Minimalism and Frugality: A Match Made in Heaven!

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You’ve probably read a lot about minimalism recently, and I’m sure you’ve been hearing about the benefits of frugality basically your whole life. Minimalism and frugality are separate philosophies, but they can work together well in order to help you live your best life. (Zero waste can be a nice addition to this mix, but that’s another post!)

But first – what is minimalism?

Minimalism is the practice of ensuring you don’t have excess stuff in your life. The core idea is that you keep the things that you love in your life and eliminate the rest. While this mostly applies to the physical objects we surround ourselves with, it can also be a helpful tool for really focusing your attention on what matters to you in your life and what you really need to achieve your goals.

And what’s frugality?

Frugality is all about living on the cheap while still living well. It means something a little different for everyone. For some people, frugality is all about pinching every last penny. The Tightwad Gazette is a really famous example of this kind of lifestyle. For others, it’s about saving on the little things so that there’s money to enjoy the big things. Living frugally is a necessity for many people, but it is also a helpful way of thinking about making purchases and living life. Frugality isn’t necessarily about deprivation. It’s meant to help you stay in control of your finances so that you can live the life you want.

So, how do they work together?

Both minimalism and frugality force you to think about things a little differently. Our current culture is fast-paced and we’re often under pressure to make decisions quickly, especially when it comes to making purchases. Minimalism and frugality both emphasize slowing down and really thinking about how you’re spending your time, energy, and money.

I talked a bit about the beginnings of my minimalism journey here. I have always been a frugal person by nature, as I just don’t find it logical to spend extra money on things I don’t need to, but minimalism is sort of new to me. I’m a total collector who is slowly trying to get out of a book hoarding habit. But I have realized that most of the stuff I have is just… there. Gathering dust. Making it harder to focus and clean and live. So I’ve stopped bringing stuff into my life that I know I’m not going to use or that won’t improve my life, while also slowly getting rid of the things that are filling up my apartment. It’s completely changed the way that I make purchasing decisions, even when I’m buying things for other people.

For example, I’ve gotten great at regifting things. A well-chosen book makes an excellent gift. Those piles and piles of yarn I have that I’m not currently using for a knitting project? I can use them to fill up the rest of a gift bag for a friend who likes to crochet. If I do need to purchase a gift, I focus on buying consumable gifts like food, wine, soap, or a bath bomb. When I’m shopping for myself personally, I always make sure to have a list, even if I’m shopping for clothes. I also have a 24-hour waiting period for most random purchases. You’d be surprised how many things you realize you don’t actually need or want after mulling it over for a bit.

Frugality is all about using your money in ways that are effective. Minimalism is all about clearing all the extra junk out of your life. By combining the two, you basically make it your goal to live frugally but well, and you give permission to yourself to ignore some of the less important things in life. You can breathe a little and remember that you don’t have to keep up with the Joneses or give in to FOMO.

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You don’t have to change your entire life, but taking a few moments to slow down and make sure that you’re focusing on the right things can be incredibly beneficial. We gotta take the time to appreciate what we have!

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A Little Progress Goes a Long Way!

I finally got rid of all of the stuff I marked as clutter in October! I am still not done with my decluttering challenge technically (340-odd items to get through still!) but the pile of stuff in my living room has finally been either donated or properly organized while it waits to be sold on eBay. There’s still a lot more work to do, but having the space in my living room that had been swallowed up by my clutter over the last month has been really nice.

I also managed to get my act together and take care of holiday plans with both sides of the family, which was nice. This is the first year since I moved out that I haven’t had to worry about needing to work on the holidays or try and juggle both families in the handful of days I could get off and I am extremely grateful.

And, best of all, I FINALLY managed to go fishing with my partner. No joke, we have been talking about going fishing together for a year, maybe longer. He loves it and I know nothing about it. But it’s Dungeness crab season and it was beautiful out on a Saturday, so we finally went.

The view from Pacifica Pier

We ended up losing the crabber we had just bought a few minutes earlier because the waves were way too strong and our line broke, and then his line ended up snapping, too. But it was great to be near the ocean and out in the sunshine.

All in all, not a bad few days!

