publikováno 16.4.2018 od New minimalism
The first thing people ask when they find out that I've just had a baby is "How is trying to be a minimalist with a newborn?"
Some people are undoubtedly waiting for me to admit how much harder it is to be a minimalist once you have a family (which it is and it isn't), craving a little hit of schadenfreude imagining me weeping under a pile of blinking, talking plastic toys. Others are genuinely hoping for any advice or tips I might have to help them deal with their clutter.
Since my daughter is still so very new and I am so very new at being a parent, I won't even pretend to have it figured out (the first thing I learned as a parent is just how little I know about parenting:). But I can share what is working for our family right now as we attempt to stay simple and sane with a newborn.
1) Don't buy ahead of time.
Don't try to buy things now that you anticipate needing later. There are two reasons for this. One, your child might surprise you with the number of preferences and variety of needs they have from the get-go. For example, your daughter might not like the orthodontic approved, top of the line, European rubber pacifier you got her no matter what you try. This also applies to swaddles, swings, diaper brands, as well as material of onesies. You don't know if he or she will run hot or cold, if they'll be a spitter or not, if they'll have a million diaper blowouts or only poop once every few days. Its helpful to observe your baby and see where she naturally leans before investing time and money acquiring new baby gear.
Second, your own preferences and needs will evolve and perhaps surprise you as well. I, for example, didn't realize that I would only like onesies with snaps as opposed to zippers. Zippers seemed so much easier. But then Lark was born in the heart of winter and snapping onesies allowed her top half to stay dressed and swaddled during cold middle of the night changes. Happy baby, happy parent.
Here's the thing about newborns and infants: besides for pooping or spitting up, they do very little to wear out their belongings. Blankets, toys, swings, or clothing can be passed on a dozen times before they fully wear out. Lark is wearing clothes that were purchased for my oldest nephew six years ago and are still going strong five cousins later. Don't have a big family to beg from? Don't worry! Most parents I know are happy to lend out or giveaway items that their kids are finished with. Let people know that you are looking and I promise what you need will appear.
3) For bigger ticket items, try to buy it used.
There are some larger items that you can reasonably anticipate needed and that are harder to temporarily borrow friends because of size or cost like: a car seat, stroller, crib, or carrier. Most of these items are readily available secondhand if you give yourself time to lo cate them. Even here in Boise, I was able to find most large items we needed on our local craigslist, nextdoor and letgo. If you're in a major US city like San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, or New York, there is a good chance you can find every single thing you need right in your neighborhood!
4) Wait a few days...
It can be hard to know with a baby if they are entering a new phase with new needs or simply had a one-off experience. For example, if your baby had a terrible night of sleep and then slept like an angel in her daycare's rock'n'play, you will probably want to run out and buy one right now! But instead of immediately assuming that you need an object, give yourself and your kiddo a day or three to see if it was a one-time event, a super brief phase, or a longer lasting need.
5) ...But when you really, really need it, get it any way you can.
There is an urgency to having a new baby. They wake up SO hungry every couple of hours. They sleep in brief segments. Days turn into 8 or 10 or 15 cycles of eat, burp, change, sleep. If there is something that you realize you really need and you can't borrow or wait to find used, go get it. Be kind to yourself. Especially if it's related to a key basic need like eating or sleeping. For example, our daughter had terrible reflux early on and I learned at 6 weeks that a wedge pillow could fit under her co-sleeper and help her feel better, keep her food down, and get some sleep. I ordered that badboy on amazon about 10 seconds after a friend texted me about it. And to be completely honest, had Amazon offered a "within the hour" drone drop off in exchange for giving my social security number to Russian bots, I would have considered it. Desperate times:)
6) Pay it forward.
When Lark was a few weeks old and I was debating ordering every type of swaddle in existence to find one that worked, a friend with a toddler brought over a couple for us to try out. She then almost off-handedly but earnestly said, "Before you buy anything, just text me. If we have it I'll bring it over." It was a small gesture but it saved me on numerous occasions. Not just from buying stuff we didn't need, but it also made me feel seen and supported and like there were people looking out for us. We in turn now have a number of friends with kiddos set to arrive at any moment with whom we've offered our grab bag of various pacifiers, an infant swing, birth-recovery icepacks and medications, and beginning-to-breastfeed herbs. But most importantly we've been sure to let them know that we're here if they need anything: swaddles, soups, or just to know someone close by has their back. Because as Zac Efron so wisely stated in High School Musical, we're all in this together.
We have a number of friends with kiddos exactly our daughters age and a few who are set to arrive at any moment. One friend said, and this was amazing, "before you buy anything, just text me and if we have it I'll bring it over." Something as small as that, and letting people know you really mean it, is amazing. We, in turn, have shared with friends our grab bag of various pacifiers, an infant swing, as well as birth-recovery and beginning-to-breastfeed herbs, medications, and various sundries.
