Laundry and How to Not Do It.

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Over the past few months, I’ve significantly changed my laundry habits for the better.  And I’m not just talking about destashing clothes or only having limited this or that or whatever.  I’m talking about being mindful of my laundry.  Being present with my laundry.

So.  Deep.

Joking aside, these simple things have helped me tremendously, and I want to share.  These are steps I’ve taken to not only reduce the amount of laundry I wash, but to also come to a new appreciation and awareness of what I possess.

Step One.  Assess the Situation

I mean really assess.  I started by keeping a notebook and pen in my laundry room and making note of every load of laundry I washed and dried.  The first step to solving your problem is realizing/admitting you have a problem.

Take an inventory of what you own.  This is where minimalism starts to get really dynamic.  Some people live with two pairs of socks they wash often.  Others have a dozen pairs so they wash less.  Minimalism is whatever you need it to be.  Knowing exactly what you have will make you more intentional in your use.

Ask yourself how you define “dirty clothes.”  You wore a sweater around the house.  Unless you scrubbed toilets, it’s probably not dirty.  You showered and put on PJs.  They’re not dirty.  

Step Two.  Break the Habits.

Let your family members know that things are a’changin.  Talk to your Boo and your kids about how your house defines “dirty” clothes and ask them to be aware of what they toss into the laundry basket.  Hampers are a place for dirty things, not just things you’ve worn.

Have dedicated kitchen rags/towels for the day.  I could own a hundred kitchen towels, and we could use ALL of those suckers in half a day if I didn’t have them on lockdown.  Be hygienic, but conservative.

Reuse when possible.  Not everyone is comfortable with it, but my husband and I share a bath towel each day.  I wear jeans multiple times before washing.  If a cloth napkin doesn’t get used during a meal, leave it there for the next meal.  Again, be conscious of how you define dirty.

Step Three.  Make a Plan.  Stick to the Plan.

Decide how often you want to do laundry.  I had previously been washing whenever the hampers were overflowing, however often that may have been.  I wash once a week now due to managing our usage throughout the week.  Don’t let dirty underpants be the boss of you.

Manage it daily.  You shouldn’t have to wash daily, but you do have to keep an eye on your laundries.  A tshirt left here or there will surely end up in the hamper later on because nobody knows where it came from.  A mystery towel left on the kitchen counter will, of course, end up in the dirty laundry because what if it has e. coli on it!?  Fold it now, put it away now, hang it up now.

Get it done when you want it done.  When laundry day rolls around, the best thing you can do is bang it out ASAP.  You’ll feel like Cinderella in a Maytag commercial, but it’s so worth it when you can spend the next six days (or however long) saying, “LOOK AT ME AND ALL THE CLOTHES I’M NOT WASHING!”

Between destashing the extras, carefully selecting the keepers, and thoughtful usage of what we do have, I’ve halved my laundry.

If you feel like you’re doing laundry all the time, it’s because you are.  It seems like a silly things to take seriously, but I promise you… There is a distinct confidence and peace that comes with knowing you are actively and successfully managing your home and possessions rather than being a slave to them.

Make your material possessions work for you.  Don’t let them make work for you.


I’d love to hear your favorite laundry hacks or your personal routine!

Clear Out Your Medicine Cabinet

wellness

This post is for minimalists, crunchy folk, families with kids, your neighbor, and everybody else.  Whether you want to live more simply with less clutter or just want to improve the health of those in your home, this is for you.

My medicine cabinet is not even a cabinet.  It’s a tiny basket with a pack of bandaids that we never use, a few essential oil personal inhalers, and a thermometer.

*gaspSHOCKhorror*

“But what if your kid gets a fever?”

“What do you take for headaches?”

“You’ll change your mind when you get a sinus infection!”

So, now that we’ve got THAT out of the way, let’s continue to the meat of this post.

I encourage you to go grab a package or two of OTC medication from your cabinet and read the labels.  What are the intended uses of these products?  I’ll use a popular brand of acetaminophen as an example.

