Minimalist Mood

Post by: Kelly Murphy

I have been in a minimalist mood to blog, lately. In other words, I have been too tired to blog, and just trying to get through doing the minimum.  Have any of you ever felt like that? 
And sometimes that is ok, if it is all that you can do.  Right now, that’s all I can do. I am so tired of waiting….  waiting on things to change, waiting on things to be different, waiting, waiting. Waiting on a divorce to be finalized to get on with my life. Always waiting. 

Right now, I just need to ‘be still and let God be God.” There’s a song by Steven Curtis Chapman, with lyrics that say….”God is God, and I am not.” That is my new mantra that I am trying to repeat to myself when I feel myself begin to stress about having to wait. 

 Here are a few things that have helped me get through my last four months of crap.

~a little activity daily. Walking is pretty inexpensive with a good pair of walking shoes, and the benefits on the heart and the booty are enormous. (I’d rather have enormous health benefits than an enormous booty, wouldn’t you?)

~deep breathing, and relaxation techniques. And as I take a few deep breaths, I find that it really does help. After 4 deep breaths I can actually feel my heart rate slow down. Try it!

~prayer. From short to long, they all help

There. That’s my top 3. 

In the long run, what truly matters is how we handle our fears, frustrations, and stress  in the midst of the waiting.  Finding healthy ways to keep busy has helped me when I feel anxiety. 

So if life has thrown you some curves lately, as mine has me, try some rejuvenation to get out of that minimalist mood!

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Musings Of A Tiny House Lover

I have been fascinated by tiny houses for awhile, now, but am not totally convinced I could live in one. If you missed my confession several months ago, I filled a 24-foot truck, and am now storing most of what was in it in Mom’s garage-(something I haven’t done in 30 years.)

So, while I am hoping to gain lots of great information through my research, I just don’t know if I have the guts to do it

First off, it may not happen for a few years-the tiny house thing. So much has to be done in preparation to live in a tiny house.

One of  the biggest prerequisites I can see,  is simply not simple…get rid of some stuff.  I know that of the items I have, some might not fit my tiny space, without it feeling cluttered, and I hate wall-to-wall furniture. So, after 25 years of owning, and regular re-upolstering my antique couch, I may have to consider replacing it with a couch that can work double duty as a sleeping sofa, since it is 6 feet wide. It just may not work fit in my future tiny living room.

I also have 5 dressers, and an armoire which may be able to be incorporated into my tiny house, one for the bathroom sink, and another possibly as kitchen island, one as a side table, and the other 2 as dressers.

The stipulation of a tiny space containing practical storage is universal knowledge. And if I move in one, I would also want an easy-to-clean design.  For example, those pretty wicker baskets may look cool, but if they have don’t have lids, then whatever things are inside them get dusty, and I would have to vacuum them regularly, and wash everything inside. That doesn’t help me, so I would want a type container-like a lidded plastic storage container. It could quickly be dusted, without dragging out the vacuum cleaner. I like that idea. 

 
The floors would have to have a high gloss, because I love that look, and that makes for easy cleaning with any vacuum, and a Swiffer.
Also, I want 2 doors in my tiny house, and  privacy in the lofts. The two doors I would want for safety sake.  And as for the loft privacy, I don’t want to be able to see inside the loft bedroom, from the living room. I am thinking about some type of  frosted plexiglass, with sliding doors.  I have a teenager who desires her privacy, and has informed me she doesn’t want her “entire conversations overheard”, whether she has friends over or is talking on the phone. So, I need a creative way to deal with this issue. 
And as for the stairs. I would need either stairs or a ladder, or stairs and  a ladder. I like the spiral staircase idea or stairs with storage under them, but I don’t want to take up too much space with a staircase, and would want to be able to have some storage under the staircase. I don’t have any idea how to do all that.