30 Things and an Outline for #Preptober

As you can see from the picture above, I am hanging on to my October decluttering challenge by the skin of my teeth. Last night, I took a few minutes to pick out 30 things to get rid of. I’m still way behind, but something in me just does not wanna let this challenge slip away unfinished. I’m sick and in a metric ton of pain graciously provided by an ill-timed strep throat infection, so just plain existing is hard enough. But I’m trying not to let being sick have me completely incapacitated. I still have goals I want to achieve this month! Even though the wind has kinda been taken out of my sails, I still need to get to where I’m going.

Aside from decluttering, my main goal for October was to get prepared for NaNo. I’m also pretty behind on that, but I do have the very beginnings of an outline started. That’s honestly a whole lot further than I assumed I would get this month. And I still have a week to go before my planning time runs out, so all is not lost.

For anyone else planning on taking NaNoWriMo on next month, I am going to be hosting some NaNo writing events for work. If you’re interested, feel free to join us in our Discord chat room. I have 3 events planned over the course of the month (on the 1st, 15th, and 30th), but I’ll be doing my best to keep things lively throughout the month. Feel free to drop in!

99 Things…

I messed up with my decluttering challenge and got behind. Really, really behind. Yesterday, I made a list in my notebook for the 99 things I would end up tossing in the evening once I got home…

…it’s still blank.

Now I have to add 20 more slots to this list so I can finish it tonight and get back on track – 119 items in total. Ugh. I definitely have 119 items I don’t want, but it seems like such a daunting task. It’ll probably only take me 45 minutes, but I just… don’t wanna.

As you can tell from my post history, October has been a really exhausting month for me, particularly the past couple weeks. I haven’t had the mental energy to sit down and write or do anything more productive than making sure dinner is made and then trying to decompress before I go to sleep. It might be the seasonal shift and the fact that when I get home it’s getting dark now, new responsibilities at work, or just overall fatigue catching up to me.

Regardless of whatever’s got me so tired, it has seriously affected my ability to declutter. I’m hoping I’ll be able to catch up this weekend and maybe get a little ahead. I’m also going to start working on the process of actually getting the non-trash items out of my house rather than having them stacked in the living room waiting for me to do more than designate them as unwanted.

For now, I’m just trying to think of all the things that need to go so it’s a no-brained once I get home…

October Declutter Challenge!

 

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At the end of last month, my mom (hi Mom!) and I were both talking about how much stuff we’ve been wanting to get rid of – cluttery things that we don’t use that are still just sitting in our houses, gathering dust and getting in the way. Both of us aspire to some degree of minimalism. (We’ve already talked about how I’m not good at minimalism, at least with regards to books.) And as we talked, she said, “We should do a declutter challenge!” Fresh off my successful September eat-in challenge, I was totally into the idea. She explained in further detail: we would get rid of things that were just sitting around and either donate them, sell them, or throw them away. On the 1st, we would get rid of one thing. On the 2nd, two things. On the third – you get the idea. This would lead up to eventually getting rid of 31 things on the 31st of October, and then looking at your house and feeling a little bit freer from your stuff.

One week in it’s been going well. Other than the things I’ve thrown away, the other stuff is still in the house because I’d rather take it all to get donated at once rather than make a bunch of trips throughout the month. But it feels so good to have started to go through things! I’ve been saying I would go through my books for months and now I’m actually doing it. I’ve also been taking care of those weird piles of clutter that just start to collect when you live in a place long enough. It’s been a really good experience so far.

I will admit that I have not been entirely perfect in completing my daily declutter numbers. There have been two days this week where I simply forgot about it. Happily, I’ve been able to catch up. So on the 4th when I forgot, on the 5th I knew I had to get rid of nine things total to make up for missing the day before. I’m a little worried about forgetting later in the month considering my current track record, but it’s comforting to know that if I really need to I can take my time.

It’s also been a really nice way for me to connect with my mom. We text each other most days and usually talk on the phone at least once a week, if not more, and we never run out of stuff to talk about, but it’s been nice to have this in common. It’s also really motivating getting her texts with overviews of what she’s gotten rid of, especially when it’s stuff I know she’s had forever and just hadn’t been able to let go of. And it’s been nice to know that my stuff is going to end up at the local Goodwill or making me a little pocket money on eBay rather than just sitting in my house doing nothing for me or anyone else.