Second-Hand Score

Debt, Minimalism, Minimalist, Second-Hand, Thrifting

Human beings are hunters and gatherers. Although we have a lot of luxuries, and conveniences now, that primal instinct seems to flair every now and again. We have a true need to compete, mark territory, gather, store, and stock up. But, there is a fine line between enjoying what you need and going overboard.

My focus is simplifying my life. I spent the last decade climbing the corporate ladder, acquiring, and following the American Dream only to find that true happiness is not found that way. It’s the undoing of excess and focusing on the important things in life that is bringing me pure joy.

There are times, of course, that I need to acquire something new. But, I don’t want to break the bank because I am also paying off debt and spending less. My definition of minimalism isn’t doing without or counting items so much as it is about clearing the unnecessary to make room for importance.

This brings me to shopping second-hand for new items that I need or for things that I need to replace in my current stash. The reasons that I love shopping second-hand are pretty much endless, but I have a few reasons that make me passionate about turning someone else’s trash into my treasure.

  1. Second Chance Life: It is a beautiful thing knowing that an item someone else discarded can be used by me! I can bring that item to life again in a new and different way.

2. Saving Money: Purchasing something new from a store is going to have one hellacious mark-up price. Buying second hand is a severely discounted price for a used item.

3. Environmentally Friendly: A thrifted item can be saved from the landfill. We can choose to use what is already in circulation over something new.

4. Creativity: Second-hand items are a great way to explore style and fashion for less.

5. Charity: A lot of thrift shops donate to help the greater good.

6. Working Conditions: Just because you buy something from a clean, well-lit, fancy store doesn’t mean that the item came from that same environment. Sheltering yourself from the truth doesn’t mean it is OK.

My latest and greatest thrifted find

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A Marc Jacobs purse! Some poor soul paid full retail price for this, which was around $400.00. I scored it for $3.99.

It’s super cute and has a lot of life left in it. It is replacing my old, broken Fossil purse that I have been using the last few years. This Marc Jacobs purse is mine to now use up to it’s fullest potential.

While I am not completely against buying new, I do feel it’s important to shop smart for yourself, buying only what you need in the greatest of quality possible for the least amount of cost and heartache.

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Start Over & Rebuild

Clarity, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Meditation, Minimalism, Minimalist, Simple Life, Simplicity, Sugar-Free Recipes

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Life’s experiences, choices, and decisions all have a way of compacting over time. One decision leads to the next, and so forth. It can become really heavy with time if we do not let go of some of the past, so that way we may grow and adapt as we age.

Some choices in letting go may bring up a tinge of guilt; perhaps you feel obligated to hang on to a relationship or item just because you spent time or money on it at some point. But, if you are in a rut, or are feeling weighed down by life in general, it may be time to let it go.

If something or someone is holding you back and no longer serving you, it’s OK to start over and begin anew. That is the beauty of growing, adapting, and changing. It is totally natural to begin fresh.

If you have met your match and feel like you are carrying the world on your shoulders, it may be time to shake it up a bit.

How to let go and start fresh

  1. Meditate: I’m not talking about sitting on a pillow with incense. I’m talking about getting some time to yourself to really inspect your insides and heart. You need to calm the outside world and internal noise long enough to really admit where you are and what you would like to change. This doesn’t have to happen in one day. As a matter of fact, it may take a really long time. But, if you are wanting the weight of the world lifted, you must put yourself first for a while and get clear on your mission.

2. Be Honest: Admit that you are not on the path you would like to be on. It’s OK, we all have been there a million times. Just because we are on one path doesn’t mean we have to stick with it if it’s no longer doing any good. Admitting that you are not happy with your current state is the best way to motivate change.

3. Dream: Having hopes and dreams can get lost in the chaos of a busy life. We get in that rut or that grind for so long taking care of families, jobs, chores, and children until we are buried under the dirt. It’s time to dig out and dig out fast. Give yourself permission to dream of where you want to be. It is reality that you can be that person if you begin dreaming again. Start a dream board, star gaze, focus on your desires with absolutely no guilt whatsoever for a change.

4. Start: Perhaps the scariest step of all, but when you get clear on the path you want to explore, and let go of extra baggage weighing you down – start. It doesn’t matter where you start because there is no perfect solution. Once you begin and have success, you may tackle the next obstacle.

