Categories
mindfulness minimalism

Minimalism in the New Year

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As 2016 comes to a close, I’ve reflected on my year and starting to think about how I want to start the next. Minimalism has intrigued me over the past several months, and after a few moves from apartment to apartment and city to city, I’ve appreciated the obvious benefit: more manageability.

Organization is an amazing feeling; it helps you remain mindful, in control and more at peace. The lack of clutter around my home (and in my life in general) has helped me stay on top of tasks, decreased my anxiety and be more productive. I’ve focused on purchasing quality items over quantity- instead of owning 30 purses (or more) like I used to, I now have 5 classic ones instead. Instead of keeping clothes I’ve had for years (yet never wear) I donate or consign them at stores like Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads.

Minimalism helps to stay organized, more mindful and less stressed, but it also has other benefits that make big differences in your life.

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Save time

When you’re not running around the house looking for something, it’s amazing how much time you will save. I used to forget where I would place things- simply because I had SO MUCH. Now I have a place for everything and know exactly where to go to find it. Simple things, like organizing all my art supplies in one place, color coordinating my closet, investing in jewelry organizers or labeling my paperwork / bills make a big difference. When you own less, it’s easier to keep everything together, too.

Do what you love

Do possessions truly matter? So many feel the need to “keep up” with their peers and society by owning the newest, best thing; a gadget, home, handbag or car. Whatever it is, it’s important to remember to invest your time in what YOU love- choose a career that fits the lifestyle you wish you lead. When you do what you love, it opens doors to live the life that you want. Set goals and invest in you- whether it’s a new car, a tropical vacation or a relaxing day in your own thoughts.

Better for the environment

This is another obvious benefit: less stuff, less trash. People would also be more mindful of what they recycle, and purchase higher quality items opposed to disposable ones. Another aspect of minimalism is choosing to walk, bike or take public transportation instead of driving a car. I sold my beloved Mini Cooper in early 2014 before moving to NYC and haven’t gotten behind the wheel since. I stay healthy (physically and mentally) by walking at least 5-10 miles a day, riding the train or taking an Uber.

Letting go of the past

I had a huge purge this past summer in-between moves. I used to be a big pack rat, keeping old cards, tickets, trinkets and memories from old boyfriends, only to bring up both good and bad feelings of the past. Unless it was extremely sentimental or made me feel happy, I got rid of a lot of things that were merely taking up space. I only keep what I need and what I love; and avoid letting bad vibes back into my life.

Be happier

When you’re content with what you have and where you’re at in life, it’s so much easier to be happy. Keep items that bring back good memories; frame a card from a family member, keep useful sentiments that remind you of experiences, invest in a quality journal and write down your daily gratitudes. Doing these simple things each day not only helps you stay mindful, but builds for a happier tomorrow.

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Categories
minimalism style

Minimal Winter Style

It has been a rainy, chilly weekend in Boston- not exactly the white Christmas I had hoped for. Nevertheless, the sun came out on Saturday afternoon and has been beautiful ever since. To survive the rain, I grabbed my umbrella, put on bright coral lipstick and hit the road in a warm coat and floppy hat. Rain (and gloom)-proof.

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I ventured to Somerville to do some shopping on Assembly Row on Saturday. Although it was raining when I left the house, it had stopped just in time for my arrival! Magic.

Assembly Row has a huge variety of outlet shopping… everything from a pretzel place to Saks Off Fifth. The good news was that I didn’t have to venture far to find everything I was looking for (including a snack).

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I set my sights on a pair of oversized black sunglasses at LOFT, a fun keychain and knick-knack tray… all 40% off, too! I had attached my keys to the zipper on my wallet a few days ago and didn’t have an organization method for my small jewelry (OCD in effect), so I felt these purchases were necessary.

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All three for under $20 at LOFT!

Buying “stuff” and having “stuff” all over my personal space has become a huge pet-peeve of mine, so I suppose my 2016 New Year’s Resolution of becoming more minimal has held true. I’ve been absolutely loving knowing where everything is, knowing what I own, and being conscious of what I actually need.

Leaving NYC was a big lesson; packing took days. I was only renting a small room in Astoria, yet I had years of memories stacked in the closet, under the bed, in drawers and hidden in bags. It was unmanagable and out of control. Who needs so much stuff?! Needless to say, I trashed and gave away half of everything I own. In the Great Purge of 2016 I also threw away a lot of my winter clothes- including salt-stained boots.

