A New Start

I once heard an interview of Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist blog and he said something to the effect of loving the name of his blog because he hadn’t really arrived at being a minimalist. On one hand I disagreed and love to now claim that I am a minimalist, but I cannot deny, that really he is correct. Though we are striving–and I do mean striving–to live a simple life, it is not easy, nor have we arrived.

I’ve been wanting to do some serious purging again for a while.  Between summertime and visitors and crazy job changes, the purging has had to wait. But, summer and homeschool is over, and I just lost my job, so it looks like perfect timing to me to get this purging party started!

For those of you who keep pondering minimalism, but haven’t jumped. I can once again identify with you. Wanting to kick it up a notch is bringing back those similar feelings that I had in the beginning; the hesitation, the excitement and dreaming of clean counters. I feel it now as I look at three large bookshelves loaded down with books. Many that will not be read a second time meaning THEY. MUST. GO. Obviously I am NOT a book minimalist 😉

So, would you jump with me?  Will you purge your home as I purge mine?  I’ll share along the way and I would love for you to join me too.  I’ve started a Facebook group called “Simple Steps” with some friends of mine who are wanting to declutter and simplify. Feel free to ask to be added to the group or simply comment on the blog.

Here’s some of my reasons for wanting to purge again.

  1. Its been awhile. Things that I’m unsure of have crept their way back into our home and our lives. Kids have grown and aged so there are clothes and toys that need to go.
  2. Our family has changed a bit. We no longer homeschool. Our kids are getting more involved in sports. There are some career changes going on and with that, comes a need for out with the old and in with the new.
  3. I’ve never been much on decorating, but I really appreciate beauty and finally feel like I have an idea of what I want our home to look like. Purging will help get it there.
  4. My family. Three people in my life that I love more than anything and I want us to love and soak up every moment we have together–the good and the bad. I do not want to waste time cleaning and caring for things I don’t care about. When our house is stuffed with things it crowds out precious time I could spend with them.

So where to start?  I posted previously about the first steps. But let’s make a plan.  If there’s one area you wish was decluttered and simplified what is it?  For me its my office. I’ll start there today.  Comment with where you’re starting. Let’s do this!

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A few changes around here…

I’ll keep this short and sweet.  I did a small makeover for the blog. There’s several reasons I initially chose the name “Without Borders” and now there are several reasons I’m changing it.  Largely because of the whole, “Doctors Without Borders” and other types of people without borders.  If you google, there are even CLOWNS without borders. I kid you not. They got a great name in my opinion, but since I’m not linked to any of them, I figure I should drop it. So…a new name. This is my WEAKNESS. I am not creative with words like that. To come up with a NAME of something??  It’s torture for me.  So, keeping in line with the way I’m living my life, I thought I would keep it simple and thus “Simple Steps” was born. I like the term simplicity better than minimalism most of the time and “steps” seems to say that you’re on a journey, which I also like. Lots of likes going on. I would be thrilled if you shared a post and even hashtagged simplesteps if I inspire any simplifying in your life!  #simplesteps

Simplicity for Any Season

The past couple years of our lives have been fairly low key and simple.  Andrei has had a full time job, I have been homeschooling the kids and for the most part not working. Late last year I began, as I had the previous years, to wonder about the next school year and whether or not we would continue homeschooling. After prayer and discussion, we decided that the kids would go to school in the fall.  Then in the spring of this year, I was offered a job that was part time. The hours worked out so that I could finish homeschooling. This summer was busier than previous ones.  School began two weeks ago.  And this weekend my job went from one and two days a week to full time for the next few weeks. Talk about change. This month has been one hectic and stressful month. Also, I will confess I am not happy at all about the change in my job, but I love what I do and if I can get through a few weeks of full time in order to go back to part time I will. Thus a new season for us has began.

