Humor, Minimalist, Universe

Our Minimalist Home

Before I begin, I am giving all of you a homework assignment.

Will you watch this if you have Netflix:

 

It is very quirky and some of you might find it odd and some of you might not even like it. But we fell in love with the main character, Dick. Yes, we fell in love with Dick (insert immature snickering) and I think you will too. I was crying like a baby at the end of this documentary like he was a family member and wanted to share this with you. I just couldn’t wait for the next tater tot post.

On to the real post.

When I began my journey as a Minimalist over four years ago, I didn’t even plan on becoming one. We saw a documentary on Netflix one night and thought it would be interesting to watch.

But slowly and unintentionally we* became minimalists over the course of several years.

*I have to say that the rest of my family wasn’t too happy at first about it. I mean, they didn’t go kicking and screaming but they also didn’t go, YES! LET’S GET RID OF A LOT OF THINGS! AND GOING FORWARD, NOT BUY A LOT OF THINGS! AND GO OFF INTO THE SUNSET AND LIVE IN A COMPLETELY EMPTY HOUSE!

But now that we have been living this way for several years, they are seeing the result of this lifestyle and appreciate it for how it makes us feel while living inside of this home.

I think Mike finally got it when this past summer we went to IKEA for the first time in years, to pick up something for Ella’s room and we walked out of the store with only four items and spent less than $40.

I’ve written about this lifestyle before and won’t bore you with the minutiae but thought I would share what minimalism isn’t because I have gotten some questions and I think a lot of people think it’s essentially living with absolutely nothing.

That’s not it. 

Here is a spoof video from one-half of the creators of The Miniamilists documentary.

This is also not it.

It’s also not a trend, well at least not for me anyway.

 

tiny homes - tiny houses
Courtesy/ Country Living

It also isn’t tiny-house living. I mean, that might be part of it for some people but that is an extreme form of minimalism.

 

 

In the simplest terms, it is making do with what you have.

It in no way dictates how I decorate my home but rather we decide what we want to do with the items we keep within our home.

So I guess in a way, that does dictate inadvertently how I have decorated.

 

 

The word Minimalism actually pertains to a particular art trend that began in the 60s.

 

Donald Judd, ‘Untitled’ 1972
Donald Judd-Untitled| Courtesy/Tate.org.uk

 

The minimalist/minimalism lifestyle is about living with less.

The “creators” of this lifestyle (and I put quotations around the word because they themselves would probably hate that term) sum up minimalism in this sentence:

Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important – so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.

 

 

This summer, I followed a challenge that helped me get rid of a lot of things in our home that were weighing us down physically and emotionally. We found that the less that we had in our possession, the more time we had to spend with each other and because of the fewer items we had to clean and maintain, the fewer responsibilities we all had around the house.

It was freeing.

We all were in turn happier and more enjoyable to be around because we didn’t have as much stress and I don’t think we even thought about how it was happening while it was happening. It was a natural thing. I am sure my family didn’t even think, “oh yeah, we feel like this because my mom is buying less stuff for the house or because she is dropping things off at Goodwill.”

 

 

And because there is less stuff lying around all of the time, there is less chaos. Less chaos on the inside of your home in a time where there is chaos all around you is so completely underrated. I don’t think we are talking about how important that can be to your mental health.

Listen, this isn’t for everyone. I get that some of you are rolling your eyes right now. This isn’t your “jam” and that’s okay. Not everything is for everybody. We are all different for a reason. It’s what makes the world go round.

I am not trying to get you to drink the Koolaid. I don’t get paid, I have no affiliate links in this post. I am simply sharing this because this has brought me so much sanity in such a chaotic time. I have felt so much control of the inside of my home in a time when I felt so out of control of the world outside of my home and that is pretty huge. If it has brought me so much joy in such a crummy year, I hope it can bring joy to someone else too.

That’s it.

It has helped my mental health so much in a time when my mental health has taken quite a beating. In a time when my mental health had to be at its best so I could take care of my own people.

In a time when we need to be in our homes more than ever, seeing the need to take care of our possessions, to take care of our bodies, of our families, now more than ever? This lifestyle has served me and my family so well.

It was like the Universe had prepared us for this upcoming pandemic ahead of time.

 

 

I love that now when I go to a store like Target, Hobby Lobby, or HomeGoods (three of my Achilles Heels when it comes to shopping), I can now rationalize what is a need versus what is a want and I don’t even feel cheated or even sad when I walk out with nothing.

I am also beginning to spend money on quality items instead of spending little on quantity. I used to go to Goodwill and have no problem dropping 30 dollars on several items of non-quality but spending $30 on one quality item would be very difficult for me.

