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Muti-function and Multi-tasking

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When I got inspired to start downsizing our possessions, I started looking at each item and trying to be realistic with how much I use them.   At one point my husband and I both had desks with tons of clutter ON them, IN them, and the reality was we just used them as a kind of “drop off zone”.  We looked at how much space could be opened up if we decided to get rid of his oversized desk, and kept mine which was much lower profile and only had one drawer-meaning less clutter could accumulate on it or in it.  Because I’m home with my kiddos, the reality was that I never sat at a desk.  If I tried to get planning done or had to use the laptop for anything, I usually brought it on the floor with me so that I could play or help my kids while I was taking care of my business –that or sat at the kitchen table.  So with that conclusion we got rid of his desk, and he now uses my previous desk when he needs to get paperwork done.  We used this type of thinking with everything and leaned on the Kon Mari method when it came to what we were keeping.  If it didn’t have a purpose and/or didn’t bring joy, it was gone.  We are a family of four and live in a space that’s just under 1500sf.  To some that sounds tiny and unlivable, but I love that it really challenges us to not accumulate clutter or store possessions that no one really needs anymore.  The items that we do have are loved, and/or have a definite purpose.

I love also getting creative with what we  do have instead of trying to go out and buy something on a whim for a one-time use.  This morning I needed to get myself organized and sit down with my planner to get my next week straight.  I set up shop on the floor with a cozy blanket and this amazing multi-functional basket as my “portable desk”.  It’s currently holding my workout clothes, sneakers, and flip flops, and with the top on it it’s a perfectly great desk for me! I found this basket on a buy/sell/trade Facebook group for $5.  The best things are not always the expensive things 😉 I’ll also be using it this weekend for my daughter’s birthday party to transport then hold goody bags for the little ones!  so many uses!  I find that planning and thinking about what uses an item will have BEFORE purchasing (or keeping) is the best way to save money AND keep your possessions to a minimum.

What kinds of items have multiple uses in your home?  I’d love to know–leave your comments and suggestions down below!

Thanks for reading, and happy St. Patty’s day!!

-Jana

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5 Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe


A capsule wardrobe can be defined as a minimal collection of clothing ( usually about 30 items including shoes and accessories) that contains interchangable and versatile pieces.  I originally came across the idea from Caroline’s blog Unfancy– and when I did, my wardrobe world was turned upside down. It has changed my nights, my mornings, my days! I don’t have trouble picking out what I’m going to wear, and I always feel good and presentable.  So here are a few reasons why I think downsizing to a capsule wardrobe would benefit pretty much anyone: 
1.  Less stress

I used to look into full drawers and full closet thinking I had nothing to wear– STRESSFUL when you want to look put together on the fly.  I would dread parties or events because I didn’t know what I was going to wear and then think I had to go out and buy something new.  To reduce my overall stress, I set everyone’s clothes out at night– having a minimized wardrobe literally reduces the time it takes to prep at night DRASTICALLY .  I can pretty much just pick any bottom and top and they will go together, then just pick the shoes by function for that day. On dressier days I can pick a little chunky heel, and on days I’ll be running around I choose sneakers- simple as that! 

2. Money saved

At first, planning the capsule wardrobe may pose you to purchase a few items. For instance, this summer I need to purchase some sneakers and a few clothing items.  Once that wardrobe is in place though, you have everything you’ll need for the rest of the season. This means no need to use shopping as a hobby, and no need to spend money on fast fashion clothing or that doesn’t even go with anything you have.  Having this kind of deliberate wardrobe really helps to curb that shopping urge.  When that impulse to buy more clothing arises, try to substitute shopping with a different endorphin releasing activity.  Try listening to upbeat mysic, taking a walk in nature, doing a hobby you enjoy, or reading a book ( even reading a blog post on minimalism to help redirect yourself to your ultimate goal). 

