Archives For Minimal

10 Ways to Change Consumption Habits

Simplifying, minimizing and decluttering seem to be popular buzz words these days.

Filling boxes and bags with trash, things to sell, give away to friends and donate feels great and leaves your home feeling a little less stressful and relaxing.

I’m a huge advocate of living with less.

However, if you don’t change your consumption habits, the clutter starts to creep back and soon your closets, drawers and storage spaces are once again filled.

So, how do you change consumption habits?

First, remember why you want your home to be clutter free. It really makes the atmosphere more relaxing, makes the things easy to find and makes your keeping your home tidy easier.

Then, take steps to really change your consumption habits.

10 Ways to Change Consumption Habits

  1. Stop shopping as a hobby. You’ll save time, money and reduce clutter by staying out of stores and shopping ‘just for fun.’
  2. Make a list and stick to it. Approach all shopping like grocery shopping. If you need to buy a new pair of jeans, when you go to the store, just find the pair of jeans and don’t browse for anything else – ignore the sales and clearance racks!
  3. Only accept the ‘cast-offs’ you’ll actually use. If you are given someone else’s ‘cast-offs’ (hand-me-downs, books, housewares etc.) go through and only keep the things that you need or really like. Pass the rest on to someone else or donate.
  4. Rent, borrow or purchase digitally.  Instead of buying every book and DVD that you want, trying renting, borrowing from the library, borrowing from a friend or buying digitally.
  5. Shop for clothing twice a year. Assess your wardrobes twice a year (spring/summer and fall/winter) and purchase the things you need for those seasons at the beginning of the season. Once your wardrobe for that season is complete, stop shopping for clothes!
  6. Stop buying stuff just because ‘it’s a good deal’. If you didn’t need or want it at full price, you probably don’t need it when it is 75% off.
  7. Know where you are most tempted to spend. There may be certain stores (both brick and mortar and online) that you can’t leave without buying something. Once you know where your ‘weakness’ is, you can be proactive and change your shopping habits.
  8. Stop buying toys all throughout the year.  If you’re a parent, you know that most children have a bunch of toys. They are slammed with even more at Christmas and their birthdays. It’s okay to buy your child a toy occasionally but don’t make it a regular habit or your home will be drowning in toy clutter. (Instead of buying them toys, buy experiences!)
  9. Treat gifts like flowers. Appreciate the gift, enjoy the thoughtfulness of the giver but don’t let guilt make you keep something you don’t need or want. You can take the gift back (if you know where it was purchased) for store credit or, depending on what the gift is, you can donate to a toy drive, homeless shelter or pregnancy center.
  10. Don’t over consume on holidays and special occasions. At Christmas, we know that our children will receive an overabundance of gifts from grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and extended family so we keep our family gift giving very simple. In the past, we have given them ‘something they need, something to wear and something to read’ as Christmas gifts. They receive 3 gifts from us and that’s it.

After working so hard to simplify your home, you don’t want to allow much clutter back in. Make an effort to change your consumption habits and keep the clutter out!

Have you changed your consumption habits in an effort to live with less? 

 

Declutter-Book-Cover1-232x300

Are you wanting to simplify? My new eBook, Declutter: A Workbook to Rid Your Life of Excess walks you through each area of your home and helps you to rid your home of clutter!

Creating Space in Your Home

We have a very small kitchen.

Our kitchen is functional but it’s lacking storage space. All of the cabinets hold our dishes, cups, pots, pans and bowls and there is little room for food storage. All of our food was being stored in a small cabinet in the kitchen that we call the pantry.

Existing Pantry

We’ve made this space work for the past 4 years we’ve lived in our home but as our children are growing, we’re needing to purchase more food.  We’ve been cramming the small cabinet full but didn’t have enough space to truly ‘stock the pantry’.

We needed pantry space in our home.

Of course, we could remodel our kitchen or purchase a large cabinet that would take up more floor space to serve as a larger pantry but both of these options would cost money that we don’t want to spend right now.

We decide to turn one of our hall closets into a pantry.

Our 1970s home is small but we do have 2 small closets in our hall.

One of the closets was considered mine and the other was my husband’s. My closet contained my sewing machine, art supplies, scrapbooks, yearbooks and other crafty things. My husband’s closet held his tech gear – cameras, tripods, cds, hard-drives and such.