5. Journey: Change doesn’t have to be drudgery. Plan to set yourself up for success. Start a blog or journal. Invite creative vibes and exploration in your journey. Call it an experiment. Write a book. You are free to change as many times as you wish. Welcome failure, that’s where you learn the most. And if you do fail (and probably will), keep going. Your only competition is YOU. The one looking back in the mirror. It’s not your friends, spouse, parents, or children competing with you. You owe it to yourself to have a little fun in life and be that person you want to be.

I wanted to talk about this because I have attempted change a million times in the past and failed. Then I let guilt get to me. I felt like I was letting everyone down. But, with a little grace and practice mixed with some perseverance and humor, change can be welcomed and fun. Life doesn’t always have to be so serious.

So, if you were wanting to make a change today – you know, that little voice that is saying disappointing things in  your ear all day every day? Tell it to hush and get to work.

It’s a new day, today. Seize it. And you know what? Tomorrow will be a fresh start too. That is the biggest gift of sunrise. A new day to change, make a difference, to love, and to enjoy. And when you lie down at night, take a breath, let it all go and start again tomorrow.

Multi-Season Capsule Wardrobe: A Clean Slate

Capsule Wardrobes, Gentle Change, Letting Go, Minimalism, Minimalist, Simple Life, Simplicity

Sometimes along our journey we have what I like to call a good problem to have. Those are the best types of problems even though they require a little finagling to work around.

You see, I’ve been living with less since the beginning of the year. Slowly but surely, I am weeding out the unnecessary so that I may enjoy the best of the best.  Three of my simplifying focuses have collided and require attention:

  • Weight Loss
  • Capsule Wardrobe
  • Spending less

The good news is that I have lost 40 pounds! The bad is that all of my clothing in my current summer capsule no longer fit. I’ve been donating my clothing throughout this last year: got down to the bare bones, created a capsule and now, I have worn them as long as I can. In an effort to spend less, I have been enjoying my clothes and wearing them as long as possible. But it got to the point where I was overall frumpy. My capsule wasn’t cohesive enough to be practical, and my clothes were swallowing me whole.

Since my solution is not to gain the weight back, I had to dip into my ‘spending less’ focus.

This is a good problem and I handled it the best way possible by getting rid of the majority of my current too-big frumpy clothes, starting over, and most of all:

buying second-hand.

This has allowed me to stay in line with all that I am trying to accomplish.

I spent $80.00 total and now have a complete, cohesive, workable, multi-season capsule wardrobe.

I present to you my new multi-season capsule wardrobe! I plan on this carrying over into fall by adding a few pieces here and there to battle the cooler weather in the near future.

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I am really excited about this capsule. It shows my personality along with a palette that is a neutral, with just enough detail and color to not be so monotone and boring. It is also easily functional throughout most of the seasons; only needing to add warmer pieces when needed.

Last night I felt so free letting go of the old me. I was able to rid myself of the clothing that no longer served me with absolutely no hesitation. I kept a few pieces that I love and added new second-hand pieces giving those thrifted items a new and fabulous second life!

Minimalism isn’t about deprivation and rules. It is about functionality and loving what you have. It’s also about spending wisely and being your best self. It’s OK to edit your life – clothing, relationships, hobbies, careers – as a matter of fact, it’s imperative because human beings are ever-changing.

What’s important is knowing that it’s OK to let go to the past. You have no obligation to keep everything you have ever acquired.

Welcome a clean slate.

You have permission to start over however many times you wish so that you may fully live, enjoy, and love all that was meant for pure joy.

Slow Down: Sacrifice for Impact

Clarity, Debt, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Minimalism, Minimalist

impact

It’s so easy to forget our mission in life when busyness, procrastination, clutter, and to-do-lists overtake our time. It seems a majority of us are in the cycle and it seems there is no way out. At some point, we accept it and just call it ‘adulthood.’ And once we name it, we own it. We tick through the rest of our life vaguely aware of our surroundings. Guilt seeps in when we want to take time for ourselves. We become weak, agitated, frustrated, and overwhelmed. We continue at this pace because we are supposed to.

I’d like to meet the person who told all of use that we have to live this way.

Because I truly think this ‘person’ does not exist at all.

This ‘person’ could be society. We feel that we have to compete with others and one-up our status. This one-upmanship is also known as Keeping-Up-With-The-Jones. Sure, we all agree that this keeping-up is not the best way to live – but if we are honest, we live that way anyway.

