The Pursuit of Less: An Aspiring Minimalists Journey 

Maybe the life you’ve always wanted is buried under everything you own. – Joshua Becker

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So much has changed for us over the last 6 months. After stumbling upon minimalism and applying its philosophy, we decided our life needed an over haul. Getting serious about our health and fitness spilled over into other areas of our lives. We started defining and listing what is truly important to us and getting clear about our family goals and values. At the top of our list is freedom. We started asking ourselves questions about how we could create more freedom in our daily lives. For example, like setting a budget. Our savings and spending goals became much easier to track, taking the stress out of spending simply by implementing a budget. Obviously a huge factor in our freedom is debt. It determines how much we save, donate, need to work, and what retirement would one day look like for us.

An unexpected thing happened for us as a result of getting our camper this past December, we realized just how little we could get by with. I no longer required a large kitchen equipped with the latest gadgets to prepare dinner, or huge master suite with countless drawers and walk in closet to store my clothes and bath products. For an entire week, we got dressed, ate, slept, and bathed in less than 250 square feet, basically less than one room of our current home. It really got me thinking. Was our current living arrangement what fit us best? Could we get by with less? Do we want to get by with less? I thought of how much of our monthly budget was spent on our home and if that matches up with what we have determined most important to us. It was right for us at some point. However, that was years ago now and what suited us then, didn’t seem as suitable now. Our lives have changed so much since we moved into our big house close to town.

An important minimalist concept is to question everything. I am learning that each thing in our life should serve a purpose or feel that it’s beautiful and enjoy it. When I started questioning the things we own and how we were choosing to live, I began noticing how much we had that no longer fit our life anymore.  Lamps and knick knacks tucked away for some future redecorating whim… Extra bedding we’d never be able to use up in a life time. Why were we keeping all this stuff? The upkeep for our home and all the stuff we’d accumulated over the years started feeling like weights holding us down.

We got educated on how others obtained more freedom in their lives. We started reading blogs/ books, watched documentaries, and joined online groups devoted to paring down and finding more freedom in life. We were able to rid ourselves of a sizable amount of stuff through on-line yard sales. We also created a budget and plan to get out of debt. With each bill paid off and item no longer needed sent away, we felt lighter, freeer and motivated to keep going! After seeing the restrictions our home placed on us, we knew we needed to look for solutions. We no loner felt our current living situation supported our goals and values. Getting totally out of debt would further support our freedom initiative and neighborhood life just wasn’t a good fit for us anymore. We wanted to keep our camper close by especially before trips and a little after to do some work on it, but the HOA didn’t support that. Our outdoor space was limited and the HOA had to be consulted to make any adjustments or improvements to our own property.

We expanded our search to include all of the husband’s work territory, which was about a 60 mile radius. Turns out, we didn’t have to look far or long. Within a month of our search, we found the perfect place. It was nestled along the coast just 20 miles away in a private sanctuary we knew we could make our own. It was rural and rustic and didn’t even have a traditional home. It was all about the land, the peaceful setting teaming with nature and solitude. It fit our budget and had future income potential. The mobile home was a bonus. Although I am not sure how we could have made it work without the double wide included, the property was a steal without it. There were so many possibilities for our future if we secured it. So we did! After we put a contract on the property we listed our home, and literally 1 week later sold it. Oscar and I always say when something is meant to be, it’s easy!

I seriously dreaded the selling and moving process but of all our past experiences, thankfully, this one was the least painful. By relocating, we were able to drop over $100,000 in debt and have continued paring down. Of course we’ve made some improvements to our mobile home, making it ours, that I can’t wait to share once complete! Now, we’re focusing on the essentials. Questioning everything we keep and how we set up our home. As we packed, we decided that we didn’t need a formal eating space and dragging around formal dining room furniture was not something we’d do this time. If we change our minds and want one later, we’ll get it then. I’m so over having stuff for the occasional need. If we have guests, we’ve got plenty of extra seating and I’m sure we can make due. I’m not saying I don’t still have tons of occasional things but I’m slowly working through and processing them out of my life. We’ve got a long way to go but we’ve made so much progress. We’re in a perfect spot here at our country coastal property, it’s peaceful with lots of space to spread out and relax. Our girl has plenty of room to explore and study nature. We’ve got options here we didn’t have before.

