Sunday, December 6, 2015

Let Go of Stuff, Hold on to Your Memories

Your stuff shouldn't be the equivalent of your memories. Yes, looking at a special tree ornament or a photo does spark memories that perhaps you haven't thought of for some time; and while you may not be quite at the level Brian and I are at (getting rid of almost all of our papers), you are certain to agree with us that hotel toiletries, old Christmas and Birthday cards, and childhood participation ribbons do not hold any particularly special memories anymore.

Think about a time in your life when you did lose your memories i.e. you lost your mind. Like when you computer crashed in college - buh bye to 5,457 photos of you and your friends - taking selfies before they were called selfies. Or how about when your phone was stolen - some contact numbers were never again retrieved. What about your car being broken in to: see ya later CDs, spare change and maybe even your wallet (along with your ID and more importantly your rewards member club cards). I'm sure most of us have experienced one of these three scenarios in some form. And when that happened you had to just get over it. Your 'memories' in the form of stuff were ripped from your forgetful or unlucky paws. Aw shucks.

Now think about how different it would have been if you could have just shrugged your shoulders and announced to the karmically cruel world: "meh. It was only some stuff, I've still got my memories." Because seriously, stuff can be replaced - your mind is here to stay (ignore extraneous circumstances like early onset dementia and Mad Cow disease).

So try it - let go of your stuff and hold on to your memories. This means not equivocating a cookie cutter to your grandma's cookies. You've got that correlation safely stored away in your brain - think it, say it, reminisce about it; but don't keep a cookie cutter that you never use. It takes up space and you waste time cleaning around it (or not, in which case I hope I never see what else you have in that junk drawer); time that could be spent talking about or to your grandma. If your grandma's anything like mine she would sternly scold you for wasting time not talking to her.

Maybe my rant has yet to convince you. Think of it in these terms: photo albums are nice, those letters you passed back and forth in class - so cute, yearbooks from first grade - even cuter; but do you look at these things? Do you take them out and have a feel good moment with your bottle of wine, and one or two friends with nothing better to do on their Saturday night? Or have they been sitting untouched in your parent's basement for uncounted years, only to continue to do so for eternity?

If you don't use it - lose it, you won't lose those memories.

Need not,

Sunday, November 22, 2015

3 Reasons Why You Don't Need Things

Recently, Brian brought up a good point. It's not just about having less, its about wanting less. It's not just about getting rid of stuff, you have to keep from reclaiming and regaining. And recently I've been noticing that I have stopped wanting things. Of course we still are bringing items in - we are American, after all - only a bit slower and in smaller numbers. It's mostly because the people around us are not minimalist, instead they are givers (kind and generous and loving givers, who we love).

Recently, I thought about why we think we, and perhaps you, don't need things and here's what I got:

Reason #1: You don't need things because they don't add to your purpose in life. Deep stuff, I know. Before we get too specific, think about what purposes in life usually look like; think Mother Theresa, Gandhi, or another selfless person who does good works in the world, like J.K. Rowling. Think, for a moment, about what purposes in life usually don't look like: that crazy cat lady on Hoarders, bankruptcy, or an overflowing storage unit. Those people who do good, don't do so because of the material possessions that they personally own. The items that fill their life are minimalized in order to better serve humanity. Told you it was deep.

Reason #2: How many things do you have that you don't use? If you don't use them and they don't make you happy, you don't need them.

Reason #3: The more things you have the more time you spend cleaning and organizing, sorting and maintaining. What a waste.

Instead of focusing on what you need and why you need it, and how to get it, think instead on what you can do, who you can do it with, and how come you aren't doing it right now! Never balk at things you can do for free, there is always merit in the company of others, regardless of how much money it will cost you, or not cost you. So go ahead, stop needing!