Last weekend, I noticed that I didn’t have one long sleeve knit top for myself while going through my winter clothes. In the past, I would’ve run to Kohls or Target and spent maybe $20 on two cheaply made knit tops that would most definitely shrink in the wash and would eventually end up at a Goodwill or even in the (gasp) trash, and then I would have to run and spend another $20-$30 in a few months.

But this year, I ordered two quality knit tops from L.L. Bean and paid $50 with free shipping, knowing that they will last me for years. I will end up saving money in the long run even though I paid more upfront but I am saving myself money, time spent shopping, and I am also saving the environment by not buying cheap products, by not dumping them, and then furthermore, going out to buy even more cheap products.

This is when I appreciate my new minimalistic lifestyle.

Minimalism doesn’t mean going without. It means taking care of what you have, not over-consuming things, but rather buying quality items that are built to last and taking care of those things.

For example, automobiles and phones.

 

Man Fixing Vehicle Engine

 

We just paid my vehicle off for the first time since I was 25 years old. I am wording that wrong.

It has been 25 years since I HAVEN’T had a car payment.

Why? Because my husband works in the auto industry and when my car would start to make noises or get older, we would just trade it in instead of fixing it. We would get great deals, get the newest model blah blah blah.

We drank the Koolaid. We bought the schpeel. You know the one. The one they give when you sit in front of them at the dealership? AND HE WORKED AT A DEALERSHIP.

Now? We buy an extended warranty, we take care of our car. Because now we have an older child in college and she needs a car as well, so we can’t afford to trade in cars like we did before.

Before, it would be easy to say “let’s just get a smaller, more affordable car” but we are taking care of things and showing our children that its important to take care of the things you already have instead of always getting a brand new everything.

Our children don’t ask for a brand new phone anymore. They ask for things like screen protectors and good protective cases. Actually, now that I think about it, they don’t ask for a lot anymore. They ask to “earn” money; Ella by doing chores around the house. Anna by working jobs even in a pandemic and while taking a full course load.

I am so proud of this lifestyle for so many things but it’s the life lessons that we are teaching our children that I didn’t even think would come out of a documentary on Netflix.

I am not trying to sound all righteous with this post so I hope that isn’t how it is coming across. We have made huge mistakes when it comes to our finances and we are still making them, which is why we began this lifestyle years ago. We were exhausted living those mistakes and wanted a change for our family. It is within this year that I wanted to share this with all of you and if you could give a shit about this, pass it on to someone who you think could use it.

Because I know someone out there would love to feel lighter, emotionally, physically, and financially.

 

 

So here will be a hard rule for some of you that isn’t a rule for minimalism but has become a rule for mine: I won’t buy anything used going forth.

Old Kari was a garage sale/thrift store maven. Goodwill was a store I used to shop at weekly and in fact, upon searching my blog, I found 78 Goodwill-inspired blog posts.

But I won’t shop at a Goodwill or resale shop or a garage sale ever again.

Now, I am not a snob and I do love to save money and no, we aren’t rich in monetary means but I don’t want other people’s energy in my space ever again UNLESS it is from someone I know well.

For example, my grandma’s beloved rocking chair.

 

 

I do still have a couple of things in my home that are from some resale shops over the years but I have had them for many, many years and I have saged them over time (yes, I am that person).

But when I was doing the minimalism challenge over summer, I got rid of almost all of the Goodwill, garage sale, thrift store items we had that had belonged to other people and if they haven’t been purged already, I am still looking to get rid of the rest of those items.

Did I feel a shift in the energy in our home?

You bet I did.

 

 

It is within the worst year we have experienced in our lives that I don’t need to stack the deck against us within our home. Some of you might have superstitions or little things you believe in.

This is what I believe in:  I don’t want someone else’s bad vibes all over my stuff, in our personal space.

I work hard to create a positive, happy nest in our home ESPECIALLY during this time. I don’t need a cheap coffee table coming from someone’s home who doesn’t believe in being a good human being or who kicks their dogs or who roots for the Chicago Cubs.

Kidding. But you get the idea.

No price tag is worth the bad juju.

 

 

If you really need to save money on furniture, go to IKEA. Or go without.

For real.

Maybe you don’t necessarily need a coffee table or a recliner or an end table. Society tells you that you do and if we’ve learned anything in this pandemic, it’s that your home is your haven. Make it your space. Do with it what you need to be the soft place at the end of the day you need. Don’t let Apartment Therapy or Real Simple or even my blog tell you how to decorate it.

