Sunday, January 4, 2015

Minimalism: deprivation can be a state of mind

Welcome to the inaugural post for Lisa Moves.  I've been trying to get this blog up and running for weeks, and it still isn't done. The comments didn't make the import trip, and the header is...well, lets say it is a tongue-in-cheek minimalist joke.  But I am trying to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good enough.  I'll get around to fixing this stuff eventually, if you bear with me.

And now, Deep Thoughts by Lisa. (And in case you are sick of Deep Thoughts, I have a ton of decor posts coming up soon, like renovating two bathrooms.)

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For the past six months-ish, I have been working on paring back.  I've been trying to adopt minimalism in most of the major areas of my life.  I've gotten rid of tons of stuff in my house, I'm working on having a capsule wardrobe, I've added more healthy foods to our diets, I'm exercising more, I'm saving more money, I'm paying down debt.

Believe it or not, I'm enjoying this effort.  There are not that many people in my real life who are interested in minimalism, but there are plenty of minimalism blogs to read and people online to talk to. I generally am the recipient of the side-eye if I start talking about minimalism, so I don't.  But I feel like this is something I find incredibly interesting, and because I find it interesting, I'm finding it easy to do.  

Getting rid of all the stuff in the garage?  I can do it! I would love to be able to park my car in the garage for the first time ever. 

Getting rid of all the uncomfortable and unflattering clothing in my wardrobe? Yes! I want a wardrobe composed only of clothes that make me look and feel pretty!  

Eating more kale? I love kale! 

Saving more money? I love money in my bank account! 

Paying off our student loans in 3 years instead of 30? Yes! I want to be free of that debtload!

The point is, I WANT to do these things.  Getting rid of my stuff I don't need or use doesn't feel like I'm depriving myself, it feels liberating.  Getting rid of debt feels good.  Getting rid of the clothes that don't fit or flatter feels good--I'm still trying to find stuff that does work, but I've made room for them when I find them. (Actually, I will be writing a post soon entitled "How Not to Build A Capsule Wardrobe". I wouldn't describe it as a smooth or easy journey.)

All of these things are things that I used to feel were secondary to what I wanted.  I didn't care about paying off my student loans, because I had a really low interest rate, and I wanted to put my money towards buying a house.  Not that I wanted to be saddled with debt--but that I thought owning a house was more important than paying off my loans.  I liked buying stuff for the house, and that felt more fun than paying down debt or putting that money in a savings account.  

It is all a matter of choices, and what you consider important.  I used to think having a house was important.  Now I could care less and I'd rather spend my money on other things.  

I'm not saying that this way is better for everyone.  There are plenty of people who think that getting rid of stuff is weird and dumb and why on earth would I do that?  And that's fine, different people, different ways of doing things, yadda yadda.

I should also point out this has not been an overnight journey.  It has been more of a three or four year journey, my interest slowly piqued by slow living and slow food blogs, then William Morris-ing, and then reading up on minimalism.  The past six months has been the tipping point into applying this across a broad spectrum of my life.  

There have been some total failures on this minimalism/slow living trip.  One thing I really want to get rid of--or that I tell myself I want to get rid of--is sugar.  I eat a pretty healthy diet, except for sugar.  I am all kale and beans and quinoa up in here, and then 600 calories in cookies every night.  Every day I get up and think "today I will give up sugar."

One sad, lonely vanilla buttercream.   
Giving up sugar is not something I enjoy.  Despite reading multiple blogs and health food books and documentaries telling me that sugar is poison and its killing me, I can't seem to give it up.  Decluttering my garage feels good.  Decluttering sugar from my diet feels like DEPRIVATION AND MISERY.  I don't want to.  And I probably won't till I can change my mindset into yes, I want to.  

It is easy to give stuff up when it is what you want to do. If you don't want to give stuff up, you probably won't.  

17 comments:

  1. Stop focussing on giving it up. Instead, try asking: what's the least amount I can et and still be happy with me and my life? I am trying this approach with the junk I eat and I won't lie, it is a process.... But things couldn't go on the way they were---and, I, too, am not ready to give up all the yummy things.

    As for minimalism...I found myself very sad that I figured I wasn't a minimalist. So, I figured, I was a wannabe minimalist--but I'm still not sure what it's all about so I signed up for Courtney Carver's year-long web course called "a simple year."

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    1. I'm taking that class too! I can't wait for it to get started.

