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Simple Living

6 Months of Buying Nothing New- UPDATE

Update on my 6 months of buying nothing new challenge

**Spoiler alert…I bought something!*

As many of you know, part of my simple living journey is learning to buy and consume less stuff.  To jump start this process, I am challenging myself to go 6 months without buying anything new.  I am almost 2 months into my challenge.  See the original post here for more details!

Anytime that I discuss my challenge with someone, I always seem to get the same question.  

'Well?? Have you bought anything new??' 

My answer is yes.  I am not perfect. However, my shopping is drastically reduced.  In fact, aside from my grocery trips, which only occur every 2 weeks, I have not stepped foot into a department store or super market.  

So what did I buy?

I bought the grey and white stuffed animal pictured below (on the right). Unfortunately, I think that Target must have known about my challenge to buy nothing new, because they messed up and sent me the incorrect thing….not just once, but twice.  That grey stuffed animal is what I ended up with, but that is NOT what I purchased.  

6 months of buying nothing new

Allow me explain…

The all white stuffed animal, pictured above (left), is my daughter’s attachment object.  Its name is ‘mini Cooper’ since it is a miniature version of our white huskie mix, Cooper.  Mini Cooper has to be with my daughter for naptime and bedtime.  She will cry and search for this stuffed animal when she gets tired.  This meant that I was constantly lugging the animal to and from daycare everyday to make sure that he was there for naptime and at home for bedtime.  I would even occasionally forget to bring him home…which made for a less than fun bedtime routine.  I decided that having two ‘identical’ stuffed animals would make life a bit more simple…and that is the goal right??

Imagine how happy I was that with a quick google search I was able to find an identical match to her white ‘Mini Cooper’.  A few days later I get the notification that my item has been delivered.  I rush to open the box when we get home, anxious to see what my daughters reaction will be when she sees another ‘mini Cooper’.  Well….it was not a stuffed animal.  It was this Fortnite Elf figure. I obviously got the wrong package. Customer service was quick to fix the issue and sent out a replacement package ASAP.

A few days later, another package arrived. I opened it up and boom, wrong stuffed animal. At this point, I realized that this was a sign that I should not have attempted to buy something. I decided to just give the grey stuffed animal to my daughter and see what she thought. Turns out, it must be close enough, because she loves it. Now, even though they are not identical, I finally have a stuffed animal for daycare and for at home.

My conclusion-

I’m happy that I don’t have to lug a stuffed animal to and from daycare everyday now, but I don’t think I am going to be as tempted to buy something again soon…it was more trouble than it was worth.

Original Post: 6 Months of Buying Nothing New Challenge

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Simple Living

25 Things to throw away TODAY!

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Clutter stresses me out.  Period.  There are few things that I despise more than going to look for something, only to end up digging through boxes of junk and not being able to find what I need.  What is even the point of hoarding all this stuff if you can never find what you need?

If you are at a point where you are fed up with the clutter and you want to start cleaning out today…then this list is for you.  

Before you even read this list and start running around your home to find stuff to throw away…stop right now.  First, find an area to act as your ‘command station’.  In your command station place three large boxes (possibly 4).  Use one for trash, one for recyclables, one for donate, and one for selling (optional).  

The selling box is optional, because that means you will need to take some extra work to take pictures of the object, post it for sale, and then meet with a buyer.  If you do not feel like doing all of that, then just stick to the three box method.  Now you are ready!

25 things to throw away….RIGHT NOW

  1. excessive number of coffee mugs
  2. mismatched, stained, or unused food containers
  3. multiple vases
  4. random or outdated electronics and cords
  5. old movies/ DVDs
  6. clothes that you don’t wear or that don’t fit
  7. shoes that are worn out or that you do not wear anymore
  8. mismatched socks
  9. unused or broken toys/games
  10. worn out or old sets of sheets/linens
  11. old glasses
  12. outdated makeup
  13. dried up nail polish, old nail clippers/files
  14. unused perfumes/ colognes
  15. hair accessories that you don’t use
  16. samples of any kind
  17. multiple bottles of shower gels or lotions (if you don’t use the brand)
  18. old medications
  19. expired foods (from your fridge and pantry)
  20. magazines 
  21. takeout menus (most are online)
  22. excessive pens, pencils, and markers
  23. cleaning products that you don’t use
  24. instruction manuals (most are online)
  25. old planners or calendars

This list is not a complete fix.  Purging and de-cluttering an entire home is not a quick or easy process.  I have been actively working for the last few months to reduce clutter…and I’m still not finished.  I have also made a commitment to reduce the amount of stuff that gets brought into our home.  There really is no point in purging, de-cluttering, and organizing if we just plan to buy more stuff to fill the space.  

