When I started taking (honest) stock of our spending and consuming habits, I very quickly realized that we spent a TON on "projects". Mostly house related and although I'd say for the most part since I'm married to a ridiculously handy person (and I'm not totally useless myself) we got a lot of bang for our buck, it was still a lot of buck. I know part of it is new homeownership and wanting to make our place "ours", but it's a slippery slope. The reality is that there is a lot that we can "live with" for now, and fix (the right way!) down the line when we have the money and time. And on top of that, I was in the bad habit of buying cool or funky house-related decor or storage or general kitsch that we just didn't need. Stuff that looked cool in a store or online, and looked cool in our house, but just added to a general feeling of clutter because it was purchased on a whim or without much of a plan.
All in all, we were spending money we didn't have on things we didn't need. I think it's a pretty well-told story. But we're project people, and summer is here (project time!) so what to do? Here are the two biggest things we've focused on:
It's been a month or so since my husband and I decided to be mindful about our minimalism; essentially trying to understand and live by minimalist principles for quite a few reasons (I've talked about them here.) So far, we've cleaned out our closets, put ourselves on a spending freeze (paying for necessities but holding off on any "nice to have" purchases) and have been seeking to answer the question "how can we simplify?" in lots of areas of our life.
It's been an incredibly freeing month for me in particular. I love that we stuck a flag in the sand and started taking control of our finances, our actions, our home. I feel like I was more and more frequently conflating want with need and was caught in the endless back and forth of consuming what I thought we needed (but really just wanted) and the inevitable stress of feeling the financial pinch afterwards. Four things in particular have helped me come to a happy, fulfilling place this month. I suppose they could be called "tips", but really, they're foci to help shift your brain towards thinking more holistically about minimalism:
It's pretty obvious from the title of this blog that I live in a small space. At 1,200 square feet, the house I share with my husband, toddler son and rescue dog is pretty tiny for American standards. For the five years we rented this house as a couple + a dog, the lack of square footage was never really an issue. But once we had our son, bought our home and started making some major changes to the space (including taking down a main wall to create an "open concept" main floor) the smallness started to feel really claustrophobic.
Which was surprising.
We have always aimed to keep things "simple" (we don't even own a TV!) and generally don't clutter up our space with lots of decor. But we had never really made a conscious effort to not consume; my husband and I hadn't sat down, looked each other in the eye and decided to be mindful about being minimalists. The biggest drivers for us to have that conversation were trifold: becoming a family of three + changing the shape of our space + needing to manage our money better. I'll walk you through the why + how of each.
Hi! I'm Erin.
I'm a working mama, wife, writer and owner of a little red house. I'm trying to sort through the noise and live a life that is genuine, happy and grounded in simplicity.