Maintaining Minimalism

This morning as I was doing the Flylady zone( the bedroom) I looked around and was pleased that this room is calm and clutter-free.

In Quaker or Amish homes things are sparsely furnished. I was always, in my youth anyway, partial to the Amish look. And of course, as I’ve written we were Quakers for many years and married in a Quaker ceremony. (more on that later this week) ūüôā

sparselyadverb

UK /ňąsp…Ďňźs.li/ US /ňąsp…Ďňźrs.li/

 

with only a small number or amount of people or things:

. Function rules and there is little excess.

In Japanese homes, things are very minimal and ascetically lovely. For the longest time, I wanted to create a Japanese home with tatamis and low furniture.

For years we slept on a futon in our other house. But when we moved to this house we slept on the futon for a while only to discover (with disgust) that mold was under the futon due to it being on the floor with no circulation. In our other home( the one we built) the bedroom was on the second floor and carpeted.

As time went on, I just fell into stuff.

Then as I rediscovered my love of simplicity,¬†minimalism fell into place. ¬†I still would love a traditional type Japanese home effect but that’s not going to happen here.

But, I also love the Scandinavian look, which is really quite similar in some respects to a Japanese look except perhaps the lines are clean and simple and generally white or a teak wood. I do love white furniture and teak as well.

So my point, in a round- about way is, now having embraced minimalism for a number of years now, maintaining a clean room with little clutter is fairly easy and doesn’t require a lot of time.

I finished the bedroom zone including windows in 10 minutes.

I moved another plant in there in a corner and I’m not sure it will like it there. But I’ll keep it there for a few weeks and see how it is.

Dinner is roast chicken, a veggie burger for B and potatoes from the garden!

Retail Shock

Yesterday my daughter and I went down to the Apple store in the Galleria Mall. This is quite a nice mall with tons of high-end stores like Louis Vuitton and Tiffany.

My daughter needed to get a new battery put in her iPhone¬†6. ¬†Now, I haven’t been in this mall in maybe 5 years except to go once maybe twice to Crate and Barrel and then I would only go in thru the doors on the outside. ( not in the mall itself). Well, I tell you, I was completely in overload, shock and, amazement the sheer number of people there and the amount of consumerism going on. Really I felt like my head was going to explode. ¬†There lines of people for 2 things we saw. Finally, I asked someone what they were waiting for. He was so excited,” Free Lipstick””. ¬†JFC!!! Free lipstick???? the line was halfway down the mall. ¬†Then the other huge line was ( I’m guessing here) for Nordstroms’s annual sale. They must have a limit of people in the store at any one time so, there was another huge line. ¬†Really,????? Really???

Then inside the Apple store, it was like an alternative universe. It was so completely shocking the number of people just in there playing with devices and waiting for service.

The other thing was we had come from the gym so we were in gym clothes ( which is generally my uniform of black cotton capris and a white T-shirt). But it looked everyone, was dressed for something I don’t even know what. ¬†I didn’t see one person carrying a water bottle but me. It was really a culture shock.

My daughter and I had a nice lunch though, at Plutos. Pluto’s has great salads and actual roast turkey(real). ¬†We had a lovely turkey sandwich which was delicious, so I guess that’s one thing that was fun.

The parking lot had people circling like vultures. Honestly, if I never go back I’ll be happy. ¬†Anything I want or need really, even from Williams Sonoma( their white kitchen towels are the best I have ever had and last years), I will just buy on- line.

I came home and collapsed in a heap!!! Fortunately,  the drive down and back was fine. My little VW( that is 18 years old), did great and the AC worked wonderfully too.

I guess after seeing this I can only say Wow, people, you need to discover minimalism and zero waste, even if it’s a just a little. ¬†I just cannot even imagine why ALL these people would need to be there on a Sunday!!!

So, tomorrow, I have my foot doctor appt. This is the 1 month follow up. I don’t think it’s completely healed since after walking so much yesterday I can feel some stress on the top of my foot. But it is 92% better.

This morning I did the Flylady zone of the living room. ¬†Washed windows in there and my office area. Then I made a chocolate zucchini¬†bread. I’ll let you know how it is.