As for the kitchen, I don’t need a large oven, just one big enough, with two shelves, which is wide enough to hold a cookie sheet and a 9 1/2 by 11 pan. I like those kitchen combos I see, but I doubt if I could afford one. I’d LOVE to find a small vintage one, but who knows if that could happen. The kitchen combos with sink, stove, and faucet are neat, but really expensive. They could cost as much as an entire tiny house!  
I would love to use repurposed items, and keep the house as “green” as possible, too. I mean, doesn’t that make great sense to use salvaged materials?!  I would just have to find them. 
As for time, I have no idea how long it would take to build one, since it would depend on my builder’s schedule. I could do some of the painting to save some money, since I have experience with that.

I would also want a storm shelter very near the tiny house, and if I could build a trap door to get to it without going outside, I would prefer that.  I don’t know if that is even possible since most tiny houses are built on trailers. I have even considered buying a storage container to use as a storm cellar.

I’d love to hear your ideas.. Have you seen any nifty storage ideas in a cabin, or on TV? Let me know!!!

And… if you like what you read share this with your friends!

 Any ideas or feedback on this let me know.

How Would a Tiny House Change You?

Post by: Kelly Murphy

How would living in a tiny house change your life? Or more specifically a Tiny Texas House? If you would care to express your ideas on the subject-that of tiny house living, here is your chance! Check out the contest over at Tiny Texas Houses. I am adding the link so you can check out all the pictures and information. And if you feel like writing about it, there is an essay contest going on, too!

Here is the link  www.tinytexashouses.com

The winner of the essay contest will win a one of a kind Tiny Texas House.

Brad Kittel is the owner of the website and is keen on the concept of sustainability. He doesn’t just build small houses, but small houses made purely with salvage materials.  Check it out!

And if you care to comment on how living in a tiny house would change you, please do! Talk about minimalism!

Tips on Preparing Your Teenager for the First Day Back to School

Post by: Kelly Murphy

For many, the first day of school is a stressful, but exciting time. Listed are a few ideas on how to make the transition easier:

The day before….

If your child walks to school, walk the route she/he will be taking, with her/him  to familiarize both of you with the areas or cross walks you want him or her to take, and chart the time it will take to get to school. This will help your  teens know exactly when he or she will need to be walking out the door of your house, not just when she or he should arrive at school.

If possible, visit the school beforehand to familiarize her/him with the school. Do a walk-through of the class schedule to alleviate anticipation of getting lost, or being late to class.  This is especially important if this is a new school for your child.

Locate each classroom he/she will be attending. This helps reduce any embarrassment or stress many junior high students may feel and helps with time management.

Locate her/his locker.

Next, complete any tasks which can be done the night before.  Some of these may include, but are not limited to:

Shower/Bathe  (Any shaving, nail painting, or hair-washing should be to previously completed to make for a less-stressful and speedy departure.)

Go to bed early.   A teenager may not actually go to sleep early, but it will provide time to unwind, listen to favorite music, and relax.

Spend 20 minutes with your teen. Be open to encourage and listen about any concerns or comments.

Lay  out clothes (Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C (if girls)

Pack the lunch or snacks and refrigerate.

Pack and place school bag with essential supplies by the front door, or the car trunk  (if you are taking all school supplies at once).

Put a note on the school bag, or front door reminding you to get the lunch out of the refrigerator!

Charge cell phone

Share a blessing, encouragement, or a prayer with your teen. Let her/him know you can’t wait to hear how great her day will be when you see or talk to each other the  in the evening.

The morning of the first day of school:

  • Get up a little early
  • Allow a 15-minute warning before walking out the door.
  • Make sure you and your teen eat a simple and nutritious breakfast! (Yes, even a granola or cereal bar is nutritious!)
  • Smile, hug, and kiss your teenager before she/he leaves. (They may not love it, but you will feel much better).
  • Say a prayer for your teen. This can be done aloud or silently. Even having a moment of silence but standing there with your hands on your teen will be good.  (Again, they may not love it, but you will feel much better.  P.S. Do this before you leave the house, and not in the school parking lot. You may love it but they won’t feel better).
  • Be willing to listen when she/he gets home!

Now, get out there, and have a great first day back to school!

