Sunday, March 29, 2015

Taking the plunge!

In case you didn't know Brian and I are still going strong in our New Year's resolution of eliminating one item per week per person from our lives. Whether it be donated, discarded, recycled or repurposed (as a gift. for someone else. outside of our household. thank you, Sarah Huss.) (CONFESSION: to date we have gotten rid of over 200 items - that's rounding down)

But this week we really outdid ourselves. Not in number of items purged but in the size. Bigger feels so much better when its a noticeable item that you clear out of your life.

We got rid of ...

...(insert drumroll)...


I know. We are some crazy @$#&!$
sans desk.

This item probably could count for the both of us (especially since it included a chair and chair mat), but we had other items on top of that. We have more excess than we know how to get rid of - things still keep popping up and while we were worried for a bit there, we can't believe we still have so much stuff. still. Thank goodness we are only in week 13 of 52.

Back to the desk. Why would we get rid of something so substantial? We did, in fact, use it once in a while, and it wasn't cramping our "feng shui" style. BUT we really didn't need it. Minimal use shouldn't justify keeping something, that's not what minimal-ism means, no matter the size. AND we really hope you'll understand (mom. dad.)

The new challenge in our minimalism quest seems to be simplifying our life and our space, without looking crazy. Brian thinks you'll understand after watching any number of Tiny House videos on youtube. The lives those people live are incredibly simple and that is exactly what our goal is. Spareness - which can include blank walls and open walking space. And Simplicity - lots of green, living things, light, and breathing room. Check out the videos below (especially if you can't believe we got rid of a desk!) Because living with less means living larger!

Need not,
Josey & Brian

WARNING: you most likely will feel like fairly lazy after watching these videos, and you may even feel like you need to get rid of something... 

Many thanks to - you are so wise. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Answers to the tough stuff

Why do I...
In order to determine what stuff we do need (and what stuff we don't) we end up asking a lot of questions. In fact we often find ourselves in an impromptu debate where one of us (let's say Josey) argues why we need to keep something and the other one of us (let's say Brian) argues why we do not, indeed, need to keep something. Of course the debate is completely friendly, no voices are raised, and it usually results in a compromise, i.e. the prettiest person wins (this is not always Josey) which is always Josey, and is sealed with a kiss (CONFESSION: unlike previous blog posts, Haley's responses to our ways of 'showing affection' will not be mentioned).

Why?! Here is our top 20 (yikes, that's a lot of whys) list for you to try out yourselves. C'mon. Try it out!

  1. Why do we have more than one pizza cutter?
  2. Why are we keeping these old textbooks?
  3. Why do we have so many vases? (especially if you don't even like flowers. wah wah.)
  4. Why do we have 3 sets of luggage? We're minimalists for goodness sake!
  5. Why do we have so many duffel bags, I believe they are also a form of luggage?
  6. Why do I have bank statements from 1998? Why did I have a bank account when I was 12?
  7. Why is there a dead plant in the corner?
  8. Why do we have outdoor furniture, but no outdoor space for the furniture?
  9. Why do I have more than a dozen water bottles? Why do I have even a dozen water bottles, that's more than there are days in a week, am I planning on two-a-days? 
  10. Why do I have so many baking sheets? I don't need to eat 5 dozen cookies in the near future, and I don't own a bakery.
  11. Why do I still have VHS tapes, didn't Brian tell me to get rid of those in his first official solo blog post?
  12. What's with my shower, why am I not winning the contest for most nearly-empty-shampoo-bottles?
  13. So I've got 5+ winter coats. Why am I going on an expedition to Antarctica in the near future that I don't yet know about?!
  14. Why do I have so many random light bulbs, do any of these bulbs even fit in sockets?
  15. Why--I mean, the spice rack. I'm glad I can alphabetize my herbs, but why are most of them expired (i.e. 2 years or older)?
  16. Why don't I use pandora or spotify, aren't I embarrassed that I still have to wait for the disc to change in my CD player? (CD. that's compact disc. yup, they call them compact. sike.)
  17. Why is one pair of scissors better than the other, or is it just that I am competing in a contest to see how many different handle colors I can collect? (my apologies. you could have two pairs if you need safety scissors for small children [or large husbands])
  18. Riddle of the week: Why did the hoarder need so many sets of towels? (Because they were a hoarder. duh.)
  19. Speakers are dope, yo. Do mine still work? And if they do, why am I not using them coolio?
  20. Why the hell do you have so many holy socks!? This is not a riddle. Get rid of them, they are only good for cleaning out drawers (like sock drawers) and polishing said sock drawers with wood polisher. 
How did you do?! If you are at all interested in being somewhat of a minimalist - we just wanna say: we believe in you! If not, well, we still believe in you! - but we think you should read this blogpost again. ready? go.

