If there is anything BIG we have learned and felt since moving to the beautiful Outer Banks…it’s material things really don’t matter. Objects, things, materials, decorations, all of it. They are fun and for some people that brings joy to them because it’s their thing, but I gotta tell you..as someone who has moved 10+ times in just a little over a decade…the burden of keeping up with THINGS and finding places for THINGS was far more of a stresser than a joy. Only about 10% of the decorations and frivolous things I owned actually meant something to me and were something I felt like I would be truly sad if they were gone..picture frames, a favorite lamp, some small decoration that was a gift or a token of an adventure I’d be on. But the other stuff, the things I had scaled through TJ Maxx or Home Goods for thinking I NEEDED because all my friends did the same thing, they were just things I spent money on and they were burdens. To keep up with, to place in my small homes, to move to the next house.
When we moved to the Outer Banks– we had to let a LOT of things go. We had to sell a lot of amazing things that we loved and donate a lot more than that…and our hearts at first felt hesitant to let them go but then an amazing thing happened…we felt relief. We didn’t need to keep up with the cute “we are shopping addicted and here we are at it again!” persona that came with a lot of the people around us..we just let things go. And WE were moving to paradise which sure as heck beats a bi-weekly trip to throw more crap in our house…we start focusing on what we really need. It was just EACH OTHER. And the beach, we actually need that just as much as food and water..we need that salt air, salt water and sand in every single room of the house.
As we start this journey to having a new life (we’re 6 months in!!) we learn more and more every day. I can tell you right now I never thought there would be a day where I was okay with not having pretty things everywhere in my home, little pretty decorations and things that I could afford because the purchases were little by little so I could justify it. We have learned though that’s it’s better to have less quantity AND the items we do have are higher quality— like our new coffee table. We could have gone and bought another $100 one to last us a little while, but we waited until we had enough to invest in one we LIKED and that would be what we were looking for to keep forever and it just happened to be while I was looking for furniture to borrow for a styled shoot with Hannah Hildebrandt! It’s also from a small business so I loved being able to support a fellow business owner! Our new couch we had to sell a LOT of things to afford but it was exactly what we needed and wanted versus just buying some other stuff in the mean time. We only have one couch. We only have ONE of almost everything now, that’s big for us!!! I have been to the Nags Head TJ Maxx LESS than 5 times since we moved here– in six months, less than 5 times?! That’s crazy!!!!! These may sound like small steps for some but to me it was big!
We have occasionally made our way back to Target (an hour away– now THAT has been great for me!!!!!) but I haven’t bought decor that I can remember from there..only clothes, ballet stuff for Cammy, shoes on occasion, gifts and things for the workshop I hosted here. Christmas things, too..but nothing crazy and outlandish like I used to! It’s hard and temptation is everywhere (sounds silly–but people who love to shop know this is true!) but this is winning to me..having LESS things to clean up! I loved this list from the minimalist website, it puts things into perspective!
If you really wanna see how much people are taking this to the extreme– watch THIS documentary on tiny houses! I know there are critics who will scoff all day at this but I completely admire this mentality! It’s not for me, but we DO live in a farrrrrr smaller living space than most people we are friends with. I wonder what they think when they come to our new little place in Kitty Hawk haha! It’s like a closet compared to their homes but it’s JUST what we need! 🙂 We’re so happy with less to clean and keep up with!!
I love clothes. I LOVE nice lenses and equipment..but I haven’t purchased anything new for my business besides my MacBook this year..I like to keep that stuff to a minimum, too. I have a shooting system that works perfect for me and although I would absolutely love a 24mm, I don’t *need* it right now. I’m telling you– just starting with going through your makeup drawer and getting rid of the ones you NEVER use, giving them to a friend or donating somewhere..and moving on to your medicine drawer, throwing away the expired stuff, making sure you don’t have doubles of things, going through your closet and donating things you NEVER wear anymore..it’s FREEING!!!! Having less means DOING LESS and that gives you more time for babies, life, business, etc! I am in the stages of moving through every single room of the house getting rid of and donating and it’s the best feeling in the world..don’t wait for Spring to clean house!! 🙂
I’m not saying throw everything away! I’m not saying cancel cable like we did and get a little extreme, haha! And you know what, I still have things in my house, but I didn’t realize how much junk it ended up being and feeling like…and that we felt obligated to just keep it because we had spent our money on it and felt guilty for letting it go. I will still shop occasionally! And that is okay, but nothing to the degree of how we used to! Doing something like this and just slightly downsizing could really help your stress in ways you never thought possible! 🙂
Below: My desk! Kids desk from Target, clean and simple and just what I need. Got it I think two years ago, two drawers and forces me to keep things minimal. I LOVE that there is hardly anything on it! At all times! Just what a I need and then tiny picture frames that don’t take up much room. When my MacBook is on here, I don’t feel overwhelmed and crowded, it’s just right!
This it the plain white bookshelf next to my desk! One day we will invest and upgrade this stuff, but it definitely works and functions right now! But the top of it isn’t covered in things and decorations left and right..just one picture frame, a letter tray I use for receipts and a little organizer for when I need to sort mail and paperwork. So minimal.
You know where all this stuff is? It’s in my daughter’s bedroom. We have a two bedroom condo and my desk and workstuff is up against the windows, Ellie’s crib is next to that and Cammy’s toddler bed is next to the crib. ONE dresser, one set of shelves organizing their medicine, baby supplies and hair stuff and then just a changing table. MINIMAL. And we also really enjoy having things on top of these pieces of furniture minimal! A lamp and two piggy banks, easy to keep up with and not overwhelming if you have to put a pile of laundry up there for a little while!
This is kind of random, but I remember feeling a little overwhelmed when we had a big tray of “STUFF” including our keys, wallets, etc out on the counter. We would throw coins, chapstick, etc in there and it would overflow…with RANDOM STUFF! I mean, how does this even accumulate?! We decided to clean out our kitchen drawers and ONLY keep what we really really needed, aka not three of everything, not old packets of salt and to go silverware etc..we made one of our drawers double up on that function of keys, sunglasses etc and so if it gets filled with too much– we won’t be able to close it and we will be forced to keep it clean and organized! Love having the keys and stuff out of site now too and the counter looking cleaner! Little things, people…it’s the little things hahah! 🙂