Our Facebook post has to look cuter than someone else’s. Our car has to look fancy so we can show everyone that we do, in fact, have a job and are contributing to the pot of society. The American Dream is being lived, y’all! But at the end of the day it’s no dream at all. We know it deep down, but we can’t break this cycle because we don’t want to come across as lazy, unfit, or less-than.

So, debt and possession rule our lives. It comes in between us and our families. We have no friends, because we have to work ourselves to the bone to pay for that new loveseat. It’s cute though, but unfortunately we don’t have time to host friends over because we are at work. And when we aren’t at work, we are at home cleaning, organizing, and moving around our stuff.

When our friends ask us how we have been or what we’ve been up to lately we respond:

Busy.

Yes, we have been busy. We’ve been busy trying to create a lucrative life at the hands of our employer. We’re busy thinking about acquiring a luxury lifestyle and living beyond our means.

We haven’t been busy contributing to what’s most important, which I feel safe to say is:

  • Family
  • Helping
  • Serving
  • Resting
  • Relaxing
  • Creating
  • Wanderlusting
  • Traveling
  • Exploring

Those are my most important things in life. And I’ve neglected those things for far too long.

It takes time to shift to a more simple, deliberate, slow lifestyle. But, when we realize that we need to change our path and begin to clear the distractions: clutter, busyness, overwhelm, we can gain clarity and shift focus to what’s truly important.

We won’t be remembered for our career, but we will be remembered for our impact.

There’s more to life than just paying bills and then you die.

I’m not willing to sacrifice my life for stuff and status. I am however, willing to sacrifice my life for change, memories, and impact.

How-To and What to Expect with No ‘Poo

Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Minimalism, Minimalist, No 'Poo / Lo 'Poo, Simple Life, Simplicity

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We all have done experiments and changed our behaviors at some point or another. So, we know we can do it, it’s just a matter of doing it.

I’ve changed my behavior approximately 9,000,000,000 times in the last thirty-something years. Some of my changes stick, other’s don’t. We all change minute to minute throughout our lives, and that’s totally OK.

In recent posts I talked about my no/lo poo journey. This clearly doesn’t apply to everyone, but it does to me. It’s something worth experimenting because:

  • I want to save money instead of wasting it on beauty products
  • I want to spend less time primping in the mornings
  • I want to be OK with my natural, authentic self

That’s really the main motives behind this.

A lot of other’s are experimenting with the switch to no/lo poo as well. This is why if your interest is peaked and you go to research, there is so much information available that, quite honestly, makes it seem intimidating.

That’s because what works for one person, doesn’t for another. One person has xyz result and not the other.

So you are kind of frozen not knowing where to start because you simply don’t know what to do and are afraid of the outcome.

What I personally didn’t read a lot of was the honest-to-God truth about what to expect when doing the switch. It made me very leery at first because I know good and dang well that not everyone who does it has that much success, right?

I mean, I have lived long enough to just know better.

And so have you, which is why you may be scared to even try it.

How to start and what to expect:

Decision: You have to want to do this. It’s different from what you’ve always done. Years worth of sudsing up with commercial shampoo has created an exhilarating showering experience every, single day of your life for as long as you have known. If you go no ‘poo – you will not have this experience. You won’t be using shampoo so there won’t be any sudsing or bottled scents wafting in the shower any more.

If you decide to plunge, can you handle it? I mean, it sounds silly but seriously? Can you handle it?

If you are stuck in your decision process and just can’t make up your mind but still want to try it, there’s only one thing to do at this point:

Say eff-it and do it.

Get in the shower and don’t wash your hair.

Expectations: Please don’t expect to fall in love with your hair on this day. It’s going to feel grimy and oily and unmanageable. That’s because you aren’t used to having hair unwashed. Your hair is in shock because it’s actually being left alone for the first time in your life. It’s wanting to run free and roam the meadows.

Let it.

Just like any other change, getting used to unwashed hair takes time. It’s going to feel weird like you ‘forgot something’ and it’s not going to feel the same. You may feel self conscious because you are rocking some unwashed locks.

Don’t expect to style it the same way. At first, it would be wise to have a plan B on styling that day. For me, I twist it back with some bobby pins and go about my business.

