Personal Steps to a Slower Paced Life

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Last week was a most enjoyable week for me and I realized that starting to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle is what I had to thank for that.  I’ve posted before about how noisy it seemed my life had become and pulling back from that noise and finding some quiet moments has been very therapeutic and refreshing for me.

slower paced life

The Highlights

My son and I spent some time in a nearby park feeding the ducks and taking in some fresh air before a storm rolled in.  I also finally got my flowers planted in my flower beds, which was very hard work.  It felt good to be outside instead of inside on the computer.  I also wake up each morning and have my coffee, then take a short walk around my backyard to check on the small garden we planted this year.

I successfully started the cleaning out process of our home.  The kitchen and front living room has been cleaned and rid of excess and things we no longer use.  I can’t tell you how much more enjoyable it is to cook when pots and pans aren’t falling out of the cabinets on you.

We had an enjoyable lunch with some extended family Thursday.  I tried something different on the menu and discovered I loved it.  It was so nice to have conversations face-to-face, instead of through Facebook and text messaging.

More naps and reading!  I checked out Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up:  The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing from our local library.  This book has been a HUGE eye-opener about the things I have been holding onto for various reasons.  I have so much more to say about this book, but I will save it for another post.  I never imagined a book could be so valuable when it comes to decluttering, but this method just makes so much sense!

I’ve even noticed that I’m just breathing better.  Doesn’t that sound crazy?  I just feel a calming over me that I haven’t felt in a long while.  In turn, I’m breathing deeper and easier and feel better.  I’m also not as easily annoyed at little things that used to annoy me.

Thanks to Minimalism

So far on my minimalism journey I’ve found that clearing out all of the things (clutter, noise, distractions, and yes…even people) that don’t bring you joy or anything positive to the table is very freeing.  I’m finally starting to hear my own thoughts better and focusing more attention on what really matters to me.  Things are becoming much more manageable, especially when it comes to household chores, and it seems like this natural little hum to life has suddenly come about.

I’m not naive enough to think that minimalism will suddenly solve all of my problems and I’ll never have another crappy day/life experience ever again.  However, I’m becoming a better manager of my time and focus and relationships and this is what makes it all worthwhile to me.

 

 

 

I Love Minimalist Blogging Already

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I’m only three posts into my new blog, but I love minimalist blogging already.

I’m not a stranger to blogging.  I’ve had a blog since 2008.  Back when it started, it was considered a “mom blog” and what started as just a hobby quickly grew into blogging for money.  I enjoyed many perks from mom blogging.  I got to review some great products and was even paid to showcase these products and services on my blog.  It provided a nice little side gig income of anywhere from $200- $500 a month and sometimes even more.  That may sound like chump change to some, but I already had a full time job and this little “extra” was just that.  It helped pay for some frivolous things we didn’t necessarily need.

minimalist blogging

Blogging Competition is No Fun

Blogging was so easy in the first few years.  It was more personal and there weren’t that many other bloggers.  Social media was in the infant stages and quality of content mattered.  “Influencer”, “building a brand”, “sales funnels”, and other terms such as that didn’t exist.   I haven’t really enjoyed blogging since 2012, but I’ve hung in there and plugged along, certain that any day now it would suddenly provide me with a full time income.  Isn’t that why most people even start blogs now?  I have a close, core group of blogging buddies.  We all started out at the same time.  Many of them have gone on to achieve internet fame and all but a small handful have quit their day jobs and blog full time.  That was always my dream.  I just wanted to be home to take care of my family and my home.

I never started my blog with the intention of it replacing my day job, but a couple of years in, I saw where it could definitely become a reality if you just worked hard.  So I invested money in expensive, fancy blog designs.  I participated in a blog course that could have paid more than half of my mortgage, but it promised me that if I just did all. of. the. crazy. things that I would be blogging my way to a full time income in no time!  I bought every e-book I could get my hands on dealing with how to increase blog traffic, become a social media expert, take stunning blog pictures, and write fantastic content.  I sunk money into blogging resources like Tailwind, stock photography, virtual assistants to schedule out my posts to social media channels, and joined every forum for women bloggers I could possibly join and read.  The only thing I didn’t do was purchase a fancy DSLR camera, and I can’t believe I didn’t even do that!

Reaching Blogging Burnout

So where has sinking these thousands of dollars into my mom blog over the course of nine years gotten me?  Certainly not blogging full time where I can quit my day job.  My photography still sucks.  I can’t make an affiliate sale to save my life.  My traffic has tanked.  I can’t keep up with all of the social media channels or posting attention-grabbing content around the clock to drive traffic to my blog.  The best of the best bloggers had it down to a science, and they made it hard for the rest of us to keep up.  I had to feature fabulous organic recipes with top notch photography, in-depth product reviews, dispense expert parenting advice, make my home look like Pottery Barn threw up all over it, dress like I only shopped at Anthropologie, and make these picture-perfect Instagram shots.  It was all so exhausting and mentally draining.   I’m fresh out of creative ideas to blog about and just left wondering how all of my blogging tribe has achieved success with their blogs and I’m so far behind them when we all started out at the same time.  They were getting featured in magazines, on major news outlets, and commanding thousands of dollars for one post.  It seemed as if by the time I had learned a new blogging trick to make things better, the industry was changing yet again.  I’m a glutton for punishment, so it has taken me a long time to admit defeat.