It was time for a new pair.

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I had been eyeing the Stuart Weitzman 50/50 boots for years now, but I found this pair on sale for $45 (less than online!)! The Kenneth Cole store on Assembly Row is closing, so everything is a steal. If you’re in Boston, I highly suggest you head over there for this great sale.

Overall, my Christmas weekend of shopping was a success! Aside from a chic black outfit, a bright bag and a pair of oversized sunglasses, what does a woman really need?

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Fur scarf: ALDO, last season / Sweater: Primark / Leggings: Primark / Bag: Henri Bendel / Boots: Kenneth Cole / Sunglasses: LOFT, similar

Categories
conscious living mindfulness minimalism

Packing Light

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2016 began in a small apartment outside of Manhattan in Astoria, Queens. Although I had a large room, it came without one important thing- a closet. I improvised and managed to find a standing wardrobe that successfully stored everything I immediately needed- or so I thought.

Initially it was fun having everything I owned in sight; kind of like a store! Each morning I got to shop my own closet! The fun, however, wore off when that dreaded day came.

Moving day.

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Dresses and skirts and shoes, oh my. This doesn’t even appropriately depict the unmanageably of my “stuff;” the other half of my wardrobe was hidden in a hall closet and under the bed.

I moved to a smaller, more expensive apartment in June… I purged, I donated, I left behind. At that point I had packed everything I owned and headed down the street (three trips in an SUV, to be exact) to a space conveniently located two blocks from the NQ line. Proximity to the subway is crucial when living in NYC; however,”space” took a backseat in my priorities and I was hit hard with reality once my move was complete.

My stuff didn’t fit.

Life really does throw you curveballs. Just when I managed to find a place for everything and was finally feeling settled, I received some bad news. July wasn’t even half way over and I found out I lost my marketing gig on Fifth Avenue… just a couple of days before I was told I needed to find a new apartment.

Back to the drawing board.  

So, what does a girl do after riding a New York rollercoaster for over two years? One might tell her to “pick yourself up and keep going!” My wise mind told me to leave… that there had to be something better, more fitting for me just around the corner.

Unfortunately, leaving meant packing. Packing everything I had collected, everything I brought with me, everything my family sent me from home. Sigh.

So, here’s what I did.

  • I carried three pieces of luggage home to Michigan with me- only with the summer clothes and things I would immediately need.
  • I shipped several- and I mean SEVERAL- boxes home to my mom’s house. I’d worry about those later.
  • About those boxes… each had a method behind the madness. Winter coats in one, miscellaneous shoes I never wear in another, work clothes, random clothes, house crap… but mainly clothes.
  • I gave a lot of things away. I had purses that were great, kitchenware I had never used, and bulky things I just couldn’t take with me. I left my brand new leather chair with my roommate as a token of appreciation for dealing with me. More on that later.
  • I threw a lot of things away. Towels, sheets, socks, toiletries. Goodbye.
  • Someone on the sidewalk must have had fun, too- I left a variety of odds and ends, storage compartments, books and jewelry organizers on the curb. Come and get it.

I did a lot of organizing and additional purging when I returned to Michigan, and did even more of it this past month before heading to Boston.

Once again, I got on a flight with three pieces of luggage. I had searched high and low for a temporary apartment outside the city, and in the end found a cute Airbnb while I interviewed for jobs.

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An organized, manageable amount of clothes.

For the time being I’m content in my temporary Medford home. It’s organized, cozy, and has space for everything I need- not everything I own. In a week I’ll have a better idea of where I want to live and what my rent budget is, but I’ll tell you one thing:

Even if I had all the space in the world, I wouldn’t want to fill it.

There is something serene about knowing exactly what you own, where it is and how it fits in your life. My old habits of being a packrat have diminished with each move, and now I value organization, piece of mind and decluttering more than the American dream of consumerism and “stuff.” Ugh, stuff.

This is what brings me to the “mindful” theme of my blog- in being present and content with where you are in life, what you have and what you want, you can also live minimally, stylishly, happy and content. These things are on your terms- no one else’s. I came to a crossroads where I had to decide what I valued- it wasn’t “keeping up with the Joneses” or buying the latest pair of heels- it’s about quality over quantity. Quality in people, places and things- not living a life of excess.

Although I have made some mistakes along the way, I’ve gotten the chance to learn about myself, declutter my room, and ultimately, declutter my life.

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While I used to own dozens of purses, now I only keep what I use- and love.