“temporarily relieves minor aches and pains due to: the common cold, headache, backache, minor pain of arthritis, toothache, muscular aches, premenstrual and menstrual cramps, temporarily reduces fever”

Source

temporarily relieves minor aches and pains

temporarily reduces fever

I want to use this example because this is one of the medications so many people keep on hand and use for so many purposes.

My point here is that drugs like this do not fix your problem.  They do not cure anything.  They do not prevent anything.  They slightly alter the presentation of the actual problem for a short time and then bring to the table a slew of side effects, noticed or not.

And then there’s this…

giving these medicines, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to prevent fever after vaccination may also blunt immune responses to the vaccine.

Duke University/CDC – Click for Source

And also this…

Our previous case-control study showed that use of acetaminophen at age 12–18 months is associated with increased likelihood for Autism Spectrum Disorder (OR 8.37, 95% CI 2.08–33.7). In this study, we again show that acetaminophen use is associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (p = 0.013).

Click for Source

These medications aren’t helping you.

Yes, your headache might ease off.  But why do you have a headache?  Did you consume too much sugar or caffeine in the past few days and now your body is having to readjust to normalcy?  Did you skip a few glasses of water and allow yourself to become dehydrated?  Did you watch too much television or play on your phone too long?

Are you medicating yourself for something a glass of water, a dose of sunshine, or better time management can cure?

There are natural, better ways to not only treat common health issues, but also many, many ways to circumvent these issues entirely.

  • Prevent seasonal allergy reactions by consuming local, raw honey.
  • Utilize a steamy bathroom, facial massage, and a mug of tea instead of consuming decongestant medications.
  • Use a netti pot instead of OTC nasal sprays.
  • Know that the foods and beverages you put into your body directly affect how you feel at that moment and for a time afterwards.
  • Clean water, mild soap, and applied pressure are all most minor wounds need.
  • Recognize that things like fevers or upset tummies are the body’s way of dealing with an attack that started well before you ever noticed the symptoms.
  • Wash your hands with a mild, *non-antibacterial soap.*
  • Know that your attitude, how you manage yourself mentally and emotionally, plays a role in how you feel physically.
  • Treat the origin of your issue, not just a handful of symptoms.
  • Understand that your body is made to defend and repair itself and often doesn’t need assistance.

We’ve been so conditioned to believe we *need* these medications to “heal” or “get better.”  Even the drugs themselves don’t claim to do that.  Human bodies are powerhouses of sustainability…as long as they are treated with the respect and care they deserve.

I’m not saying that “medicine is evil” or “Big Pharma is killing us all!”  I’m saying that we live in a world where many people would rather take on additional risks, spend extra money, and live in a state of dependency than make a diet change or go for a walk.

I’m saying, “Simple solutions to simple problems.”

I encourage you to make today the ending point of concealing symptoms.  Make today your starting point for genuine, “I love you, self,” self-care.

Social Media : What It Is. What It Ain’t.

ristorante

More and more frequently I’m seeing people express a distaste for social media. They seem exhausted and heavily burdened by it.  Emotionally tortured even.

“There’s so much negativity.”

“The comments are always so hateful.”

“It’s full of fake news and graphic, disturbing images.”

“I can hardly stand to look at my Facebook anymore.”

And then there’s me… Wondering how in the world these people haven’t yet figured out how to use the interwebs.

Social media, and the Internet as a whole, is what you make it.

Nobody forces you to open that app and start scrolling. Nobody forces you to Google controversial topics. You don’t get any brownie points for getting the last word in on a snarky comment section. No one says you HAVE to remain friends with cousin Judy even though she Vaguebooks daily and shares disgusting photos.

When did everyone hand over their lives to technology?

Of course, we’re all going to stumble across things that don’t jive with our sensibilities once in a while. But there’s a significant difference in an accidental stumble and an intentional nose dive.

