What I Have Learned from Minimalism

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To be grateful for what I have instead of giving it no thought

That I can get by with less and enjoy it

The meaning of ” less is more”

Direction in the right path

To bask in my uniqueness

Clutter takes up a lot of my resources

Listening to others instead of just waiting to speak

Being content, but not complacent.

Not taking so much personally.

 

It’s so much more than getting rid of the clutter in your house, it is de-cluttering your mind too.

 

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Trying to Become a Minimalist

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Recently, I joined a facebook group that’s goal is to become a minimalist. The group is based on the mins game from “The Minimalist” where you purge the number of items based on the day of the month. For instance, on the 13 th day, you would purge 13 items. It would be a total of 465 items at the end of the month based on a 30 day month.

I joined the group on November 3rd, 2013. I quickly caught up since I had only missed 2 days. So, I needed to purge 6 items that day.

I had done some extensive remodeling in the prior year and had donated, sold, trashed many items already being somewhat lean starting out. As I had already welcomed being a minimalist I aspired to address my remodel with a minimal style.

I have been aware of this lifestyle for about 4 years now, but I don’t think I really grasped the true meaning that it has for me until now. For me being a minimalist requires that I detach from my possessions, view them as something that I utilize to make my life pleasant.

Being in the group has enlightened my minimal journey by reading and discussing so many ideas that maybe I wouldn’t have thought about. It has also been an encouragment to let go. During the last few months, I have let go of so much more. At this point, I have already purged all of the obvious clutter, now I am down to items that I have hung onto forever. Including gifts, childhood memoribilia, and what if items.

The facebook group as also kept me focused on what I am doing and why. Before, I mainly went through the motions of decluttering, but now I realize that minimalism is so much more. It is a lot about being grateful for what I have and to stop chasing the wrong things in life.

Overall, I love being part of the group and how it has helped me, mainly by helping myself to by minimalistic journey.

Pilates…My New Exercise

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I signed up for a Pilates class as part of the Kinesiology courses I am taking.  I had sampled it before, but never took a true Pilates class.  I wanted to try it out and see what it is all about.  I didn’t think it was something I would benefit from significantly, maybe only indirectly.  Since I began Pilates, I see that there is a real significance in it for me.  It has been a refreshing experience.

I checked out the book, “The Pilates Body” by Brooke Siler, from the library as our teacher had requested.  I read through the first part of the book where it explains the background and principles of Pilates.  I started getting interested and taking focus of what our teacher had been explaining in class, also, considering the benefits of Pilates for me.

Pilates has helped me in the sense that I think it would be a great compliment to any other type of workout regime and a good workout on its own.  For example, the flexibility would be useful to be able to have full range of motion in other workouts or in daily activities.  Also, the lengthening of the muscles would be a great asset to the muscle building aspects of body building exercises.  Pilates also develops body strength and this is what I am looking for in a workout.  This would help to give me the strength for my weight lifting.  Since Pilates concentrates of good form and focus, these principles can be applied with any other exercises.

I went to the gym today and as I worked out, I focused on my breathing. In Pilates, the breath is important to help perform the exercise.  I found that this breathing actually helped me to get through my reps and to stay focused.

Strengthening my core has helped in performing my exercises correctly and to maintain good posture even in my daily living.   Since I work at a desk all day, it is important for me to maintain good posture while sitting for long periods of time.  Practicing Pilates is a great way to strengthen the core and to help maintain correct posture.

I have benefitted from learning Pilates this semester and hope to maintain the exercise after this four-week session is done.  Since I work out quite a bit, I feel like I haven’t seen much difference in my body  from Pilates so far.  However, I do know that the principles have helped me in my workouts and daily living.  I think that with advanced Pilates workouts, that I would see an increase in strength and flexibility.

Pilates O que é Pilates e quais seus benefícios?

I’m glad that this class worked into my schedule this semester and I look forward to keeping up Pilates in the future.  Staying strong in the core and flexible are key in staying fit as we age.