Now GO!! See how much you can get rid of.  Feel the weight of your clutter being lifted from your shoulders as you fill your boxes. 

Just promise me that you won’t leave those boxes sit there for the next month.  Take them to the trash, recycling center, or donation center immediately.   

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Simple Living

8 Things that I do in the morning…while the rest of the house is asleep.

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8 Things that I do in the morning….to start my day off right. 

You do not have to be a morning person to benefit from waking up early.  You also don’t have to commit to doing it every day.  Waking up early is a great way to start your day off right.  I’m talking about waking up while the rest of your family is sleeping soundly in their beds.

My home is rarely quiet, so I find it peaceful to have some early morning ‘me time’ while the rest of the house is asleep.  (Okay-I shouldn’t say that everyone else is asleep.  My husband wakes up early too…earlier than me.  He leaves for the gym at 4am on most mornings…I think he might actually be the real hero in this story…).

Anyway- here are 8 things that I like to do first thing in the morning.

  1. Drink Water-  This is the very first thing that I do when I wake up.  I keep a large reusable cup by my bedside.  I refill it every night before bed.  After a good night sleep, I always wake up feeling like a shriveled up raisin.  Before I even have to think about starting my day, I pick up my cup and slurp down 10-16 oz of water.  After I get a little bit of water back in my body, it is then straight to the coffee pot for me!  
  2. Stretch-  You have been lying still for 7-8 hours.  Waking up over the course of a couple of minutes by stretching in bed is a great way to get your body (and mind) ready for the day ahead. 
  3. Get myself dressed and ready for the day-  So this one might seem obvious, but stick with me.  On the days that I wake up early, I am able to put on my makeup without having to look over my shoulder every 30 seconds to make sure my toddler isn’t dipping my brushes in the toilet.  Also, since my husband and I share a bathroom, I am able to get ready without my husband constantly in my way.  It is so nice to be able to get ready faster, without distraction, and actually look a bit more put together!
  4. Start a load of laundry-  There is always laundry to be done.  If I put laundry in the washer on my early mornings, it is ready to be moved over to the dryer before I leave for work.  Then, when I get home from work, I just fluff the laundry for a few minutes in the dryer and it is ready to fold. 
  5. Tidy up-  This doesn’t take long since I do most of the picking up and putting things away when I make my rounds through the house in the evenings.  Morning tidying for me usually just includes putting away dishes that are on the drying rack or in the dishwasher.
  6. Plan for the day-  I am a person that loves having a plan.  Waking up early allows me to plan for my day before things get busy.  I will open my work and personal calendar to see if I have any meetings or appointments.  Then, I take the time to physically write out an itemized to-do list.  I will write down every little thing that I hope to accomplish during my day. 
  7. Get one thing done on my to do list-  If the baby is still asleep, I will then use this time to cross one thing off of my to-do list….because half of the fun of a to-do list is getting to cross things off of it. 
  8. Personal/Self care- Now that I seem busier than ever with work and family, I find myself wondering, ‘when do other busy people have time to pluck their eyebrows or file their nails??’.  I use my early morning time for things like this.  Finally, if I don’t really have anything to do…(or more likely…just don’t have motivation to do anything)…I will sometimes sit in the quiet and enjoy my cup of coffee while doing absolutely NOTHING!

Some people like the saying ‘the early bird gets the worm’. I prefer the saying, ‘The tired Momma gets to drink her coffee in peace and quiet.’

