clearing clutter, chaos, & consumption

white space.

 

 

 

 

 

white space is often referred to as negative space. in graphic design and literature it is the portion of a page left unmarked allowing for margin. the absence of visual and non visual elements.

in the beginning of this year, i found myself questioning where in my own life i created this margin?

 

“White Space is where the world and all distraction falls away. Where the voice of the Divine can be heard. Where the Truth of who you are is found. Where miracles happen.”

― valerie rickel

 

disclosure: i am in the beginning phases of calling myself a minimalist, and do not by any definition of the word feel that i will someday live with all my belongings in a backpack. i am simply a woman seeking to clear the clutter, chaos and consumption.

 

okay now that we got that out of the way…i must also say, minimizing hasn’t even always been a concept i thought was for me. in fact, i used to pride myself as a thrift store junky and guaranteed to have you beat on the most finds. even if i knew i didn’t have a place for it at the moment i bought it, i knew one day i might “need” it.

 

 

i went through a major life change in the summer of 2016 and shopping ended up being my means of coping. i found myself shopping and thrifting so frequently that my shoes no longer fit on my already custom made shelves, and my closet doors no longer shut. my house became harder to clean and keep organized and i found it overwhelming.

i began feeling utter chaos. the pressures of stuff, a full calendar, and mismanaged debt. the things around me where closing in on me and the jammed packed closets created more stress and frustration than joy in my life. my mind felt the same. overwhelmed and full of disorder.

in the beginning of this year my life had yet another plot twist.  it began to feel so overwhelming i actually couldn’t stand the thought of purchasing another item, and needed to rid myself of the heaviness of the possessions i already had (luckily for me, i have a husband who supports, almost, all of my crazy ideas and rampages.)

i never had a big “ah-ha!” moment, beginning in january i literally just lacked desire to head to the store to consume more “stuff.” i desired clarity, space, and simplicity in all areas of my life, and for the first time actually felt okay with it.

 

 

so this is how my journey in minimizing began. loads of items plagued our home and i began clearing the clutter one item at a time. i started with my closets (yes, this is plural), ventured on to my kitchen utensils and pantry, then my basement and bathroom. i sold things, donated things and threw out the garbage.

i realized i had less of a connection then i thought i did to the physical possessions in my home. less desire to keep things for the “some day” that never actually comes.

we think we need  things because we’ve been told we needed them by society. the impact of this journey on my family, has been extremely rewarding to watch. our children are growing up in the most materialistic generation to date. what are we teaching them about the value of stuff over self? i didn’t want to send that same message in what was supposed to be their sanctuary.

 

 

i started immersing myself in the concept.  i was curious how others achieved their goals in minimizing and simplifying. i looked at and listened to TED talks, blogs, books and pinterest. i embarked on this journey of simplifying, desiring to be more and more aware of where else in my life white space needed to be created.

i learned quickly that my version of minimizing may look very different than the next person, however the general concept is the same for all of us.  we are able to find joy in what we have and it introduces us to a slower pace in life.

i also quickly learned that i have a lot of drawers! drawers in our tv stand, drawers in the kitchen, drawers in the bathroom, drawers in drawers. WHY are so many drawers necessary?

my closet may never only have 33 items. okay, well lets be honest, it NEVER will because i LOVE shoes way too much, but i have begun eliminating anything in my closet i have not worn or doesn’t make me feel second to none.

focus on the things that make you the happiest, feel the prettiest and calm the soul.

 

 

i’m not going to lie minimizing is a scary adventure. at times i thought, but what if?  what if i would wear that again? what if i would need that citrus juicer i found buried in the back of my pantry? what if i could use that for something else in the future? or better yet what if my 10 year old daughter would need something like this when she moves off to college? the letter from 3 years ago my bank sent out about some sort of promotional event was an easier decision to toss, or was it? what if i needed that as a fire starter?

i mean really… isnt that how we think sometimes? somebody help me out and tell me this isn’t only me.

 

when you get something new you should ask yourself: is this adding value to my life?

 

 

besides the obvious physical clutter in the closets and on the shoe racks, i began digging even deeper into the process of cleaning out my mind.