As I mentioned we went from living pretty simply to looking a lot more like (for the moment) a busy, bustling average American family.  We desire and even crave a simpler routine–we’re only three days into this mom-working-fulltime schedule, but have agreed to tackle it as a team. So, how in this craziness that I am feeling and living can we still be minimalists?  Three days in, I obviously don’t have a complete answer, but having slowly adjusted our lifestyle in the last few weeks, here’s what I’m sticking to:

  1. Quality family time. One of the most important reasons we choose to be minimalists is so that we can spend more and better time as a family.  Instead of caring, cleaning, and buying THINGS we focus more on activities and experiences as a family. Last night it was as simple as Nolan playing basketball on his little nerf goal in his room while Nadya cheered and Andrei and I sat on the bed and watched and laughed and cheered.
  2. Nightly clean up and putting away as you go.  With the stress of a busier schedule, I am tempted to go back to leaving makeup on the bathroom counter, not putting shoes away immediately, etc. but the clear counters and floor space does every soul good, so we’re sticking to that.  It really takes a second to put my makeup away and a few more to put shoes away. Also, the kitchen has to be cleared away.
  3. Paper clutter.  I hate mounds of paper and this is something I still don’t do perfectly and have slacked on this week, but I have made my mind up, that it is worth a couple minutes each evening, to recycle the trash immediately and file away whatever is absolutely necessary.
  4. A simplified routine. For me specifically it looks like wearing my hair curly. It saves a significant amount of time.  In previous months I have streamlined my wardrobe making choosing an outfit easier.  In the craziness of this week, I have wished for an even more streamlined wardrobe, but it certainly helped that everything in my closet fits, looks great, and works with everything else. Cutting down on decisions like this save a little brainpower for later on in the day.

When you’re in an extra busy season be it short or more long term, how have you adjusted to keep things simple and focus on the important things?

Nicaragua

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March 3, 2015

Until this year I’ve never done anything special for Lent. I chose a short devotional by Ann Voskamp that I’ve been reading every morning. About a week ago, I read Matthew 5:13-16, fairly well known verses and ones that I have read many times. As often happens, they spoke to me in a way that they had not before. Verse 16 says, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” A few weeks ago I was at a women’s event called “IF:Gathering” and one of the short interviews that took place was between a mother and her now adult daughter. They shared of the mom’s battle with depression when her children were smaller and how through counseling she came to realize that while being a wife and a mother is a top priority, it would also be beneficial for her and her family if she were able to do some things that she loved. At the close of this two day event, while feeling a loss of what “word or words” God was speaking to me, my friend reached a piece of paper to me that simply said, “GO!” She said she didn’t know where, but that she just needed to tell me that. Later that evening, I knew it meant Nicaragua.

When I became a believer in high school and started attending a local church, my heart would speed up every time a missionary took the microphone or with every letter from the field that I read. I had always LOVED other cultures. I wanted to travel even though leaving eastern Kentucky wasn’t really on any of my friends’ minds. When I visited an orphanage in Eastern Europe for the first time, there was a moment I still remember, when I felt distinctly that I was made for this. God gave me a love and an eagerness to share His love with people both near and far. To be honest I’ve really struggled with this for a few years now. When the door to living in Minsk shut and the kids came along, I felt a little bit lost, a little like, “what now?” There is nothing like being a wife and a mother, but as the kids have gotten a little older, I have felt a bit of yearning to return to some parts of me that have been on the backburner, or honestly not even anywhere in the vicinity.

There are things that hold a big piece of my heart and I think I deprive my kids when they don’t know that mama cares about anything other than them. I want my light to shine before them and no doubt they see it day in and out as I hit my knees for wisdom in how to parent them, but it will also shine before them and others when I share about what God is doing in a place that I have secretly wanted to go to for six years now. That place is Nicaragua.

For the past two years Andrei has been able to go to a small area called Bayardo Arce. It’s on the outskirts of a larger city and is riddled with poverty, poor infrastructure, and few opportunities. But in the few years that Food for the Hungry (FH) has been there, there have been various improvements to the community. I love that FH asks the leaders of the community what needs they have and works cooperatively with them. This June, Andrei and I will get to spend a week working alongside others from our church, the FH staff and the people of Bayardo Arce. We do not know our project yet. Most likely it will not be finished in our few days, but will be a boost for the locals to get a necessary project done. In the past Andrei has worked to keep contaminated water out of the streets and began a bridge across a stream in a flood prone area where children daily have to cross to attend school. He looks forward to seeing the finished project!

Here’s a couple pics from Andrei’s previous trip when they built a much needed bridge.

