Prepper vs. Minimalist – The Internal Struggle is Real

April 19, 2022

I’ve been on my minimalism journey for about 7 years now. I stumbled upon it by pure accident. I have a severe dust allergy and struggled managing it. I was on so many medications that just made me feel awful and we spent so much time cleaning or moving things around and money on storage.

At the time, we had a family of 4 (a teenager and a toddler plus my husband and I) living in 1200 square feet. I searched on either Google or Pinterest for decorating ideas that require little cleaning and the word minimalism kept popping up. I followed that down the rabbit hole, discovering videos, articles and books and got very excited–and then very discouraged.

As a military brat and veteran, moving was a part of life, so we already had the habit of getting rid of things we didn’t use. But we used a lot of things, or had good intentions for a lot of things. I bet you can relate to that? We also live in Florida, so there’s a lot of outdoor activities, plus gear for hurricanes and disasters. We kept a month supply of non-perishables on hand at all times. Needless to stay, we had stacks that were forever being shifted.

I figured I’d start with the obvious stuff and emptied our storage unit, either ditching it or finding a place for it. Then I cleared old hobbies and Knick knacks.

And then I was introduced to Marie Kondo and her concept of Joy. I attacked my closet with such a vengeance. I’ve never been a big shopper or fashionista, but I had a lot in my half of the closet and a full dresser to myself. I cleared 6 large bags of clothes that didn’t bring me Joy–a lesson I learned wasn’t a good guide for summer cleaning of winter clothes, so a word of warning!

I continued my journey, eventually inspiring my kids and husband to join in, especially when we had to move to make room for a parent that needed to live with us. But she even joined the journey, so our twice as big house had half as much stuff from prior homes. It was refreshing.

Last year, we decided that, after a parent and college graduate moving out, we didn’t need a big home anymore and would follow our dream of full-time RV life. So we started the process. We found a rig, then figured out a plan for dad since he’d stay on his own. We began selling and donating with a renewed passion and reduced down to what fit into the rig and one storage closet at a family member’s house (and our home base). What we kept were either family heirlooms and keepsakes, or kitchen gadgets we knew we’d want whenever we had a house again, as well as off season stuff.

Sounds great, right?

We’ve been at this two months and it’s gone mostly well. Mostly.

The prepper in me struggles, and my husband and youngest son seem to have the same struggle. We have stuff with us we may need. I managed to stock a month of groceries in our rig’s kitchen. It fits, but it’s extra weight. I’ll be honest–I am a master packer that is personally responsible for a moving company changing it’s policy on moving quotes because I had way more stuff than they assessed under their old policy. I’m that person.

We are out for a couple weeks now, but will return to home base for a 3 week stretch for some appointments.

Until then, I am not grocery shopping except for perishables and staples we use often until we clear the pantry. I am also making a mental note of what we use and don’t use.

When we get to home base, we will regroup and try again. Some things that we have stored, we don’t need to store for 3+ years when we settle into a house again, even if they don’t take up much space.

Photo albums and mementos can get sorted and paired down–do I really need all those pictures of people and places I don’t remember, or 5 shots of Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower? Probably not. And I want to have a small enough collection I can bring the albums with me as we travel for when I miss them.

I know I don’t need to keep 3 different size portable tables and 7 different types of seating in the camper for the 3 of us.

Minimalism is a journey that is ongoing as life changes. It is also tackling mindsets from how we were raised or have always lived and changing those.

So pray for me as I embark on this next chapter.

And if you need to clear out things that the old you doesn’t need to hold onto, then join me in your journey. Comment and message me of what you find.

Share pictures on social media with me of what you clear out. I’ll be posting there, too.

We’ll get through the piles and make room for new memories and adventures!

We’ve got this.

Like or comment below and share with others to support the blog. I post weekly on a variety of topics about travel, family, cooking and education. Until next time, follow or interact with me on Twitter @AddictedtoTeac1. Support us and follow along on our RV travels around Florida (mostly) at Facebook & Twitter: BarnesOnMove or join us for more in depth and personal interactions at Patreon: Barnes On The Move

Summer Reset Series – Part 2 The Home


July 15, 2021

Last week I shared with you some tips to reset your classroom by purging items so you can be more efficient, so this week I wanted to share some tips to do something similar with your home. Wait! Before you close this, hear me out. By purging your home in at least a few key areas and making it more efficient in areas you touch daily, your schedule will be more efficient, making your days smoother when you are juggling work and home life. Don’t worry, we are not clearing your home of everything!

Still with me? Great!

So, let’s break it down by areas of our home so you can focus on those you need and skip those that you don’t, or don’t apply!