 

 

Simple Sunday‚Äč

It’s a little cooler at 93 degrees. I’m still running the window coolers so I can only imagine how high the electric bill will be especially since there’s an excessive heat warning for the middle of the week.

I went to the gym and it was nice and mostly empty.

This week is my 2-month labs. I know my oncologist is in Europe for 2 weeks so he won’t get my labs back to me so I’ll need to call his nurse for the results or wait. ¬†I don’t have any particular sense which way it will go. They have been creeping up so I guess there’s that. I’m not sure one ever gets over the anxiety of labs once you’ve had cancer. ¬†You wait for them with bated breath. ¬†But in the end, there’s not much you can do but accept what the results are. I feel pretty good so there’s that.

My son fixed the AC in my old van so it’s blowing cold again. He didn’t fill the¬†thing all the way with the R 124?? so I’ll buy another can of that tomorrow.

I’ve prepped a big salad for dinner and I’m going to grill some salmon. ¬†I might add in a carb but not sure what yet. This week with B gone to Minnesota, I’ll keep the menus easy especially since my daughter doesn’t get home till 7. ¬†Maybe sandwiches, tacos, pancakes?? We’ll see. Nothing too heavy as it’s too hot to eat heavy foods.

I gave away 2 sets of Fiesta ware to my brother, so that’s more out the door. I gave him the peacock blue color and the dark blue. I wasn’t in love with either color although the dark blue is pretty. ¬†I still have plenty of other colors to use. I was going to give them to the Cancerthrift but then realized I had given him 2 sets a few years ago so this would make 4.

This week I might do a little more reorganizing the pantry. ¬†I was thinking of taking everything off the stainless steel restaurant shelves and reorganize that way. We’ll see.

 

This week is the bedroom zone in Flylady, so I’ll work on tidying the closet. Plus it does hold my pantry back up items.

Overall, it should be a quiet week except hot!!!

 

Simple Sunday

A sunny day after yesterdays clouds and some rain. Quite nice. Temperatures are going to be around 80 so that’s pretty nice too!!!

This week is the living room zone and then the entry ways as June 1st is Friday.

Both zones are really easy for me as I have little to dust and little to do. I wash the inside windows in each zone. I do the outside windows about 4 times a year and they are due.

I’m moving a few plant friends around as the sun is coming in directly to the east in the morning and the south side of the house gets full sun in the afternoon. I moved the big palm plant to the sun porch but I’m not sure I’ll keep it there as that space gets very hot in the summer. Although, I think a palm would like that heat.

The entryways have red geraniums so they look pretty.  B swept the one patio in front of the sunroom and it looks much better than before with gravel all over that the chickens kicked up.

We went to the gym and it was empty, I guess everyone’s off on Memorial day¬†activities. Then we hit up Target so I could get a few things. I needed some ice cube trays. ¬†I wanted to get the stainless steel ones off Amazon but the price tag of $30 kept me from doing that. So I got plastic ones for $2.99.

I also picked up some Dr. Scholls inserts. I’ve mentioned before having feet trouble and it has gotten a bit worse in my left ankle and side of that foot. ¬†My orthotics are 4 years old and I think this maybe a contributing factor. So I bought some $15 ones to see if that helps. Some of it is probably osteoarthritis, and some is kinda a mystery. ¬†Then I picked up 2 bras that I needed as I only had one and that was going quickly. I’ll see how they are.

Also, some black contractor bags as B is removing ALL the insulation under the house so we can start over. With our ongoing varmint problem, we need it all down. The sonic thing does seem to be helping and I’d like to get 2 Barn cats eventually but not now. Plus the chicken food is a big attractor that we just have to live with. But we have noticed a difference since we’re not taking out any compost to them but putting that directly into the compost bin.

I read the book ‘New Minimalism’ again,¬†

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I will say I enjoyed the physical copy quite a bit more than the ebook. when I reviewed the e-book I didn’t give it a positive review. But holding it and looking thru it I thought it was a well-done book. I still think the idea of “new” sorta ridiculous but still, it was a good read.

Dinner is unknown. Maybe sandwiches???