Share your comments below!

6 Savey Ideas for Back to School!

Post: by Kelly Murphy

WHAT IS THE LOWDOWN ON SAVING FOR SCHOOL SUPPLIES?

I have some ideas on this subject and here they are: .

1. Basics only– Get only what you need.  Shot an email to the teacher, or make a phone call to the school and ask for what must be purchased before Christmas. I have found that so many of the school supplies goes on clearance about September, very inexpensively. Now get the rest of the list.

2. Lunch Boxes, and Backpacks. Reuse last year’s backpack!  I got lucky this year , because my daughter’s school doesn’t allow backpacks, but it would have been fine for her to reuse the one she had. (Then shop for clearance for next year’s in September!)

3.Grab this year’s school supply list off of the internet, or at a sponsoring dept store, and next years’ also. When things go on clearance stock up!

4. Calculators, Again find out EXACTLY when they will be used, (email the teacher) and see if you can delay until it goes on sale. ( My 7th grader had to purchase a certain calculator for PreAlegebra, and didn’t actually use it until Christmas).  I was able to buy it on sale, which saved us about $11 on a $115 calculator. When you’re living on a shoestring, anything helps! )

5. Clothes… Can you say thrift stores? Uniforms.  Email friends, post to Facebook,  Freecycle… whatever. If you have to purchase them @ the store, only buy 3 coordinating shorts, pants, and shirts. It works.

6. Tax-exempt day… For some this is a way to save but if you keep an eye out for clearance stuff this year, you won’t have to go through the rush of the tax-exempt day crowd.  If you are brave enough, here is a link for all U.S. states….. 

http://shopping.yahoo.com/articles/yshoppingarticles/649/back-to-school-shoppers-get-a-break-on-sales-taxes (P.S. This link is daughter’s father’s contribution to school supply support, money not included. Very helpful K.B. Thanks.)

 

Am I A Minimalist, Really?

Post: by Kelly Murphy

Am I a minimalist, really

Well, I thought I was.  I had been sorting through stuff  over the last three or four years. And don’t we all have different views of what a minimalist is and what a minimalist does?  

As I’ve said before, my mission toward becoming minimalistic has been gradual, and began just by simply purging unused teaching stuff, and clothing. 

My childhood home looked “lived in” or cluttered, since Mom and Dad were both very ‘innovative repurposers’. We had lots of stuff around, and while this was due to necessity, it provided me lots of time spent dusting, cleaning, organizing, and straightening. Most of which I found annoying.  We saved mostly everything, and were very minimalist and thrifty with our resources, but as for getting rid of “unneeded stuff-not so much…because, well ..we needed everything. 

 This type upbringing, can affect a person one of three ways…..to live the same way,-keep everything, or go in the opposite direction-get rid of everything, or like me… adopt a combination of both.   Over the past five years, visiting my mom has always left me with a fervor to go back home and purge my belongings, so that when I am gone, that aspect of my leaving, my possessions, won’t complicate their feelings of my loss. While I try not to think about those aspects of having to deal with her possessions upon her departure I know it’s inevitable.

 Anyway,  when I returned to our Memphis home, and began to purge, I started to experience that feeling of space, and I liked it!
Sometimes, it was just when I dusted and cleared of my desk, other times it was when I ditched half of the clothes from my closet I never wore. Once, it was when I went through my kitchen container cabinet and threw out 10 Cool Whip containers I’d used for leftovers. I’d have been happy to recycle them,  but they are #5s, which my local recycling center didn’t take.    And sometimes it was just by disposing of my daughter’s school papers, keeping only the highlights, and not every single piece.  It felt good. Now, I am not saying go rent a dumpster and get rid of everything-unless you want to do that… I am just saying for me-gradual was the way it worked best.

But now…after returning to my mother’s home,

  • (due to being recently separated,
  • and now being sued for divorce,
  • left with zero cash flow, (except for the less than state-required child support received by the father)
  • after 14 years of being a stay@home mom (while totally renovating our recently sold home-exterior and interior),
  • and caring for a family member when an unexpected illness occurred
  •  and seeking employment in the teaching field (this sometimes occurs for those who choose to become unpaid, full-time mothers and wives,)….

