Tips on Becoming a ‘semi’ Minimalist, etc. (part 2 of 2)

Cont. from part 1 ‘Throughout the process of eliminating debt I began to feel a weight lifted with every bill paid off…and I wanted “more”….more of that feeling, so I began to purge belongings.

Over the years (and especially during that time of paying off financial debt) my relationship with Jesus was growing and as I read scripture like, ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,’ I realized that ‘stuff’ and following Jesus don’t go hand in hand.

It’s a lot of maintenance to keep stuff:

  • It breaks and if you’re that attached you find yourself glueing parts back together that will never be the same in the end anyways.
  • It needs dusted.
  • It multiplies and takes up space, creating clutter.
  • It gets outdated.

I started weeding out belongings first by telling my mom to get rid of all that junk of mine she had at her house from when I was growing up. I figured if I hadn’t missed it over all these years chances are I wouldn’t and had no use for it anymore. So it went away without me thinking twice about it..except the baseball cards..I still have the darn baseball cards.

In my own home I went through and got rid of anything that seemed cheap or cheesy. Things I hadn’t used in months could go too.

This is something I still do at least twice a year (purging) and usually just one room at a time.

I want to be able to appreciate my decor, not be overwhelmed by the sight or burdened by the upkeep. Less is more in this case. It allows you to focus and enjoy your blessings.

To sell, toss, or donate once I decide I don’t want it anymore??…

Anything that has some value I sell on my mom’s Facebook account. Anything that is broken or stained I throw away. Anything that is still nice looking and usable (but I don’t want to mess with selling) I donate to second-hand stores.

MY ADVICE: Take inventory!

Get rid of things you have too much of!

For example our family of five has seven bath towels in our home. There’s no need for more than what you need or will use.

Saucepans: 1 large, 2 medium, 2 small

Skillets: 1 large, 1 medium, 1 small

Large soup pots: 1 tall, 1 short

We don’t need a dozen towels, pots or pans, coffee mugs, mixing bowls, etc when chances are we’re only going to use so many at one time.

I feel like blankets are another thing that accumulates easily in our house. Instead of four-plus blankets the kids are now each allowed only two. There’s no reason for more than that. We keep a few in storage for guests and from time to time I make sure the blanket area hasn’t surpassed its allotted number, apparently that’s a popular gift we receive.

I’m also trying to be more attentive to buying quality items as well...(thanks Nathan)!

For the longest time I was buying plastic containers and then when spaghetti sauce or something similar would stain the dish I would get annoyed by how gross they looked so I would throw them out and buy new. Now I’ve purchased glass containers with dark lids to store those types of foods; and plastics are still used but only for foods that won’t stain.

I try to decorate with simple, practical things that serve a purpose and echo the word ‘timeless’…by doing this I’m saving money in not trying to keep up with the latest trends.

Financially we have our necessity bills only: house payment, electric, insurance, and phones…thanks to Covid an internet bill until the kids aren’t at a chance of needing it, and then I’ll waste no time canceling it!!! Can’t wait!!

Using a budget and set amount in cash envelopes (for groceries, fuel, animals, and fun money) each pay check has allowed us to grow our savings account.

For phones we use a tracfone (Straightalk) at $45 a month with unlimited texting and talk and 25 GB of high speed internet.

We don’t do home internet (typically) or cable etc. because we don’t have time for it or an interest. Instead we lift weights (at home), play card games, read, play catch outside, or get creative for entertainment and family memories.

I understand many people enjoy tv programs etc. and that’s fine, do what works for you!!!

I know groceries can get expensive so to save on cost in that area we eat a lot of chicken and use turkey burger instead of beef (sorry cattlemen, I’m saddened by this too). Steaks? — ya well the only ones we ever see are the ones you poke in the ground.

We eat very clean and healthy…lots of fruits and veggies and manage to feed two gluten free people (which isn’t a cheap option) all while maintaining a $400 a month grocery budget. That amount covers not just food items but toilet paper, soaps, other bathroom essentials, etc.

No soda pop or Little Debbie snacks make their way into this home unless grandparents have spoiled their grandkids..that’s the only exception!❤️

I use the Walmart grocery app to order groceries that way I have more control of my spending habits in that way.

The animal’s food budget is $50 a month: feeding three rabbits, five chickens, two kittens, and three small dogs.

When purchasing material items I try to keep in mind a few questions — Is it good quality? Does it serve a purpose? Do I have a place for it? Is it going to end up in storage or a donate pile soon?

Y’all, the bottom line is that none of this is perfected by us; just a few weeks ago during my quarantine I went to our storage room (curse those anyways!!!) to where many unused items had collected and although it was easy to take them to the second hand store or toss some of them, I wondered how in the world we even had all of that and where had it nested beforehand??

Purging and organizing is an ongoing process. It takes time and self control to take these steps, and even encouragement from others!

Organizing…like items should stay together and never overpopulate their space.

Keepsakes…my kids are each allowed a large tub and can keep (as they’re growing up) anything meaningful in there (stuffed animals, awards, crafts). Sometimes if they’ve grown tired of something they’ll toss it to place something new in there, never overflowing their box. I use a wooden hope chest with the same process for myself.

