Sanctuary

Calm Home, De-Clutter, De-Cluttering, Frugal Decor, Frugal Ideas, Home, Simple Home, Simplicity

A cluttered house shows a cluttered mind.

Or, something like that. And the #struggleisreal. I bounce back and forth from not giving a damn about the mess to a full-on nervous breakdown at the drop of a hat because of the clutter.

I’m a full-time working mom, etsy-preneur on the side, a wife, mother, and step-mom rolled into one. Most days I feel like I need a magical cape to do it all. Thank God I’m learning to let a lot of stuff go and accept the fact that I am an awesome mom, wife, employee, and creative just as I am and I don’t have to strive to be the best and do it all every, single day #reality.

However, when I’m talking about my living space it’s a struggle. I’m not striving for Pinterest Perfection, I just want to be able to walk around without stepping on toys or getting tangled up in a human-sized telescope that never gets used – or the dishes at least half clean; enough to keep the fruit flies away. All the while allowing the kids and adults alike to have fun and enjoy our home. If you have lived with more people than just yourself for any amount of time – like one minute +, you know that the two ideals collide something fierce.

So, I’ve come to realize that when I just can’t take it anymore, it is seriously time to declutter and clean up.

That’s about it.

Another thing I love to do to get my dopamine and seratonin pumpin’ is to rearrange a little bit while I clean up. It doesn’t take much and it also costs zero dollars to move a few pieces around or get rid of unused furniture.

Since I’m obsessed with looking at other people’s decluttering and home adventures, I wanted to share mine from this weekend.

BEFORE:

PicMonkey Collage1

A hot mess, but it’s OK because we have been busy with Halloween/Fall/Dance festivities. I can’t come up with an excuse about the telescope…it just needs to go. As does the highchair. You know, things that make someone like myself go insane.

AFTER:

PicMonkey Collage2

After only about an hour, my home was back in order and I felt like a bazillion bucks. Brought the coffee table back in (it was away for a year because of my baby learning to walk and I was always freaking out about her getting hurt, of course), I moved around a few furniture pieces and changed out a throw pillow and blankets, also cut some greenery off a tree because I need some nature inside after all this rain, and naturally, vacuumed the crumbs and wiped smudges down.

It just feels so much better to come home to a little sanctuary. I didn’t have to declutter as much this go around, but you best bet that those little McDonald happy meal toys, unused toys, and anything broken got put in the trash. It helped knock it back some!

How about you, is your decluttering efforts paying off? What little things to do you do around your house to create more of a haven space?

Thoughts after Major Clutter Purging

De-Clutter, De-Cluttering, Minimalism, Simple Life, Simplicity

5

My couch. Oh, how I love thee.

I’m coming off of my major de-cluttering high, and finally able to sit back and enjoy the hard work and results.

Over the last few months I’ve:

  • Got rid of carloads of wall art
  • Gave away baskets – this was a toughie because I’m a recovering basket hoarder
  • Donated an embarrassing amount of unused/ill fitting clothing

Giving away unused stuff has been exhilarating. I still am getting rid of stuff – it’s just not as intense as the beginning purges, mainly because I got rid of so much.

Going through this process has really put a lot of things and behaviors in perspective. Here are some thoughts that have come about:

  • No amount of stuff will make me happy
  • Chasing things put me in debt
  • My time is more important than my stuff
  • I hate cleaning up useless clutter, like, loathe
  • I’m tired of organizing: I just want it gone if it has no purpose
  • My home is a creative place and I want all our spaces used for things we love doing and making memories
  • Clutter causes me way too much anxiety and I’m tired of being stressed
  • I can change, if I want to

Those are just a few things that I’ve been focusing on.

Now, I have some extra space to enjoy the progress. I don’t have to be SO aggressive, only mindful with the remaining stuff.

My priorities are shifting and that drives me and makes me thrive. Although, I am sad that I’ve waited so long to change: it’s still never too late to start.

I’m going into this long weekend so, so thankful. It’s mine to enjoy – and I intend to!

Home is Where Your Soul Lives

De-Cluttering, Minimalism

226

Pinterest has been the death of me. When it first launched I pinned no less than 9 billion pins on how I could re-do my living space. After so many attempts of DIY, failed crafts, and thousands of dollars – I gave up.

Sometimes giving up is the absolute best things we can do for our health and sanity; whether it’s bad habits, home decor, or trying to be someone we’re really not.