I realized that at least in some ways….can only strive to be the minimalist my mother is.

Let me preface these following comments by saying that my mom,  like most people in their  late 70’s,

~draws social security
~and like many, of that age, is on a squeaky tight income.
~She, like many of that era, is a believer in thriftiness,
~and now has some medical challenges. So she has her reasons for trying to conserve energy. (She is in the hospital, as I write, so I’d appreciate any healing and happy thoughts and prayers you send her way!)
To many of that era, and especially to my mom,

Minimalism is….

  • Filling a cup with water while brushing her teeth, rather than drinking from her hand while rinsing and spitting. You won’t see her letting the water run while brushing, like  I sometimes do. Nope. Actually, she probably rinses her mouth out with the same water with which she rinses her toothbrush but I don’t know that for a fact. (She is all about gray water usage.)
  • Suggesting we do the same, and providing a repurposed ice cream bucket for us to put in the sink if we choose not to do the same, to save that water for watering her two huge turnips she has potted in her bay window.
  • Opening the windows, and tying back the window coverings during daylight, rather than turning on an overhead light.
  • Checking on us to  see that we have taken her suggestion of tying back the window coverings, during daylight, rather than turning on an overhead light.
  • Fervently suggesting we shower without lights, since there is a window in the bathroom-or on a cloudy day, suggesting we use only one light.
  • Checking to see if we are showering without lights, since there is a bathroom window, and assisting my daughter or me by turning off the lights during a shower, especially on a sunny day. (She is into solar power.)
  • Cooking in the dark, even on cloudy days, since the kitchen has a window. (No dimmer switch needed in this house.)
  • Always using a dish pan when washing dishes. (She’s very hands-on), and believes human hands are the best way to wash dishes, and does not want a dishwasher.
  • Keeping a flashlight on a stool by her hall closet, to see inside because it’s dark, instead of turning on the hall light.
  • Always having a dish pan in the sink, so that anytime water is running, for any reason, hand washing, rinsing, etc., it will all be contained in the dish pan for reuse for plants or washing dishes. (She really loves gray water usage).
  • Only using paper towels when it is an absolute necessity. (‘necessity’ to her being only poop). Note: Puck, or greasy stuff are  not neccesity, because, (and I quote) “for that a dishcloth can be used, and rinsed out in the water saved in the dish pan.”  Sorry if you already knew that.  True story..About twelve years ago a store here in Harrison (AR) was going out of business, and Mom read in the newspaper they had Bounty paper towels on clearance for 99 cents.  I remember that my daughter, was still young enought to be in a  toddler seat, and that we were up for a visit from Memphis.  Mom gave me $12 and waited in the car, while I went in to buy as many rolls as the $12 could buy.  It worked out to about 15 rolls…   Fast forward to last week when I was looking in her upper cabinets for something and there were those paper towels I’d purchased for her. I know they are the same rolls I purchased because I asked.  In 12 years she has only used 9 rolls. Now, that, is minimalism.
  • Toilet flushing is not as necessary every time. Do you get my drift? Oh, and you don’t have to have the light on when you use the toilet because (and I quote) “Don’t you know by now, where everything is?” And really…what can you say to that?
  • Doing laundry only when everything you own, (even minimalists like my daughter and me), is dirty.    So much so, that we have to sit around in our pjs because we own nothing else clean. And if you want to wash your sheets you’d better write down when you did it last to prove they need it!
  • Showering is preferred ONLY when doing really stinky work has occurred outside. And often we try to go swimming on those really hot days. So, using her logic, why take a shower, if you are going swimming at the river, or the pool, since the chlorine is a disinfectant, and  the river is nature.

All this to say, in her own way, my mother is more of a minimalist than I, but I am trying to be better at consuming fewer resources.