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publikováno 6.3.2018 od New minimalism
Since the book launch in January, people have been asking --
"What was it like to write a book?! Did you always know you wanted to write one? How did it all come together?"
These questions got me to thinking about the overall book-writing process, how it all fell into place, and how our audacious goal-setting definitely had something to do with it.
A common scene in my living room over the course of writing the book. Vital to my success: alone time!
In December of 2015, we were surprised to be contacted by Sasquatch Books. After reading our blog from a snippet of an article in Sunset Magazine, Sasquatch emailed to ask if we had ever considered writing a book. Writing a book had been a bold goal of ours from the very beginning of starting New Minimalism. So while we were thunderstruck and beyond excited to receive the email, at the same time we were 100% prepared with our answer: Why yes, we have considered writing a book.
The Importance of Goal Setting
Which brings me to goal-setting. I was first introduced to goal-setting as a formal practice in my post-university days as a mere 22 year old. I had freshly moved to Brooklyn, NY with the idea that I'd immerse myself in the yoga community and eventually become a yoga instructor. I found work at a yoga clothing store and was I quickly swept into the the personal development program that my new workplace generously provided.
At 22 I was ripe for self-development -- I devoured and subsequently had my mind blown by Eckhart Tolle's, A New Earth. I sat in the front row at leadership workshops, I "discovered my strengths" from Strengths Finder (Connectedness, Ideation, Maximizer, Input). And I was constantly honing my communication skills as a manager.
Every quarter my workplace would have goal-setting meetings. We filled out 1-year, 5-year and 10-year goals related to Personal, Career and Health categories. While goal setting at first was new and challenging, it eventually began to feel contrived. I noticed how all the goals posted on the wall at work started to look the same across different employees. I wonder if that's how I ended up writing as one of my goals, "I get married in Tahoe by 2015" (didn't happen, by the way)?
So when I eventually left that job to pursue a career in sustainable design, I paused the practice of super-structured goal setting. I was burned out on the constant assessing, the continual striving. What I did learn during that period was a basic goal-setting practice that I continue to this day in various notebooks and journals.
More images from the writing of the book, including, our photographer Kelly Ishikawa, the photoshoot schedule, and my sidekick during that time, Dolly Walker.
goal-setting - the basics
While there are a variety of goal-setting strategies, there seem to be 3 practices that are common to all goal-setting techniques:
- Write it down: In the present tense, like it's already happened). This gets it out of your head and in to the world -- a scary step! It also gets your subconscious to work making sh*t happen.
- Dream big: Don't let the man hold you down, and by the man I mean your own restrictive imagination. Your goals are often stifled by past ideas of what success should or could look like for you. If you had zero restrictions, how would you spend your time?
- Look back: Every now and again review your old journals and notebooks to see your progress, your thought process, your past behavior patterns and recall the path that got you to where you are today.
BAck to the Writing of our Book
I concretely recall the conversation I had with Cary about New Minimalism one day writing a book. It was during one of our 6-hour stretches working on our computers, holed up in Cafe Jane on Fillmore (freelancers in SF, you know what I'm talking about). Hailing from a lineage of writers, it was a big dream of Cary's from the beginning and when we talked about it, I thought it was thrillingly ambitious and was fully on-board.
Despite this distinct memory, I wanted cold-hard evidence of this conversation. So I started to dig into my old journals and notebooks to find the original seed. I was convinced that I had written something down. After about 30 minutes of rifling through different notebooks I finally found it! Back in July of 2013 I had a little note in my journal that read:
"Books? Ideas -- 'thoughts on sustainability and simplified living'".
There it was, plain as day, written adjacent to my interview answers for the blog post introducing me to the readers of the New Minimalism.
Wow, the goal was so succinct and simple and to me proves that writing something down can conjure up some voodoo magic to make it a reality. But also important to note that a prerequisite to writing it down was the mere fact that between Cary and myself, we had the safe space to dream far and wide about what was even possible for us. Without such, we wouldn't have discussed this in the first place. So don't discount with whom you share your goals. We already hold our own sleves back enough, with life goals you want support and encouragement.
As winter comes to a close and spring draws nearer, reminding us that time continues to pass, what can you say so far about 2018? When the year was fresh and new in January, what goals did you set? What dreams did you dare to write down? How are those goals going?
There is a new moon on March 17th, and it's a good day to set intentions. Mark your calendars, set aside some alone time and make this is your official quarterly check-in :)
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publikováno 7.2.2018 od New minimalism
This article was originally written for and posted on mindbodygreen.
image // from our book
You’re ready for love. You’ve got the dating profile and the first date outfit you feel unstoppable in. You’re confident, open, and excited to meet someone new. Yet the type of relationship you desire most eludes you.
As a professional declutterer, I’ve worked with dozens of clients who say they are looking for love but whose spaces not only do not attract love but often repel potential partners.