3.  You always like what you’re wearing (and how you look!)

I’ve been guilty of buying clothing impulsively for an event- spending money I didn’t have and then I’ll see pictures of me wearing that outfit and UGH didn’t quite look the way I had envisioned.  The beautiful thing about putting together the capsule wardrobe is that everything is loved.  When I put mine together, I made sure to only keep clothing that I felt great in.  Anything that I even remotely felt inconfortable physically or wasn’t living how it looked on got eliminated from the wardrobe.  If you don’t live it, you won’t reach to wear it.  If you don’t wear it, it doesn’t need to be in your closet. 

4.  Creativity:  

I love having such versital and interchangable pieces.  Having fewer pieces means that I’ve been able to pair pieces that I wouldn’t have thought to do, just for the sake of wanting a “new” outfit.  I love giving feminine pieces like eyelet shorts or denim skirts with more tomboy pieces like sneakers and a graphic tshirt or racer back top then add a functional cross body bag, sprinkled with some simple delicate jewelry. Effortless and totally functional as a mom of toddlers.  

5. More room: 

This one’s a given. There’s so much more room now that I don’t have so many clothes!! My closet actually fits my husband’s clothing AND mine. I use my dresser now as storage for pictures and some of my childhood memories that were tucked away in boxes not being appreciated. I got rid of what wasn’t needed, and made room for what I love and cherish.  

I’ll be posting how I put the pieces of my capsule wardrobe together on my instagram @jana.ullrich 

Thanks for reading!

-Jana 

My Minimalist Bag Collection

When I was younger, I LOVED accessories. I loved purses, shoes, jewelry, and anything else I could compliment an outfit with. Since becoming a mom and making the decision to de-clutter and simplify, I now find that as long as I have something that matches.. I’m happy that I don’t have to make another decision ( like what I’m going to pair today’s outfit with).  It’s so freeing to only have a few choices, and usually it’s a no brained to choose.  I have three cross body bags( all I use because they are hands free and so light) and one satchel/book bag type bag for long days/ overnight stays. 

1.  Black leather cross body bag with detachable straps:

This one I use so much, paired with my black shoes. ( usually, I pair the bag to what shoes I’m wearing with the outfit) If it’s a fancier night out, I just detach the straps and use it as a clutch. 

2.  Olive leather cross body bag:

My go to, it literally matches everything I own and light weight. 

3.  Cognac leather cross body tassel bag: this matches my cognac gladiator sandals and my heels. No brain-er when pairing it with either shoes. Yet another easy decision to make 🙂 

4.  Olive canvas and leather bag: this bag is perfect for over night trips, long days that I need to bring activities for the kids or even lunches for the three of us. I’ve also used it as a diaper bag and even a computer bag. So many uses, and so many outfits I can sport it with!

So that is my minimalist purse/bag collection that is part of my capsule wardrobe. Hope you enjoyed reading, and give it a ” like” if you did 🙂 

-Jana 

4 Ways to Worry Less

Life is such a beautiful thing.  It’s something that I personally take for granted most days.  I stress over what I have to do the next day instead of appreciating the honor of GETTING a next day.  Stress and worry are two creatures that really sneak into my mind, and I’m trying to start simplifying my life. Being more intentional with my time and my energy allows for me to cut out so much worrying because I’m already prepared for what is to come.

#1:   Have a Savings Account for Emergencies

This is one out of Dave Ramsey’s book.  Start by creating a savings account with at least $500-$1000 in case of an emergency.  This allows for you to have some peace of mind if say, a child gets injured and you have to run to the ER.  Although most have health insurance, there is usually a co-pay due.  Likewise if you need to replace a tire (or two), this amount SHOULD cover that.  If saving that amount seems impossible to do in a descent amount of time with your income, try selling some items that you might not really need anymore.  Selling clothing, furniture, or electronics are simple ways to earn some money-and you’d probably be surprised at how much you can put away once you’ve earned that extra cash.  If you have a skill or a trade that you know, try even doing that on the side to earn some extra money (i.e. if you play an instrument you can teach lessons, cut someone’s lawn, refinish some old furniture–just as ideas).