I’m no longer ashamed of giving up. As a matter of fact, I am proud to give up things that no longer serve me. There was a time that wasn’t the case at all. Loyal to a fault. But no more.

One of the things that de-cluttering my living space has taught me, is that it is vital for me to have my home cater to my needs and desires. Home is supposed to be a place of peace, creativity, and growth.

No matter how much we collect, or how much we obsess over the perfect ‘look’ what we are really trying to get is our desired feelings and a feeling is not a knickknack.

So, last week I decided to transform the dining room.

My family doesn’t dine at the dining room table: we eat in the living room making messes and hanging out. It works and that’s the way we like it. I don’t suspect we will start eating in the dining room surrounded by awkward conversations and manners; and I’m totally cool with that.

Instead, it’s now a place for me to practice my yoga. It’s a place for the girls to create, draw, and flip. My husband can use this area for his hobbies as well. It’s now deemed a fun-zone, instead of an everyone stay out of this little area for no good reason zone. Because, that doesn’t serve anyone.

Before, the table just sat there lonely. It was a catch-all for ebay sales, dirty clothes, and clutter:

u

Then I moved some things around and just took away the fake notion that this was an eating space, when it really wasn’t.

It’s not fancy, Pinterest worthy, or expensive. It’s really not much different at all. But what’s changed is that it is inviting my family to just be in this little nook. It can be messy, quiet, creative, or left alone. It doesn’t matter, actually. What matters is that it isn’t off limits.

v

My home is not a place that is off limits. It is  a place where our souls can mend, heal, and grow. Each space is an open invitation to live. All family members are different and we all mesh and clash in a messy beauty.

And when it gets too messy, we will clean it up – or maybe we won’t.

The thing is, striving for perfection isn’t happening anytime soon. What is happening is this moment, right now, the present: all day long, every day.

That’s where I want to live. That’s where I want my family to live. Everything else is unnecessary.

Our home is where our soul lives. It’s inside of us and we carry it every where we go. No amount of control, cleaning, scrubbing, or staging can change that. It’s time to get dirty, explore, and grow. It’s time to actually serve and live.

Manipulating Circumstances

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Minimalism, Minimalist

Gaining clarity during simplifying is one of the biggest benefits to a minimalistic lifestyle. There comes a time in the process of de-cluttering and re-arranging priorities that a lightbulb goes off.

It’s that little voice that tells you:

Stop manipulating your circumstances.

Little did I know, I was a manipulator and a controller. I felt like my life was under my control every step of the way. I thought that I could go with the flow, but in reality, it was just a cover-up. One slip up or one little blip could derail me at any moment and I knew it.

That thought alone scared me half to death, not to mention gave me daily anxiety trying to keep it all together.

Thankfully, I have learned from my experiences. A job layoff got this ball rolling, it was as simple as that.

One day, my finances worked. I had a job. I could plan on things. I knew what income I had and I based my life on that. Everything that I controlled fit in this little bubble of mine.

That is, until it didn’t.

I learned so much more from losing my job besides ‘oh, shit’ I don’t have any way to pay bills or continue my lifestyle this way.

I adapted and realized that I have so much without that type of stability. My priorities and security was in my job, itself. There is more to me than that.

Letting go and simplifying creates a unique perspective. You soon realize that the clothes, makeup, fancy cars, expensive food, and junk cluttering up your house is just a cover-up. Those things are not who you are. Not even close.

When the dust fades and income is removed, or when you donate excess clutter from your life, it shows just how meaningless some of the things you put as a priority truly are.

The most empowering thing of all is figuring out what to do with less. It’s exhilarating to let go and realize that you can, in fact, survive without it.

Why I Wear The Same Thing Every Day

Capsule Wardrobes, Clarity, De-Cluttering, Gentle Change, Minimalism, Minimalist

I open my WordPress Reader and got a dose of inspiration this morning while sipping my coffee at the office. I love when this happens!

The post was:

Why I Wear The Same Thing Every Day.

In essence, it explains how a lot of super-successful people wear a work uniform for simplicity so they can focus on their work and passions without worrying about clothing.

I’ve been obsessed with my capsule this summer, so much so that I post about it a good bit.

But, after thinking: hey, I should just have a work uniform from my capsule for consistency and then a weekend capsule for the weekends.