After a few days of not washing your hair, don’t be surprised if you realize that you have never gotten to know your hair at all. It’s like a strangers head of hair and you will not know how to deal with it. Again, have a plan B until you figure it out – and you will, and I will too.

For some people, the unwashed hair stays oily for a week and for others months. You will not know how your hair will do until you try it.

Don’t be surprised if no one else on Earth even notices that you aren’t washing your hair. That will be a lightbulb moment when you realize you have been stressing over getting ‘perfect hair’ and no one else has ever cared but you.

Get excited that you will feel free and rebellious like a child that isn’t minding over-bearing adults. It’s like you are getting away with something you aren’t supposed to do. Because, after all, doesn’t everybody over-wash their hair? Doesn’t everybody continue to make commercial shampoo companies super rich while we spend hours a week primping in front of a mirror and spending oodles of our hard earned money unnecessarily?

No. Not everybody.

Don’t be surprised that after not washing your hair for several days that you start to love your natural self and question why you have ever put that kind of time in effort into your hair. You may question why you’ve been manipulating circumstances so much that you have totally ruined a perfectly good set of hair by constantly messing with it.

You may even realize that you are wild and free at heart and it’s not your problem if other people have an issue with what you do with your hair.

Best of all, you may just learn to love your beautiful, primal, loving, gorgeous, authentic self and just be happy with the way things are un-controlled.

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And sometimes, having crazy hair – don’t care is the best way to have it after all. Wild and free. Rebellious and empowered. Loved and loving.

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.

Don’t Stress: No ‘Poo

Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Minimalism, Minimalist, Natural Beauty, No 'Poo / Lo 'Poo, Simple Life, Simplicity

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I was really reluctant to ‘go there’ today with a no ‘poo post, but I do want to talk about it, so here I am.

Several months ago I toyed around with the no ‘poo buzz.

I updated my journey when I started this blog explaining the benefits of ditching commercial shampoo. After doing it for a while, I had to adjust to the transition because my hair would take a life of it’s on every, single day. Between the smell of hair – yep, it doesn’t stink, but hair smells like hair – and my fight with heated tools, I gave in and started washing my hair every day.

Although I felt it necessary to clean my hair everyday, I have continued using all natural shampoo and conditioner (store bought). In my dreams I would be using the baking soda and ACV rinse but I’m not there yet.

So, I’ve been doing that in the meantime until this past weekend.

It’s been 4 days since I have washed my hair, at all. Not even water, people! (I feel like I have to add here that I have bathed my body with soap).

It wasn’t intentional. I was swimming, playing with my daughter, lounging around, designing on my etsy shop, and shooting guns at the hunting club to bond with my Boo.

I figured that since I was so free-spirited that I wouldn’t worry with my hair.

Lo and behold:

It is not oily. It is not dry. It is not nasty.

I’m thinking that it has finally transitioned over time by using all natural shampoo and conditioner.

So, this post isn’t a how-to guide, it’s to inspire!

If my crazy hair can eventually transition, anyone’s can. Everyone’s hair is different and there are so many ways to no/lo poo. It’s about sticking with it, not stressing, and focusing on something else in the meantime.

As of now, I’m just gonna rock along until I have to wash it. It also helps I have a new self-imposed work uniform hair style. Until then:

No poo it is…again!

Paying Debt & Common Sense

Debt, Financial Boss Series, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money

Wouldn’t it be perfect if we didn’t have credit card debt, could live a passionate life, and be generally awesome?

One major focus of mine is paying off debt. I’m no guru, but I have recently changed my strategies and have let go of fear. I have become my own Financial Boss and put the responsibility back where it has belong all along: to me, the Boss.

I’ve done a few things that I want to share:

  1. Admitted I am severely in debt and need to change that now.
  2. Opened my mind, let go of fear and adjusted my strategies.
  3.  Stopped useless spending.

But there is one thing that I think is most important of all when paying off debt and it’s really simple:

Use common sense.

I saved nearly $8.50 on one grocery store purchase today using that philosophy alone. Want to know how?

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By not buying mixed nuts with a black label that only used the words ‘Premium’ and ‘Deluxe’.

Excuse my sarcasm (not really), but who would buy that, I thought? Then I was mad at Publix for putting an outrageous pricetag on nuts in the slightest, tiniest, bit larger can than the one it sits next too.

Then I thought…

Well, clearly people are buying it! Why?

