Saturday, April 14, 2018

A Little Too Minimal

In my zeal to really explore minimalism, I joined a bunch of facebook groups related to the topics of minimalism, simplicity and anti-consumerism. At first, I found it very helpful and motivating. And then, something shifted. I am still committed to being frugal, and less consumeristic, and trying to tread more lightly on the earth. But good grief! My feed became absolutely clogged with photos of houses purged to the point of barrenness, with people asking if it was still too cluttered with one chair and a side table. Others would weigh in - yes! get rid of the side table and use the window sill instead! I knew without even posting a photo of my bedroom that they'd object to my having dressers and that having a few things on them would be an additional sin. We won't even talk about that small stack of books waiting to be read. And it wasn't just about furnishings. There were frequent photos by people proudly showing off their empty refrigerators. Well, honestly, what is the point of having a refrigerator if not to hold food? And tips on how to feed a family of five for a month on soup beans and leftover vegetables or lauding the benefits of family cloth. What's family cloth, you ask? I'm not sure you really want to know but since I had to read about it, so do you: it's the practice of replacing toilet paper with bits of cloth you can wash and re-use. You read that correctly. Sorry you asked, aren't you? And when you're done gagging, we can resume....

Post after post about aspects of your life that could be minimalized (a word I have come to loathe): Hair - shave it off! Flatware - only have sporks! Color - paint everything white! Beds - put a mattress on the floor! Shoes - flip flops every day! Wedding rings - get a tattoo instead! Coffee - give it up! And for each of those, the chorus of folks countering that even those suggestions weren't minimal enough. It all just started making me twitchy. Listen, I am keeping my hair, I'm not eating soup with a freaking spork, I like having my mattress on a bed frame, I can't wear flip flops to work, I adore my Celtic wedding ring, and I want my damn coffee every morning!

There were rants about using dryers. Rants about television. Rants about wasting money on wine. Rants about the evils of having children. And oh, the challenges:  How few dishes can you get by with? Who has the fewest books? What is the least amount of money you can spend on travel? Is there a single product you can get away with for washing hair, body and dishes? Or better yet, can you eliminate soap entirely from your life? But I knew I had met the limits of my tolerance when I read a post asking people to list the number of clothing items they owned and then the comments of people bragging about how they were able to get by with 22 or 10 or 7 items of clothing. I could no longer rein in the snark. I commented, "One. A single pair of footie pajamas that I wash in rainwater I collect from the downspout and then hang to dry overnight while I sleep naked on the bare wood floor."

Clearly, it was time for me to get out. So I "minimalized" my facebook groups. I stayed in some that are more about simplicity and left the others. It helps me to have some contact with like-minded people who lean toward mindfulness and "cozy minimalism." But I am just not made for the spartan life. Hygge, anyone?

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The yard over the last week or so.

The end of March ushers in spring in these parts, and I'm more than a little giddy with it. I have more tulip varieties than I can count.
The clover lawn is filling in and the wild violets are fully in bloom. It looks like a rabbit paradise in the front yard. I love walking in it barefoot.
I take almost as much joy in the things not-quite here - like the beautiful curls of the fern fronds before they unfurl under the dogwood trees. Behind them, hostas are opening.
The stone crop (Autumn joy sedum) has just emerged and will become enormous and covered in rusty pink flowers by late summer.
Lamiums and hellebores, some of my favorite late winter shade plants that bring life to the garden early.
Out back, the trillium I planted last year are coming up. I hope they flower!
This purple leafed sand cherry is a favorite of mine, from its pretty pink blossoms to its burgundy leaves. The more upright main trunk died off early, but I like how the other trunk leans into the mulched bed.
I love daffodils of every variety, but these with the apricot centers are especially pretty.
I have three or four different heucheras (so far!) in the back bed under the dry shade of the old hemlocks. They add some really nice color.
More daffodils and tulips out back, keeping one of my stone frogs company.
I have grape hyacinths scattered everywhere and they echo the color of the wild violets.
These bleeding hearts were added last year and I love their old fashioned look.
Next to them are blue asters, a beautiful contrast.
So, yeah - warm weather and lots of flowers? Now you're talking.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

March No-Shop Summary

Another month completed, putting us a quarter of the way through the no-shopping year.

 March       Year to Date      Category                              
      $0                       $0                   Clothing                                                   
      $0                       $0                   Shoes                             
      $0                       $0                   Accessories                                       
      $0                       $0                   Cosmetics         
      $0                       $0                   Kitchen items                 
      $0                       $0                   Gadgets/electronics 
      $0                       $0                   Furnishings
      $0                       $0                   Books 
      $0                       $0                   Shrubs/trees
      $0                       $0                   Non-necessary household goods 

Honestly, it seems to just get easier with time. Some of the folks in the no-shopping challenge facebook group I'm in talk about their struggles and giving in to temptations and I think, "Eh, I'm fine." Turns out, there just isn't that much I really need that I don't already have.
Hodr, however, is singularly unimpressed with our progress and cares only that we keep feeding her.