So, since I already had pictures from my current capsule, all I had to do was split it up into two categories:

1. Work

2. Weekend

Recently Updated5

And I’m pretty pleased with the split. By the looks of the capsules, I may can actually narrow down what I have currently in my closet to match this exactly.

That would be perfect.

Have you ever thought about a work uniform, too? I’m excited to split up the capsule and see how it goes over the next week.

Take a Chance, Make a Change

Capsule Wardrobes, Clarity, De-Cluttering, Debt, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Meditation, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money, Simple Life, Simplicity, Yoga

c7badb521c5b667a73e24bb51342fd62

We have a chance to make numerous choices every, single day. There comes a point though, when maybe our auto-pilot life becomes comfortable. Boring, stagnant, and comfortable. We realize beneath it all something is lacking. Our joy has been squelched due to the day-to-day demands that we dictate to ourselves. We measure our worth based on checking off the to-do-list and then beating ourselves up when we simply can’t accomplish it all.

That’s a rut. It’s a tough one to admit to, and a stickler to dig out of.

That’s where I was just a few short months ago. I started running – not walking – in the opposite direction.

It was time to take a risk: I have to change and take some risks, here. 

This realization and admittance that I am in fact, not Super Woman was a little hard to come to grips with, but there was truth beneath the surface.

I don’t want to be Super Woman.

I don’t want to be living in chaos. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed and full of anxiety. I want peace and joy.

The contrast between the two are pretty drastic.

That means I have to open my mind and try different solutions to my struggle.

Day by day, my slow changes are really easing my anxiety and happiness is finally creeping in. I do things a little differently now by:

  1. Getting rid of excess and clutter for clarity and less wasted time on organizing and picking up.
  2. Removing social media from my life so I can focus on myself and what’s important.
  3. Thinking positively by meditating and appreciating what I have and where I’m going.
  4. Letting go of other people’s behavior and my past.
  5. Changing daily chores: I hang clothes to dry, use less dishes and hand-wash when done, put things back where they belong, and let it go when I want to do something else.
  6. Eating well helps me feel energized and lose excess pounds.
  7. Paying off debt by getting my finances in order and stop useless spending.
  8. Daily Yoga helps my body stretch and tone as well as a great way to integrate balance in my life.
  9. Being conscious of my beauty routine where less is definitely more.
  10. Creating a capsule wardrobe so my style is consistent and less stressful when getting ready and wasting money filling the gaps for sake of fashion.

These 10 changes have taken time. I began slowly and deliberately and have really tried to understand myself and my past along the way. It’s been my saving grace in the stickabilty to a major life change like this one.

Knowing you need to make a change and then taking the plunge can be scary. But there is nothing to fear. You can always go back to the way things were before. I mean, what’s there to lose?

A Random De-Cluttering Weekend

De-Cluttering, Letting Go, Minimalism

unnamed

The de-cluttering process continued this weekend at my home. I didn’t set out to do a big purge like I have been doing, because I’ve already gotten rid of so much clutter.

It seems as though there are still so many useless items that I am still hanging onto, and I can’t ignore the fact that I want it removed.

My daughter likes to climb onto my bedside table onto the bed because she thinks it’s fun (even though she’s not supposed to, of course.) Her “ready, set, go….weeeeeeee!” as she jumps onto the bed is too much excitement for her to resist.

Well, she pulled off the lamp and broke it yesterday.

That was my hint and reminder that this bedside table had only two purposes in my home:

  1. To display a lamp.
  2. My daughter to jump through the air

My thought process at this point was simple.

This table really doesn’t serve a true need, here because:

a. I have another lamp that would serve the same purpose in the same room.

b. My daughter is safer by not jumping through the air or getting in trouble for doing something she’s not supposed to do.

So, I’m donating the nightstand and the old window I was storing behind it.

unnamed (1)

along with 2 other garbage bags full of random stuff I collected along the way from cleaning house this weekend.

I can’t deny, it feels so amazing to get rid of the excess. It’s a little scary at first, but day by day my home is easier to manage and I can gain more clarity on what’s important in my life.

Facebook Be Like…

De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Minimalism, Minimalist

You know, I’ve deactivated my Facebook. It’s been almost a month and I don’t miss it. I do not plan on re-activating it anytime soon because:

Facebook Be Like… back in the day bringing all your photo albums and scrapbooks to your highschool and letting the entire student body look through them.

Ew. I would have never done that back then before Facebook was a thing. Why should I do that now?

