The Minimalist Me

A couple of months ago, my friend Vera posted a link on Facebook from The Everyday Minimalist.  As I read through the blog, I became interested in this minimalism thing.  Then I found The MInimalist Mom, and it’s been all downhill from there.  Less kids’ toys? Less clutter? Less to dust? SIGN THIS CHICK UP.  I’m so bad about bringing home all sorts of vintage “treasures” (read: crap that no one else would touch with a 10 foot pole). Some of that is fine, but my God, how many porcelain chickens does one person need?  I have no less than 65 REAL chickens…do I really need a flock of fake ones eyeing me suspiciously from my kitchen shelves, all the while collecting dust? Do I really need items just for ‘decoration’, period?  I loathe dusting my shelves in my living room.  Why do I pack them full of useless crap?  Why am I hanging on to my black dress with the leopard collar whose hemline hits my legs at just the wrong place that I have worn a total of 3 times in the past 11 years? (all to funerals) How many pens does one household need?  I had about 50 pens in my ‘junk’ drawer, and I hated 48 of them.  I’m a super picky pen person. 

Well, I’m happy to report that I no longer even have a junk drawer (seriously), and the pens have mostly been relocated to work, aside from my favorites.  I still have the depressing black dress (for now), and my porcelain chickens are still crowing and pecking from their perch in my kitchen, but I’ve made progress.  Another part of the minimalism ‘thing’ is only buying quality items.  One of the things that really caught my attention was buying well-made clothes. Though I am usually a total Goodwill girl, I do occasionally buy things from Target. Now, we all know that Target usually is pretty cheap, and a lot of their clothes look like a hot mess after you’ve worn and washed them a few times. The fabrics are cheap and pretty junky and I don’t know who designs some of the clothes, but I think they are intended for 2 kinds of people: those who weigh about 85 pounds and those who are shaped like a trapezoid.  At least, that’s how many of the clothes are shaped.  By the way, I’ve never met a person shaped like a trapezoid, but wherever they are, I’m pretty sure they buy their clothes at Target.

Anyhoo, so I really started paying attention to how clothes are made.  I know that in my own closet, I have a pair of jeans (very expensive, supposedly high quality) that look great on the hanger, but when I put them on, they pull to the right.  I don’t have a particularly large right butt cheek, (nor am I trapezoidial (?)) so I know that the cut is ‘off’.  Glad I didn’t pay full price! It’s still irritating that they were touted as top of the line and ‘quality’ when they obviously aren’t. If anyone is out there with a significantly smaller right leg and a size 8, you let me know.  I have a pair of jeans for you.

So, my mantra has been “Minimalism, minimalism” everytime I go to a store.  So far, it’s been working, I am glad to report. Last week, we went to the pinnacle of consumerism: the Galleria Mall in Dallas.  I haven’t been to a mall in years.  Now, the Galleria is a very, very nice and clean mall. Still, I guess I didn’t realize how there is a store for everything.  We went into a flip flop store.  Nothing else, just flip flops.  Cool idea, except the cheapest flip flop was almost 60 dollars, with many of them topping 100 or more. I’m sure that mall rent isn’t cheap. 

Then, we took our youngest to the American Girl store.  Oh, my Lord.  It is a neat store, it really is.  However, the cheapest thing I found was an eight dollar hairbrush.  I starting sweating from the moment we entered the store.  I did buy my girls some 18 inch dolls the other day.  From Target. They were about 25 bucks each.  I call them “Ghetto Girls” (only because they were cheap in comparison to A.G. dolls) True, their hair and their joints aren’t American Girl quality, and their feet are bigger for some reason, but it was hard for me to justify spending an extra 85 bucks per doll for something that may get its fingers chewed off by our dogs. Anyway, my child went running from display to display.  Does your doll need a violin, horse, piano, wheelchair, crutches, braces, VW bug, iron bed, birthday party tea set, allergic food kit with epinephrine shot, ears pierced, or hair styled? Cause they have it ALL.  We even asked about the Bug.  Real rubber wheels and trunk and hood open.  It was 350 dollars.  Yes, that is correct. I think Jason turned a little pale. 

I admit that I love Kit, from the historical dolls section.  She looks like my daughter, and her era (the 40s, I think) is something that I really love.  There is even a canning kit complete with a real enamel canning pot, an enamel colander, canning jars, and little fake tomatoes.  Sigh.  (MINIMALISM, MINIMALISM. WALK AWAY FROM THE DOLL)

I’m happy to report that we walked out with nothing at all.  There was no crying or begging or any silliness when we left the store.  Let’s be honest…I know that the cute little enamel pot will end up buried in the sandbox, the dog will eat the tomatoes (which will end up in the yard…eventually), and I will break my foot stepping on the oh-so-cute faux glass canning jars.  If I’m going to drop 30 bucks on something, it likely won’t be Kit’s canning set.

