Steps to Minimalism

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As you all are constantly reminded, my discovery of the capsule wardrobe has led me down several rabbit trails.  It’s amazing how just looking at your closet differently can pave the way for changes elsewhere.  Enter Minimalism.

Minimalism never sounded good to me, it sounded boring, austere and uncomfortable.  Just say the word, and the image that pops into my mind are serious people (usually with straight hair), sitting in the only 2 chairs they own, in front of bare white walls.  Eeek!  No thank-you, if that’s style, I choose comfort every time.

BUT, apparently that is not what Minimalism is all about.  It’s not really an interiors style as much as a lifestyle of having just what you need, and being intentional about keeping it that way.  I know I’m not the only one that is saying, “How in the world did I accumulate so much stuff!” every time I move…  We don’t say this type of phrase with pride or excitement over what we were able to gather, but with disbelief.  I think that we just can’t believe that we own so much because deep down, there’s so many other things we want.  It’s not a good feeling when I realize that I own a mountain of things I never think about, and still spend time thinking about what else I want.

From the little I’ve read at this point, it seems like the aim of living the Minimalistic lifestyle is to avoid the paragraph above, both physically and mentally.

So, I’ve decided to jump into the water, and start paddling!  My progress will probably be slow, but I wanted to document it just the same.

Step 1 : Gather STUFF for garage sale/donations

Step 1 : Gather STUFF for garage sale/donations

Watch this space as I start clearing my clutter!

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A Bit of Art Journaling

Once upon a time, I sketched in my art journal almost everyday!  I filled 3 books in a fairly short period of time, and I cherish those books more than most of my possessions because they’re lovely and they let me glimpse into the past when I look at them.  Amazingly enough, I really improved throughout those books, and coming up with ideas was easier and easier.

Obviously, my art journaling has slowed a lot…  Almost come to a screeching halt to be honest, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it.  Why?  Because punishing myself for not spending enough time being creative will make my art journal into something I HAVE to do instead of something I WANT to do.  So I’ll keep crawling along, trying to rebuild until it picks up again, and post along the way!

There’s an App for That: Stylebook

I’ve been capsule wardrobing it for a few weeks now, and I’ve made an observation I was not expecting…

I now have to make a bit more effort to make sure I don’t wear the same outfit twice in one week.

Before I started simplifying my wardrobe, I could go for weeks without doing laundry.  I knew that I had plenty of clothes left in my closet, so I’d go as long as my underwear stores would allow.  This wasn’t a great habit honestly…obviously maybe?  This method meant that when laundry did come around, it was a HUGE undertaking.  I did a lot of rummaging through laundry baskets on a daily basis to find items I wanted because I didn’t want to mess with putting everything away.  It also meant that for the last half of my no laundry run, I hated about everything left in my closet, which in turn spurred me on to buy more clothes.  Please see the formula below:

HUGE laundry jobs + frantic rummaging through baskets + no favorites “in stock” + more $$$ spent on clothes = Morning madness & frequent “I don’t have anything to wear” dreams (similar to naked dreams)

Obviously this situation wasn’t the best, but it made wearing the same thing to work twice in a week extremely unlikely.  Now I have to remember what I wore every week…which apparently is too hard for me!  I realized one Thursday that I had no idea what I wore the Monday before, and was hoping that it wasn’t the freshly washed clothes I was about to put on.

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This was an uncomfortable situation, BUT…  There’s an app for that!  It’s called Stylebook, and so far, it’s just what I needed.  This app keeps track of your clothes in a way that I’ve dreamed of since first watching Clueless.  It does take a bit of effort at first, but it’s not too bad, especially if you’ve pared down your wardrobe recently!  The effort is to take pictures of your clothing to import into the app.  I used a white sheet for a background, and the app did the rest!  Now I can search through my virtual closet, make outfits, and…wait for it…assign looks to the days I wear them!

I’ve taken a few screen shots of the app for your viewing pleasure…

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So far, I really love this app, and feel like it’s really helping me learn how to build a capsule wardrobe.  I’ve already found a couple items that I haven’t been wearing that I should kick out.  Yay!

Have you found any good style-related apps recently?

Online Movers & Shakers

You can find just about anything on the internet.  It’s completely changed the way we think, what we choose to research, and what we are ok with letting go.  You’ve got so much information and inspiration at your fingertips if you choose to make use of it, but there’s also a lot of negativity online as well.  Just like in “real life,” we have to choose what we spend our time listening to, reading, and watching.

Deep down, I’d like to think that I’m impervious to this negativity, that I can take in anything I want and come out unscathed.  I think a lot of us like to think that, it’s obvious by what exists out in the world, but if I’m honest with myself it’s simply not true.  While I may not agree with everything I take in, I absorb some of it regardless of how much I might disagree or mentally reject it.  This isn’t a new concept, I mean, it’s even in the Bible!