We decided that the best thing for our family was for us combine the contents of these two closets into one and use the other closet for our pantry.

While our boys were visiting grandparents for a week, we emptied the contents of both closets into their bedroom and went through the contents.

Closet Contents

I went through pictures and old scrapbooks, purging items that had no real sentimental value. I moved art and craft supplies into our school cabinet that’s in our dining room. After I put my items back into the closet, there were 3 free shelves and half of the floor space available for John David’s things.

John David purged boxes (he’s always kept tech boxes), papers, cds, videotapes and cables. He ended up with a small pile of things to sell and a pile of items to bring to church to use (he does work in church production so these things will be useful there) as well as a lot of papers and boxes to recycle. And, we ended up with 2 bags of trash between us.

Clutter

In the end, we merged the contents of our two closets into one and only put one small tote (that contains cables and other miscellaneous tech stuff) in the floor of the second closet which is now our storage pantry.

New Pantry

We now have a real pantry in our home. We didn’t spend any money or knock out any walls. We just spent a few hours clearing our home of items that were no longer useful to our family and created the space we needed.

Do you have a need for more space in your home? Could you create the space you need by clearing clutter?

My new eBook, Declutter: A Workbook to Rid Your Life of Excess will help you go through your home and create space by clearing your clutter. It’s available for purchase on Amazon!

Choosing-to-Live-Small_watermark

When we bought our modest 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath brick ranch, we were a family of 3.

We paid thousands less than the initial house budget we had set and tens of thousands less than the mortgage amount we qualified for. 1,300 square feet was more than enough space for our family and we loved the large fenced in back yard.

Around the same time we purchased this home, we also started living minimally. We purged our already simplified home of excess, changed our shopping habits and minimized our wardrobes. We started realizing the benefits of living in a smaller space and living with less.

Continue reading on Smallish Blog where I’m guest posting today!

 

Minimal Summer Wardrobe
I’ve had a minimal wardrobe for a few years and enjoy the benefits that come with a simplified wardrobe.

I’m spending less time shopping for clothes, spending less money, my closet isn’t cluttered and getting dressed every day is simple.

I wanted you to see everything that makes up my minimal summer wardrobe.

Sources of My Clothing

I purchase many of my clothes at a local resale store. At the beginning of the spring and fall, I bring in our outgrown and unwanted gently used clothing, shoes and accessories and receive store credit. This store credit really helps stretch our clothing budget since we’re able to shop for the things we need without using cash.

I also shop other secondhand stores for clothes. I prefer consignment sales and stores to thrift shops because they tend to be much more organized. Plus, during this season of life, browsing through racks and racks of clothing with three young children in tow just isn’t my idea of fun!

My favorite sources for clothing are hand-me-downs and clothing swaps because the clothes are FREE! I have family and friends who occasionally pass clothes on to me and a local friend hosts a clothing swap each spring and fall where ladies bring clothes they no longer wear and we ‘shop’ what’s there.

I currently only own a handful of items that were purchased new but I’ll occasionally browse Bargain Hunt (a local discount store) and retail store clearance racks when I’m needing specific items that I can’t find secondhand.

I’ve noted the source of each of the items in my wardrobe so you can get an idea of where my clothes come from.

My Nice Clothes

The clothes hanging in my closet are my ‘nice’ clothes. These are the items that I wear to church, running errands and anytime I need to look a little bit more put together (date night, weddings, etc).

Tanks

These tanks go with just about every bottom I have so they’re working hard for me this summer!

Tanks

    • Cream Ruffled (hand-me-down)
    • Grey/White Stripe (resale store)
    • Turquoise Embellished (resale store)
    • Black Sequin (hand-me-down)

Tops

My short sleeve shirts aren’t too exciting but these three black shirts go with every bottom I own so they’re quite versatile. Pairing them with a colorful necklace gives them a new look.

Tops

  • Pink/White Stripe (resale store)
  • Black V-neck (resale store)
  • Black Crewneck (clearance at WalMart)
  • Black Scoopneck (clothing swap)

Bottoms

My bottoms are pretty simple but they’re perfect for mixing and matching with my tops.