Need not, 
Brian and Josey

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Vacation for minimalists!

CONFESSION: This photo is from last year but that cactus still exists. so...
I know we just got back from vacation, but we would like to go on another one, soon. In fact we don't think we can wait until next year, we have just self-proclaimed ourselves a multiple-vacation-per-year couple. In order to get better at vacationing on a dime we have made the executive decision to go on another trip before the end of the year. After all practice makes perfect.

Vacation can mean a lot of things, but to us it means getting on a plane and staying away from home for at least a week (though it would be splendid to eventually increase that number to double digit days of vacation). Vacation also means indulgence, and if you read the previous post you know that my indulgence is also a bit delusional, i.e. it involves lots of exercise, visiting a grocery store, and finding as many free/dirt cheap events and excursions as possible. But back to the point. wait. what is the point?

Ah yes. Vacation minimalist style. Here are our top 6 suggestions for cutting corners and allowing yourself to vacation as much as possible within limits of course, we still have to maintain relations with our family and friends, and a job. duh.

  1. Before the vacation it all starts with priorities. We want to travel therefore we save up for it, instead of spending money on eating out, movies, and other American culture necessities, we save up for trips - planning well in advance so that we know how much money we will need and reminding ourselves, every time we are tempted to overindulge in the extras of daily living, that a penny saved is a penny earned. or whatever.
  2. Cheap flights. Not quite yet an extinct idea. We recently traveled on Spirit airlines, bare minimum tickets (no checked baggage, peanuts, sodas or leg room. seriously.). But since airfare can chew into your budget immensely, and I have short legs, it pays to shop around and be patient for low fares. Also, when sitting on your (delayed) flight, thirsty, and suffering from salt withdrawal, remind yourself that it will all be worth it when you get to your exotic  destination, like South Carolina.
  3. Staying in a hostel. Okay, we admit it, there may be a slightly negative connotation with this option, but having both stayed in them we strongly disagree. Besides the fact that it will encourage you to get out of your room and explore the city you may be visiting (that's pretty much the whole point of going there, i think), it is a much more cost effective option. Be adventurous, stay in a hostel and really indulge yourself in the culture of vacationing. so exotic.
  4. Skip the week long vacation. I know I said at least a week, but sometimes just a few-days-get-away is enough to recharge and refuel so that you can get back to regular life with more zest and pip and zeal and maybe even... a tan.
  5. Experience the culture of wherever you go. Ditch the tourist traps and go for what the locals do. This has been made much easier with the advent of blogs. Do a quick google or pinterest search to find what exotic South Carolinians think is the best museum, the best historical sites, the best restaurants etc. and do those things (or at the very least pick from that list of things you would like to do). Maybe you really want to go to those commercial sites (usually they surround food) and that's okay too. But plan ahead and budget out what your priorities are.
  6. BUDGET! ARGGGG!!! Okay so $1000, including airfare, hotel, food and excursions. That's maximum. Usually it would be nice to keep that number under $600, but it is only realistic if you are incredibly savvy or if you know people with extra rooms in every exotic place you would like to travel to (also you have to feel okay with mooching off of said persons). Perhaps this seems easy to you, and if so kudos! If not I challenge you to indulge in a minimalist vacation for yourself! P.S. If you are a part of an average American couple this can be easily saved up by:

So since we are desperate for more vacations, we will continue our minimalist lifestyle, shunning our friends offers to hang out, selling all of our possessions, and of course working and saving our money. We're kidding of course, we only shun our friends 6 months out of the year.

Need not,
Brian and Josey

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Josey's on a vacation far away...

Brian and I love each other.
Gross. (CONFESSION: This is what my friend Haley would say, I think it's quite lovely.)
But we do, we like to just be with each other, so whether its a friend, a sibling, a companion or a lover (Haley: "Grosssss-er") get out and do stuff. It doesn't have to cost anything. Well for vacations-sake it really helps to know people who invite you to stay with them in exotic places like... Arizona! (insert oohs and aahs to your liking).

There are free things to do pretty much anywhere you go, often times it only takes a little bit of effort to find free things to do wherever you go. Do your research and you won't get caught up in gimmick-ee attractions that cost outrageous amounts of doll-hairs. Because making memories should be free or something like that. My vacation indulgences: anything related to exercise. I always like to push myself to work out harder then I normally do at home, especially if wearing a swimsuit is in the itinerary. This vacation we hiked up this monster mountain, a nine-mile jaunt burning no less than 1000 calories, accomplishing a 1500 feet in elevation gain. oh yeah. stairs are my enemy for the next week or two.