My minimalist journey is still a work in progress. There are days I go to Target and see things in the Dollar spot and think OOH THAT BLACK $5 JAR IS SO DAMN CUTE I MUST HAVE IT! WHERE IN THE HELL WILL I PUT IT?!

Oh, wait…

But it makes me stop and think about that five-dollar bill (or debit card because who has cash anymore?) in my wallet more than I ever did before.

Will that cute little black jar make me happier?

Maybe. Or maybe not.

 

 

It makes me think about money in such a different way. It makes me think about material things in such a different way.

I don’t care anymore if I have the latest of anything.

Who I am isn’t wrapped up in anything I find on amazon or on Instagram or on a lifestyle blog.

 

 

Our home is enough.

For the first time in its existence, it is enough.

I am in love with that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

45 thoughts on “Our Minimalist Home”

  1. I’m not sure that I see your home as minimalistic, as much as purposefully cozy. I suppose this is all in how you define the term ‘minimalist.’ I like what you’ve created inside your four walls, it is beautiful, and clearly this approach to living has helped lift your spirit.

    As you know I’ve had to deal with, to use your words, “items we had that had belonged to other people” and I’m slowly finding my way to part with them. I don’t feel lighter because of it, but I keep hoping I will. I do like the emptier space in the basement and in the closets. So there’s that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OOOH! Purposely cozy! I am changing the name. I love that.

      I also know that for me, it depends on where the item comes from. Even if I know who it came from, I still won’t keep it because it depends on their energy. I know I sound like a hippie and that makes me giddy.

      But isn’t it something about the emptier feeling? Unburdened is a good word. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your home looks lovely – personable and cozy! Most minimalistic homes look cold and sterile to me – yours is definitely not that.
    I had to downsize in order to move to Vancouver Island, to a space less than half the size I occupied before. Moving that big of a distance forced me to look at everything I own through the lens of “would I pay to bring this with me?” And “is it worth taking up the limited space in my new place?” So now I am settled, surrounded by only things that I absolutely love/need and it’s wonderful. I don’t miss the extra space or things.

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you on that. Even the creator of the lifestyle has a home that is way too sterile for my liking. I like a bohemian look but with less laying around if that makes any sense.

      YES. I love that! Surrounded by only the things you love. You get it, Deb. I love that so much. That is exactly what this lifestyle has given me and every day I wake up and look around, I only see the things that made “the cut”. The things that truly bring me joy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. First: I can’t wait to watch Dick.
    Your home is so darn cute!!
    I’ve not intentionally gone more minimalistic, but somehow I have felt a shift. Even though we have a bigger ‘than we need home’ and now another one, I’m only adding things that we really, really need. (I brought some excess from FL to GA)
    For me, it’s not even been about $, but the number of things in my life. I DO want less quantity and only want quality. Something I learned as I’ve grown older is to spend $ on good quality or don’t buy at all. Like you stated, those nicer tops will last so long and you’ll get your money’s worth.
    The spoof video was funny!!!
    Going to clean out my Thanksgiving cabinet now so I can take some to GA. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we all are going to be better off because of Dick. NEVER GETS OLD.

      YES TO ALL OF THAT. YES YES. It doesn’t matter if you have ten homes. It is what you are intentionally doing with what you have. Exactly. Also, I don’t want people to think I am telling them that if they have lots of something, they are doing something wrong. That isn’t what this lifestyle is. I still have a lot of things in my basement. But someday, we may want to move to somewhere smaller and maybe not? It depends on how we feel when the girls are older. But the less we have holding us back will help me with anxiety to make the decision easier if that makes any sense.

      I want pictures of the inside of the Georgia home! I cannot wait to see more of it. 🙂

      Like

  4. Good for you for having paid off your car! My family jokes all the time that they should just get me a dumpster for my birthday and let me go crazy since getting rid of clutter does make me smile. I feel like with so many of us in the house the decluttering is always an ongoing process.

    Like

    1. That is so funny! It is hard for SO many people, so you shouldn’t feel alone. I know a lot of people “get married” to their things, as my mom would say. It is hard because I think a lot of people place memories on items and feelings and that makes it even harder. If you can live with that and it doesn’t make you anxious, then that’s okay! It is your life and you need to get through each day feeling good. Do what makes you happy. If we haven’t learned that lesson this year, I don’t know what else we could have taken away from it. 🙂

      Like

    2. I am very interested in watching Dick too.

      I am not necessarily a minimalist but I AM ALWAYS trying to purge and get rid of stuff. The kids closets, YIKES. I do have lots of kid toys still but they serve a purpose for my daycare. By the time I am ready to get rid of them, I will probably be getting ready to be a grandparent . . . so looks like I am stuck housing kid toys FOREVER.