I’m going to tell you a secret.

Get ready. It’s huge.

 

You control what you look at.

 

Scrolling through a Newsfeed of “garbage” and then complaining about it makes no more sense than listening to a song you hate on the radio when all you have to do is… change the station.

You have what you tolerate.

Unfollow, unfriend, block, delete, deactivate. You can get rid of the burdens with a click. (Minimalism spans so many aspects of peaceful living!) Search for uplifting pages, “like” things that make you smile, share a positive story. Be proactive in your own joy and spread a bit of it to others.

My social media pages are full of awesome because I don’t tolerate any of the baloney, and I choose what I DO follow carefully. I will unfollow a friend at the drop of a hat. Just because I knew a person in high school,or even if I know them now, heck, even if we’re friends now, doesn’t mean we have to be friends on social media. I don’t follow news station pages. If I want news, I’ll seek it out intentionally from a direct source. I’m an advocate and supporter of several emotionally weighty causes, but I don’t follow these pages on social media. I have to mentally prepare for reading up on these topics and will do so when I choose to, not when an algorithm is set to pop it up into my life.

YOU are the filter for your social media.

Scrolling through the feeds of some people can honestly be traumatic. Yet, it’s what they’ve chosen to see. What they permit. What they continually accept, day after day.

I encourage you to take hold of this corner of your life. It’s SO simple.

Allow what makes you happy. Don’t allow what doesn’t make you happy.  Facebook is not the hill to die on.

Reflections and Progress. The New Year Post.

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I’m seeing so much positivity and many hope-filled resolutions being shared all over my social media and blog reader. I’m loving it! I’m also really excited about the new year. This is actually my first year with legitimate goals and real resolutions. But before I put on my rose colored glasses and tell you all about how awesome my 2017 is going to be… I want to take a moment and reflect.

I’ve seen quite a few “good riddance, shoddy 2016” comments sprinkled within all the resolution goodness. And maybe some people really did have a cruddy year. But I want to start my new year not by remembering the ickiness and failures of the previous year, but rather by remembering all the things I got right, gathering up the momentum I’m bringing into 2017, and focusing on the base on which I’m building my “new year.”

In 2016, I became a better parent.

I opened my mind to the idea that children (babies included) are actual people that deserve the same respect, measured responses, and validation as any other human. Maybe that sounds like a huge DUH statement to you, but my natural (as in how things are meant to be) parenting journey took a wild swing this year. For the better.

In 2016, I committed to better, healthier products.

I’ve been dropping my sketchy body care and household items left and right and have been replacing them with more natural, simple items.

In 2016, I made better diet choices.

Processed foods are out, real food is in. I still splurge on goodies or fast foods, but it’s now seen as an infrequent fling for funsies and not a dependence on “quick and easy” options. Quick and easy can still be healthy.

In 2016, I became an advocate.

I came much more outspoken about genital integrity and the case against routine infant circumcision. I’ve made posts, awkwardly started conversations, collected research. I’ve saved babies.

I’m riding my 2016 wave right on into this new year.

I’ve never actually made a New Year’s Resolution. Not one single half-hearted attempt.

I’ve always thought it was a little silly or just pointless. A reason to feel positive on January 1st and then like a failure two weeks later. And honestly… I’ve never really had a reason to make a resolution.

That seems so sad to me now.

This year feels different. I feel so… AWAKE. This year I have so many goals I’ve actually felt a hint of worry that I might be overdoing it. And then I remember that these are my goals, my passions, on my time, with no expiration date.

Big things are happening this year.

Our homeschooling journey goes LEGIT.

This will be out first year homeschooling legally, joining co-ops, keeping records, etc. I feel confident. Not necessarily prepared for perfection, but confident in where I want this journey to go and the general path we want to take.

This year I want to give more of myself.