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Interested in seeing if waking up early can make a difference for you? Try waking up just one hour earlier on one day this week.  I guarantee that once you roll out of bed and rub the sleepies out of your eyes, you will enjoy it!


Simple Living

My simple method for keeping a home clutter free.

My simple method for keeping a home clutter free

Something in, something out

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If you’re like me, you feel like you’re always organizing your cabinets, drawers, and closets.  You get everything in its perfect place.  Then, a few weeks later, everything is overflowing and disorganized again. 

How does that happen?? 

There are many things that happen on a regular basis that hinder our best efforts to stay organized.  One of the major things is that we are constantly accumulating more stuff!  My closets and cabinets do not magically get bigger just because I have purchased more things.  No wonder it always seems like my closets are going to explode.  

The first thing that I did in order to get more organized was to purge everything that I hadn’t touched, used, or worn in over a year.  That means I made it through all 4 seasons, birthdays, holidays, nights out, without ever needing it.  This purging process did not happen over night.  I used a systematic method and spread the work out over a month or so.  More on that in a different post!!

After I spent so many hours clearing my clutter, I was determined to keep things that way. 

So begins the enforcement of my something in, something out rule.  Every time that we come home with a new item that needs a ‘home’ in a cabinet, drawer, or closet- something old must first be removed from there before the item can be put away. 

Once we decide what item is going to be the ‘something out’, we then have to decide what to do with it.  The items has 4 possible places to go.

  • Donate- I keep a donate box in my garage.  Once the box gets full, I pop it in my trunk and drop it off in a donation bin at my local grocery store. 
  • Recycle-  If the item that I am getting rid of has no use to anyone, but is made of a recyclable material…then that’s where it goes.
  • Trash-  Only if there is no use for the item, not able to be recycled, or broken and unable to be fixed.
  • Re-purpose-  Sometimes I pull items out of cabinets or closets that would have a nice use somewhere else in my home.  If this happens, I re-purpose the item and place it in its new home.

Finally- when I feel like we are starting to slack with the something in – something out rule, I will briefly implement a one thing in, two things out rule to actively reduce clutter. 

The ultimate goal is to get to a place where you realize that you really don’t need lots of new items.  You will start to reflect closer on the items that you purchase.  You will start to consider if the item you are looking at purchasing is actually worth getting rid of something else in your home (often times the answer is no).  This will lead to a more content feeling with the items that you own…and less of a desire to purchase new items just for the sake of buying stuff. 

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Simple Living

6 months of buying nothing new


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6 Months of Buying Nothing New-


Our society seems to glamorize stuff.  Material goods are a status symbol to show other people how wealthy they are.  It is not just the rich that get caught up in buying things.  For me, when I take a look around our home, I am overwhelmed by how much we have accumulated.  We have only lived in our home for 5 years and we have multiple sets of living room furniture, dressers, rugs, plates, etc.  Most of these items we bought brand new, used for a few months, then saw something that we liked better….something that we just had to have!  I don’t even dare to think about how much money has been wasted on all of our purchases.  I’m not in the mood to cry tonight!

As I started a journey to live a more simple and content life, I realized that I needed to make some changes.  I decided to challenge myself to go 6 months without buying anything new.  ZERO shopping malls this holiday season for me!!

I have everything that I need (and more!) at this very moment to live comfortably.  In fact, most purchases that I have made in the past year have not been out of necessity, but instead, out of want.  I am able to look back on my purchases in the past year from various online stores.  It saddens me to see all of the ‘things’ that I have ordered, received, and then maybe used once before it ended up in a closet or cabinet.

This link from becomingminimalist.com does a great job of expressing many of the benefits of reducing consumerism, but I will summarize some of the reasons for you!

  1. Less debt
  2. Less time spent caring for possessions (fixing things, dusting tons of plastic items on a shelf)
  3. Less desire to upscale lifestyle norms
  4. Less environmental impact
  5. Less need to keep up with evolving trends
  6. Less pressure to impress with material possessions
  7. More generosity
  8. More contentment
  9. Greater ability to see through empty claims
  10. Greater realization that this world is not just material.

‘Excessive consumption promises happiness, but never delivers.’