BEDROOM Starting here is vital since this is your sanctuary and place of rest and rejuvenation! The key in this space is to remove things that don’t bring you peace or make you feel relaxed. Eliminating clutter from surfaces will help your brain turn off, so find a place to tuck away those as many of those things on display as you can. Some experts say to even remove electronics from your sleeping area, but some of us like to curl up and watch shows before bed, so it’s up to you!

BATHROOM/DRESSING AREA I like sleep, or at least being lazy in the mornings, which means I wait until the last possible minute to get moving. It has helped me immensely to purge grooming products to only what I need (I even gave up make up to save myself 15 minutes!) so my morning routine takes me 10 minutes or less. Likewise, I keep my wardrobe super simple and rotate things out each month so it’s easy for me to get dressed in the morning. If you want to learn more about this, check out my post from a few weeks ago here and see how I live like I am on vacation.

LIVING SPACES Just like your bedroom, this is a place you use to unwind. If you come home from a crazy day and are greeted by clutter, piles, or a lot of visual stimulation, it can be overwhelming. Go through those stacks of books and magazines and create a home for those that you are waiting to read and pass on those that you are done with! Keep only pillows and blankets out that you use daily or tuck them away and grab them out when needed. Decluttering surfaces can be helpful here, too, since it won’t overwhelm you when relaxing and makes cleaning faster–when you can get to it!

KITCHEN/EATING AREAS These areas are used multiple times a day and often get the most use, so it makes sense that this is where everything gets dropped…and gets cluttered. Make sure you have the cooking items you use regularly readily available. Those items that are less frequently used can be stored in an out of reach shelf or cabinet, or boxed to find when you need it. If you don’t use it, pass it on! Next, take a few minutes each week to meal plan and do the shopping. There are many methods for doing this. In our house, I have a dry erase board calendar that we meal plan on and one for our shopping list. I splurged and use Instacart so once a week, I put in our grocery order and they are delivered within 2 hours. Coincidentally, this is also the time use to clean the house, so it all gets done at once! Since mail can be a huge clutter in this area, sort it as it comes in. I have a shredder for junk, an outgoing mail clip by my door, and a paper weight for bills that I clear out weekly (or biweekly, if it’s crazy times!).

WORKSPACE If you work from home, or have a home office you use for planning, grading, etc., this space can also get cluttered. That clutter can make us dread getting things done, so plan ahead for it. Sort through all your papers and items that are in the space, leaving only what you need on your desk surface, and have a place to put things you need to work on so you will know when they are on your TO DO list, or when they are a TADA item and done! Bookshelves can easily overflow, so make sure that what is on it is something you use at least once a year, can’t find online, isn’t outdated, or needs to be kept. Then just make sure they are organized in a way that works for you. I’m a bookworm, so ours has non-fiction on one shelf, then a fiction shelf for each of us. If we run out of room, something has to go, which makes it simple to decide what comes and goes.

STORAGE Whether you have a garage, carport, large closet or shed, you keep tools and supplies for your home, hobbies and possibly your vehicle. When you need them, you don’t want to have to search, or worse, go buy more since you can’t find them. So clearing extras, trash or what you don’t need (like those wiper blades from a car you haven’t owned for 5 years) you will be able to find what you do need quickly and easily. Organizing it into zones will help, too, and make it easier when you have time to go back and better organize it! And if it’s a garage–maybe you can park your car IN it, making life easier for coming and going!

CHORES Now that things have been decluttered and your home should be slightly less overwhelming, you can create a routine to keep up with everything. Some things will need done daily, some weekly, and others either as needed, or less frequently. If there are others that live in your home, this can be a great thing to meet and talk about and divvy up those tasks. Even little kids can do somethings, like a quick daily sweep, putting toys away, or gathering laundry. Dishes and cooking need done daily, so someone can take charge of that or you can rotate! Assigning weekly chores that can be done on a designated day as a family can help, but if that’s not possible in your busy household, try assigning at random around someone’s schedule, or better yet, assign everyone a room (in addition to their own room) and then you won’t have to worry about waiting for others to get your chore done. We also do a daily reset before bed to put away things like toys, blankets, things that came out and got used during the day, so that we can start our busy morning with a clean space. Sometimes, it doesn’t happen, but most days it does. And my rule with my little? If it’s out after he goes to bed, it’s mine to do with as I please. This tends to get things put away frequently!

See, that wasn’t so bad, was it? It may take some time to get each of these areas to a place that helps you, and you may have to do a reset every so often. In our home, we have crazy weeks of meetings, work schedules, appointments, or the weeks after a vacation that turn us upside down. Then we make the time to do a reset so we can get back on track when we get an hour or so.

Good luck to you! Be sure to like this post by clicking on the star if you like the idea of creating a relaxing home space, and comment below with your trouble areas–let’s work together to solve them! I’d love to see those before and after photos, so use the hashtag #A2THomePurge and post them on social media so I can check them out!

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