I know the high school aged kids these days grew up with Facebook; but I didn’t. I actually remember the days when my private moments were private, or I could pick and choose easily who knew my life story.

I mean, that was a long time ago – but not that long. It was a simpler time with disposable cameras, landlines, and outside activities. It was a time when you worked for what you earned; everyone didn’t get a participation ribbon just for being there (hint: real life isn’t that way even today). It was the days of face-to-face contact and telephone conversations. I genuinely miss those days.

I’m not so sure I ever want to continue making my personal life available to everyone on my Facebook anymore. I want to grow my friendships offline like I used to- like we all used to.

While I am all about technology in moderation, I still must ask myself: why am I doing this? Why am I involved? What am I trying to gain or lose?

It’s all part of the process. Until then, social media off-grid I will be. The ones who are close know how to reach me; and the one’s who don’t? Well, they should be out of my business anyway.

Financial Boss: Part 4

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Debt, Financial Boss Series, Gentle Change, Money

unnamed

After a long time of digging deep into my financial dependence, and auto-pilot behavior the day had come to come up with a budget and game plan. If we continue to do the same thing over and over we will continue to get the same results.

Well, I don’t like my results.

That means that I have to change how I do things. This can be super scary, but in order to move forward and have a chance for success, we must take risks to get us where we want to be.

I have determined that I have been on auto-pilot allowing my money to rule me instead of me being the boss.

For me to be the boss, I had to take the initiative and create my own financial plan.

My goal is that every month I will be telling my money where to go. Period. 

My plan started after I de-cluttered my wallet and credit cards. I cancelled every unused credit card account. Then, I had a shred party where I disposed of those soul-sucking colored pieces of plastic. Some financial gurus say you still need to keep your unused credit lines open because if you don’t it will hurt your credit score. Well, I have a secret:

I do not care. I want them gone. My credit score doesn’t define me. And, I’m giving up credit cards all together when I pay off the last of my debt. This means that my credit score is not a factor in my money or how I live my life. My credit score no longer rules me either. I rule it because I am the boss and am handling my imaginary “credit score” as if it doesn’t exist. Because from now on, I will pay upfront for everything I want or need. 

I’m not scared anymore. I am angry. I am angry because the little score that pops up took me 20 years to create a ‘green colored’ number. I stressed, fretted, and had anxiety attacks to keep it there. Then, outside of my control, I got laid off from my job and within 2 measly months my credit card number is now ‘red colored’ and it is designed to make me feel bad.

So, if you want to do something drastic just like I am; you have to be ready and willing to let go of a lot of your predisposed thoughts about money.

I totally am, so that’s why I am doing this. And secretly, I know that my credit card number is going to quickly increase back to green without any of my mental chatter and obsessions about ‘keeping it at the top.’ And that’s fine. It’s just a weird game to play anyway and I’m not playing anymore.

My passion from opening my mind and looking at my finances with a new outlook made me motivated.

I grabbed a sheet of paper, a pen, and a calculator and got to work.

Previously:

My bills were auto-payed out of my checking account every week, whatever their due date.

My income is consistent weekly so I get paid a certain day every week.

I ball-parked estimated what discretionary money I had each week for gas, groceries, and anything else I wanted.

Nothing into savings, and nothing left over at the end of the month.

Now:

do not auto-draft. Ok, this is a big deal to me because I have ALWAYS auto-drafted. Now I am in control of paying my bills individually.

I pay my bills the first week of the month. Every single bill that is due that month is paid in the first week. So right then and there I am current.

I have three banking accounts:

  1. Bill account
  2. Spend account
  3. Savings account

Bill Account: I have figured up how much I owe each month in fixed bills. I divided them up weekly. Every pay day I put that amount into my ‘bill account.’

Spend Account: This is the amount of money I can spend on gas, groceries, and anything else I need/want. I have figured out how much I will allow myself and will deposit that amount into this account.

Savings Account: I have pre-determined how much I will save each week. I will be paying myself now. This amount will be deposited into this account each week on payday.

This way, at the first week of the next month, my ‘bill account’ will have the money need to pay my next month’s bills. I will then use that money to pay bills the first week of the month.

I have a separate debit card for my spend account. This will be the only debit card I use for purchases.

My savings account is going to grow really quickly. I will be using money here to build my emergency monies and pay off current credit card debt.

The formula is simple (and I am no math whizz that’s for sure!)