      I have always valued good quality things which is why shopping for a great deal gives me a high. I do have to stop myself and think do I need this? With no where to really go right now, I am really not adding much to my wardrobe. *sigh*

      Liked by 1 person

      1. NEVER GETS OLD.

        When this is all over, I’m coming to your house and helping you. We will call it that but really I’m coming over to hang out.

        That’s my problem. Which is why I didn’t have any long sleeve winter tops. 😂

        Like

    1. I thought about you when I was writing this post! I had just begun reading your posts about your husband, God love him. Listen, I feel your pain. Literally. I FEEL YOUR PAIN. My husband comes from two hoarders. So I threw away your share this summer. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your house. It’s a mix of eclectic and funky and neat and cool all at once. It’s filled with things that you love and I love that about you.

    Now will you come to my house and help me? After the pandemic that is.

    Also you have given me so many fun things to watch, listen to, read that my bucket is full through the rest of the year. You are doing a service to so many and I don’t think we are talking about what you are doing for all of our mental health. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that about our home too. It’s a mix of all the things I love.

      I would love that, quite honestly. I love going through peoples things and organizing. But the hardest part is telling people to get rid of their stuff because a lot of people don’t like the part with it and it’s very personal.

      Aww, I’m so glad to give you all things to keep your minds busy. It’s a selfish task because it has kept mine busy as well.

      Like

  6. That Dick show looks good, maybe a little sad. But that’s OK. Maybe we’ll watch this after we’re done with Schitt’s Creek.

    I’m not a minimalist in terms of how much stuff I have (I still have so much more to purge from my basement!), but my shopping habits are definitely much less. And it’s not because of the pandemic. I started this about a year ago. I haven’t stepped foot into a Goodwill or other resale store in easily a year. I used to go just to browse and find “good stuff”. Didn’t matter if I didn’t know where I was going to put it at the time or not. Pretty dishes, knick knacks, etc all at a good price – I was sold. But now that my basement is overflowing already with too much stuff, I’m done. I don’t mind other people’s “energy” in things – that has never bothered me – but I can understand how you feel.

    Now when I do go shopping, I’m looking for something I need. I needed some new fall tops (I don’t have many clothes and my old tops were…old!) and first I tried Best Friends Consignment in Algonquin and didn’t find anything. So then I went to Sierra Trading Post in Deer Park (if you’re not familiar with that store, they have a wonderful selection and great prices) and found a few tops. And like you said, they are good quality. (I totally agree with what you said about Kohls.) I also found a pair of shoes, which yes, I needed.

    I *am* going to a barn sale this weekend with my family, but it’s all about having fun and spending time with loved ones; our form of entertainment. I will only buy something if I know where I’m going to put it or how I’m going to use it. Pinky swear. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a sad documentary in terms of the content but it is very heartwarming too. There are layers. It is worth watching.

      I’ve heard of Sierra Trading but I’ve never been. I have a friend who likes it too. I should check it out.

      Listen, I’m all for fun antique shops and all of that! And you do such a good job of finding such adorable items. I’ve never been very good at that to begin with. I love how for you, it’s about the people you enjoy doing it with! I wouldn’t turn down a fun day of antiquing even if I didn’t buy anything, by the way. HINT, HINT. ❤️

      Like

  7. PS – sorry, got distracted by cats and pumpkin empanadas….

    I also meant to comment on another aspect of your post – less debt. I didn’t know about your car situation and how you guys “drank the Koolaid”. I am not bragging, I’m just letting you know how we’ve done things…we have always driven our cars into the ground. Never bought new ones until the old ones died. We buy quality to begin with (Toyota or Honda – I know there’s other good cars, too…we always look at Consumer Reports and research online, too) so they last a loong time. Have never bought an extended warranty. (Side note: my sister is a CPA and vice-president of a car warranty company – even she says to never buy an extended warranty, lol.) We recently bought a “new” (2016) vehicle for me because my 20-year old Honda Accord was not 100% reliable anymore. Go figure! 😉 But this is the first time we’ve had a car payment in over 11 years. We took out a 3-year loan and are paying it off early. My husband still drives a 12-year old Toyota Corolla with 262,000 miles on it! We have never felt the need to “keep up with the Jones’ “.

    We’re the same with our phones. We don’t buy new ones until our old ones don’t function anymore. I know several people who are always trading in their phones for the newest model and no surprise, they’re always in debt.

