spankee with a hand-me-down toy

How to tell your dog he has too many toys

This is my dog. His name is Spankee.

When I first got him, he came with a blanket, a stuffed teddy bear, and a stuffed dragon. Also a few tennis balls but he never liked those.

Over the short time I’ve had him, we’ve celebrated a few Christmases and birthdays. So he’s gotten more toys. We’ve found that at first he’s really excited about a new toy, but the interest quickly fades. So, again we buy him new things, to keep his interest.

Yet as we buy him new things, we keep his old things. Afterall, they’re his — not mine to get rid of. But they sit there in the corner behind the big chair and remain unused. Also he’s a bit older now and just isn’t very playful these days.

What can we do with these unused toys?

Donate them to an animal shelter, for one. Or especially with new toys that he just didn’t like, pass them along to a friend’s dog. We’ve gotten a few hand-me-downs that way and have loved them!

The thing is, unless it’s your dog’s favorite toy, she probably wont even notice that you cleared out the stash. So the title of this article is misleading, because you really don’t need to tell her anything.

If you’re still hesitant, try putting the unused toys away and out of sight. Then after a few weeks or months, bring one out and see if there’s any novelty. If not, pass it along. A dog at your local shelter might love it, and you and your dog will enjoy a less-cluttered home.

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

Should I buy a Halloween costume I’ll only wear once? | Ask LFB

Hey Brianna,

With Halloween coming up, I was just thinking about the different parties and events, and it seems like you have to buy all this stuff to really have fun. Costumes and all the accessories it might need, plus sometimes face paint or other special hair/makeup stuff. How does an aspiring minimalist handle this holiday when I know I’ll never use this stuff after October 31?

—Amber

Welcome to the LFB fam, Amber!

Halloween can be so much fun once you find (or make) the perfect costume! But, you’re right – what about after Halloween? Do you shove the costume in your closet, knowing full well you wont wear it again? Do you keep the special makeup in with your daily makeup, as a constant reminder of its uselessness in your life now?

Let me ask you this: are you looking forward to this costume party? Do you see yourself having fun? If you could take it or leave it, then I’d say either skip dressing up, or skip the event all together. But, if you know it will be a blast, then go for it! Go all out! And donate the costume and whatever else you acquire to your local thrift store on November 1st.

There’s nothing wrong with buying something that serves a purpose. Even if it’s a short-lived purpose. (tweet that)

If money is an issue, see if you can DIY something together using what you already have, or buy something for the costume that you can see yourself also using afterwards. Or, ask a friend if you can borrow a costumes from a few years ago (chances are they still have some in their closet!)

Remember that the definition of minimalism (that LFB likes to use) is “everything you need and nothing more”. So, if you need something for a special event, be it Halloween or a wedding, or accompanying your friend to a religious service, or a vacation in a different climate, go ahead and buy what you need.

Hope this helped, Amber. Happy Halloween!

Brianna

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

Your messy wallet, your frazzled mind

I work as a barista in a coffee shop. I see a lot of people come in daily to spend upwards of $4 for a cup full of fat, sugar, and a little bit of caffeine. As they get out their credit card, I notice their pristine manicure. I hear their keys as they set them down on the counter, because they need two hands to dig through their wallet. They’re looking for their customer loyalty card amongst dozens of credit cards, other loyalty cards, and receipts. Shudder.

“Maybe I put it in another side pocket,” they might say, unzipping a part of their handbag and revealing a second wallet.

“I remember you had it the other day,” I offer in support. I’m holding my latte art stamp at-the-ready.

More digging. Some exasperated sighs.

I watch and wait patiently, as this isn’t new for me. “Would you like to start a new card?” I suggest after a few moments, seeing a line form behind them.

“Yeah,” they say. “I swear I have like three other ones at home, I just can’t find them.”

“We can consolidate them if you find them,” I reassure them. And they seem to like that idea.

With a fluid motion I’ve done hundreds of times, I open the cash register, whip out a fresh loyalty card, stamp a leaf, and slide it over to them. “Thank you,” I smile, glad to get them and their stress-inducing handbag away from me.

Do you ever see someone rifling through a wallet, or drawer, or closet, and just feel like you’re in a bathtub of stress that you need to crawl your way out of?