  1. Add your monthly fixed bills (car, house, insurance, credit card payments, etc.) and get the total. Divide by 4 (4 weeks in a month).This is the amount that you need to put into your ‘bill account’ each week.
  2. Determine your spend account. This is the amount you have to spend on things like gas, food, snacks, clothing, or whatever is not a fixed expense. Set a cap on it and divide by 4. This is the amount that goes in your ‘spend account’ for the week.
  3. Whatever is left over goes into your savings account. I am separating my money among these three account on payday which is the same day every week.

This is my new, drastic way of telling my money where to go. When I do the math and split my accounts this way, I have plenty leftover for my savings. I have savings because, well…you never know what can happen and I don’t plan on working in a career for someone else until I’m old, feeble, and dead.

There are a billion different ways to handle your finances. There are spreadsheets and programs and so many opinions.

I am not at all saying this is the BEST way to handle finances; it’s just the best way for me now.

Are you in a financial crisis? Do you hate the way your finances are ruling you? Is it time to be the boss? If so, and you are prepared for action, discover why you do the things you do, behave the way you behave, then for god sake grab a pen and paper and get to work!

I wish I had done this sooner. I really, really do. But there is no better time than today to be the person we want to be. And sometimes, that means a drastically different approach to something and an open mind.

Financial Boss: Part 2

De-Cluttering, Financial Boss Series, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money, Simplicity

unnamed

This is Part 2 of the Financial Boss series.

Within 24 hours I went from reactive to PROactive about telling my money where to go.

Because there are so many internet articles on how to budget, and how people deal with their personal finances, I want to tell a little bit about my history.

I opened up my own checking account when I was 19. Before then, I only made a little money at odd jobs and spent it all on clothes, of course. With time, my account would fill up with money, whether from work or from student loans through college. I never had a budget, I just knew I would be getting this much and could only spend so much.

This left my account empty for many, many years.

As I got older, I started working full-time and slowly began making more money, but also paying bills. I got a car, student loan debt, cell phone, gas, and insurance. I managed my bills the same as I always did: I received so much money a week, and owed so much money a month. I just knew not to spend more than I made.

Easy enough.

Then, time went on and I switched careers, got married, had a baby, and bought a house along with more bills on top of my ‘early years’ bills. I continued making more money, but increasing the money that I owed by buying more stuff. At this point, my credit card debt was minimal, and if I ever used credit cards, I paid it off quick. I knew how much I made, how much I owed in fixed bills, and then I wouldn’t charge more than I could pay off quickly to credit cards.

Insert AWESOME credit score here.

I didn’t have a hardcore budget in place at this time. I just made sure I wasn’t going in the hole. This made it possible for me to pay all my bills on time, with just enough discretionary to get what I needed. However, no money was leftover at the end of the month and I had no idea where my money was going. But, I continued on in a reactive approach. My bills were autodrafted on time, and I just didn’t spend a lot on frivious things. Still, I had no idea where my money was going. I just knew I had zero at the end of the month and nothing to save.

Insert JOB LAYOFF here.

Oh man.

I got laid off last year. Since my finances were stretched to paycheck to paycheck I certainly couldn’t pay my bills. I don’t know if you are familiar with unemployment income…but it’s not enough to pay the basics such as a mortgage or car. It’s better than nothing or you would surely starve to death, but beware: if you have debt over $800 a month you are about to spiral down to a hot mess just like I did.

Insert CREDIT CARD purchases here.

Because I couldn’t afford diapers for my child.

Now, this is extreme and I don’t take fault for this part, but it changed the way I view my current expenses.

Insert TRASHED credit score here.

If we are not prepared for the worst, the government will not cover your expenses even if you live ‘modestly’ as I do. By modest I mean: a modest house, car, and insurance. Forget it.

So, I am now trying to pay off my debt, reduce my expenses, and find out ways to survive on my own should this ever happen again. Like, gardening, savaging and the like. Sounds extreme right? Well, not really.

What would you do if you lost your job? Or, if you stay home and husband/wife supports the fam, what would you do if he/she left?

It’s something to think about, for sure. I always put those thoughts out of my mind so I wouldn’t be scared about my future.

But if disaster strikes, we need to be prepared.

This is what inspired me to boss my money, instead of letting it take on a life of it’s own without my direction.

Part 3 will discuss my first steps in de-cluttering my wallet/credit cards and getting a game plan in order.