1 Corinthians 14:33 says “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”
he desires peace for our lives… we should too. i began allowing quiet time for myself. free from distraction to truly listen. listen to him. listen to the birds. listen to myself. i started diving into the things that make me happiest. i read more. i search out the things that are weighing heaviest on my mind and attempt to categorize and clear out.

i allow myself to be creative.

you will go out of your comfort zone on this journey, but i really believe that personal growth will come out of this. the first time we do something, ask a question or pose an idea the answer can be really scary and uncomfortable. but going outside of our comfort zone is exactly what God wants for us. it is okay to go out of your comfort zone, and best of all is the more we do it the easier it becomes!

 

 

we are spending money faster than they we earning it, in effort to buy happiness. there IS way more to life than bills, money, and work.

finances are another area in life that we can quickly allow to consume our peace and clarity. when we began this adventure we had 2 netflix accounts, (and didn’t even realize it) amazon prime, and cable and our family rarely watched any of it. we found we were spending hundreds of dollars on cable… for what? okay the real answer to this was because of HGTV, football, and the blackhawks (go hawks!)

we paid hundreds of dollars to watch 3 TV channels once or twice a week at most.

again another difficult decision because if you read my bio, football, hockey and all things HGTV are well…a part of what makes me, me.  but, we decided as a family that getting rid cable, and of course the second netflix account, was going to go to free up both time and money. budgeting and monitoring your cash flow both in and out allows you to quickly see what you value, and sometimes the truth of this is ugly. try minimizing your living expenses to allow white space in your finances as well.

 

 

fill your bucket with this thought if nothing else. are you feeling overwhelmed and under the pressures of stuff, a busy schedule, debt? what could your world look like with less stuff, with one more blank calendar page, a little more margin? a world with a  little more white?

begin with clearing the physical mess and distraction of the things around you. the impact it has on your mental state is sure to carry over. simplifying isn’t just about stuff, but your mind and wallet as well, and the fact that cleaning takes less time isn’t so bad either!  😉

oh!  and best of all, minimizing is helping me to prepare for life abroad and living in a tiny house… both of which are on my bucket list! it truly opens up opportunity. opportunity for more travel. more time. more money. more flexibility. more freedom.

 

 

Minimalism is about seeking a life that is good for yourself and the people around you.

“Love people and use things, because the opposite never works”

 

ruthless.

this word resonated with me so heavily as I studied minimizing. ruthless, what a powerful word. what if we all became just a little bit more ruthless in the white space of our lives?

 

 

ruthlessly remove the clutter that pollutes your senses.

where in your life do you leave white space? a blank page? margin? how can you create a life of openness, freshness, and peace?

 

 

my drop in the bucket top ted talks on the world of minimizing blog coming soon.
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a bookshelf without bookends

if you’ve read my bucket list for 2018 post you may have noticed that reading made the list! 

how does reading make ones bucket list you might ask?  i thought you might… so let me explain.  reading used to be something i did to make it through a nursing course, and at best i skimmed the pages of a 2,846 page text book. i never felt like i had a chance to read for pleasure nor did i want to after the 342nd book on how to save your life. 

the issue was that although i absolutely loved the thrill and feat of finding a new book, i didn’t take the time to read the purchases i made. even after my nursing classes, which if i’m honest with ya’ll i was a nurse for 8 years before going back to school for another 2 years so what happened in between? well this… i found myself forever busy and distracted with life, just as the majority of us do.

yet, reading has always intrigued me. i believe reading is much like travel. you learn, grow, and create a world for yourself that otherwise would be left untapped.

so, in 2018, as i work to simplify and slow down my world, i’ve actually learned to pick up a book, and imagine for pleasure and not out of necessity. so that’s it… that’s how reading made the 2018 bucket list!

 

“reading forces you to be quiet in a world that no longer makes place for that.”

john green

 

first and foremost, i honestly love book shopping! barnes & nobel is like Christmas morning after santa came.

oh! & the romantic thought of quant little book shops with floor to ceiling glass windows, cozy nooks, coffee cups & quietness warms my heart.

i found this quote ironically fitting for the year 2018, and it somehow makes me a little more “okay” with the idea of no international travels this year. a direct reflection of the power of words!

 

"Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are." #edquote #teacher #ELA

 

so here goes it!  completed titles back on the book shelf:

my drop in the bucket review: milk and honey is a #1 new york times bestseller.  rupi kaur uses poetry as she shares about her life’s experiences.  this book is a riveting account of abuse, love, loss and violence.

as the author tells of her journey,  she takes you to her very darkest moments and your heart hurts as you know that the story she speaks of, although maybe not exactly your story, it allows you to pull something from your life that is ironically similar, whether it be in pain, heartache, vulnerability or simply her humbled expression of truth that most people in life never find the courage to share.

she has an elusive way of telling about her heartache, and finds a subtle sweetness in them. her perspective is one in which I think we all could learn from.