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Like It Or Not

Making healthier decisions isn’t always easy and feeling supported by others won’t always happen. For example, setting a budget or beginning a new career may not be well received by friends, family, and co-workers. Change can be hard and sometimes harder for the people in our life. It’s in those times that being confident in our decision is important. Being fine, when your choice isn’t liked or popular, but key to improving your life is vital to your growth and well being. It takes courage to press forward in the face of adversity. Being confident that staying home instead of going out or passing on dessert may not be easy in the moment, but achieving progress towards important values like financial security and loosing extra weight for your health’s sake make the decision so worth it! 

Decluttering and Foam Rolling

I’m starting to find many similarities with fitness and minimal living. I have to work at it every single day. It’s like building muscle or staying on track with my nutrition. It gets easier as a habit is formed and my results are becoming evident. Yet when I get stressed or thrown off by life, it’s tempting to turn to unhealthy food, shopping, and time excuses! Same with stretching on my foam roller, I have to use it each day to notice improvements in my posture and flexibility. It’s been tough staying on track lately. With Birthday shenanigans this past week and our vacation coming up, among other things, I’ve got to keep my goals in front of me to maintain focus and not fall into old patterns. 

I’ve cut out the extra yellow containers, cleared countless surfaces around my home, and logged 5 workouts last week. Still though, got to keep going and not get distracted especially when life gets busy. January will be over in blink and it’ll be time to start my new fitness challenge. Hammer and Chisel is on the calendar and my decluttering list is long, so here’s to finishing strong this month and killing it in February!

Interesting Article 


Such an interesting read. What if our economy shifted in the future from materialistic to a more experience based type of consumerism? It makes so much more sense to collect moments and memories than “stuff” to me. At least when we move or travel I won’t have to haul it around with me! Concerts, sporting events, travel, food and dinning to name a few would be leading in a less stuff driven economy… #foodforthought 

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/millennials/ 

The Formula


Since catching my first cold in years and pulling my back out, I’ve made a ton of excuses. Getting out of the habit of keeping a healthful routine is dangerous. I know what works for me and I’ve nicknamed it the “the formula”. Oscar and I talk about it to folks who want to know how we’ve been able to loose weight and get fit. It’s so easy really… but the thing about easy is that it’s also easy not to do it. You think “oh it won’t matter if I skip this workout or eat that cheat meal!” However that’s not the way health fitness works, it’s the sum of tiny efforts over time that add up to huge change. I love to laser focus and get big chuncks of work completed at a time but unfortunately that doesn’t apply to this category of life. It’s been so satisfying decluttering several hours each day and seeing the dramatic results after. Oh how I wished I could do the same with my fitness!  But that’s not how it works and so I’m getting back in the swing of my formula which is: 

1. 1 red container for breakfast, usually 2 soft boiled eggs

2. 1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow, 1/2 organge container for lunch. My go to is a previous post: 1 slice of organic bread, 1 chicken sausage, arugula, and Dijon mustard. 

3. My favorite, snack time = Shakeology! Usually it’s the vegan chocolate with 1/2 banana, couple strawberries, tsp nut butter, greens boost, energy boost, almond milk and water. Equals 1 red, and 1 purple container. 

4. Diner is typically a lean baked meat like chicken. Small salad with homemade olive oil dressing, and some roasted veggies like carrots or broccoli. I love playing around with the flavors to keep it interesting. For example, lemon, Basil, and other herbs add flavor without additional calories. 

5. Each day I complete a Beachbody workout that typically lasts 30 minutes and is part of a specific program designed by professional trainers to get the best bang for my time spent.

That’s it! When I follow these 5 formula rules, I feel my best and fit into all my “skinny” clothes. Now I’ve just got to log some time and it’ll be like a part of me I can’t live without! Here’s to falling off but getting back on. 

Faith

Reading about spiritual things first always helps me get my mind in right space. Connecting with God and a higher power brings me so much peace. Meditation and prayer has done amazing things for my well being, if you haven’t made this a part of your life, try it for a few days and see how your feel! I promise you won’t regret it.