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  2. This will sound corny, but a question I sometimes ask myself is: "What's the best way to love myself?" Sometimes, eating a sweet treat is the best way to love myself. (I haven't had one for a while, I'm feeling good, I'm eating it with someone I love, it's part of an event that is happy.) A lot of the time, it' s not. (I've had too much already, I'm feeling migraine-y, I want it because I feel crappy, etc.) It's helped me, though I'm not perfect in any of my attempts at living better.

    Love your new name.

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    1. thanks, Rita! Eating sugar is basically a way of being nice to myself, except I am nice to myself many, many times a day. So nice to myself that my pants don't fit. I need a better, non-food related way of being nice to myself.

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  3. Great new name!! And I love your minimalism posts. They're always so inspiring. I hope you figure out the sugar thing, because I'd love some help with that, too!!

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    1. thanks, Sarah! If I ever figure the sugar thing out I will certainly let you know.

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  4. I wasn't sure whether to reply here or on your last post at the old blog, but CONGRATS, and there must be something in the water, because I'm also in the process of changing my blog name/focus (after blogging all of twice in 2014). I don't plan on keeping a Facebook page for it, so hope you follow me over there & get updates. See you soon! ;)

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    1. I saw! I like it! I love the header, and the new name.

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  5. Really like the new name!

    Your last statement: "It is easy to give stuff up when it is what you want to do. If you don't want to give stuff up, you probably won't" is ringing true for me right now. I've spent much of the fall de-cluttering, but I've hit a roadblock with certain items. I'm using all the lines/arguments I know - William Morris, The Minimalists, etc, etc - and I'm still staring at the piles, unable to make decisions and let go. (But reducing sugar...no problem...maybe we can help each other...)

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    1. yes--send me your secret to not being addicted to sugar. I am always open to new ideas.

      I am enjoying getting rid of stuff, but maybe I haven't gotten far enough into this journey yet to get down to the difficult stuff. (I also don't think that I need to give away All The Stuff, just half or 3/4s of The Stuff.)

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    2. Hmmm....it's quite possible that my secret to not being addicted to sugar may stem from not being very addicted to it in the first place; however, I can still share how I reduced my sugar intake, and maybe something in there may be of help to you. For starters (and this is probably the biggest thing), I tend not to bring a lot of candy/chocolates/sweets home from the grocery store in the first place, so (with the exception of the weeks surrounding Halloween, and some chocolate at Christmas), we don't keep a lot of the stuff hanging around. You can't eat what you don't have! I do a lot of baking for snacks and lunches, and I've reduced the amount of sugar I put into these baked goods. I did it gradually, so the kids wouldn't suspect something was up, and now our cookies (for example) have half the amount of sugar they used to have. (I forget where I read it, but your taste buds adjust: if you gradually reduce sugar in things, then pretty soon the original thing is going to taste way too sweet. This works for salt as well). I also slowly weaned myself off of sugar in coffee and tea. It took a few weeks to do it, but I've gone from needing a teaspoon to drinking both black. We also don't eat a lot of processed foods; this really helps to cut down on sugar intake. I tried, for a few days about a year or so ago, to go off sugar completely. It didn't work. I felt deprived and as though there was nothing I could snack on (except fruit). I'm no expert, but I think "all things in moderation" is probably the best course of action (and I forget where I heard it/read it but even Dr. Lustig (the endocrinologist behind the whole "sugar is toxic" movement) has said his wife still bakes cookies...they just don't eat the whole batch...)

      The Stuff...kids' stuff is my roadblock (sentimentality, in other words), and I'm experiencing a stubborn reticence to follow the very useful adage that a treasure is only a treasure if there's not too much of it. I completely agree with the adage, and I'm tired of shuffling stuff. The problem is that EVERYTHING is infused with too much meaning...

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  6. so excited for this new blog and love the name! i love money in my account too but am horrible at keeping it there and i need to get better.... ugh.

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    1. thanks, Cassie! I have not been great at keeping money in my account in the past, but not buying new stuff is helping.

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  7. Just commenting to say yay, comments work now for me!

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    1. Yay! Thanks for letting me know they weren't working.

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  8. Yeah to your new name! Love it. Boo to giving up sugar. It's all about moderation. And is it possible to be a maximalist? I think that's where I'm at right now;). Damn hoarding.

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    1. I am a sugar maximalist, that is for sure.

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