My husband and I have gone on ‘spend freezes’ before to help reduce expenses, but we have never sustained this as a lifestyle.  My hope is that by trying this for 6 months, it will just become a normal way of life!

As I start this journey, I realize that I need to set some ground rules….and some exceptions to those rules.

  1. There will be no clothes or shoe shopping at retail stores.  I have plenty of clothes, so I really don’t need more.  If I find that I need something, I will plan to search consignment or thrift shops.
  2. Grocery store purchases will include groceries, medications, basic toiletries, and some of the very basic makeup that I wear.
  3. Since the holidays are almost here, gifts will be handmade or purchased from a small local business.  I may have to buy some supplies in order to make some of the gift ideas that I have.  Preferably, I will find some good experience gifts (like tickets to a show or a day at the zoo)!
  4. Any medical costs for family or pets will be taken care of normally.

I’m sure that there will be more rules as certain circumstances come up, but that is all I can think of for now!

Let me know your thoughts!  Would you consider going 6 months, 3 months, or even a week without buying anything new.

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Simple Living

Simple Living- 7 ways get your spouse on the same page

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7 ways get your spouse on the same page

Tell me if this sounds familiar?  You’re overwhelmed with work, bills, house work.  You have no time to enjoy your family or friends.  You stumble across the simple living movement.  A community of people that are starting to say ‘no’ to consumerism.  You already know that stuff doesn’t equal happiness.  In fact, you probably have so much ‘stuff’ in your home that it is overwhelming you, yet you continue to buy more stuff.

You have decided it is time to make a change.  It is time begin living a more simple and meaningful life.

You excitedly run up to your spouse.  You begin rambling about how you want to get rid of all of the clutter, stopping buying so much stuff, and aim for a simple life.  If your significant other is anything like my husband, instead of getting an excited response, he will look at you like you are crazy.

You need to realize that it has taken you your entire life to come to the realization that simple living is better.  How can you expect your loved one to come to the same conclusion at the same time?  Take it easy.

Below are 7 ways that I helped my husband to get on board with my simple living changes.


1. Have an open conversation about your goals-  Don’t expect your significant other to start making a big life change for no reason.  Make sure that they know your ‘why’.  For me, I explained to my husband that I was pursuing a more simple life in hopes of being able to reduce some of my stress and to be able to spend more quality time with my family.  At this point, he was still apprehensive, but he was receptive to me starting to make some changes.

2. Make it a game-  Let’s face it, cleaning out the closet to reduce clutter or going a month without eating out isn’t exactly the definition of fun.  But that doesn’t mean it can’t be.  I try my best to make things into a game when I get my spouse involved.  He is super competitive, so this always peaks his interest.

**Example- See who can get rid of the most articles of clothing from the closet.  See who can go longer without stopping at a drive-thru on the way home from work.  Loser will usually get stuck doing the dishes all week.  Winner usually gets to pick the tv show when we sit down to relax.  In the end though, I feel like we both win…even if I am the one stuck doing dishes.

3. Do the heavy lifting- figuratively-  Picture this.  You decide to start living a more simple and frugal lifestyle.  You come home and announce that you are going to start this new lifestyle by cleaning out the boxes in the basement.  You then order your perfectly content husband to get up and start helping you go through boxes.  Yeah…that’s not going to get your spouse exciting about simple living.  You will have to take the initiative and get things started on your own.  This brings me to my next tip.

4. Lead by example-  People are naturally wired to oppose change.  If you want a more simple life, do it.  Start doing things that help you to simplify.  With time, your spouse will notice that you are serious about this new way of life.

5. Start small-  Do not come home one day and just change EVERYTHING.  Your spouse will likely retreat to a corner and cry….hopefully not, but still.  He/she may not be ready for a huge life change.  Start small and work together towards a common goal.

6. Accept that nobody is perfect-  We do not change our ways overnight.  Celebrate the small victories, but understand that there may be set backs.  Don’t give up all of your simple living goals just because you went a little overboard and impulse bought a giant inflatable snowman for the front yard.  Did you need it?…no.  Is it kind of fun?…yes.  Enjoy it and simply vow to get back on track with your goals.