 

Blogs that come and go…

I used to read a lot of different blogs. Some about simplicity, some about minimalism, some about organizing, and lots just about life and peoples different experiences. Some were about Myeloma and others about nothing in particular and some about frugal living.

I use to read Andrea Dekker and liked her organizational skills. But she had a lot of blind spots in her life such as not seeing her 2nd child, a boy, had some developmental issues. I think later ,after he still had spoken when he was 2, I think they saw some kind of specialist. But she monetized her blog and it began to lose something for me. Also, as soon as she talked about the Jesus card, I was out of there.  Just not my thing.

Others included ‘A blue door ‘something I cant remember. I liked her attempts at meal prep and some other things. ¬†But again, God and Jesus seemed to be helping her live a simple life so I let that one go.

They both still have a very large reader base so there’s an appeal somewhere. But clearly for me, when religion comes into it or somehow Jesus is saving them, then it just goes too far for me.

As an atheist, I ¬†believe in the order of the universe as in things like gravity, evolution, science etc. all without the help of some man-made idea of a supreme being. I’m pretty sure that 5,000 years ago or even more when man looked up to the sky and saw strange things or there were famines, blights etc, man needed to create an external way to make sense of it all. ¬†Enter, a supreme being.

Now it seems every other blog is monetizing and doing the ‘7 things to declutter’ or how I organized my kitchen cabinet. ¬†Clearly, there’s something going on with this theme. A new blog I started following was Farmhouse on Boone and wow, it is clearly all about a certain audience and a certain message for that audience. First, she talks all about simplicity and yet is only in her early thirties(maybe) and just had her 5th kid. Believe me, I’m not sure having 5 kids fits into the genre of simplicity or minimalism.

Yes, I know this is very judgemental and I accept that fully. Everyone has the right to believe what they believe and to actually include it and write about it. It’s just not for me and it just¬†seems somewhat ironic. Oh, yeah, Jesus helps in that one too. Maybe it’s about procreating. Seriously, in my 20’s it was all about zero population growth. Only have 2 children to replace yourself. Not 9 kids as another blogger¬†has or 5.

So, my own biases, as everyones does, plays out here.

There are some great other bloggers I do so enjoy, Reading my Tea Leaves is a truly beautiful blog. Yes, it is monetized but it’s not intrusive or blatant.

‘Minimally’ is another I so enjoy. Trish is the blogger who did the year of zero waste on another site. She is a funny and talented writer with a solid minimalist approach.

‘Spo’¬† is one of my favorite bloggers and writes wonderful and interesting blogs about his life.

So, for now, so blogs come, some blogs go….

And you know, there’s something for everyone out there!!

 

The journey of minimalism!

My daughter found this picture on one of her CDs and I was honestly like ” WHAAAATTTT”!!

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The cats are cute, and the Waldorf stuffs ok but the rest?? What in the world was I thinking or better yet, NOT thinking of?

The cats,, Ollie and Finwe, are just maybe a year old or less so this would be maybe 2005??? I was diagnosed in June 2005, so I know nothing minimalist¬†wasn’t happening then or even 2006 after my Stem Cell Transplant. My recollection is that it was when I relapsed in 2010. It gained speed and momentum by 2012.

I think it was at that point I started feeling closed in and all the clutter was too much. Except for the 2 cats, all that was gotten rid of. Even all the Waldorf play silks. I gave them to some Waldorf family. The desk is gone, and the TV under the silk. I use the wishbone chair as my office chair. It’s a Heywood Wakefield.

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Here’s what it looks like today. You can see my¬†Pinecone ware, a few Catherine Holm pieces. Both, of which if I found reasonably priced today, I would buy.IMG_0480.JPG

This is one of new ‘friends’. It’s just the sweetest fern. Keeping with a minimalist style I ‘m trying to add plants as the decor. ¬†I just love this little plant. I’m not sure if it’ll be happy there as there is not a lot of indirect light.

So one of my¬†strongest suggestions is to take photos of your spaces. I’m truly amazed how I see it differently if I take a photo.

Another is to really remove tchotchkes. ¬†You really don’t need every shelf¬†filled to the brim with useless crap. What I try to do is keep most shelves only half full. In our one teak bookcase that holds our Easton press, there are 3 shelves that are full, no spaces. But as a rule, I try and actually keep one empty shelf.