I’m a pretty quiet and reserved person. A homebody. This year I want to let more of my real self be seen. I want to be open in my friendly chats. I’m going to tell you about how awesome menstrual cups are and how positive thinking has changed my life. I’m a unique hippie lady, and it’s time I stop covering up my secret identity.

I also want to give more of myself to God and my family. I want to do more for my church, for my community. I want to give my children more hugs, more stories, more mom time. I want to love my husband more intensely, more passionately.

But I also want to be less.

I want to create less waste. (Looking at you, Zero Waste people!) I want to minimize my household objects to create a space of comfort and calm and appreciation rather than just live in tolerance of their existence. I want to spend less. Less dirty dishes in my sink. Less worries in my head. I want to need less.

This year is already great.

Holiday Minimalism Tips

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I’m minimizing slowly but steadily!

We’re now down to two crock pots instead of three.

Leaps and bounds being made here, I tell ya!

In all seriousness, I really have been making good progress. Especially considering the time of year and the near constant influx of new toys and clothes.

I did a pretty good destash of my kids’ clothes a few weeks ago. I was able to donate two huge garbage bags of stuff. Yesterday I halved the amount of stuff in our toy box. (I cannot express the level of combined peace and fabulocity one feels when there is OPEN SPACE in the toy box.)

Let me tell you… Attempting to up your newbie minimalism game DURING THE CHRISTMAS SEASON can be tough. We are extremely blessed and often exchange many, many wonderful gifts.  It can feel overwhelming to have rooms full of wrapped gifts, new toys scattered everywhere, and giant mounds of new clothes to find hangers for.  But what a blessed mess! Because of the love and generosity of family and friends, we have only needed to actually purchase clothes for our children a handful of times in their whole lives.  How amazing is that!?

I’ve realized a few things and developed a few strategies to make the most of the season without going into full on minimalist panic mode from the chaos and then following up that panic with immense “but we’re so fortunate” guilt.  I hope this helps some of you too!

Action #1. Prep Errthing.

Destash heavily in the weeks before.  Clothes, toys, kid stuff, adult stuff.  Clearing out not only gives you room to work with, but it also gives you an excellent sense of what you and your kids actually need and what you don’t really use.  Clearing the clutter makes visits at home and traveling much easier. Plan your schedule and visits to allow for a recoup period so you can get yourself refocused before going at it again. Spacing events also helps give your kids some time to detox and unwind from the excitement and RED DYE SOAKED SUGAR IN EVERYTHING. STAAHHP.  

Action #2. Destash Wisely, Graciously, and Cheerfully.

During the destash process, be on the lookout for regiftables, hand-me-downs, shelter items, etc.  I’ve noticed in our town people leave warm clothing and blankets tied to trees in parking lots for the homeless and less fortunate.  There is always someone needing a warm jacket. With all the opportunities to be a blessing and be blessed during this time, there is no reason to keep any “umm, this could maybe be useful to me” items.

Action #3. Learn to Accept Blessings.

This was actually a hard lesson for us to learn.  When we started attending our current church, we realized that many within our church family love to give.  Whether it be a helping hand, a small comfort item, or palmed cash covertly slipped over during a hug.  To say it was awkward for us is an understatement.  When we asked our pastor about it (Should we let people do this?  Should we give the money back?), he basically told us to remain humble and not refuse a thoughtful and faithful blessing from a sister or brother in Christ.  If someone feels a pull to give, let them give.  Both sides receive joy in this.  And remember that we are blessed so that we may also BE a blessing.

Side note for funsies! – We did the shoeboxes from Samaritan’s Purse this year.  My husband and I were standing at the back of our SUV in a parking lot trying to decide what we needed and how to best pack our boxes.  A wonderful lady approached us and said she had asked God for direction in blessing someone today.  And then she handed us $50. We thanked her profusely, wished her a blessed day, and then bought $50 more worth of stuff for extra boxes!  I’ve heard it said, “God will get it to you if He knows He can get it through you.”

Action #4. Always Remember Jesus.