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Pictures and Keepsakes

As I continue to minimalize our possessions, I keep running into various piles, containers, organizers, folders, etc with little keepsakes. We have two kids, so a lot of that revolves around them. I’ve always wanted to scrapbook, but it took me 9 1/2 years to finish the pre-marriage scrapbook of me and Andrei! I love the outcome, but mercy is it a chore to get it all out and make the pages.  It is not my jam–good for you if it is!!  So, I have loads of things that I’ve WANTED to scrapbook, but have never gotten around to.  So, here is what I’m doing.

First of all, any projects I’ve started I am going to finish BEFORE I start something new.  I finished mine and Andrei’s scrapbook, so now I’m ready to move on.

I also have a newly cleaned out file box (goodbye old papers that I had NO good reason to keep!) In that file box I have labeled a hanging folder for every year since 2005. As I’m finding these piles and folders of keepsakes and since I used to keep everything, I’m doing my usual purging of whatever is not worth keeping, cleaning and storing, and then putting it in the folder for its year.

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I apologize to my OCD friends that the labels start on the wrong side and aren’t really staggered correctly 🙂

I’m now ready to start on my next projects-one at a time. I have some years that I mainly only have pictures.  I checked on a swapping group I’m in on Facebook and got a couple of photo albums that someone was ready to toss. I’m going to put the pictures in those and be done.

My next plan is to sort of work backwards.  Instead of starting with the early years of marriage and babies, I’m starting with recent years. Last fall the kids and I had a one month trip overseas to see their grandparents.  It really was the trip of a lifetime and we have more than pictures-circus tickets, train stubs, foreign currency. I want to put it in a scrapbook. Though the last one took me years, I still want to make scrapbooks, but my plan will be a little different. Towards the end of the one of I just finished, I did much simpler scrapbooking that was not so time consuming and I intend to do that with the others. I finished it quickly because I wasn’t trying to make it perfect, I was just enjoying the process and not stressing over the embellishments. I like the pretty paper and my keepsakes, but that’s about it.  Here’s a picture of my simpler scrapbooking.

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One quick note on kids’ crafts. I have one very crafty kid and the amount of paper drawings and creations she gives me is enormous!  Obviously I cannot and should not store every piece of paper she has drawn on.   She’s old enough now to understand this concept and sometimes she even helps me cut down on the crafts we keep.  If you keep it all, theres no way you can truly enjoy it. When she has been really inspired, we’ve framed it but even those will rotate. Others we have kept that have special meaning or that were just really dear to us.

Do you have a simple way of keeping your memories?  Please share!

Quality vs. Quantity

As I have more and more conversations with people, literally all over the world and in many different lifestyles, the more I’m convinced that a life of simplicity can be for anyone anywhere. At first glance, many people think of minimalism as being all about material things, or a purging of those things. It is a large component, but truly, being a minimalist is about shedding the excess so that you can live a life more focused on what matters most to you. Minimalism and simplicity, while still viewed as countercultural, have become buzzwords.  When it comes to fads, I usually fall into the group of wanting to go the other way. I have not jumped on the minimalist bandwagon to join in a crowd. Neither is it why I share and blog about our journey. I share because I see the undeniable benefits of living this way.

In his book, The Freedom of Simplicity, Richard Foster says, “Stress the quality of life above the quantity of life. Refuse to be seduced into defining life in terms of having rather than being…. Develop close friendships and enjoy long evenings of serious and hilarious conversation.”

Maybe you live in the country and though you feel a lack of some necessities, you also feel weighed down by your stuff. Isn’t small town or country living supposed to be simpler?   You long to be out in the nature you are surrounded by, yet find yourself dealing with (ie. fixing, cleaning, or organizing) your stuff, maybe even stuff that is supposed to help you enjoy those natural surroundings.

Maybe you’re a mom of two living in the suburbs (all my friends with two kids, I promise I’m not thinking of anyone in particular :-)) . You collapse every night as soon as the last one is tucked in with a list of all the things you didn’t do and somehow the weekends evaporate without any of your ideas of family time having materialized.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Let me be the first to say, I get it. Life is overwhelming, stuff is overwhelming. I’ve been there and sometimes I am still there. Pursing a life of simplicity isn’t a quick fix, but rather a choosing to let go of the unnecessary and running hard after the things that matter most. Whether it be better quality time with your family and friends, time to enjoy the outdoors, time to pray or go to church, time to travel, adding to and enjoying a collection you truly treasure, time or space to start that hobby or project, time to go fishing, or the chance to change your career, living more simply can lead to that.

