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Minimalist Mom

Be a minimalist Mom, is that possible?  I’m going to try a moderate Michelle version and you should too!  

I recently read a book written by a friend and talented colleague, Danny Dover, called the Minimalist Mindset.   I have always been interested in the ideology, and this book really opened my eyes.  It is so much more than eliminating clutter and organizing your space. The general takeaways for me was  that by lessening decisions such as what to wear or eat, implementing daily routines and automating tasks leaves more time to think and accomplish your bigger goals, save money and have extra time for simple joys.  

I also think that it’s ridiculously obnoxious that people are so materialistic and wasteful.  Did you know that 40% of food is wasted by consumers? And that America has more self storage facilities than McDonald’s?  That is absurd and I certainly don’t want to contribute to America’s hoarding. It really bothers me from both an environmental and disproportionate wealth perspective.  There are children in the city of Chicago that go hungry everyday and don’t have basic comforts yet we throw away good food and have so many things that we have to rent storage space?!?

My goal isn’t to simply minimize our belongings but to really free my mind from making unnecessary decisions and living a life without waste thus creating Michelle’s Minimal Mindset.  For the record, this entire concept is deeply concerning to my husband, Mark and kind of bothers, Maddi, my high school freshmen. They are afraid that I’m going to donate everything!

So how does a Mom change course and live minimally, slow and steady, that’s how.  First of all, I’ve naturally streamlined line my wardrobe and household goods over the years just to make space as our family grew from just me and Mark to adding four kids to our home.  My Mom also lived with us for two years so were forced to make even more room. So you can see that as the years have gone by, we adjusted our space and once we closed the door on having anymore babies, I donated everything pregnancy and baby (and considering that we had four there was lots to give away)!  

I’m currently only concentrating on myself and Mark’s clothing, and items that don’t really impact the kids.  The hardest part is keeping up with laundry!

Of course, I want to look good but realize that this can be accomplished with what I already have in my closet.  I’ve pretty much eliminated shopping for wants and now only buy what we need. Don’t get me wrong, I treasure my new pajamas that were a recent birthday present and I do bend my own rules and recently bought a few pretty dresses and Cabi items!  Different then past purchases, each selection was thoughtful knowing that I wanted to limit my time making decisions and needed to work with jackets, shoes and accessories that I already own. These new items will replace older items that are ready to be tossed.  My plan for the summer is to wear more dresses and limit my colors to black, red, khaki and denim.  I’m not concerned about wearing the same things over and decided that I’m indifferent of what other people think. I’ve also eliminated manicures (but will do red polished pedicures all summer).

Other things that I’ve streamlined is gift giving and eating.   All kids birthday gifts are homemade cards and a book from Barnes and Noble and adult gifts are simply chocolate, candle or fresh flowers from Whole Foods.  As far as eating, we look at food as our fuel vs. an indulgence. I’ll expand more in future blogs as I dive deeper into my adapted version of minimalism.  

What do you think?  Can you do this? Can you live without your 30 pairs of shoes, ladies?  

Less to think about, means a little less hustle and a lot more down time and quality time with my kids.  This is exactly what I need!

My next blog might be about dealing with constant interruptions.  I was seriously interrupted 1,000 times writing this weeks blog! When I finally found a quiet space and was all alone for a whole five minutes, what do you know … here comes Mark sniffing around …

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Michelle Arnold

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