Tag Archives: affirmation

The Art Of Minimizing


Living out of a suitcase for a week will remind you just how little you really need day-to-day. Now that we’re home and beginning to pack for the big move, it’s time for us to make some decisions.

What do we really want to take with us?

Every time we move, I go through this. It’s amazing to me how much I accumulate without noticing! Scraps of paper, notes, books, receipts, keepsakes, old coupons, yarn, art supplies, shoes, plasticware… the list goes on. I understand how it happens in the moment, but when I start thinking about having to pack and move whatever it is the meaning begins to dwindle… and that’s when I know I don’t need to take it with me. Who really wants to lug all this crap around with you everywhere you go?

I remember the first time I really had to minimize. I was moving out of the first place I’d rented. I had been there for three years (looking back that’s the longest I’ve lived somewhere until we move into our new house… whoa…) and I was moving from a townhouse into a one bedroom apartment. From 1600 sqft to 790 sqft. The thought of downsizing scared me. I was going to have to throw away all of these things, these pieces of tangible evidence that I was here for the last three years. These things when I looked at them represented all of the growth and independence and experiences I had. If I threw them away, how would I still hold on to those parts of myself?

Room by room, I lamented each scrap of paper, ticket stub, and magazine filling bag after bag for trash pick up. I donated all of my clothes except what would fit (neatly) in my dresser and closet and any pair of shoes that didn’t fit in an over-the-door organizer reserving two rows for belts, gloves, and hats. Once I realized that most of the clothes I donated either didn’t fit or hadn’t actually been worn in a year I started to feel better. I only packed what was coming with me in bankers’ boxes because they’re small and easily stacked. The things for the storage unit got the bigger boxes and I limited the furniture to whatever would fit in the 5’x10′ unit. The more I was able to organize and see the spaces around me, the more I started to feel powerful. I felt less like I was losing control and more like I was taking control of what was going on.

I started to realize that all of these things were anchoring me in place. WIthout them I could go where ever I wanted, whenever I wanted. They were crutches keeping me comfortable in that place and I didn’t want that for myself anymore. I wanted to feel the uncomfortable spaces!

My next move from the one bedroom apartment to a spare room in a friend’s two bedroom apartment, I downsized again. This time it was 790 sqft to approximately 100 sqft. I got rid of the storage unit, put any kitchen supplies I had in my dad’s spare room. Everything else I had would either fit in my four drawer dresser, my nightstand, my over-the-door shoe organizer, my 4’x2′ closet, or under my bed. That’s it. I’d done it. I’d pared down to the bare essentials and was enjoying it. If I wanted, I could load everything in my car and go someplace. If I wanted to buy new clothes, I had to switch out old ones. No new hangers. No shoving clothes in drawers.

I could look around and breathe and it felt amazing.

It’s not just about organization though. It’s knowing your priorities, knowing your needs vs wants, knowing what you’re capable of, and knowing how much you have to be thankful for. There’s a bar set when you know your bare minimum where you realize that everything beyond that is a bonus. Like the gravy on your mashed potatoes! I looked around my hotel room last week and realized I was content with a suitcase and a few toiletries. I’m blessed that I have those things. I’m even more blessed for the gravy at home.

I look around our rented condo. We’ve only been here for a year now, but I can see the piles of things, of evidence that lay around like little arranged still lifes reminding us of various moments. Free duffle bags, old wine bottles, tupperware, cards, clothes I don’t wear… ugh! I can’t wait to minimize. Our move is more than just relocating. It’s a whole new life that we’re starting together. If we’re moving forward, why take every little thing from the past with us? How can we be thankful for what we have when we don’t know what we need?

Let us cast these anchors, set sail, and be grateful for the waves that carry us along.

I was blessed last week to be able to cast off my extras, experience new people and places with my best friend, and to have a home to come back to… and my dog, of course.

The affirmation this week: The less I have the more grateful I am.

I have about three weeks to pack this place up. Let’s go!


Be Kind To Yourself


Happy Presidents’ Day, all!

Another week full of blessings has passed and I’ve made it here to reflect, be thankful, and set more goals for this coming week.

First and foremost, I am grateful that I didn’t have to walk the dog this weekend because Hubs loves me and because… negative temperatures, y’all! I am NOT built for this shit.

Which brings me to how grateful I am that by this time next year, I’ll think 35 degrees is yesterday’s -11. Six more weeks.

I had two dates this weekend! Friday night lady date to go see 50 Shades and Saturday afternoon brunch with Hubs and one of my very best friends (FYI: Founding Farmers in Tyson’s is just fabulous! Especially their chocolate coconut creme filled Jefferson donut… that was a game changer) .

On a more serious note, I am grateful that in weather like this past week and the potential snow we have in store tonight that I have a roof over my head, heat in my home, and warm clothes when so many don’t.

A conversation I had this weekend stuck with me and I really need to share.

If others spoke to us and put us down the way we do ourselves, we wouldn’t keep them around us very long.

Think about that. If every time you showed your picture to someone else they made disparaging observations how would that make you feel? If every time you spoke to someone they minimized your thoughts and opinions, would you speak to them anymore? A wonderful, beautiful woman I admire showed me pictures from an important event she attended and in every picture she pointed out her flaws before I even had a chance to look at them and it broke my heart. It also made me realize just how often we all do this!

Whether they are the words we’ve heard from others so often we believe them or whether we feel the need to say it before someone else does so it hurts less, we repeat these negative phrases over and over again. Eventually it doesn’t matter where it came from because we’ve made those awful thoughts our own and it’s a hard process to break. Everyone has self-doubt (even the folks who act like they don’t… promise), but you don’t have to let that hold you back. It’s ok to love you. That’s why this week I’m letting her inspire me in yet another way (as she already inspires me and so many others in many other ways).I-choose-to-be-kind-to-myself

This week’s positive affirmation is also a challenge to her and myself. This week there will be no self-deprecation. When I catch myself diminishing my words, thoughts, or physical appearance, I will stop and remember that Today I choose to be kind to myself.

Get out there and be nice to yourself. You deserve it.

… I highly recommend starting with a Jefferson donut.