It’s not necessarily our things that are in the way-though they certainly contribute. It might be a chaotic schedule, debt, or a generally over indulgent lifestyle. And becoming a minimalist doesn’t lead to your dream life. But it makes room for what’s more important to you. What can you simplify so that you are one step closer to living a life more in step with your values, passions, and God-given talents?

Thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Simply the Bathroom

My college roommate still jokes about my cleaning skills for the bathroom.  She hated cleaning it and I couldn’t stand it dirty, so that job fell to me.  I didn’t mind because I wanted it kept clean.  An uncluttered bathroom is another story.  I think of myself as fairly low key when it comes to fashion and grooming.  But as a woman, we are the target audience for many advertisements and giveaways and trials.  Even the low maintenance among us will probably find a variety of uninvited products that have found their way into our bathrooms.  Additionally, this is one area that I was probably the worst at putting things away.  I would leave out bottles and brushes because I knew they would be used daily if not more frequently.  But since becoming a minimalist, the bathroom area has become one of the easiest to maintain and is one that many a minimalist would applaud me on. Our counters are clear 99% of the time and I’ve cleared out all but the necessities.

A couple of months ago my husband and I were invited to a nice banquet.  I was excited to get dressed up (a homeschool mom’s life does not hold much glamour).  The excitement rubbed off on my daughter who begged to pamper me as I got ready.  If you know us, you know that she could be named Fancy Nancy.  I was hesitant but gave in and the below picture is her pulling out all the stops (and every little beauty item of hers and mine put together.)

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Ok, the clippers were out for me to cut Andrei’s hair. But you get the picture….chaos, clutter, and for mama, ANXIETY.  Now, all that aside she did have fun making me choose nail polish and lotions and massaging my hands and feet.

The next picture is what a somewhat typical morning could look like if I left things out–except I rarely curl my hair with curlers.

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This last picture is what it looks like everyday.

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Serenity. A vase with seashells, soap, towel and toothbrushes.  We’ve discussed putting toothbrushes under the sink, but that has not been agreed on.

So, if this is truly my bathroom everyday-and it is- when for years it looked like one or both of the previous pictures, how does that happen?

1. Completely clean out the cabinets underneath.  Go through Every.Single.Item.  Just because you’ve had that 1/2″ curling iron since you were in middle school doesn’t mean you need to keep it.  ONLY keep the things that you need and use regularly.  I had a fairly large bag full of samples, freebies, & hotel soaps. I cleaned those out either trashing the ones that were old or giving away samples I knew I would not use and using the rest.  Clean out the makeup you don’t like or use or match, hair products that no longer suit your style, etc.

2. Have a space for everything and return it there AS SOON AS YOU ARE FINISHED. In most people’s case, when getting ready and doing the bathroom routine, you are in a small space and everything is right there.  Putting it away as soon as you are finished takes a second or two. Compare that to later in the day when you have 10 things left out on the sink. Its stresses you out and makes you feel like you need time to clean. It took me a while but once in the habit and seeing the peacefulness of having a clutter free sink all the time, there’s not even bit of temptation to leave things out.

3. Consider ways you can simplify your beauty routine.  It will save time and space.

4. Considering #3, this might seem odd, but use your products!  I would receive nice soaps or lotions or buy a nice hair product and then rarely use it.  They are basically just renting space that could be put to use if you’re NOT going to use them.  You have it, use it and enjoy it!  If it was a gift but you can’t stand the scent, toss it or give it away.  Becoming a minimalist taught me about some of my “hoarding” tendencies–not like someone on that TV show, but just the tendency to wait on using things or scared that “someday”  I might need it. Author Shauna Niequist recently wrote a blog post about this concept and I loved it!  She said, “Open the jam, the journal, the wine. Slather that fancy lotion all over your feet. Put on those sparkly earrings even if you’re just going to the grocery store. Because someone gave them to you out of love. Accept that love. Burn the candles.”

The bathroom is a place of specific utility. Keeping it streamlined and clutterfree and peaceful really is within grasp.

Happy simplifying!