What Mimimalism Means to Me

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I was reading a post from Becoming Minimalist about the subject and was thinking about what minimalism really means to me.  What true minimalism means to me is not to have distracting objects–objects that cause irritation. It also means the ability to let go and not look back.

I have donated a lot of my stuff to charity, mainly, New Leash on Life Thrift and Architectual Salvage to help out the Franklin County Humane Society.  I have never regretted anything I gave them because I have the comfort of knowing that the revenues generated are going for a wonderful cause.

What I believe to be true minimalism is to not be attached to things, this to me is more important than the getting rid of things. If you purge and then regret it constantly, then the de-cluttering did not have worth.  Letting go of it and moving on is what I want for my minimalism.

To be free of the objects, clear of thought, to move onward.  To derive pleasure from the freedom.

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Being Committed Versus Sort of Being Committed

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I have worked out regularly for about half my life. Wow, I didn’t realize that until I just wrote it…I’m getting old! OK, back to my post.  I’ve been working out a long time.  This year I have decided that I should meet my goals or make new ones.  My problem is that I never meet my potential.  I get sort of there, but then stop. My time and energy is being wasted on agonizing rather than doing….not efficient.

My goal is to get more muscle definition.  Actually, I am trying to defy gravity.

To help get motivated, I recently enrolled in a Hyperdrive class.  I need structure and thought this would help to jump start my committment to getting into the shape I desire. Next, I want to step up my cardio workouts which as of now only consist of lap swimming and walking my dogs.  I plan to start attending a Zumba class one day per week.  My other plan is to step up my weight training intensity.

Being committed to something means giving that goal focus.  After my first Hyperdrive class, our trainer, Trent Salo, gave us a thought for the day, it was “courage”. He meant the courage to make change.  Making changes is the only way to improve your life, without it, everything stays the same.  I thought, that is me!! He said that if you keep doing what you are doing, you will get the same results.  I thought, I’ve been bench pressing the same weight for about 1 year.  My goal is to press my weight which will be an increase of 35 pounds.

Being committed to something takes some work, I will have to watch my diet more closely, make sure I am performing a 100% during my workouts, and record my progress. 

Goals need to be worthwhile for one to work hard for them.  I know that I will have more confidence and feel better if I put 100% of my efforts toward my goal!! 

Thanks for visiting my blog!

My Hi…..

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I recently wrote a post about adopting my beagle/chi mix Greenlee.  Well, I can’t let my Heidi Rebekah go without a post!!  So, here is her story.

Heidi is a purebred Treeing Walker Coonhound, this is an american breed that started right here in the central bluegrass state.   These dogs can bring well up into the multiples of thousands of dollars or they can end up on death row, as did Heidi.

Heidi came to the pound as a stray who had been sprayed by a skunk!  The pound decided to use Heidi as a model for their temperament testing classes.  Heidi has a wonderful disposition that helped her to be able to “stay” awhile longer at this rural KY pound where hound dogs are considered “unadoptable”. 

Luckily, Heidi was such a looker and charmer she caught the attention of one of the volunteers…Rebecca.  Rebecca had been working with Heidi on some manners.  One day, Rebecca went to the pound and told the workers, ” I’m going to give Heidi her bath today.”  The reply, “Don’t bother, she ‘s going to the freezer tonight.”  Rebecca plainly stated, “The only place she is going is home with me!”.  Heidi was saved!!  The pound knew Heidi was a great dog , but space only permits so many spots and since Heidi wasn’t a popular type to be adopted and she had been there awhile, she fell onto the list.

Rebecca placed Heidi up for adoption through Willow Creek Sanctuary and was posted on Petfinder.  That’s where I saw her and decided to meet her.

.Heidi playing!

She spent 6 months in foster care until I adopted her.  During that time, Rebecca did an amazing job of training Heidi.  When I got her, she was crate , leash , and house trained, she would also sit, stay, and come.  She had been spayed, micro-chipped, gotten all shots, bathed, and nails trimmed.  She was sassy and ready to go!!! 

I have had Heidi for 5 years this week.  Coonhounds can be a challenge at times, their strong prey drive rules their entire being, but they are also loving and friendly.