    Great post, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am a minimalist blogger and I believe minimalism is far more than what you own. It’s living intentionally and being more present. Yes it means living with less but I have also found it’s more so a life with purpose focusing on the important things in life. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. AMEN! It has served me well during this year. I feel like it prepared me for 2020. I mean, it’s still been rough but at least my home it’s helped us shelter the storm a bit. ❤️

      So glad to have another minimalist here!

      Like

  9. Kari I have seen a few of these documentaries and love the idea but it is so hard to implement. I am trying to get rid of stuff and slowly but surely I am on the road there. My daughter has taken it upon herself to sell all the books we no longer need on e-bay and she is doing great. It feels so good every time something leaves the house. I am also making conscious decisions about what comes in. Have you heard of Marissa of Birds of a Feather? She has a blog and she also has lots of You Tube videos that help you with Minimalism. She also believes that you should live with what you need and no more. Check her out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So the way I look at it is doing what makes YOU happy is all that matters. I have been reading a Universe book since this summer and that has helped me with this journey even more than before. In fact, the book has nothing to do with Minimalism but has helped guide me towards my goal. It feels like this is where I need to be in my life to help with my mental health and the pandemic. This lifestyle has soothed me and I realize it might not do that for everyone but that’s okay! Little steps toward happiness are what I hope for everyone and that’s why I shared it with you all. 🙂

      Like

  10. I’m going to start with “You still go to HomeGoods?” I’m jealous, as I haven’t been since January. Not because of Covid, specifically, but more because of Covid rules, there is ALWAYS a line now outside of our HomeGoods. And when I drive by I realize there’s nothing that I need that badly to stand in line outside in 90º+ Texas heat.

    I’ve been paring down a lot – all the while I’ve been searching for art for my yet-unfinished master bedroom. I think I need to bit the bullet and get it done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why is there a line outside of your HomeGoods?? I have only been to HomeGoods once since February and it was underwhelming, especially when you are a “minimalist”. Also? It isn’t as much fun when you can’t entertain people on the inside of your home. Now, that might change things for me a little bit when this is all over HA.

      If this pandemic has taught us anything it is that we have time to go through the stuff in our homes because we are home more and we are going to be home more this winter too, so there is PLENTY of time.

      Like

    1. I do love that too and never really thought of it that way.

      It has taken me years to get to a place where I feel like I finally feel in control. You still have little ones and it’s hard to keep clutter in control when little ones are afoot. One day. 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I have moved over 20 times in my life and if there is anything that will cure someone of sentimental attachment to stuff, it’s moving 20 times. We’ve lived in our current home for 8 years and it might as well be 50 for how long that feels to me.

    I’m a huge believer in buy the best you can afford and make it last. I’m not unwilling to buy used/thrifted, but my standards are just as high for that as for anything else. I also am NOT a minimalist. I have more yarn and books and crafty things to fit that description, but I don’t buy junk and I don’t buy knick knacks.

    I love the pictures of your home. Especially the green door. It is very welcoming and cozy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So I just did the math and I’ve only moved half of that in my life, 10 times total but still enough to know I hate moving. 😂 I think if I knew we would be moving, I’d throw most of our things away only so I wouldn’t have to move them because I know how much of a pain it is.

      I’m not a big knick knack person, so I feel ya there.

      That green door is my favorite part of the house besides the people and pet who dwell within it. ❤️

      Like

  12. We were doing so well in the beginning of the pandemic in terms of spending, because we were too afraid to go out. Eric spends a lot by buying a lot of little things, I spend a lot by buying a few big things. Either way, we have too much stuff! We just had a veterans run, and when they came they couldn’t fit everything into the truck! We still have a long way to go, but I am a firm believer that letting go of stuff will set us free. I clean so much and so often and it barely makes a dent. I also live with a bunch of hoarders. They literally don’t like to get rid of boxes that toys come in. Anything they’ve touched they want to keep forever. I recently went through our big toy dump spots in the house and weeded out three reusable shopping bags full of toys that are going bye bye. If it were up to me, we’d have about a fourth of what we currently have. I admire you! And I’m learning from you. Also, your house is so beautiful, I love it when you share pictures of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know it was so hard to get rid of things when the kids were small, so I get that completely.

      I think the timing of this is perfect because we are home so much more so I am seeing things more and saying THIS IS OF NO USE. Now, I have yet to tackle the basement but I plan on doing that over winter. So I still have places in the house I haven’t touched but it feels good to be in the place we are now.

      Aww, thank you so much! I feel the same way about your home! ❤️

      Like

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