7. Celebrate the small wins- Has your junk drawer stayed de-cluttered for over a month now?  Did your spouse up on buying new shoes because they were on sale?  These are wins!  Celebrate!  This will help keep everyone excited about working towards a goal together.


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Simple Living

8 swaps that you can make today to use less disposables

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I’m a numbers person.  Let’s take a look some numbers around disposables from Earthday.org.  Roughly half of the annual plastic production is destined to become a single-use product.  Globally, humans now buy plastic bottles at a rate of 1,000,000 per minute.  500,000 straws are used in the world every single day.  Check this link out if you are interested in more stats.

Every change makes a difference.  Below are some easy swaps that you can make to reduce the amount of waste you produce on a daily basis.  In many cases, this can also save you money since you won’t have to continue to purchase disposable items regularly.

Help the environment.  Save Money.  Win-Win in my book!

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about giving up all of our daily disposables….I like toilet paper just as much as you do, but the 8 items below are easy swaps to make!

*Disclosure- Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission on purchase.

1. Water bottle/drink cups-  Let’s be honest, most bottled waters are basically just filtered tap water.  Plus, the cheap plastic bottle can leach all sorts of chemicals into the water.  In most cases, your tap water is perfectly fine to drink.  Get yourself a good reusable bottle (preferably not plastic).

Below are two of my favorites.  I use the S’well for cold beverages and the Yeti for warm.  Both of them hold hot or cold beverages, that’s just my preference.

S’well Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 25 oz, Lily Wood

YETI Rambler 20 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler w/MagSlider Lid, Seafoam

If you are unsure if your tap water is safe, take a sample to your local environmental lab and have it tested.  You can also buy water bottles that filter as your drink.

2. Reusable snack/sandwich bags- This is a switch that I made not too long ago.  I pack my lunch every day and typically 2-3 items get put into snack bags.

These reusable bags come in various sizes and are easily rinsed out at the end of the day.

3. Packed lunch utensils-  Again, perfect for that lunch box.  Stop grabbing disposable forks and spoons in the staff breakroom.

4. Paper towels-  I made this switch back when I was trying to save more money at the grocery store.  Disposable items were making up a huge portion of my bill on a regular basis.  I started by hiding my paper towels from sight.  Out of sight= out of mind.  Now we just use more towels.  I also have a huge stack of cut up t-shirts for rags.  We only reach for the paper towels for the super yucky messes that we wouldn’t want on our kitchen towels, even if they run through a bleach cycle.

5. Coffee filter- I love my morning cup of coffee.  I try my best to save money and be eco-friendly by brewing my coffee at home and using a thermos.  This is my next change.  I am still using a daily disposable coffee filter in my mr. coffee pot.  I’m not perfect people….GASSSPP.  I have a huge stack of filters to use.  Once my supply gets low, I am ordering a reusable filter.  I currently have this one in my amazon cart ready for my next order.

6. Straws- Most of the cups around our house come with their own reusable straws.  However, sometimes they get broken or we need a straw for other cups.  Our reusable straws are plastic, but each one has lasted us for going on 4 years now.  As for when I am out and about, I simply elect not to use a straw for my drinks.  I know some people carry a spare in their purse when they are going out…that’s an option too.

7. Grocery bags- Gather up some of those cloth/ fabric bags that you have collected over the years.  Then take them out to your car and put them in your trunk.  After each use, return the bags to your car so that you always have them with you.

If you don’t have a stash of bags, these are amazing.  They hold a ton of food and they are really durable.  My favorite part is that they fold down into tiny little pouches.  I keep them all together on a carabiner that gets clipped to my grocery cart.

TIP** Put yourself a little note somewhere in your car or on your grocery list to help you remember to grab the bags out of your trunk when you get to the store.  Once you get into a habit of getting them out of your car, you won’t need the reminder to use them.

8. Produce bags- Most people make the switch to reusable grocery bags, but have you considered ditching the flimsy produce bags as well?  My guess is that most people haven’t.  I always get compliments and questions about my produce  bags when we get them out at the grocery store.