If you are in the market for a pet, please try Petfinder there are many breeds, about 25% are purebreds if you desire a specific type of pet.  Many rescues are breed specific.

Rescues are a great addition to humane societies.  The benefit of rescue is that the animals actually live with a foster family, this makes it great to match up with potential adopters.  When I got Heidi, there were no surprises, I knew all about her.

Please consider adopting or donating to rescue groups, many times, they use their own personal funds for the maintenance of the animals, more money = more rescues!!

My dogs-- Heidi in the middle with the huge smile!!

My dogs– Heidi in the middle with the huge smile!!

 
 

I Rescued Greenlee

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As I sat at my dining table, I peered down at my two dogs lying there warm in front of the fire. They seemed so complete.  I started to think about one of my dogs inparticularly.  Greenlee.  She is a beagle/chihuahua mix that I adopted when she was around eight years old. The poor little thing had obviously had a tumultuous life prior to that.  She arrived at a rural high kill shelter dirty, with ear mites, skinny, and terrified. 

Luckily for her a wonderful rescue  http://shelbycohumanesociety.com/index.php saved her.  It was 3 months later that I adopted her.

Greenlee the year I adopted her.

Greenlee the year I adopted her.

  I have had Greenlee for over four years now and as I watched her sleep, it made me reflect.  This dog had less than nothing for 8 years which is about half her life considering dog life spans.  She now has everything she needs:  high quality food, fresh water, shelter from the elements, and me, who loves this little one dearly. 

There is so much I can learn from this.  She never wants or asks for a new better shinier collar or the lastest fashion in food bowls.  She has all that she needs to be happy, her needs, nothing more. 

I’ve been on a mission for a minimalistic simple life for sometime now.  I can learn from Greenlee, she has mastered it!

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Greenlee modeling her new sweater that Grandma bought her.  Gotta bend those minimalist rules for Grandma's!!

Greenlee modeling her new sweater that Grandma bought her. Gotta bend those minimalist rules for Grandma’s!!

Indulgence — No Thanks!

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Over the holidays I found a free copy of the Sunday newspaper in my driveway each week.  I assume this was so that we would get used to getting the paper and want to keep getting it and to shower us with all of the holiday ads.  However, I was glad to get the paper on Sunday, I do enjoy the puzzles and some of the features.

I noticed during the weeks that I got the paper that there is a section called “Homeseller”, it is filled with ads from realtors and listings of homes sold.  There is also a feature each week of a family and their home.

Each week that I browsed this section I would read about the family and their home.  No surprising that each of these homes was magnificent in stature.  The articles would read about the magnitude of the home and it’s oppulence.  I suppose no one would want to see a home that is smaller than 5000 square feet!!

Newport, Rhode Island mansions by Ken Papai

One such featured home that caught my attention had 9000 square feet with six bedrooms and five full baths.  This home is owned by a couple in their 60’s.  The article boasted of it’s decor and location.  It has a 18′ X 23′ screened in porch, as if the house wasn’t already large enough for two. The house also features a 3200 square foot basement and brazilian teak wood floors throughout the house.

The reason this house was chosen to be featured was for its Christmas decorations.  The house had five Christmas trees, it took them over a week to set up all of the garlands, trees, lights, ornaments, etc.  Seems a little overwhelming to me.

All of this is turned on my remote control.  The man of the house “leaped out of bed each morning so that he could push the button.”  He was an engineer so I’m sure he easily figured out how to do that.

Christmas decorating was a huge affair for the lady of the house, she spent weeks and would take pictures of it so that she could study them the next year for needed changes.  Oh and she also gave away some of the old decor to charity when she bought new.

The ritual was to turn on the beautiful lights and decorations and then their 3 grandchildren came over for food and games.  The basement is filled with games for them to play: air hockey, skee ball, pop-a-shot, and Pac-Man machines.  To add to the collection of games the grandmother is asking Santa for a vintage pinball machine.  Oh so nice.  There is also a tv and a cabinet stocked full of video games and a pantry full of snacks that everyone loves to eat.

