Unexpected Minimalism

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I’m super duper busy this week, so this post might be a little blurby! Our church is having a sweet little Valentine’s banquet this weekend for about 30 people, and I ended up in charge of setting up, decorating, shopping for the food, and making desserts.

Does anyone else love being busy?

Stick with me through this.  I have a point, I promise!

We usually go with paper, plastic, or foam plates for church functions since there are so many people.  But if you’ve ever once in your life used a disposable plate, you know those babies would never hold up when loaded with a hefty steak and a generous baked potato.  And who wants to eat off of plastic at a Valentine dinner?  

And I also needed salad plates, dessert plates, bread plates, cups, sturdy forks, knives that actually cut more than butter…

I was starting to feel quite nauseous pricing out “good” plastic.

And then…

I remembered real plates are a thing.

I searched our church kitchen, and I found them!  A few years ago, someone had donated some dinner plates, bowls, and saucers.  We also had a pretty decent collection of matching drinking glasses.

Y’all….I went out and bought enough real dinnerware to feed 30 people for less than what it would cost to use plastic.

I wanted to share all that with you because I think it makes an *excellent* point that minimal is whatever you need it to be.

Sure, the stack of dishes in our church kitchen got a little bit taller this week.  And, yes, I’ll be washing dishes for a long while afterwards.  But…

  • I saved money.
  • I have better quality items that can be built upon and reused. (Imagine a future potluck with NO PAPER PLATES!  Insane.)
  • The church kitchen has plenty of empty cabinet space, so storage is a non-issue.
  • I ensured that the only thing going into the trash cans this weekend will be paper napkins. (I’m working on making cloth napkins to pair with our fabric tablecloths!)
  • People can eat comfortably without having their forks snapping in half :/

Minimalism can be based on so many factors.

Environmental impact, cost, storage space, long term usefulness, quality, personal value, etc.

For this banquet, I considered all of these things, and I concluded with keeping more stuff than I started with.

As I’ve said in another post, minimal is relative.  I also believe it’s much more broad than going through your trinkets or wardrobe and labeling each item as joyful or not.  It can be based on deep pondering, not just an immediate emotional reaction.  It can be based on what you need, it can be based on what you want, it can be based on what you know you don’t want or need.

One person’s method doesn’t have to be your method!  If your method is bringing you peace and joy, don’t let anyone else take that away from you in the name of “doing it the RIGHT way.”

Chocolate covered strawberries, anyone?!


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


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.


“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”


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.

Ways To Use Your Planner Without Actually Planning


My Happy Planner just *getsme.  

I try not to post similar topics back to back, but I’m still on my planner high.  I’m finding more and more uses for my planner, and I really want to share!

Now, of course I use my planner for appointments (IF we ever had any…), meal planning, social events, etc.  But more than anything else, I’ll be using my planner as a record keeper.  As I said in my last post, I’ve always made lists or used notebooks to organize and keep track of things.  I now keep all of my “records” in one planner, and I’m already absolutely ecstatic after less than a week’s use.

Here are some things I include in my planner that aren’t actually plans.


We already stick to a precise budget, so this is basically the support system to go along with it.  I store receipts in the nifty pocket folders I added, and I jot down what was purchased, from where, and the amount spent into that day’s slot.  I know when bills were paid, how much money remains for each budget category, and so on.  It’s like having an up-to-date bank statement with you at all times.  (Old receipts get added to the compost bin!)

Energy Usage & Efficiency

This one may sound a little over the top, but it’s made so much of a difference in my personal happiness and in our finances.  I jot down every load of laundry I do, every run of the dishwasher, and how often we use the A/C and heat.  When I first started taking note of my laundering habits a few months ago, I was blown away by how much laundry I did.  (six to ten loads a week.  TEN LOADS A WEEK!?  Insane.)  I also saw that we used our A/C on days that were perfectly comfortable.  All it takes is one degree to turn on your A/C.   Keeping a record of things like this has made me so much more aware of how much we waste.  It’s easy to dismiss your waste when you don’t even see it. I’ve been able to adjust my household chores to a much more efficient level.


My homeschooler doesn’t do well with elaborately planned lessons.  We go to the library, close our eyes, and grab ALL THE BOOKS.  We do “class” riding in the car, at the grocery store, or while I’m cooking dinner.  It’s much easier to write down our accomplishments after the fact rather than plan to do XYZ and then feel like poo for not being able to check it off as completed.  I’m pretty certain my oldest child is the anti-lister. Spontaneity is her game.

Church Notes

Our pastors are known for using a bajillion verses during each service, and I absolutely love it.  Taking notes is mandatory for me.  That sermon isn’t just good for that one Sunday.  It’s good on Monday when the blues hit you hard.  It’s good six months from now too.  And like a good movie, you always find something new each time you experience it.  I also teach Sunday School (as does my wonderful husband), and I like to record who is present, the topics or verses discussed, and games played.

Memory Keeper

Planners are an excellent way to preserve memories.  A simple “Baby met great-grandma today” can make your heart do that funny, about-to-explode-with-happy thing as you flip through your pages.  Maybe you’re looking back a few months to find the ingredients for that delicious orzo salad, and you come across “I spent the day cuddled up with my babies watching movies.”  You’ll never regret hoarding sweet memories.