“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8

So lately, I’ve stumbled across a few gems online that have been lovely and excellent that I’d like to share.

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  1. Light by Coco – YouTube Channel & Blog

Managed by a lovely, down to earth designer, this blog and YouTube channel is not only beautiful, but oh so helpful!  I’ve never been the least bit interested in minimalism, but my capsule wardrobe craze (which rages on) brought me to Coco’s YouTube channel.  It’s only been a few weeks, but I’ve watched every video and read every blog post I could find…some more than once, oh the shame…  Coco shows minimalism in very absorbable bits, and uses her lifestyle to inspire change in others – at least that’s my experience!

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2.  365 Days of Flow

365 Days of Flow is an app created by Flow Magazine, a paper-lovers’ magazine based in the Netherlands.  It’s like one of those daily tear-away calendars some of us put on our desks at work to give ourselves something to look forward to every work day.  Raising my hand…  Anyone?

Anyway, this is just like that, but on your phone.  There are several categories, from mindfulness to life simplification, and each day you are surprised with an inspirational quote, a suggestion for intentional living, or ideas for being creative.  It’s pretty and simple and simply wonderful.

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3.  The Lively Show

This source of inspiration may be the last on my list, but it is possibly the most meaningful right now in my life.  I discovered this podcast through YouTuber Makeup TIA, and I’m so glad that I checked it out!  I’d just finished the epically successful podcast Serial, and wanted to continue listening to podcasts, so I gave it a go.  Again, I stumbled upon this podcast while the host, Jess Lively, was taking a break to prepare another season, so I started from the beginning.  She actually just started up again, so I’m still plugging away on the earlier shows, and listening to the new ones as they come out.  In the first show of this season, Jess interviewed Hal Elrod, and let me make a suggestion…LOOK THIS GUY UP.

This podcast has turned my most mundane tasks at my day job into things I look forward to, just because I can plug in to this show while I do them.  I also have been feeling an increased sense of well-being in general, a well-being that I cannot attribute to anything in particular.  I can only assume that the positivity in this podcast is being “absorbed” as I listen.  I can’t say enough good things about this podcast, obviously.

Well that’s it!  What have you been inspired by recently?  I’d love to know!

First Impressions: the iPhone 6

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This weekend, Mr. Brown and I made a special trip to “town,” otherwise known as the great metropolis of St. Joseph, MO.  Our one and only goal: to visit an AT&T store and decide if we’d like to upgrade to AT&T Next to get new phones.  Mr. Brown’s iPhone 5 had been giving him problems for months, and he was fed up.  My iPhone 4s was as good as new, but I’ll admit I was antsy for something actually new.  After visiting 2 stores, and taking some time to think and talk about it, we returned to the 2nd store, and walked out with new, slim iPhone 6 mobiles in our pockets/purses!

It’s been 2 days, so I thought I’d share my first impressions while they’re still untainted by experience…

Look:

There’s no denying that the iPhone 6 is pretty.  I mean, that’s a huge part of the Apple brand, pretty products that look clean.  The iPhone 6 fits perfectly into the line-up, and I have no criticisms to offer on the look.  It seems a lot bigger than my iPhone 4s, and this initially bothered me a tad, but I’m warming to it already.

Feel:

In comparison to my iPhone 4s, this phone is super thin!  My goodness, it feels so much lighter and thinner that I almost worry that I’ll break it just by holding it.  The 4s is downright chunky in comparison, and that’s what I’ve grown used to for the past couple years.  I dropped it on a regular basis, and it seriously came out without a scratch.  I had a flimsy Etsy case, and didn’t even have a screen protector.  The 6 feels oh so fragile, and the repeated warnings (very passionate warnings mind you) from the AT&T associate have made me a little uneasy.  Frugality prevented me from buying a case from the store, so this little guy is going commando until my pretty flowery case arrives.  I promise I’ll be careful!

Function:

So far so good!  No complaints on the functionality side yet.  Any iPhone user can tell you that new models function a lot like the older versions as far as essentials go.  Some might see this as a downside, but I honestly love the continuity that Apple provides in their products.  I love that I can turn on my new and alien feeling phone, and see a familiar set up right away.  It’s like buying a newer, better house, and filling it with your favorite furniture to make it feel like home…right away & without the huffing and puffing!

One really cool new function that I already love -> the fingerprint scanner!  This is my first device with this option, and I love it!  It’s a small but exciting little upgrade.

General feeling:

No buyer’s remorse here!  I love beautiful things, and this phone is beautiful.  I’d been on the fence about whether to try a different make of phone, after having iPhones for the past 4 years, but I’m glad I stuck with it.  I have a Macbook, iPad, and Apple TV, so going with something else would’ve been more hassle than it was probably worth.  I could be wrong, but I don’t feel wrong… *wink wink*

What about you?  Have you tried the iPhone 6?