Then, I went into a Williams-Sonoma store.  Never been in one, but I’ve been wanting to.  This is like the American Girl store for cooking moms (and dads). I drooled over the Peugeot pepper mills (I wiped it up), the Kitchenaid attachments, and All Clad cookware.  I asked about a tomato corer, since I have stabbed my hand no less than 10 times this year coring tomatoes. The salesman handed me one. It was made in France with a wooden handle. It was a very nice corer. It was seventeen dollars.  I waited until he walked into the back room, replaced the corer and got the hell out of there.  I’m sure it would have lasted me the rest of my life, but the Goodwill girl in me was screaming that there has to been a coupon somewhere.  So I, too, walked out of my dream store empty handed.  As I walked back to my family, my daughter excitedly informed me she had ridden the escalator ten times. It was her first escalator experience. Then she told me that she ran back to her daddy because she thought people would think she was an orphan and try to take her home (???) You gotta love some farm kids.

As we walked back to the entrance, I paid close attention to the clothes on display in the store windows. The blogs I have been reading were correct: most clothing is now made of cheap material, bad cuts, too trendy, and just bad overall styling. On most of the clothes, there were already loose buttons, and uncut threads.  In other words, it won’t be a season or two and they’ll likely end up in your thrift store pile.  Hmm. We were probably the only couple in the mall that day that left with nothing, besides the older couples who mall walk for fitness.

My Minimalism Mantra worked! 

I have gotten rid of so much stuff, I’m afraid that my house may appear semi-vacant to observers.  Okay, well not really, but I’m working on that.  Anyone need a flock of porcelain chickens?


8 thoughts on “The Minimalist Me

  1. The problem with having a flock of anything porcelain is that well meaning friends and family add to the collection! I had a couple of pretty thimbles and, before I knew it, it seemed that everyone was buying me one!
    I’m impressed that you have sorted out the rubbish drawer…. where do you put all the pens, tape, keys (that nobody knows what for) and elastic bands?? 🙂

    1. Lol. Yes, I still do have a drawer, but I have a desk for my business things, and that is where they went. The ‘junk’ drawer was the top drawer in a chest of drawers which was in the kitchen. I cleaned the entire thing out, and now it is in my daughter’s room. Now, everything is sorted and in its place. :0) As far as the keys, I got rid of them. I figured if I hadn’t used them in years, I probably won’t! Now, the drawer only has a handful of approved pens and sharpened (!!!) pencils, tape, a stapler, and scissors. I put the rubber bands in my tie dye kit :0)

  2. Thank you for sharing! I loved every bit of it. I moved into my brand new house 7 years ago and we have already accumulated to much stuff, even though, I try to be very careful not to. We raised and home schooled our 4 children in a 900 square foot trailer and now that they are grown and gone we have 2700 square feet. Each of our adult children have moved in and out since we have been here, one with her children, and for some reason they all have decided to leave things behind. I’m guessing they probably don’t need what they left behind. I am on a mission to simplify everyones belongings!

    1. Thanks! Yes, I am still whittling down things. I just discovered Paperback for my unwanted books. That was a biggie for me! I love, love, love books, but I have too many. That is definitely an area I am working on now. It is so nice to hone down to only the things you need. I think I got rid of about 10 sets of AV cables for the TV, lol! What was up with that? They took up an entire drawer! Nice to see it empty…

  3. Love, love, love this! How brave and wonderful you are to be able to leave The Galleria empty-handed. My grand daughters also have Target dolls. BTW – the dreaded Wal-Mart sometimes have their patterns on sale. You can buy those pricey 18″ doll patterns for cheap and dress up those Ghetto Dolls that the A.G.’s will just drool with jealousy. And of course you already know 100% cotton skirts from Goodwill make the BEST doll clothes! 😉

    I’m not sure I could have resisted the high quality tomato corer from France, though, but probably the best thing to do – setting a good example, etc!

    1. Oh, it was soooo hard. But I figured that surely at some time, Sonoma Williams will have a sale or a coupon. I have the most difficult time paying full price for anything at all anymore. Yes, I got a lot of patterns from Hancock’s for 99 cents! I just made the Ghetto Girls (Girlz?) a sleeping bag, and it was a nightmare (THANK YOU, MCCALL’S PATTERNS) Though I do think the problem was that the zipper pull was too wide and kept catching the fabric. Oh well. I am no seamstress! Yes, I am about to cut up some of my cheap unwanted clothes for some doll outfits. Woohoo!

  4. I’ll see your porcelain chickens and raise you a set of china cats (collected by one of Mom’s girls when she was about eight or nine; she’s twenty six now). Mom loves the minimilist idea- Dad not so much.
    Everytime Mom “cleans up” an area, my dad cries, “You didn’t throw away anything of MINE, did you?” Mom just smiles sweetly and asks, “Why, honey, are you missing something?” Of course with all his “stuff”, he’d never know what he’s missing.
    I’m not sure why that exchange just kills me, but I get a kick out of it every time!

  5. Hahaha – loving the comments about receiving additions to collections. Once it got out that I love dogs, birds, insects and butterflies, I started receiving ceramic & stuffed dogs, birds, insects & butterflies. I

    Once I let them know it’s the REAL ones I like, I started receiving bird seed, houses, baths, and butterfly-attracting plants. SOOO much better!

    I mean – does a 60+ year old woman REALLY need a stuffed dog that sings a Barry White’s love song? 😉

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