I just…I can’t.

We all need to be sure to keep our eyes open for ridiculous marketing strategies. It’s us against them. It’s easy to fall prey when we shop. It’s important to know our values and follow through with our dreams and not let silly obstacles get in our way of being who we want to be. It’s important.

My Definition of Minimalism

Minimalism, Minimalist

I’ve never been one for dreamboards or inspiring collages. However, I have found that attaching some visual to how I want to live and feel very helpful in a journey toward change. It seems that when I meditate on the person I am at heart and the desires I have for my life; I need some type of aspiration to view. This helps me remain focused on what I am doing and stay on track.

Since I’ve had many ups and downs through life (as we all have), it’s easy to become accustomed to whatever track we are on and get complacent. We may start asking ourselves if we are even getting anywhere and if what we are doing even matters.

The fact is it does matter, and it matters a whole lot.

I call this my minimalistic journey and there are so many definitions that people add to the term to try to define it. I’ve even thought about my own definition and I really can’t put it into words.

But I can put it into a picture.

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Minimalism to me is:

F R E E D O M

  • It’s using from nature what I need and nothing more.
  • It’s valuing relationships over things.
  • It’s living authentic and light.
  • It’s making choices with clarity and purpose.
  • It’s enjoying the gift of life.
  • It’s choosing peace over stress and busyness.
  • It’s contentment.

This journey is more than rules and limitations, because there really are no rules; only choices.

I’m Wearing Black Because it Makes Sense

Capsule Wardrobes, Gentle Change, Minimalism, Minimalist, Simple Life, Simplicity

There’s a lot of talk among aspiring minimalists and oodles of Pinterest examples of the Capsule Wardrobe. I’ve read up on it and have been inspired for a really long time to make my own capsules and ditch the excess.

It’s been a really positive experience so far, and even when I think I have my capsule perfect, something else sparks my interest and that’s OK, too.

Earlier this week, I got super excited and inspired by a post called Why I Wear the Same Thing Every Day and it’s like everything just clicked in my mind as far as my wardrobe goes.

It’s true, most of our well-known famous world-changers wear the same thing every day. They have their ‘signature look’ and keep their look simple and streamlined so that they can focus on important stuff, instead of wasting energy on the not-so-important daily decisions such as what they will be wearing that day.

In the grand scheme of things, I think it’s safe to say that our clothes is not all that important, huh?

If you had of asked me last year if I would have felt this way this year I would have looked at you like you had 6 heads.

I’m a girl that has always kept up with fashion, and have been proud that I dress a little different or outside the lines a bit. I don’t know why, really but I have a hunch that society and highschool may have planted some type of seed that our clothes are more important than anything.

So, many years and much debt and unhappiness in shopping and wasting money on clothing later:

I’ve adopted a capsule and a self-imposed work uniform.

Drumroll please….

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Yep, that’s a dark pair of jeans and a black shirt.

I showed how I broke up my capsule into work and weekend the other day.

It just so happens that I had (3) black shirts in my capsule/closet anyway so it makes sense to me that I’ll be wearing black mostly with my one pair of jeans. What? One pair? Yes.

And I have a few other shirts that I might rotate in. But then again, maybe not because just a simple black shirt seems pretty dang flawless to me. Black and dark colors are slimming and it’s classic. They don’t show dirt and smudges or nasty pit stains. It’s solid so there’s no question does this print go with that print. I mean, can this even be messed up or go wrong? I can’t imagine so.

Also, I figured I would have a work uniform hair do’ too, because why not? It’s just pinned back with bobby pins so I no longer will have to use heated products to style or fight humidity in this hellish Alabama summer heat.

This hairstyle is pretty much the easiest thing ever.

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After 3 days of wearing a black shirt and the same pair of dark jeans not one person in my sphere has commented. That tells me that even the closest of loved ones could care less about what I’m wearing.

They say to dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.

Well, my friends:

A Bachelor’s Degree in Business and 10 years of career hunting and climbing ladders and layoffs and playing office politics later, I can say without question that dressing for the job you want is paramount.

Which is why I am dressing simply and in jeans. Because if my job requires me to use my clothing as my leverage in life, then that’s no job I want at all.

That’s playing games and I don’t have time for that.

I’ve been there done that and thank God out of those situations.

My current job is a good one and I can dress like this if I want to.

And I do.