Friday, April 22, 2011


I'm being eaten by my final exam....send help!

More interesting minimalist info to follow next week.

Friday, April 15, 2011

the In-Law initiative
This weekend my husband's grand parents are coming to visit us in our new home for the first time.  GULP.  Nothing like the fear of criticism from the family matriarch to light a decluttering fire under your butt.

Don't get me wrong his grandmother is a lovely lady, but she has strong opinions and of course I want them to be positive where my efforts are concerned.  So I have spent my spring break this week packing boxes to take to charity, returning things to their proper places and generally giving the whole house a good scrub.

Now I am exhausted but the house is almost spotless, which is a nice change from sanitary but cluttered (the normal status of my space).  Our lady of minimalism tells us not to clean or organize our clutter, but instead to remove the offending items.  Sometimes that is not as possible as we might like.  I had to buy a set of shelves to fix my foyer problem.  Coats and shoes are always being left there by my family and company.  It has helped to make the area more manageable.  I think next I will have to pare down the coats and hang only the most weather appropriate one in the hall.  I will try to include pictures when the area is complete.

Friday, April 8, 2011

My minimal Vacation
It's Spring Break and I am ready to head off in search of adventure.  But were does a minimalist go?  With planes splitting open, fuel costs rising, and the government on the verge of shutting down?  Camping.  Well of a sort any how.  I was lucking enough to marry into a group of industrious peoples.  My grandfather in-law build a wonderful cabin in Floyd County Virginia.  There is nothing like the peace of sitting on the front porch of that cabin and looking out over the neighboring farms.  The acres surrounding the house are fantastic for farming and hiking.  It helps that the horse breeder and dairy farmer next door allow us to hike her fields as well, lending an extra 400 acres to our adventures.

From experience I must suggest not to traipse through a cow field after calfing time, or you are likely to be chased by a big angry matron cow protecting the new moms.  If we can't hike around the house we drive over to The Buffalo, a park down the road from Floyd.  It is a nice hike with amazing views of the surrounding area.  It offers a true "I can see my house from here" moment.

If you still have energy you couldn't do better than heading into Floyd proper and wondering down main street.  With dozens of adorable shops, restaurants, and the new art school there is an abundance of this to see, taste, and do.

Now I'm not saying everyone needs to vacation in Floyd County Virginia, but I think we should all strive to downsize our vacations.  You don't need to fly hours and hours off to some exotic tourist spot when there are beautiful treasures right in your own backyard, often in your own family.  So go visit Aunt Millie's tiny cottage or Grandma's historic bungalow.  They will be grateful you did, and you will learn something new about yourself.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Minimal reading required?
I have been taking classes for a degree in Technical Writing, and I am rather enjoying it.  It is all online with no face to face classes.  It has taken some getting used to, but I can see many benefits.  Firstly I did not have to move to take the courses I needed for the degree, which was a concern when I first started looking for schools.  Secondly it is better for the environment as none of us have to commute by car or bus to class.

There are other call backs to the minimalist lifestyle in this process as well.  All my primary and secondary research is being conducted online as well.  As a bibliophile I miss the feel and smell of moldy old tomes.  Still I have access to amazing articles and journals with just one click of the mouse.  If I had been told when I was 8 and hording chapter books from my local library that in 20 years I’d be able to read anything I wanted on a computer, I would have called the police on that person for being dangerous and mentally ill.  We are truly living in the future.

Other minimalist, I know, have invested in a Kindle or Nook.  These devices are amusing, but I just can’t see myself taking one to the beach in order to read a bit of mind rot and enjoy the sunshine.  The warmth of a book cannot be replaced by hard plastic, no matter how ergonomic.  Still I would have tons of space if I could get rid of all my books.  I have at least two book cases in every room of my house.  I recycle my books that I do not intend to keep forever by giving them to my friends, selling them, trading them for different books at the local used book store and giving them to charity.  I feel that as long as I am getting enough use out of my books (and I do reread many of them dozens of times) there is no need to do away with them in favor of the latest gadget.

What do you think?  Have you traded a traditional hobby for its modern counterpart?  Let me know your experience in the comments.