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I’m sure the gist of this article is to impress people with the over indulgence of this home.  To make us want more, to buy more, to work harder for these riches.  To live vicariously through this couple.  No doubt they have worked hard to get and maintain this lifestyle.  I can admire someone working hard.

Not only the home was over indulgent, the picture of the couple showed them both to be obese. Not surprising since their basement was filled with video equipment, televisions, food, couches, etc.  No gym equipment or books on the shelves.

I was supposed to be impressed with the over indulgent way that this family lives, but I found  it to be quite disturbing and overwhelming.  I was thinking of all of the resources that go into maintaining this home and to build. The work, money, planning, the effect on the environment, worry, stress, on and on.

Impressed?  No thanks!!

New Pinch Pleat Drapes and Kvartal Blinds

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I finally got my pinch pleat draperies and Kvartal blinds put up over the holiday break.  Whew, I have put that one off forever!!  I try to avoid any type of work that requires drilling holes.  I got my daughter to help me with this task since it does require two people.  She did most of the work since she actually enjoys this type of thing.

Kvartalful

I made these pinch pleat draperies and no I do not sew much.  I took a sewing class and made these, it can’t be hard if I can do it.  I have no natural sewing talents.  My teacher was very good, even though I did all of the work, she was a terrific guide.  There is no way I could have done this type of job without her help. 

 The class was 6 weeks of 3 hour classes.  I had to do much of the work at home because of the size of the draperies.  Since I hung them from the ceiling, they were long and quite cumbersome to handle. 

My inspiration for my living room with this photo in a magazine.

KvartalIns

I love these colors and the print of the drapes, I think my fabric does a great job of simulating these draperies that were from the 1970’s.  I only with I had that view out of my front window!!  That table is to die for also!

I decided to use the IKEA Kvartal system for the blinds, I really like the clean lines and versatility of hanging them from the ceiling.

My daughter did a wonderful tutorial on the Kvartal blind system that we installed.  http://ex-scapes.com/2013/01/03/tutorial-ikea-kvartal-curtain-system/

Check it out if you are planning to install this system.  Any tidbits can really help.

Kvartal

My draperies took a lot of planning and work and I am happy with the way it all turned out.  Believe me, I had my fingers crossed when we hung the drapes, it was the first time I had seen them fully enough to see if they really were going to look professional.

The Nitty Gritty of a Clean and Simple Home

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I have been doing remodeling for about one year and my goal is to have a clean, simple, and comfortable home.  I have de-cluttered quite a bit and most likely had way less clutter than the average home for starters.

Still, I find that I have too much stuff.  My home is a little over 1200 square feet which was an average size home for a family in 1953 when it was built.  I live there with my 2 rescued dogs and 2 rescued cats.  So, 1200 and something square feet should be plenty of space.

Interesting enough is that I only actually use about half of my house — the kitchen, the bathroom, and my bedroom.  In reality, I only need about 600 sq feet.  The rest of the house mainly houses my stuff. 

The de-cluttering I have done has been the easy stuff and some of the hard stuff.  The easy stuff is what you don’t use or have used up and needs to be thrown away, I actually enjoy de-cluttering this stuff.  Then there is the harder stuff: gifts, things you had as a child, memorable items, that sort of clutter.  This is when it gets hard to de-clutter.

I have tried to be strong and remember that if I keep these items, I will only put them in a box and leave them there to deteriorate. That is a waste and a cop-out.  By keeping items that I know I’ll never use doesn’t help me with my goal of clean and simple.  

For instance, my mother gave me a set of beautiful china about 15 years ago that she bought at an estate sale.  I love this set, but I have never used it and it has been in a box for about 15 years.  Why would I keep this?  My solution is to take pictures of it and then rehome it.  This is the type of “stuff” that I find heart wrenching to re-home. 

However, a box of fragile china is not going to make my home simple or comfortable, so out the dishes go!! 

Next challenge——-my toys from when I was a child!!  Now this is going to be a hard one!

How do you stand up to the challenge of getting rid of items that are dear to your heart???