a room dedicated to creating, but now it houses a bit less supplies and they are all useful and pretty much organized.

Now for my love of decorative items.  I do not like blank walls.  I like surrounding myself with art work and having colorful images to look out and feel inspired by.  But even with that, I had too many framed pieces.  Too many things I was moving with me and carrying along in life.  So these needed a look at with fresh eyes and some purging.  Keeping in mind only keeping those items I absolutely love and bring me joy.

Regarding the items that stand around collecting dust, these were another story.  Many of these were collected on trips and excursions with my ex.  Well, they no longer held the nice memories they once had.  It was time to let go of many of them.  I continue to look at these items with a new set of eyes in my new life and I continue to weed them out and let them go.  When I bring something new into my life I think about am I going to be okay with dusting and taking care of this item?  Am I going to be okay with packing and moving this items?  Do I want to look at this item for many years to come?

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The animals and plants are a whole other situation!  I love my kitty and my dog.  But they come with all kinds of hair and messes.  Their food and water bowls need to be maintained.  They need to be brushed, and even when brushed  they regularly leave a never-ending trail of hair on the carpets and furniture.  The cat sneezes all over things (gross i know!) and we have to constantly clean up after her.  The dog rips up every thing; bits of rubber toys, strings from sock toys, stuffing and chewed up squeaker all lay all over the living room laughing at our attempts to live in an orderly home!

Recently we had company and did a bang up job cleaning the house.  I looked around and thought “I ALWAYS want to live here!”  But alas, that lasted a day and we were back to the pet hair and chewed up toys.  For me there really isn’t a solution to this since I love having pets, always have, always will.

So living simply for me is a process.  It’s a shift in thinking.  I evolve, I make mistakes; I allow the wrong things in at times and get rid of needed items by accident.  But I love that we are embracing a simpler lifestyle and really appreciating the things that matter most: people we love, nature, mother earth, serenity, simplicity, being all natural, and keeping a sense of humor through it all.