With soooo much going on and so many physical or material aspects of the season, always keep your focus on Jesus. Giving away your old items, or even giving away brand new items, is so much easier and heart fulfilling when you really open up and accept that you’re not just giving things or donating your old crud.  You can make your home a happier place AND bless others mightily. Maybe you’re like me and often struggle with thoughts of “we have so much and others have so little.”  Now is the time to remind yourself that Jesus was sent, not because we deserved Him, but because our Father in Heaven loves us so much!  Be blessed.  And when the blessings fill you up to overflowing, start blessing others just as much!

Circumcision? I Think Not.

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I know this is a sensitive subject for some, but I feel it’s *most* sensitive to the ones that can’t speak for themselves.  I will be their voice.

I want you to have just as much peace and confidence in God’s design and your son’s capabilities as I do.

“YAY, we’re having a boy!  Should we have him circumcised?”

No.

I am so glad someone shared this information with me.  And now I share because I care about babies and their families. I also share because so many people felt it necessary to ask me if we would circumcise a boy during my pregnancies. When we said no, we were met with confusion, even disgust (at a baby!?), and a whole lot of misinformation.

I don’t judge anyone. I don’t do the “mommy war” thing. I share what I know out of genuine love. Here are just a few myths and concerns posed to myself and other moms I know.  Debunked.

Continue reading

It’s Time to Get Serious with Minimalism.

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I’m a minimalist at heart.  Too bad I’m not a minimalist in reality!

Now, I’ve made huge changes in my life in terms of destashing and prioritizing things. But I still have drawers full of stuff I never use or really even look at.  I still have clothing that I hang on to “just in case.”  I don’t even want to think about that closet full of mangled fabric scraps and half used bobbins of thread.  EEK.  I’ve done some minimal (AHA, PUN!) destashes before, but they were admittedly pretty amateur attempts.  Now I’m ready to get serious!  Or rather…

I’m desperate for a more peaceful space.

I’ve looked back on my past attempts to see how I could be more efficient.  Turns out I made some major mistakes that really crippled my ultimate goal. So here’s my new plan!  Because planning is for winners.  

Stop thinking in terms of organization.

I think this is a pretty common mistake among new minimalists.  Organization definitely has its upsides, but it’s an entirely different circus from minimalism.  We tell ourselves we can keep all this crud as long as we keep it organized.  NOPE.  Stop focusing on finding a spot for everything and start focusing on the productivity of the items themselves.  Organization follows naturally after you minimize.

Have an immediate destination for destashed items.

This is one of my biggest problems.  I’ll clean out a cabinet or closet and end up with piles of items to donate, items to sell, items to give to a friend, items to keep until the next church yard sale…  And while I’m waiting for the sale or forgetting to make a trip to Goodwill, all this stuff is STILL HERE.  Just in a different, even less convenient location than before.  If I plan to donate, we are going right now.  If I want to give to a friend, I’ll send them a message saying, “I’m coming by your house TODAY.”  If I have yard sale gold, I’ll ask to have it stored at the church.  Again, organizing into piles does nothing.  It moves out today or it gets trashed.

Don’t follow the “Does This Bring Me Joy?” method.

This is a popular minimalism method where you assess each item individually, asking yourself, “Does this item bring me joy?”  Granted, I haven’t read Marie Kondo’s book, so what do I really know?  But I’ve developed my own assessment technique that works for me.  (Because home school attendance records do NOT bring me joy, but I have to have it.  Because my washing machine does not bring me joy, but it’s better than no washer.)  I utilize the “Would I Be Super Duper Bummed If I One Day Discovered I Needed This Destashed Item” method.

Rate items on a scale of 0-10.

  • 0 being I don’t even remember what I got rid of/I’m so glad it’s gone!
  • 5 being I could probably have used it, but meh.
  • 10 being I threw away the winning Powerball ticket.

Anything less than a 7ish definitely goes.

The time has come.

Minimalism is here.

Updates to follow!