When it comes to memorabilia or hand-me-downs from loved ones (especially those who’ve passed) it can be tough to make a call on ‘keep or toss’. If that piece means so much to you because it truly helps you feel closer to your loved one then by all means ABSOLUTELY KEEP IT!!! But if it doesn’t mean anything to you and you’re only hanging on to it for their sake, let it go. It’s not your beloved “memory-treasure” of them.

None of those things will bring our loved one’s back unfortunately.

Stuff is just simply that…stuff!! It’s never as good as our memories…those are the true keepers.

So while considering materialistic things and deciding what stays or goes remember that our memories and relationships deserve the most attention. Those can be built to last, they won’t fall apart if you mutually cover them in love, they grow more cherished with age, and they are the true and most important gift that keeps giving!!

Guys, if you’ve made it this far chances are you’re passionate or interested about this just like me. This post is waaayyy too long, but I hope you’ve found it helpful.

Message me with your own tips, advice or questions!!!

In the meantime, Happy Purging!!

Take me to part 1 Becoming a (semi) Minimalist

Becoming a ‘semi’ Minimalist, etc. (part 1 of 2)

Here’s the promised post some of you have been looking forward to.😊 BTW I’m out of quarantine — never got sick and honestly loved the time I had at home to organize, relax, and study! It was good for my soul.

Okay I know the title is misleading because while ‘minimalist’ refers to less, ‘etc.’ means more!! BUT here’s the deal, in effort to not overwhelm on a minimalist post 😅, I’ll split this into a two part post. Part 1 (today) I’ll dish out my spiral-story of minimizing on “stuff”, and part 2 (tomorrow) will include tips to help you do the same if you’re looking to declutter.

Disclaimer: I’ve named this post ‘semi’ minimalist and I want to explain — here’s the deal, if you’ve ever watched tv programs on tiny living there are some super extremist out there!! And I kind of admire that, BUT the reality (for me) is that I have a family and I need my life to work and make sense, so maybe I could minimize more here or there but we also need to be able to function decently at the Witt house so this ‘semi‘-minimalist-living is what works for us…

Mostly I receive positive comments or compliments from family and friends when they come over and see my home’s decor or lack there of. Even people have commented on the blog when they see pictures of my house’s content.

People are interested (maybe even sub-consciously) — in less distraction, tidiness, and clean design these days from what I’ve learned. The interest of thinning out can be overwhelming though — not taking action is sometimes a lack of knowing where to begin but having a strong desire to do so.

The enthusiasm has caused me to write this very post to help encourage the fervor.

For me I was always a collector growing up — those creepy little troll dolls, knick-knacks, baseball cards, collector Barbies, etc, etc, etc…

I’ve shared about my adversity as a child and I’m pretty certain collecting (for me) was a coping mechanism. I must have felt security through my stuff and I had a lot of it.

When I left for college I took some of the knick-knack things with me and left a good portion of the rest at home where I grew up.

In my twenties, once Nate and I were married, I began adding pots and pans, wall hangings, holiday decor, craft supplies, etc…

It didn’t stop there. I remember when Nate started getting his first paychecks from the job he’s still working at. It was good money and that was something neither of us had growing up so after the bills were paid every paycheck, we’d spend the rest on this and that — I don’t even know what we’d spend it on but we were definitely living paycheck to paycheck at that point.

In our late twenties we had over $10,000 worth of credit card debt, and another $8000 wrapped up in college debt, some odd amount on a personal loan, plus a car loan or maybe two, on top of a house payment.

One day, when I went to pay a credit card bill, I paid attention to the interest rate!!

Ouch!!

Our interest amount was of course higher than the monthly payment. I was like ‘umm we probably better do something about this!’….so I did the only financial thing I knew to do “best”…

I got another credit card!!

Only this time it was a zero percent interest card and I transferred everything from the other credit cards over and we began power paying that single credit card payment and stopped spending frivolously (tips will be provided in the follow-up post).

I was beginning the process of minimizing without even realizing it.

I’d also picked up on the Dave Ramsey financial plan from a few friends. I never purchased the program but learned enough about it to utilize the idea to my own advantage — power pay bills and use a cash envelope budget for grocery, fuel, and fun money.

Around that time Nathan (thank God) got two large bonus checks and rather than blowing them on junk, we paid off debt. So between the bonus checks and the Dave Ramsey budgeting we paid off everything except a car payment within a few years…the car is now paid off too.

Slow learners…shortly afterwards we bought a camper on a loan and kept it until this past summer, selling it and eliminating that payment.

We now have a house payment only!!!

Throughout the process of eliminating debt (and starting a savings account) I began to feel a weight lifted with every bill paid off…and I wanted “more”….more of that feeling, so I began to purge belongings.

Tomorrow we’ll digger deeper and get into the physical process of keeping, saving, selling, or donating stuff; and hopefully if you’ve felt the desire to change things up a bit in your home and spending habits you’ll be able to gain some insight!

You can leave a comment if there’s anything you hope to see included; because while I’ve spent time on putting this together in what I feel is simple form, I’m hoping I haven’t overlooked any tips (for tomorrow). I’ll try to include whatever suggestions I get, along with my own tips in part 2.

See ya tomorrow in part 2 (Tips on Becoming a ‘semi’ Minimalist).