Bottoms

  • Khaki Crops (clothing swap)
  • Denim Crops (thrifted)
  • Denim Skinnies (resale store)
  • Ankle Jeans (resale store)
  • Black/Cream Pants (resale store)

Shorts

And, here’s a glimpse of my ‘mom shorts’! I actually love my mom shorts and think they’re fabulous. I purchased the patterned turquoise shorts because they are different than anything I own, I love the color and look great with a black top. They’re a little bit shorter than the mom shorts I’m used to but not too short!

Shorts

  • Turquoise Patterned (resale store)
  • White (resale store)
  • Grey (hand-me-down)
  • Denim (hand-me-down)

Dresses

We attend a very casual church and are simple family so I don’t have a need for really nice dresses. Both of these cotton dresses are cute and comfy and can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on where I need to wear them.

Dresses

    • Navy/White (clothing swap)
    • Black (Bargain Hunt)

My Casual Clothes

I store my casual clothes in my drawers. These are the clothes I wear on the days I stay home all day. They’re comfortable and perfect for playing in the floor, wiping bottoms, working in the garden, cooking and all the other potentially messy things I do each day.

I do not wear frumpy clothes around my home, I get up and get dressed everyday. It’s important to feel both comfortable and cute for days at home!

Casual Tops

I’ve not been much of a tank top wearer in years past because I’ve been self conscious about my arms. As I’m getting older, I’m learning to fully embrace myself, so even though my arms aren’t perfectly sculpted, I can still wear tank tops! They’re perfect for hot Georgia summer days.
Casual Tops

  • Pink Tank (clothing swap)
  • Teal Tank (resale store)
  • Green Tank (resale store)
  • Black Embellished Tank (resale store)
  • Black Tank (clothing swap)
  • Black/White Stripe (clothing swap)
  • Black Tee (resale store)

Casual Bottoms

These casual bottoms mix and match with my casual tops. All of my tops go with all of the bottoms except the pink skirt. These denim shorts are quite short but they’re comfortable! I only wear them at home (who really wants to see a mama of 3 in short shorts?!) but I’ll probably take them along when we go camping this summer.
Casual Bottoms

  • Denim Shorts (clothing swap)
  • Yoga Capris (thrifted)
  • Dark Pink Skirt (thrifted)
  • Grey Skirt (clothing swap)
  • Black Skirt (clothing swap)

Shoes

I keep my shoes simple too! The flip flops are worn for water activities and for gardening, the black sandals are my daily wear shoes (they are the most comfortable sandals I’ve ever owned) and the tennis shoes are worn on rainy days and for yard work, hiking, camping and such.
Shoes

Accessories

My collection of necklaces helps keep all of my solid black shirts and tanks from being too boring. Pairing a fun, chunky necklace with my solid black tees gives them a completely new look. I don’t wear cheap, mass produced costume jewelry, I prefer handmade, meaningful pieces.

Necklaces

  • Africa Necklace (The Adopt Shoppe)
  • Black,Coral, Turquoise Paper Bead Necklace made in Honduras (gift from my friend Marillyn of Just Making Noise)
  • Multi-Colored Paper Bead Necklace (made in Uganda, purchased via Etsy)
  • Red Beads (Gift from my husband’s 2014 trip to Ethiopia)
  • Red/Teal Necklace (Gift from my husband’s 2014 trip to Ethiopia)
  • Teal Beads (Gift from my husband’s 2011 trip to Ethiopia)
  • Black Beads (Purchased when I went to Ethiopia in 2013)

*And, I should note there are a few items not pictured. I also have a casual sleeveless black cotton dress, a pair of pajama shorts and capris, a bathing suit and swim shorts. Also, all of these clothing items were not purchased this year, I’ve had the majority of the items for 1-2 years and purchased around 12 ‘new to me’ items this spring and a few pieces (like the pink skirt and flip flops) are 5+ years old!

My minimal summer wardrobe consists of 46 items.

To some, that may be too many items and I’m sure I could pare down a little but there’s no need since I like everything in my wardrobe and have adequate space in my closet and drawer.

For others, it may seem like I have far too few clothes and that’s just fine, a minimal wardrobe is what I prefer.

If you’re wanting to declutter your closet and simplify your wardrobe, start by pulling every item out of your closet and drawers and only putting back the items you love and feel great in. Owning a minimal amount of clothing that you love is better than having a closet crammed full of clothing you don’t feel great in.

What are your thoughts on minimal wardrobes? 

For further wardrobe simplifying inspiration:

Minimal Summer Wardrobe

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