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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Cat Lady Christmas

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As I open my new notebook and begin to write, Bernice (AKA Bernie Sanders) jumps up next to me on the couch and begins to chew my headphones.  After she tires of this activity, she proceeds to walk on the blank white pages in front of me.

Even though I’m not sure if my company for the weekend understands that I would like her to stop disrupting my writing, her company is much more welcomed- and much less of a headache- than most people during holidays.

It’s a Cat Lady Christmas.

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Bernice guarding my notebook.

It’s usually easier for me to tackle life on my own than to worry about other people. Through the years I have had many short-lived relationships, a handful of longtime friendships, and grew up in a small family.  Since I was never surrounded by groups of people, I valued quality over quantity.

Christmas Day looks a lot like my minimalistic holiday– simple and stress-free.  While I would love to be home in Michigan with my family, this year I’m staying in Boston, enjoying my first (solo) New England Christmas.

Yesterday I ventured out to go shopping, binged on Netflix and Hulu, hung out with Bernice and ordered enough delivery to last me two days.

Ah, Bachelorette life.

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Christmas Eve dinner, Bachelorette style.

I decided to spend Christmas Day relaxing, exploring the city, eating and writing.  If that’s how I want to celebrate this holiday (which has nothing to do with hype or stress), then that is what I intend to do.

Family and friends told me they feel bad that I am spending Christmas alone with Bernice.  My take on it?  I have the best company around- myself, a four-legged friend, and my empty notebook.

Let the games begin.