Need not,

Sunday, October 18, 2015

5 Reasons Why You Need to Stop Washing Your Hair

I am a minimalist hair care wearer. Is this a good thing? Honestly, I'm not quite sold... not quite yet. I'm definitely in a transitionary period. Trying to shampoo less, I tried a stint of the No 'Poo Method and received a failing grade (though I did give myself an A for effort), and I am too nervous to expand to any other options outside of an apple cider vinegar rinse. Regardless I forge on.

Researching in to it all I have come across these 5 reasons  of why you need to stop washing your hair.

Please, please, if you have any links or resources for where I can find more information, leave them in the comments section.

5 Reasons Why You Need to Stop Washing Your Hair

  1. Chemicals!! So without getting too technical I would just like to summarize this study and say: the chemicals that are in shampoo and conditioner deposit themselves in your pores, are absorbed into your bloodstream, milling about healthy cells and then head to your liver which has to attempt to purge them along with the other toxins you are continually bombarding yourself with (like those in food and in the air). These chemicals can contribute to breast cancer, liver disease, asthma, and kidney abnormalities, among other ailments. Don't even try to give me the "everything causes cancer" excuse. Either you care about your health now or you care about it when you no longer have it. You decide.
  2. Moisture. Hair is designed to condition itself, that is good. Shampoo is designed to strip the dirt from your scalp and your hair cuticles, that is good, but it is also bad. Your hair has natural oils that are the best product money can't buy. It's like the breast milk of hair care - all natural and practically priceless. Stop letting them drip down the drain!
  3. Creativity. Hair styling is best done with dirty hair. I am always one to be adventurous, so skip the normal do you wear everyday and try something different! You might love the results, or it might just be a hat/headband day. (CONFESSION: I have naturally curly hair but a tip that you might want to try is curling 2nd day hair; instead of freshly washed and dried hair).
  4. If you color your hair you might just find less washing also equals dying your hair less often. No need to explain that one, right? Less dying equals more money in the bank - now that's being minimalist.
  5. Less heat and less grease. Washing less means blow drying less. Which any girl from 7th grade on knows how damaging our irons are. Less washing also means less greasy hair. Ridiculous you say? Nope, greasy hair becomes that way because of hair products. Don't believe me? Look at this gal or this mom. Or if you know a man with flowing locks you can ask him, they usually don't shampoo. Lucky them.
Not washing your hair doesn't always mean you can't get it wet - every so often skip the shampoo and just rinse. Furthermore, try using baby powder or dry shampoo. Think i'm being funny, there are, in fact, chemical free options for dry shampoo. But if you disagree please enlighten me. Lastly, try switching to shampoo and conditioners that don't contain parabens, SLS, and the like - I dare ya. (Easy to find! Search here or here).

Not convinced? Check out this in-depth article or this video. But really change your habits only if you want to! 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

We're moving!

Okay so we are not moving right this moment. But we would like to move out of our 1 bedroom, 775 square foot apartment eventually. like this year. please. And just like every other long-term-apartment-dweller we have a storage unit. (Confession: we are kind of ashamed).

No, our desk and bed are not in the storage unit; because no, this minimalism thing isn't just a fad. Let me remind you what it is: a way for us to reduce our consumption, declutter our lives, spend less time cleaning the mess that we have, and have more money for vacations. Regardless, a lot of the items we have gotten rid of we still technically have. Because, after all, it wouldn't make much sense to be 'minimalist' and to also contribute to the land fills (in a big way, current count of items is at 503 items). In fact because being minimalist includes saving money, we really feel strongly against just getting rid of everything. We are determined to at least try to sell items before they get donated, and hopefully not thrown away.

Of course all of our items aren't pure gold, people aren't scoping out our apartment through the slider doors, hoping and wishing that what they want most will be our next 'thing to get rid of'. And if they are, that's really creepy - and illegal. Get off our patio, you creeps! So Ebay, Plato's Closet, and Tradesy won't take all of our stuff. We get it, no big deal. Which is why we are saving the stuff for....
Cue fanfare. Not reinventing the wheel here folks, just stocking up for it. Because after all, you can't have a garage sale, without a garage. AND you can't sell things at a garage sale if they don't adequately fill up a driveway. SO we wait. and add more stuff to our poor storage.