Choosing Minimalist Blogging

Starting this minimalist blog has been so freeing.  It’s actually a topic I have so much to write about.  I decided that if I started this blog I wasn’t going to sink a ton of money into it.  I’m blogging on a free blog theme.  I paid exactly $9 to make my own logo and $10 to set up a domain name.  I’m hosted on another account under my main blog, so that wasn’t an extra expense.  Compared to all of the expenses for my other blog, this is definitely minimalist blogging for me.

I feel no pressure to be on all of the social media channels and follow 14,000 people just because we’re in the same blogging niche or because someone followed me so I *have* to follow them back.  I’m not worrying about SEO or getting chosen for ambassadorships or sponsored posts.  I no longer feel the need to participate in blogging giveaways or roundups to gain followers on social media and boost my traffic.  I haven’t set up a Facebook page or an Instagram page for this little blog yet because I just don’t really even like Instagram and Facebook and I have a love/hate relationship at the moment.  And you know what?  I don’t even care.  It gives me more time to read relevant content on things I actually care about and I prefer discovering that content through Twitter and Pinterest.  Speaking of Twitter, I got so excited when I finally got my first follower yesterday!  And when someone retweeted me just because they wanted to and not because I was participating in a sharing thread where bloggers tweet one another in return for other social media shares, you would have thought I had won the lottery!  And because I don’t want to be a slave to social media just to keep up with different blogs, I finally set up a Feedly account so I never miss a post.  I prefer this to signing up for updates from blogs on an individual basis because that’s less clutter in my inbox.  I want to use social media to strictly share ideas and interact with like-minded people and not just a place to share my latest posts.

I also feel no pressure to have to compare myself with other minimalist bloggers.  The minimalist niche seems to be a very open and helpful community as a whole and I love to read what others think about minimalism because I always come away with a different way of thinking about something or a great idea for living a more intentional life.  It doesn’t feel like a competition and I’m grateful for that because I have no desire to compete with anyone for anything at this point in my life.

Minimalist blogging just feels very freeing.  I will never make blogging my day job, and I am fine with this now.  I actually enjoy my day job and even though it gets stressful at times, I really have a great job, a great boss, and work with some fantastic kids.  I have so much to be grateful for.

Why I’m Becoming a Minimalist

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I’m sure there are a million different reasons why people become minimalists. Some of these reasons are pretty universal and common, but I thought I would share why I’m becoming a minimalist since we all have different ways of arriving at this decision.

A couple of months ago I noticed I was personally becoming very agitated and unfocused. I felt like nothing I ever did was good enough and found myself spending money on things to try and help me feel better about myself. I constantly compared myself to others and using social media left me unsatisfied and frustrated because it just fueled the comparison fire in me.

becoming a minimalist

Realizing the Need for Minimalism

I took me a little while to realize that my head had become so cluttered that I was losing sight of the bigger picture in life and that I was doing nothing but feeding my discontentment. I had become so consumed with making money, trying to be what the world said I should be and looking like the world says I should look like. I was very discontent with just about everything in my life, except for my family life, and I actually felt a little hopeless and like nothing I did mattered. I struggled to find purpose.

I noticed our home was also becoming a little cluttered. My closet was overflowing, yet I seem to wear the same few outfits in constant rotation. We had duplicates of just about everything in the kitchen and the drawers became stuffed. A million books lined out bookshelves. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s pretty close. My makeup drawers (all three!) had become a disaster zone for getting ready in the morning.

I had too much choice and too much choice for me makes it harder to make a decision.

DECIDING WHAT I REALLY WANTED AND NEEDED

I realized what I craved in life was order. I wanted to know where everything was in my home and not have to wade through drawers and closets full of junk to find it. I wanted a simplified routine when it came to dressing and putting on makeup. I wanted open spaces with minimal clutter and furniture. I wanted less debt and worry about money. I wanted to be able to stop comparing myself to everyone on social media and tune out the constant noise the world tried to crowd my head with to convince me that if I just had ___________ I would finally be happy/pretty/richer.

The Journey Begins

As I’m writing this, I’m exactly about two weeks into this lifestyle change to becoming a minimalist. I have so much to do and many decisions to make, but I already feel instantly better just knowing that the very conscious choices I’m making and will make from here on out will only free me up to enjoy my life more and be a blessing to others.

Are you a Minimalist or Just Tidy?

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Are you a minimalist or just tidy?  Not exactly sure what it means to be a minimalist?  I recently ran across this definition of a minimalist and I absolutely love it.  Tidy, according to every online dictionary I’ve consulted, means to have things neat and in order.  By this definition, I’m definitely a tidy person.

are you a minimalist

Since minimalism is a process, I can confidently say I’m definitely in the throws of this process.  I have done quite a bit of reading online about minimalism and it’s a lifestyle that looks different to different people.  I used to think being a minimalist meant you had to live in a tiny house or apartment, not buy anything, have bare walls and very minimal furniture and other worldly possessions.  I am relieved to know that’s not the case unless you just want it to be.  I think minimalism is having just enough to give you the freedom to do what you want to do in life.  My minimalism might look like just a tidy little mess to some, but it may be very neat and orderly to others.

Being tidy is vital to my well-being.  If that sounds ridiculous, it probably is, but I just function better overall if everything is clean and organized.  Clutter makes me crazy and it can be physical clutter or just ideas and things cluttering my brain.  I prefer order in all aspects of my life, but learning to go with the flow and realize that I can’t control everything is a continuous learning process for me.

Since the definitions of tidy and minimalist are so subjective, I do believe it’s possible to be one or the other or even both all at once.  I don’t feel very minimalist at the moment, but it’s the direction I feel myself moving in.