So, try this yourself this week and see how you do…

  • Turn off the lights if you leave a room
  • Don’t let the water run when you brush your teeth.
  • Shower with one less, or no light on. Don’t shower everyday and spot bathe on days you know you will be getting sweaty, and don’t have other commitments.
  • Keep track of how often you wash your sheets. P.S. If you make your bed daily, you won’t have to wash them as often.
  • Try using a dish pan when you hand wash dishes. You will see, in a tangible way, how much water you use.
  • Laundry can be done less often. When you do it, use cold water, not hot. Or, wear those jeans one more time. Try airing them outdoors for a few hours to freshen.
  • Flush your toilet only when essential. You can probably figure this one out.
  • Enjoy showering by candlelight! I miss that, and I love nice-smelling candles, but candles can’t be used when oxygen is in use in a home.

My refresher course in minimalism, by living with my mom, has reminded me that others around the world don’t think this is the least bit unusual, and we in America could be much more conservative in our consumption. And are very blessed!

Thanks for reading, and if you like what you read please retweet or share with others.

What’s New @ Mooving2minimalism?

Post by: Kelly Murphy

Hi everybody!

June has been a very busy month for my family.  At the end of May the house sold, and my daughter and I are now in Arkansas.  While we miss all of our friends in Memphis, we don’t miss the mosquitos and the humidity!   But – it’s summer so it’s hot everywhere.  Just not as hot as Memphis.
We are getting to spend more time helping my mom who has had lots of health problems the last few months.  And we are enjoying being in a town of about 15,000, in some ways. It is very safe, and it’s the Ozarks, so it is beautiful! With the rolling hills, the hay on the fields, and the cows and horses grazing, it is very picturesque.  We are getting to know some folks, and have enjoyed the library.  You can actually check out CDs and DVDs for free! In Memphis, it cost about between $2-3 to do that.  When I asked the library personnel how much it cost for the DVDs we checked out,  she looked at me as if I was from another planet. Cool! It was FREE!

I am currently seeking employment as a teacher, so we are on a squeaky/tight budget.  Jobs, here are very scarce, so we are counting our pennies, literally, just to buy milk and eggs.

God does provide, however. The first day we arrived we went on an evening walk and a nice neighbor who turned his backyard into a garden, struck up  a conversation, and then gave us some lettuce! He even said he used no pesticides! Organic to boot!  (Thanks Randy!) And then someone @ church shared some squash and potatoes with the congregation, and we were able to have another meal. So… although we are living hand- to- mouth, we aren’t going hungry, yet. And a few nights ago, a neighbor came by and asked if we were interested in their leftover Pizza Hut takeout. We said, “Thanks!” only to open the box to find an entire SUPREME Pizza Hut pizza.  How great is that!  Pizza isn’t the healthiest thing, but it was a nice thought.  Everything in moderation, right!?

You Memphis folks have no idea how spoiled you are, being able to drink from an artesian-fed water system! The water here is nothing in comparison, but it is better refrigerated.  So, we’re learning to deal. We can’t not drink water, right?

We are doing a lot of incline walking, and so that has helped get some inexpensive exercise, except for the needed walking shoes, (which we already owned).  And it’s very helpful for toning the legs, too.

We also miss our wonderful Whole Foods store with all of their quality food, and people, but we have our own Natures Wonders here, which is a local health food store. We have been to the Farmer’s Market, but have found the produce to be very pricey, and the footprint a bit too big to buy from them.  I am still hoping to find some local farmer to buy raw milk, but so far, I haven’t. I do hav some leads, though.

We are doing a lot of drying our own clothes outside. My mom has a handicapped rail that works great for a clothesline! LOL!  And it’s free to go swim in the Buffalo River, except for the cost of the gas. We have met some very interesting characters there.

Then there’s church. So far, this has been the place we have met some of the nicest people, and we are hoping to find a good church fit for us. We’re still checking things out in that area, though.
Hope all of you are having a good summer, and would love to hear what’s new with all of you.

Share any tips you have about how to make new friends in a new place  if you have any.

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