While your body language may be shouting "Yes!" to romance, chances are your home is yelling "No!" The good news? In just one day, you can shift the energy, layout, and appearance of your home to be optimized for love.
Below are five crucial decluttering and feng shui tips for calling in love:
1. Make emotional space for this person.
We had a client whose walls were full of framed photos of her and her family, her and her friends, and her and *gasp* her ex (see No. 5). While she said that she wanted a partner, everything about her space implied that opposite: Her full walls signified a life without room for someone new. Not only that, having her walls so full of memories energetically pulled her into the past. This is not to say you shouldn’t decorate your home as you prefer, but do make sure that there is room both physically and energetically for someone new to enter your life. Negative space is not an absence; it’s allowing space for things to unfold.
Try this: Designate space in your home to leave open.
This could be a dresser drawer, a couple of open picture frames, a hook next to the door for someone else’s jacket, a towel bar in the bathroom, or, ideally, all of the above. This signals to the universe and subconsciously to people who enter your space that you are ready for love.
2. Shift your layout to support love.
I can’t tell you how many clients we’ve worked with who say that finding love is a top priority, and yet their spaces are completely uninviting or unsupportive of a relationship. There might be only one comfy reading spot, just one good coffee mug, or a bed too small to comfortably sleep two people. The point is not to make some voodoo doll of exactly the person you’re calling in but to make your space, however subconsciously, feel welcoming to the person you choose to invite in. In terms of design, this means making room for another person to be comfortable and relaxed in your bedroom with you.
Try this: Make your bedroom work for two.
Above all, pull your bed out of the corner—the only side of the bed that should be against the wall is where you rest your head. This allows comfortable access to the bed on each side for each person. Ideally, you’ll have a second bedside table with a lamp and room for a water glass, contacts, and so on
image // via
3. Remove stuff from under your bed.
This problem seems to be a holdover from college days of tiny dorm rooms shared with strangers. Yet we see so many clients in their 20s, 30s, and 40s with boxes and bins under the bed! This space becomes a musty catchall for things that aren’t needed right now or aren’t a priority. Which is really bad feng shui. You’re literally spending the time you’re supposed to be relaxing and restoring floating just a few inches above dust bunnies and a bunch of to-do's. Ideally, under the bed will be totally empty, no exceptions, which allows for optimal energy circulation around the bed. If you are in a tiny studio or sharing an apartment in Brooklyn where your bed takes up about 60 percent of your room, it might be almost impossible to avoid storing things there.
Try this: Keep under your bed completely clear.
If you must store items under the bed, then do so in this order: clean bed linens, clean towels, clean out-of-season but beloved clothing. Storage should be well-made, closed bins that fit easily under the bed (i.e., if you have to pull everything out in order to find what you want or if the bins are forced up against the bottom of the bed frame, it’s no good). Do not store at any cost: mail, power cords, to-do’s, anything unkempt. Be certain to regularly clean under the bed and declutter any noncrucial items.
4. Get electronics out of the bedroom.
This is a good lifelong practice for everyone: single, partnered, child, adult. Bedrooms are the most aptly and literally named spaces in our homes. Bed. Room. They are meant exclusively for rest, rejuvenation, and intimacy. Electronics, on the other hand, are stimulating: They scatter our energy, steal our focus, and distract us from the pure. Ideally, the only items needing electricity in your room would be lamps and possibly an alarm clock or music source.
Try this: Remove ALL TVs, computers, gaming systems, cellphones, and other stimulating electronics from the bedroom.
Make sure that any remaining electronics are in good shape, dust-free, that their cords are comfortably tucked away, and that there are no overloaded power outlets.
5. Release objects from exes.
Objects have energy; that’s why we can have such strong feelings about them. Items from our exes have a powerful vibration that is both negative and pulls us toward the past. Think about stumbling upon an object from a past relationship. Paying close attention, what emotions arise when you see, hold, or wear this item? The best-case scenario is that you feel nostalgia, melancholy, or the distant ache of a fond memory. The worst-case scenario is you spiral into regret, anger, recrimination, loneliness, or heartache. The most effective way to shift your energy—conscious and subconscious—to a positive, present state is to part with the negative items in your space.
Try this: Do a "cord-cutting visualization" alongside a thorough purge of items you associate with your ex-lovers.
The visualization will help to defuse much of the energetic power of these items, making it far more straightforward to bless and release things from your exes. This includes: belongings of your ex, gifts from them, and items you associate strongly with a memory or experience with them (e.g., the dress you wore on your first date, the tchotchke you purchased on a trip together). If there are things you truly do not want to part with, be conscious of clearing the energy associated with them and how you store or display them. Note: Past relationships that end well still require a type of energetic cutting to allow you to move forward. If you’ve had a relationship where you were hurt, betrayed, or brokenhearted, then all the more so.
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