To Minsk, With Love

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Minsk,

It has been twelve years since I first set foot on your Belarusian soil and you stole my heart.  That trip was one not to be forgotten.  It was my first time out of the USA and even my first time on an airplane.  There are so many memories still.  We ate strange foods like cow tongue, pig’s ear, borscht and weird dairy drinks. We walked more than my American legs had ever walked in a 10 day period.  I made friends that I keep in touch with to this day. My good friend Jeff took a punch for me when I was grabbed from behind by a drunk, vodka smelling, non English speaking man. I found it was not unusual to have several friends all named Tanya.  I saw God in a whole new light.  And I met my husband.

I visited four more times as a single, college student.  One of those being the summer of 2004, in which my love for your only deepened by the longer stay.  My parents and friends thought this longer trip would hold enough culture shock to clip my little wings as my mom would say, but this Robin, was meant to fly and I have over and over. That summer I lived with a family – now my family. I learned so much and experienced so many things.

A few years followed and I tried to forget you when the possibility of living on your streets came and passed. But here I am ten years later and I still love you.  You have changed a bit, but so have I. You are not perfect by any means, but I don’t care. No city is. I’ve been here a month now.  That’s enough time for some ups and downs.  Those just seem to make it all the more real.  To deepen the knowledge.  All your foreignness and yet so familiar.

Though I always have been a country girl, you were the first city I loved. I love your parks and festivals, with their monuments and memorials that speak of the lives and ages lived in your borders.

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I love the immense green space and wooded paths along the Svisloch River.

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I love the mix of architecture. From the industrial soviet style buildings, to the onion domes of the churches, to the quaint and colorful village houses.

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I love your forests.

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I love your sounds and have even grown to love the smells.

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But most of all I love your people.

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They are the ones I truly will not forget and what make you what you are.  I wish I could picture them all.

With Love,

Robin

If you want to see more of Minsk and Belarus, this video is good.

Kids Clothes

We all get overwhelmed with our homes. If you’re a parent, the stuff it takes to raise a child, let alone multiple children, is enough to send you over the edge. There are entire stores devoted to our little ones.  If we want to live simply we are probably trying to minimalize clutter, stuff, and stress so that we can enjoy and do the things that matter the most to our lives.  It is going to look different for each person or family.  So, while my kids’ toys and closets may require different things from yours, we can still encourage and collaborate on how to cut down on all the stuff they really and truly need.  As a mom I would much rather be outside or reading with my kids than washing, drying, folding, sorting and heaven forbid ironing their clothing.  I’ll write about toys another day, but here are a few thoughts on kids clothes.

  1. Limit the clothes you save.  After my first, a girl, I kept EVERYTHING.  We knew we wanted more so I just felt like I should keep it all.  Then we had a boy. Who couldn’t use hardly any of her stuff.  We moved and Andrei said a 2 year old should not have TUBS of stuff.  I thought about it and it made sense, so over time I went through different tubs of her things and reduced it down drastically.  If you’re like me I have friends who are still having babies.  We’ve all passed around some things, whether its clothing or swings, or whatever was needed. The point is, if you need something again, you will be able to find it cheap if not for free.  Need I remind you there’s always the option of going out to these giant stores devoted to our children and paying full or sale price for it.
  2. Only have current sizes and seasons.  To keep their drawers and closets simple and to hopefully help in the daily getting dressed chore (ahem, mom’s of girls), only have current sizes and seasons out.  My kids have large closets so I do have a few things in the back, like their winter coats.
  3. Going along with #2, don’t buy ahead.  This will eliminate your need for more storage.  I am thankful for hand-me downs as it saves a ton of money, so if you’re blessed to get those, I say go through the them when you get them and save the ones you think will work for your kids.
  4. Know what your kid does and does not like.  My daughter loves dresses and really dislikes jeans. While we usually have one or two pairs of pants, I usually have several “everyday” dresses she can wear most days.
  5. Reduce the amount of current clothes for your child.  I don’t know how many seasons or growth spurts have come and gone with my child not wearing everything they have. The only logical explanation is we have too much. Think through your lifestyle and make choices based on that, not on what Pinterest or boutiques or whatever other marketing tells you your children need.
  6. Laundry – I don’t know of anyone who likes laundry, but I know that everyone likes everything done up and put away.  So do it!  We procrastinate and put it off and turn on Netflix and it doesn’t get done.  Is it really so torturous that we avoid it at all costs?  When I’ve thought about the ridiculousness of my procrastination with laundry and seen that in 10 minutes I can take out a load fold it and put it away, I just let everyone know that I need 10 minutes to do this and be done with it, and voila!  Its not on my bed, in the basket – which usually gets dumped out if you have a toddler.  I try to do each load when it comes out instead of waiting until I have several piled up. On another note, I have a “Laundry day” but I usually throw another load or two in during the week.