Moral Booster

Maybe this is just me, but I’ve always felt more energized and productive when I can check off tasks or look at a page full of accomplishments.  I need confidence builders.  I need a positive outlook.  I need momentum.  My note taking has always provided that for me.  I can open my planner and see that YES, I am needed for important things.  I can see that YES, I AM making progress in so many aspects of life.  I can see that YES, I. Can. Adult!  

I also broke down today and bought a sticker pack. After much indecisiveness (so many awesome options!), I brought home the Faith Value Stickers.  I ultimately chose this pack because it has so many uplifting words.  So much encouragement!  Sometimes all you need is a “YOU CAN DO THE THING!” sticker.

And to all of you that bought the 18 month planner six months late like me, take heart!  I’m going to share some uses for all those extra pages in an upcoming post!  Don’t toss them just yet 🙂

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


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.

Minimizing the Little Southern Girl’s Closet

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In my last post, I shared that I had destashed two garbage bags of kid’s clothes. Today while doing laundry, I had a moment. My daughter’s closet has been PACKED since before she ever came earthside. I’ve been buying packages of hangers monthly. Even with consistent and frequent destashes, it was still jammed and I’d have to shove stuff to the side just to squeeze in a few more clean items.


A poor quality photo.  Poor quality because I was in such a state of URGENCY here.  Look at it.  There is literally a kitchen sink in there.  (although this is actually *the best* space for our kitchen playset…  It keeps it out of sight and saves space in the bedroom.)  But this is where we stood AFTER my purge last week.  This is not minimal.  This is not peaceful.

Getting dressed and choosing clothes is always a headache. My husband simply refuses to help pick clothes because of the absolute chaos in the closet. Things that don’t fit yet, things that are super cute but kinda don’t fit yet, things that are cute and fit great but, as my girl says, have “scratchy lines inside.” (shirred fabrics) A giant mound of hand-me-downs, too-big items, or out of season things added to all that as well.

Today I decided I’m over it.

Completely and utterly EXHAUSTED by it.

You know you’re in a terrible state of excess, and dare I say ungratefulness, when clothing is a BURDEN.



Poor quality photo.

Superb quality destash.

This is everything except socks and undergarments.

I now have almost 100 empty child’s hangers in my laundry room.


I’m still blown away by this.

I want to share how I went about it and to encourage you to take the plunge yourself. It took me about two hours (one nap time), and it feels WONDERFUL! I’ll go ahead and say that I kind of lucked out with a kid that despises most pants. She has maybe three pairs of pants she will wear. I’ve always been frustrated by that. No longer!


Step One – The Absolutes

First, I pulled out everything I knew was a 110% keeper. For my daughter, that included “puppy shirt,” “Ariel dress,” and “the red shirt.” She is the ultimate minimalist. I pulled out a couple brand new, unworn things and then used the following criteria to complete this first step.

  • It must fit right now
  • It must be something we all really, really like
  • It must be seasonally appropriate

I ended up with about a dozen things in this first sorting.

Step Two – The Basics

Next, I went through and pulled out the “staples” that we liked.  Basically, things that make life easy.

  • Things suitable for everyday wear at home or quick outings
  • A few nicer things for church
  • Things that could pull double duty (shirts that layer well, cute outfits that work for any and every occasion, etc)

Step Three – The Unnecessary

The third step was to pull out the fer-shurr no’s.

  • Things that either one or both of us disliked
  • Things that didn’t fit nicely
  • Summer clothes
  • General “bleh” items.

Anything either of us didn’t care for went into the destash bucket. Bleh items went in there as well along with anything on the verge of being too small. Anything too big was judged and sorted based on “Will this summer item fit six months from now?” and “Do we even like it?” and most importantly “Does it have itchy lines inside?”

Step Four – The Assessment

At this point I still had several things hanging in the closest that I was unsure about. They fit most of my keeper criteria, but I was having commitment issues.  So I sorted my keeper items from steps one and two into these categories.

  • Short sleeve shirts/outfits.
  • Long sleeve shirts/outfits.
  • Everyday dresses.
  • Church dresses.

Looking at my definite keepers made it easier to decide on the items I was feeling unsure about.  I could see that I had plenty of this and maybe needed a few more of that.  Basing my choices on what I wanted to KEEP rather than what I wanted to get rid of made this purge much easier for me.

I finally had an empty closet..

Step Five – The Miscellany

On to the mound of random items stuffed into the corner.  (Maybe you already keep yours in a nice heirloom trunk, but going through it is still a good idea!)  I followed much of the same criteria for these things.

  • Strong appeal to us both
  • Likelihood to fit
  • Whether or not it was similar to another item

It all fits into a printer paper box. I didn’t even have to sit on the lid to shut it.

THIS is what minimalism feels like.  I know there are people out there with one pair of jeans and three shirts, and maybe I’ll get there one day, but this is amazing!  I encourage you…Don’t stop until you reach a genuine place of peace and happiness and excitement about the state of your belongings.  Don’t aim for better, aim for BEST.

I’m on a roll now.  Closets being liberated all over the house this week!