CONFESSION(s): Also in storage: luggage (saving for that trip overseas or for an item later in the year), Christmas decorations (we only have two totes, I'd say that's pretty damn good), Christmas tree (don't be un-American, have a heart, the tree can stay. FOREVER), Snowboard and sled (Don't tell Haley and Ellie that I still own a snowboard, I haven't been on a winter trip with them in ever. As in I have never gone on even one trip to Whitefish. Insert guilt here). And a dolly and a four wheeler. Presto, change-o. Not too shabby! And before you get out those judg-ey looks, reflect on what you have in your possession. We live in under 1000 square feet of space. If you have more space, you most likely have more stuff. No matter what. (Well except if you are a minimalist also, and are doing it better than we are. In that case, kudos.)

So, come next spring there will be a great purge like you've never seen before. And if no one wants our stuff, we know there is an open garage door that will be waiting with a coupon and tax-redemption form to trade it for.

Need not,

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Second Biggest State Fair in the Country

As minimalists we are fairly good at minimalist-ing our life but the state fair is one event that is OFF LIMITS!

Confession: We don't do minimalism state fair style. We go nuts. We put our minimalism on a stick (for the day) and deep fry it. Boo-ya.

We eat as much as want (or can). We walk around for hours on end. We play carnival games until we win. until. we. win. We drink beer, mmmmmm specialty beers. We spend limitless amounts of money on said food and games. We educate ourselves in the eco-building (and the birthing barn). AND we have the time of our lives!!

This year I have successfully suckered my parents in to going -- excellent. So today, instead of dedicating my time to this wonderful blog, to entertain you wonderful readers, we will be at the state fair!!!


Josey & Brian

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Purge: clothing edition

Just when you thought we were winding down. We took Marie Kondo's advice and focused on one category: clothing. Don't worry mom's, we still have clothing, we aren't joining a nudist colony, and we are technically still clinically sane. BUT we did get rid of 20% of our closet.

Josey's purge: 24%
Brian's purge: 16%

Clothing is tough. Are you feeling like we have a lot of clothing - count yours, I dare ya.

How we did it:
  1. Do I wear this or have I worn it in a year?
  2. Does it fit? Am I delusional about how 'good' it fits me?
  3. Will I wear it ever? 
  4. Hey spouse, do you like how this looks on me?
  5. Do I need this?
That's it. Short and sweet. No room to shed tears... it's clothing. Brian was able to return items with tags still attached, and Josey sold to Plato's closet (again). Overall we got rid of 100 items and made $50. It took two excruciating days (tough decisions were made) and hopefully our items on consignment will bring in even more cash! 
Feeling courageous? We dare you to match our 20%. Comment below if you come close!

Need not,
Josey and Brian

P.S. This is just a start, without wasting perfectly good clothing, or being ridiculous, our first purge was fairly successful. Stay tuned for The Purge Part II.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Charleston Shuffle

We've done it again! Vacation on a dime! (CONFESSION: It actually cost more than 1, but less than 20,000 dimes) Of course we cheated a bit, it's allowed -- we got free lodging. We know what your thinking: you guys are wankers. We know just how lucky we are and devout that sliver of time every morning between dawn and sunrise to meditate on our karmic fortunes.

Even with a place to stay, vacations can really just run away with your wallet. You end up spending lavish amounts of money on things you normally wouldn't buy, food you don't even like eating, and excursions you didn't even take pictures at because you were too busy complaining about the lines and the fact that your wallet was empty.