The one thing I feel (aside from relief) as that customer walks away and the next one steps forward, is gratitude. Gratitude for the simplicity I have created in my life, and for the clarity of my mind and the orderliness of my possessions. I see these customers frazzled and can tell that their purses are a glimpse into their life. What chaos to be living with. What extra weight on their shoulders.

I feel sadness as I remember how stressed I was living in a cluttered space. I remember so clearly how it kept me up at night and gave me this sense of urgency even when I was just at home relaxing. I can’t imagine living that way now.

I sure hope those customers climb out of the bathtub and feel the relief soon. It’s so much better out here.

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

You don’t have to finish that book that sucks

Have you ever found yourself reading a book that you really aren’t into, but you feel like it would be wrong to stop reading it? You give it chapter after chapter of “it might improve” but it still sucks. And it’s sucking away your time.

I’ve had books that I’ve started, hated, put down, but kept in the chance that “maybe when I’m older I’ll appreciate it more”. Then years later I’ve opened them with renewed patience, only to nearly bore myself to sleep with it a second time. It’s laughable but true that I’ve even done this a third time with some books.

Why should we continue doing something — anything — that does not bring us joy? (tweet that)

If a book sucks, donate it. If a movie is awful, turn it off. Don’t waste any more time on it.

If the IT person you’re on the phone with is in a bad mood, hang up right now and call again to get a different person. (Real-life advice I was given just this week! Bye, Felicia.) Your time is precious and limited. Those minutes or hours are ones you won’t get back.

I think we have been conditioned from being in school, where we had to finish a book for an assignment, that no matter how much we dislike something, the point isn’t to like it, it’s to finish it. What backwards thinking.

If you buy something and change your mind, return it. If the tags are already off, give it to a friend or donate it. But don’t let it sit in your home taking up your precious space and your precious mental energy to look at it every day.

It’s only when we start valuing our time and our energy that we will see how much of it we’ve wasted in the past. (tweet that)

And on that note, I’ll let you get on with your day. How do you want to spend it?

 

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

Paying other people to paint your nails and make your coffee

Do you really need to pay someone to paint your nails while you sip on that $5 latte? (If yes, then girl, you do you. Iced vanilla lattes are delicious and that pedi is on point.)

Working in a cafe, I often people-watch during slow moments. Lots of young people on their laptops. Lots of old people sitting with friends. (Which isn’t a commentary on generational differences although as I typed that I realized it very well could be!)

I have a lot of regular customers. Which I love. I love that I know their names and their stories, and they know mine. I see them walk in the door and I start making their usual. It’s half done by the time they reach the counter.

How do I know their usual? How do they even have a usual? Because they are in there multiple times a day, spending money they may or may not have, to get an overly-sugary beverage and throw away their paper cup when they’re done. (Don’t even get me started on the sustainability crisis in restaurants and cafes.)

But back to people watching. Did I mention that the laptops are usually Apples? Because we have to keep in mind that if you’re going to do your work in a public place, you have to look good doing it. And when you hand me your credit card, I do notice your nice manicure.

I’ve seen your credit card a lot. An average of $4, once a day, every weekday, is $87/month or $1,040/year. Or, if you’re really dedicated and come in twice on weekdays and once on weekends — thank you for keeping us in business — then you’re spending $121/month or $1,456/year. On coffee.

Now let’s look at nails. Let’s say it’s once a month or so and about $25, so $300/year. On nails.

We could talk about other cosmetic procedures and treatments. And I didn’t even mention ordering takeout once or twice a week. But I think you get the idea.

I personally do my own nails and grooming, make my own meals (unless I’m meeting a friend for lunch or on a date), and generally manage my own affairs where and when I’m able to. Plus, despite working in a coffee shop, I am not addicted to coffee. Same goes for alcohol, french fries, etc, but again that’s just me.

This saves me thousands of dollars a year.

Do I enjoy the occasional $5 beverage? Sure. Will I eventually one day get my nails done? Maybe. There’s nothing wrong with living a little. There’s nothing wrong with living a lot.

If you enjoy those luxuries and can afford them, then more power to you. I wish you every financial success in the future so you can maintain that lifestyle. And if you are struggling, I support you in dropping some of the unnecessary items from your bills. You don’t need them. You will be fine without them.

To each his own, and the way you spend money is no exception. I’ll leave you with a quote from my favorite minimalism blog, Becoming Minimalist:

“We don’t buy things with money. We buy them with hours from our lives.”

 

 

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.