Monday, May 25, 2015

Does not rhyme with Mike Wazowski

New shoes are nice. They are clean, they fit snuggly, everybody notices that they are new, and compliments you. (CONFESSION: Compliments are the best). But as I was walking to the gym today I felt myself in a little bit of a consumerism bind. I've had my gym shoes for longer than most, about 8 years. I desperately want a new pair, not because they have holes, or are dirty or run down. Nope I want new shoes because I live in America, the land of the free-to-buy-new-shoes-before-the-old-ones-are-used-up. This is a major dilemma, you know, for the minimalism part of my conscious. This is also a major bummer.

Why should I give in to these deviant temptations? And why should I get rid of perfectly good shoes, that I bought and paid for, that I have yet to use up?

TOMS is one company that is attempting to shed some light on the shoes issue. Started in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie (does not rhyme with Mike Wazowski) with a pretty simple business model: One for One, which expands past just shoes. I am sure your familiar with the company (otherwise click here) and the point of this all is...

...the point is...

Kudo's to Lee Hughes.
You really used those up.
...well the point is I don't need new gym shoes, although I may want new gym shoes. The point is minimalism isn't just about giving stuff up, its also about giving up getting stuff. Giving up getting stuff. Give it up already!

Right now while I am sitting here lamenting my shoe non-issue approximately 300 million children and 1.5 billion adults in the world don't have shoes, let alone a dilemma about whether or not they should buy new shoes. Why do I need to over consume? Why can't I be satiated with the pair that I have now!? I am by no means preaching that you wonderful, kind, readers should stop reading, package up all of your shoes and ship them to an impoverished country. Please, don't do that (at least not before researching where to send them: Soles4Soles). I am merely trying to justify not buying new gym shoes. Because I simply don't need them.

Meanwhile Brian literally wears his shoes out - you have to be able to see toes through duct tape repair patches before they can be relinquished. Thinking I won't go that far, but I know I can use up my gym shoes a lot more before even thinking about new ones.

Need not,

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Consumerism Temptations

It seems as though everywhere we go there are temptations. Eat more, spend more, buy more - more, more, more. Of course we all give in to temptation, and often times we have guilty feelings buying things even though not all purchases are unnecessary or excessive. You've got to pay your bills, buy food to eat, and it's not crazy to want something to entertain ourselves with. BUT being a minimalist it seems as though a simple outing to Target or the grocery store has turned into a hellish errand invented to really mess with our determination.

It is important to separate a good deal from a great deal.
Something might be on sale, but could it still be found cheaper elsewhere? Our new favorite online 'elsewhere': Lucky Vitamin. (Hint: check out the "Shop by: Specialty" to find items that won't contribute to carcinogens - what a great perk!).

Is it even really a sale?
Okay so you know how Kohl's gives you that dollar amount on the receipt - "You Saved $54.95" which is meant to make you feel good, but in all honesty seems like a bunch of baloney (see "Pricing for Idiots"). In my mind any clothing bought should be $1 (yes - you heard right - see previous blog My Mid-winter Wardrobe Update) and should be recycled (motivation for buying used clothing found here).

Know how to really spot the outrageous deals.
Target for instance and their clearance stickers (see: How To Shop Target Clearance). My new goal is to wait it out until the non-necessary clearance item is 70% off or better... if the item is still there (waiting ever so patiently for me to give in), then I win! I get to buy said non-necessary item and keep most of my money the store was trying to take from me in the form of markups.

And although it might truly be on sale, and for a very cheap price - do I actually need it? It's important to stick to our lists, replace the items you use, and really be a conscious consumer, and most of all - keep the receipt in case of buyers remorse (CONFESSION: this happens to me often).

Anyways, it's Sunday so it's time to go gather our item(s) for the week - what are you getting rid of today?

Need not,

Sunday, May 3, 2015

House hunting

Josey and I have been roughing it for the last five years; at least that's how she describes our living arrangements. Unable to put paint on the walls, blast loud techno music late at night, and park closer than 20 feet to our front door - all #FirstWorldProblems... But the economics of it all forces me to agree that we should start seriously house hunting - only problem is this minimalist movement that we've started for ourselves. It makes it really hard to want to buy bigger.

We know the location we desire, the schools that we feel would be good for our future unborn children, and the commutes that we are willing to make, as well as the amount of money we want to invest - what we are feeling stumped on -- how big is too big? For some people that answer comes easily (Go Big Or Go Home!); but for us we aren't so convinced. We feel more than comfortable in our one bedroom apartment, in fact wouldn't feel stressed out if we went smaller - after all we only use our bedroom for sleeping, practically never sit at our dining room table but instead use it for other functions, and feel as though our galley kitchen has one to many empty cupboards to desire an upsize.

So how do we know what square footage will satiate our minimalism needs in the present, but allow for maximum sanity in the future (with an unknown number of unborn children). I think we are leaning towards the 1950s average house size, and we're hoping that going smaller, going sustainable and green, will lower our eco footprint (mind you ours is still a two earths per person). Certainly buying a house is no joke - it's a huge investment and even huger commitment. I think for right now it's one that we need to research a little bit more, and don't worry parents a tiny house on wheels is not on our wish list (at least not for our first house!).

Need not,