So I realize that not everyone thinks hitting' the gym is a riot, real fun involves burning calories with gut busting laughter created when playing... card games. A small investment in ridiculous card games will have a large payoff, here are 3 of our faves (thanks Sean and Tess):
  • We Didn't Playtest This At All
  • Quiddler
  • LRC (left. right. center. - quarters required)
The best part is that these all take up minimal space, in one bag. Which brings us to minimal packing. Brian challenged himself to bring one drawstring bag and I challenged myself to pack only in my bag and not beg Brian to smuggle some of my items in his. For guys it should be easy - okay for my guy its easy, he looks good in whatever he wears (Haley's not allowed to interject anymore). Girls, listen up. If you don't bring excessive clothing options then your forced to actually wear what you bring. Weird. Anyways, it also helps to use the hosts washer and dryer that way you can bring less unmentionables and undershirts etc. See photos (for what we packed, not for unmentionables).

jk. it's not a competition. woop woop! Brianna gets honorable mention because her Michael Khors bag is gorgeous
But what do we eat on said exotic vacation? Happy hour can be a huge money saver (even Haley would agree). But an even better idea is to eat before you go out. I know it sounds counterintuitive. But when you're on vacation eating out seems to be the thing to do, pick one night to splurge and the rest of the meals visit the grocery store and treat your wallet to a vacation! Then when your out with everyone you can actually restrict your appetite to just the happy hour menu and still feel satiated. Also try not to buy so much food the first grocery stop. Picture this: night before you leave for home and you have to eat any left over food: lunch meat, half a dozen eggs, a bag of pretzels, yogurt etc. No one wants to last-day-of-vacation-binge. Seriously, you can visit the grocery store more than once, it's allowed. I like to buy enough food for one meal at a time. easy. peasy.

Welp that's all we'd like to share for now,
 thanks for reading!
 Stay tuned for more...

Need not,
Brian and Josey

Monday, March 2, 2015

Okay, but why are we doing this?

There are simple facts and figures that have gone into our decision to purge the excess. Brian and I are avid learners; blogs, books and documentaries are a great resource for that, but we also draw on life experience - seeing how other people live and talking about how we want to live. Here are our top 5 resources for understanding the madness behind our method!

1.  Currently being filmed: Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. Click the link for sneak peaks! Best quote: "Life is better owning less." (CONFESSION: I almost shed a tear out of sheer joy and inspiration when watching the TINY HOME clip).

2. 20 ways Americans are blowing their money, it isn't pretty. Almost every one of these items is a part of how we minimal-ize our life. In a nutshell: Here's the top 10 list, in case clicking on the link is asking too much:
        10. Alcohol 9. Tobacco 8. Unused Gift Cards 7. Warranties That Cost as Much as the Product 6. Unused Gym Memberships 5. Lottery Tickets 4. Speeding and Traffic Tickets 3. Premium Cable Packages 2. Daily Coffee Trips 1. Wasted Energy
Best quote of the article:
The Huffington Post claims a person's chance of winning the lottery on a single ticket is one in 175 million. The odds of getting struck by lightning in your lifetime, being injured by a toilet this year, getting killed by a shark, and killed by an asteroid or comet are much more likely.
 Want to minimal-ize your life? Cut out all that junk! Seriously use less, buy less, less, less, lessssss. It's honestly not hard. Sometimes you just have to deny yourself those American "necessities". Check out the next resource if you feel passionate that being a human being = consuming.

3. The show Hoarders on A&E, the more you watch, the more you're shocked. Don't use the excuse that you would never let it get that bad - consumption is consumption, excess is excess even if it isn't quite to that point where your house is condemned and Adult Protective Services shows up at your front door with a psychiatrist.

2. How much stuffs do we all got? This article is a bit dated but we can assume that consumerism has only increased in the last 3 years. In a nutshell: we have thousands of items the article states one family home had 2,260 visible items tallied in 3 bedrooms (average amount of items in US household = 300,000) - so our quest to get rid of just one item each per week should fare just fine. In fact it might not even make a dent in the average household, lucky for us we only have one bedroom. Best quote of the article:
“If everyday life in the first few years of the twenty-first century has been characterized by anything... it is the American family’s willingness to work hard and shop hard, purchasing one well-marketed new product after another and taking on debt in a vigorous show of consumerism.”
1. But the biggest motivator in minimal-izing was our own motivation and priorities as a couple. You can make or break your own excuses, but for us it just isn't about consumption. It's about spending time together and exploring the world, one minimalist vacation at a time (Stay tuned for more on traveling as a minimalist)

Need to consume more knowledge? Check out these links:
The State of Consumption Today
8 Simple Living Blogs
This isn't a link: Count how many items are visible in the room you are currently sitting in, are you okay with that number? I'm not okay with my numbers, sad face.

Need not,
Brian and Josey