Greetings, Thrifty Sisters! My goodness, how time flies! I was reflecting on how it could be possible to have missed writing to you between June and now. I do know that our family has made many memories and accomplished various endeavors over the previous few months, and for that, I am thankful! I am thankful to be healthy enough for adventures, and thankful for so many opportunities over the past few months to find happiness. It is my sincerest hope that you, too, have had good health, made good memories and have had oodles of opportunities for happiness.
As many of you know, this newsletter was originally an email message (that started 10 years ago!) between one sister to another to share tips and tricks on how to be thrifty. It has grown and evolved through the years and has been shared on various social media platforms, but the original concept is still alive and well. Today, I am excited to share an email from my sister, Karen. She originally composed this in May of 2017, and although a few months have passed since her original email, her message is truly timeless.
“In a consumption and throw-away society, the idea of somebody being a minimalist can quickly become alienated. This is one of the first things I noticed as I entered my office. I was called “short-timer” and people lead to assumptions that “she must not be around for long”, if I didn’t bring in knick-knacks, miscellaneous curios, and outdated textbooks of material that never got referenced again. I always replied, “Come to my house, and you will see I own very few possessions, so don’t take it personally”.
I only think this lends to the uneasiness of the assumption that indeed I was not normal. I s’pose me living in an RV while owning a restaurant doesn’t help my weirdness factor. But what little I do have can all be deemed my favorite, and therefore nothing seems like it is a waste in my own responsible space.
Often times I am asked how I can live with so little, and I tell people to go through your items. Take out what you are personally keeping around to rid yourself the guilt of hurting somebody’s else’s feeling for a gift they gave you that gives you no sense of value to yourself. Get rid of items that are big packaging material that houses a few items. Look at how many rooms you actually use in your house, or if they essentially became large closets for more stuff.
I tell people to give themselves time to figure out what that item means to them, prior to donating it. What do you fear by donating it, and is that a realistic belief? Do they remind you of a great time that you want to commemorate, but cannot bring back? Try verbalizing why you have reservations about the item you are questioning, because that can also help you hear your crazy self.
I guarantee folks once they truly have had these ritualistic moments in their life, they will have successfully gained some more insight to solving their own personal baggage. It’s good to take inventory of our personal and emotional stock from time to time, so we can make room for more of our own crazy stock. Speaking of crazy stock, I have a terrified beagle in the next room that just heard thunder, so I must go console her fear that the earth is not opening up to swallow her before she pees on my floor.”
Thank you, Karen, for your insightfulness and sage advice! My hubby and I are embracing the minimalist movement. It can be a slow process (why are there only 24 hours in a day?!), but one does not need to rent a dumpster and haul everything out of the house in mad-dash process. Start small, feel free to organize however you would like. Keep the things that you love or that make your life richer and easier to live.
This also works with non-material items. Do you feel that you are emotionally “full” or overburdened? I felt that way, and last January I sat down and wrote out a list of things that make me happy, and things that don’t make me happy. On the list of things that didn’t make me happy, I had to decide if there were items that I could change, or if they were things that I had no control over. Once an individual decides what they have control over and what they don’t have control over, one can start to make sensible changes.
I started working on the fact that some items were out of my control, and that I needed to acquire a new way to accept these challenges – and it was not easy for me to accept that there were things I could not change! But, I also found that there were things that I did have control of. I slowly started implementing some of those changes. Although, it has not been perfect, and I still have some items on my “not happy” list that I am working on, I have made some incredible progress in making myself “happy”.
I am a work in progress, and I am sure that you feel the same way. We are all in this together. Your challenges are different than mine, and we each have paths in our lives that feel impassable. You can do it! I believe in you!
And with that, my Thrifty Sisters, may you have a fantastic week! Enjoy each day. Treasure each moment, and keep that hope burning in your heart! Getting rid of the clutter in our heads and home are beneficial for not only you, but for everyone around you. Until next time, keep on keepin’ it thrifty and fun!