Another thing that helped so much was getting over ” well, I paid a lot¬†for that Waldorf silk or that Waldorf doll”. It’s past its usefulness. LET IT GO!! ¬†I gave away lots of quite valuable things to friends¬†and thrift shops. Sterling silver, vintage cloths, vintage toys, and so much that I just didn’t have space for and I didn’t want stuffed in bins. ¬†I can’t even remember the number of van loads I took to thrift stores. But it is and was so freeing.

Your space is meant to be calm and healing. With excess furniture, things, dishes ( my weakness), you just can’t find that balance.

I recently redid where I was keeping DVDs that we still want but don’t watch but once a year. The original Star Trek Series, Next Generation, Narnia, Forsythe Saga, and more. ¬†I put the Star Trek in a small bin and put in the laundry room on a shelf. Then the others I removed from¬†2 drawers and repacked into 2 cute little crates I found at the Goodwill. They’re in a cabinet in the Heywood.

Right now one of my projects is working on photos. I’ve thrown away tons of repeats and just fuzzy or boring ones. But we still have a lot of our younger years that I’d like to get organized. That will take a while. I have scanned some but that really takes time.

One more thing, just start somewhere, then just keep going. It will and does get easier. Plus things are easier to clean and tidying up goes so much quicker.

 

Addendum:

 

So my daughter checked the date and it was Nov/Dec 2013.

This was the worst time in my life( up to that point) as this was when I had the compression fracture which was caused by the myeloma. It was misdiagnosed and then discovered 1 1/2 years later. So that happened around Thanksgiving of 2003. The reason at least superficially was that I had been lifting boxes. You see, I had just been to my first big estate sale and bought an almost complete collection of Life magazines. It was 40 boxes weighing at least 50 lbs a piece. ¬†So I lugged them to my van , then to the barn, then to the studio. It was the next day was when I felt a pop. But it wasn’t till the next morning when I literally couldn’t get up. Why do you ask did I not go to the Er. That’s a good question but answerable. We never hardly ever went to doctors. We used herbs, natural remedies, blah, blah blah. So, when I did go to the NP and she said it was just a sprain, I should have been more proactive. ¬†Hindsight is 20/20.

So that’s the back story….

 

 

Minimalism: older and wiser

Most blogs about minimalism are written by younger people. Some quite young in their 20’s. I kinda chuckle at their take on being minimalists for a year or so. Plus, there’s only so many years they’ve got under their belt. That is NOT a criticism. I applaud their courage and journey.

Still, having been on this journey for over 7 years and probably longer at different times in my life, with experience and age does come wisdom. In our twenties, we were total minimalists simply because we had no money to be otherwise. Poverty or lack of money makes minimalism seem petty as it’s really not a choice as such. Yet, we built our little wood couch, used¬†orange crates as bookcases, gleamed free stuff from the dump when we could. We were hippies and loved our simple life. Yet, we were also broke.

Back in the 1970’s, after college, we couldn’t find any decent jobs, so we started our own business, Shiatsu massage and, spiritual counseling( I had just¬†finished my graduate work). ¬†We later opened a bookstore and that was great too but made no money and we eventually closed it.

Most of that¬†now, ¬†I see as part of our life journey but none the less the quips of the popular psychology of ‘follow¬†your dream, follow your heart’ didn’t ever bring us fame or fortune,¬†or¬†a job, but years of struggling. We were minimalists out of necessity.

 

So many years later, after raising 2 children, and being in a different phase of our lives, minimalism comes full circle intentionally.  We had a good number of years accumulating stuff too.

People getting older need to simplify their lives. They need to have less clutter and crap around them in order to be more present in their older years. Plus who wants to burden their children with stuff.  Plus, it makes keeping up with housework and chores easier and more efficient.

We’ve decluttered many times and I’m sure there will be more to come. Moving toward being in ones mid to late 60’s is quite the experience.

With all things, there are many seasons to one’s life. ¬†Living minimally now is so important. We don’t need a lot of extras, just enough. ¬†I think just enough is perfect.9aff9c2e96b462ea1d37c12c64c687dc