 

 

my drop in the bucket review: this hits home on so many levels as i work everyday walking people through a similar journey of facing life and death.

when we are directly faced with our own mortality something within our core shifts.

the wisdom and courage that one has in the most vulnerable places in life, is something i hope i never take for granted as i sit across from people in an exam room and they allow me to be a part of this.

at the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, paul kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.

when breath becomes air is an unforgettable reflection on the challenge of facing death.  paul became  doctor, patient and a brilliant writer within moments.

i don’t know that i can say it any better than this…

“I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. . . . Part of this book’s tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to him—passionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to die—so well.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

life is short- what legacy will you leave behind?

 

 

my drop in the bucket review:  dr. henry cloud shows that the best performers draw on the vital resource of personal and professional relationships.  these relationships can be used to propel us forward and assist in pushing us past our own limits.

popular wisdom suggests that we should not allow others to have power over us, but the reality is that they do, for better or for worse. dr. cloud shows you how to get more for yourself by drawing on the strength and expertise of others. being vulnerable, moldable and willing to learn.

we don’t have a choice whether or not others have power in your life, but you can choose what kinds of relationships you want and who those people are.

each person has special and unique qualities, however not all people are meant to be your “corner 4” people. those people who contribute the most into your life. we will encounter people from all 4 corners, the option is up to us however to choose the power they have in our lives. a great challenge for you to look into the relationships into your life and evaluate the power of the other.

 

i just began reading the book uninvited after winning it as a raffle prize at a fundraising event for friends traveling to india to serve. (i won fair & square i promise… come on people! this was for the work of the Lord, i wouldn’t lie!)

my drop in the bucket review: on it’s way!

 

together my hubby & i are nearing completion of this journey.  this has been a fun way for us to connect as a couple and enjoy a good lol funny read! one of us reads aloud until the other ultimately falls asleep since we always seem to pick this up right before bed. this of course means, we probably should have been done with this book about 4.3 months ago, however there is a lot of re-reading that happens to catch up where we left off prior to falling asleep. don’t mistake that for a boring title, however, because this book has enough sarcasm & adventure to entertain for hours!

my drop in the bucket review: on it’s way!

and then we will be entertained by this…because chris has always wanted to visit australia and we so enjoyed the sarcastic and adventurous way bill bryson tells his stories.  we will dive into this book is on audible.

i must admit, as a part of my old soul there is nothing like holding a good book in your hands, flipping through the pages and smelling the fresh new book smell, but when i do take advantage of modern technology audible & kindle are must haves!

have you tried audible?

 

here are the books that currently are sitting on the bookshelf waiting to be read.

click the amazon link in the margin above to order your next adventure 

           

              

                    

                 Minimalism: More of Less by [Latham, James]

help me add to my bookshelf.  what are you currently reading?

“reading can seriously damage your ignorance.”

 

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ipsy

lotions, eye liner, and mascara oh my!

who doesn’t want a little Christmas every month? every month miss A and i eagerly anticipate the arrival of this little pink package.

about one year ago i was turned on to ipsy and haven’t been disappointed. $10.00 a month gets me a variety of prime cosmetics. 5 to be exact. plus a super cute glam bag.

ipsy is great for travelers. whether it be at the airport or a weekend get a way with the family it provides small compact options of all things beauty.

you have the option of carrying elite product in less than 3 ounces and never need to worry about it not clearing airport security.  🙂

I love carrying the product in my purse as well. you never know when you need a quick reapply of mascara and lip gloss.

…oh…and my gym bag. 🙂  isn’t this one perfect for the gym?

i love options! each month i have the ability to try products without purchasing in bulk and potentially being frustrated with my choice. I love the ability to sample the products prior to spending a penny more.

subscribe to ipsy here.

personalize your subscription. pick your skin color. your favorite products. and color. and wants!

then review your products and change up your requests as you wish.

give a review of the products and earn points. points that equal more product for you… free!

glam bags make wonderful gifts as well. in a pinch for a cute gift idea for a friend, your mama, or your mama’s friend? put together a glam bag of products.

 

the next subscription package i would love to try is globein.  each artisan box is filled with at least $70 in value and includes 4-5 handmade items by artists from around the world. every product has a story! what could be better than that for a wanderlust at heart?

do you subscribe to something? if so i’d love to hear about it!

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