I hope these help and PLEASE share your tips for cutting down on kids clothes.

Packing Light for a Month Long Trip

I’ve had some questions about how traveling abroad for a month with kids looked in regards to packing. As usual, I overpacked. I’ll breakdown both our carryons and the checked luggage. For about a year now I’ve been trying to pack light. It seems that with every trip I get better. This trip, however, was a different animal.

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One area I continue to struggle with is my kids. My kids are not new to traveling. From the time Nadya was only a month old we’ve gone on long trips. I would say that they are pretty good travelers, better in fact, than some adults I’ve traveled with. All that said, I still feel like I need to have a ton of stuff for them to do and to cover any incidents that may happen. Couple that with an almost twenty-four hour travel time and you can imagine my angst, but I was determined to pack lightly.  So here goes: each child had their own backpack and would carry their own extra change of clothes tightly rolled and in a ziplock.  They also each had a pack of gum and tic tacs. Part of our schooling throughout the month was a travel journal so they had that and a zipper bag with crayons and a pencil.  Both children have a lovey, so that was their responsibility.  I did add the Busytown Airport book for Nolan.  Those books never disappoint. My mom gave him a set of small airplanes when we checked in so those were also put in his backpack. Nadya brought a magic clip doll in addition to her lovey.  Neither of their packs were too heavy, though Nolan did give me his a couple times when he was tired.

As for my carryon, I had my change of clothes, our liquids – one zip lock bag, Nolan’s meds, the electronics, fruit gummies, individual serving bags of almonds – I need my salty snacks, and my journal.  In the past, we had packed a small gift for the kids to open up half way through the trip or if we were in need of a change of attitude, so I had a car for Nolan and a magic clip doll for Nadya.  If I was not traveling with the children, or if Andrei had gone with us, I would have brought a book.  But I knew that IF I got time to read it would be short and probably better spent napping.  Plus I had a few books on the iPad if I was desperate to read. It was so nice to not be bursting at the seams. I had room for a bottle of water and a  souvenir I purchased in Paris.  I only had the carryon – no purse and it was so wonderful to only have one thing to worry about.  I carried money, passports and boarding passes in a small travel wallet that I would hold as we went through security or had to check in. It also made trips to the toilet easy!

Earlier this summer we took a week vacation to the beach and traveled light and it was glorious! I was determined to do the same for this trip. We had a few things going for us. First of all, when you go anywhere for a month, you obviously are going to wear outfits more than once. Secondly, we knew for the most part what to expect with the weather. Also, since becoming a minimalist, I’ve gotten much better at pairing clothing together to create multiple outfits.  Especially with my clothes I took tops and bottoms that would all work together, so I had a simple color scheme -reds, blues and browns and my Noonday Collection goodies to spice it all up.  Three pants, two button up tops that would layer, one open sweater, two t-shirts, one cami, one dress for the ballet (that I didn’t even wear because we didn’t go), and my TOMS and my cowboy boots.  Not to mention the underwear and lounge/sleepwear. Honestly, I still overpacked. I could have left one pair of the pants, some of the loungewear, and the dress.

As for the kids, I definitely overpacked. Partly because their grandmother wanted to buy them some clothes and partly because she did laundry almost daily.  I packed nearly the same amount for them as I did for me, maybe one outfit more each and again did the mix and match as best I could.

Just a quick disclaimer. I have nothing against fashion. If anything I’ve gotten trendier since becoming a minimalist (that and how can you not be trendy wearing Noonday?) I also do not freak out about how light can I possibly go. As if its a sin to overpack. There are many who can pack lighter than I do. I’ve just learned that I tend to overpack and its out of fear; fear of what other people think of me, fear of not being prepared, etc. The simple truth is I am not going to spend my time worrying about either of those. I will be prepared as sensibly as I can and know that most places will have what I need if necessary. The packing light is not some slavish mentality I have adopted, but rather its just the opposite. I am free to enjoy a trip with my children half way around the world without being weighed down by so much stuff. In shedding the stuff I have shed the fears and insecurities and hope to inspire you to do the same.