We avoided both spending all our money and being miserable about not doing anything, for fear of spending all our money. How? Easy. See our top four list of fun things to do in Charleston, South Carolina that cost nothing but your time and patience.
HINT: get a rental car through Costco - at a location away from the airport. We picked Alamo (they have a free shuttle to and from the airport) and paid less than $100 for the entire week - not to mention we could stop at Costco to fill it back up before returning at the end of the week - double whammo. CONFESSION: Even without a rental car you can still do most of these free things - remember good ol' public transportation?
  1.  Saturday FARMER'S MARKET at MARION SQUARE if your lucky there might be something like the Gay Pride Parade going on while your there - well not very likely as it just occurred and it most likely is an annual event.
  2.  FOLLY BEACH - if you walk allllll the way down the beach you'll be able to see the MORRIS ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE. Kind of on the way (but not really) is the ANGEL OAK TREE - well worth the diversion if you like trees. or nature. or living things. We like all of those things.
  3.  Personally-guided WALKING TOUR; you can read signs on the streets (reading is free), and learn about the Holy City. If you feel really adventurous try out your southern accent while reading the signs out loud. CONFESSION: I did this. 
  4.  SULLIVAN'S ISLAND AND ISLE OF PALMS: parking is tricky and seems a bit imposing but its the damn ocean, nobody owns the ocean. While at said 'unowned ocean' we saw: itty crabs, dolphins, and didn't get pooped on once by seagulls, not once.
Our top 5 things to do that do cost money:
  1. Middleton Place. AMAZING! This place is so breathtaking, it's hard not to get swept away to another time. I highly suggest visiting.
  2.  Palmetto Brewing Company. Take the trolley and then walk the rest of the way - visit when there's music for an extra rad experience. Not saying we're beer snobs, but they were the only beer we really liked in Charleston. Non-beer lovers - they sell 4 ounce flights and 8 ounce tasters, as well as the pint. Perfection.
  3. Patriot's Point. You'll need a few hours because this thing is massive. The USS Yorktown is a humbling and awe-inspiring experience. DON'T pass it up. DO pace yourself and bring snacks. Fort Sumter also falls in this category, plus you take a ferry to get there (pssst. we saw dolphins while on the ferry ride. keep your eyes peeled.)
  4. You should be eating seafood and biscuits the whole time you are in Charleston. Great seafood suggestion: Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar, great biscuit suggestion: Callie's Hot Little Biscuit's (on King Street between Ann and Mary).
  5. Magnolia Gardens . If you do other gardens or plantations, do this one first; MUST check out the petting zoo!!
Follow these tips to spend less of your money:
  1. Go to the visitor center to buy your tickets. Bundle and save. Plus they know everything touristy there is to do in Charleston; you might say they're experts.
  2. Take the free trolley when it's to far to walk, and then walk. The trolley doesn't go everywhere in Charleston but it does make a wide enough loop to make walking everywhere totally feasible.
  3. Buy groceries and eat in. Not every meal has to be chef prepared - remember when you're at home and you use a stove - you can do that on vacation too. Or go to a bakery and buy donuts or something to have the next morning.
  4. Don't buy more groceries than you can eat. CONFESSION: You're allowed to go to the grocery store more than once while on vacation, especially if it saves you money (See photo above for our rationing techniques).
  5. Eat during happy hour. Drink during happy hour.
  6. Ask the locals where they like to go and only do things you can't do at home. While Brian and I were incredibly tempted to go to the aquarium (it was the shark shallows that tempted us so badly), the aquarium, no matter which state, is something a bit mundane. More exotic are the historical sites that Charleston has to offer. Compromise was made. Fort Sumter > Fingers to Fins with the Sharks. BUT we would encourage those of you with a bit bigger wallet to go touch the dang sharks, and then comment below how lame and uninteresting it was. please. please do this for us.
  7. A local told us very sternly, "Don't eat oysters in months not ending in 'R'". We went in August. No oysters for us. Heed the advice of locals - they live there, they know.
So that's it! We schooled Charleston with all the spareness and simplicity we could muster, and it was beautiful! Thank you to the kind patrons of the Holy City for enduring our coupon-cutting, 'no thanks we'll walk', 'when is your happy hour?' ways. And thank you Debra* for letting us stay at your house!

Need not,
Brian and Josey

*Name has been changed to protect the innocent.