#2: Exercise/Physical Movement (in a quiet place for those introverts out there)

Getting the body moving releases endorphins, which makes you feel better and gives a clearer mind to sort out information and get life in perspective.  Not everyone has the time (or money) to pay for a gym membership and work out 5 days a week, but everyone has access to malls, parks, neighborhoods, and 30 minutes to build into their schedule.  If this means that you must wake up 30 minutes earlier, then so be it.  Allowing your body to move and release those endorphins is all around better for your physical and mental health.  If anyone is an introvert (like I am), this physical activity can be done in a quiet area (like park trails, the mall before stores open, or a neighborhood).  Introverts need quiet alone time to sort their thoughts out, and seeking out peaceful places to perform their physical activity gives them a double benefit.

#3: Decrease the amount of SUGAR and/or CAFFEIN in Your Diet

Caffein is something that most (including me) cannot live without in the mornings.  It helps give us a jump start in the morning to get our day going and be productive.  However, I find that when I’ve had a cup or two of coffee, AND I have a pretty sugary diet in the same day–my worrying skyrockets.  This means having a chocolate chip muffin along with my coffee topped off with a sweet creamer.  I feel great for that time, and then as I begin to crash my body starts feeling nervous that I’m crashing (now I won’t have the energy to get everything on my to do list completed)so my body copes by actually making me angry and filled with anxiety.  I start to get snappy, and then that is followed with worry and remorse because I KNOW that I’m acting snappy towards my kids or my husband.   I’m not saying that sugar and caffein have to be totally eliminated from your diet (although there are many studies and theories of how beneficial it is for your body), but for ME limiting my caffein intake to 2 cups of coffee MAX per day, and always decreasing the sugar in any area I can is beneficial to my overall attitude.

#4:  Plan Ahead of Time–Outfits, Calendar, Meals, Vacations, Me-Time

This is one that I find makes the BIGGEST difference for me as a stay at home mother and a wife.  I would stress so hard on what I was making for dinner, then stress about dragging the kids to the grocery store for the one ingredient I didn’t have to make my dinner.  Likewise rummaging through dressers and hampers to find that shirt that went to these pants, and then stressing because I was at the end of my patience because I hadn’t planned any time for ME to decompress.  These things are usually pretty easy to remedy and plan on the spot, but the decision fatigue would just DRAIN me and by the end of the day I didn’t know what way was up.  Taking out exactly what we are all four going to wear (my husband does his own clothes), helps make the morning SO much smoother.  It literally creates a mechanical routine to go through so that by the time we all sit down for breakfast it’s been only about 10 minutes to get dressed and get hair and teeth brushed (not bad for 2 toddlers).  On Sundays I make the breakfasts for everyone to eat through the week.  Even vacations need to be planned ahead of time, or they will not happen-especially when you are a parent.  The days of the spontaneous trip to the beach are no longer!

These are my ways to stop worrying and stressing. What kinds of ways have YOU found to stop worrying?

Jana

Beginning the Debt Snowball

Recently, my husband and I sat down and agreed…we needed to start figuring out a way to pay off our debts. We have two car loans, three credit cards, medical debts, and my school loans from college. We realized that a huge portion (actually most) of our household income was just going to DEBT-things that we had already consumed or benefitted from and that were in the past…and it wasn’t leaving very much (or any really) wiggle room for extracurriculars or to put towards our future. We currently are renting, but would like to use this year as the year to purchase a house. My husband has been aware of this concept for a while now, but when we had first married it took me a while to realize that it really was something we needed to focus on. I’m a stay at home mom who recently started a skincare business, my husband owns his own electrical contracting company. Now we have two toddlers (1.5 and almost 3 years old) and although I love living int he moment with them, I am starting to realize how much we are affecting THEIR future by the choices we make today. In the past week we’ve paid $700 towards our smallest credit card ($1200 credit line that was basically maxed out)-following the Dave Ramsey method. His method is to create a debt snowball by creating little victories for yourself. Start with the smallest debt and just throw everything you have at it. When that debt is gone, move on to the next one until you are debt free. This has only been the beginning of our journey to be debt free, but every story starts somewhere. The biggest thing for us right now is that we are now TOGETHER on the concept. I will admit, i didn’t fully grasp what being debt free would mean for our family and for my husband. The lightbulb has clicked and I’m so excited to see this journey unravel.

What would happen to your income if you literally had NO DEBTS to pay?

-Jana