We’ve just returned from our last vacation of the summer and are trying our best to settle into the back to school routine. It’s hard to maintain a lot of the routines from home when you are on vacation, and I tried to go with the flow and appreciate the differences. We went to the beach, the park, for long walks, and spent lots of time together making great memories. What we didn’t do was think at all about how our purchasing choices would impact our home upon our return, or how our choices in food would impact our waistlines. Oops.
I’ve decided though that failures should be looked upon more as opportunities for future improvements, rather than things I should be punishing myself over. Rachel at The Minimalist Mom had a great post the other day about setting sights on the bigger picture – if you set goals and don’t meet them, don’t be discouraged. Re-jig your original goals to create new goals and stay motivated in your minimalist journey for the longer haul.
A few less-than-ideal highlights from our vacation included:
- I bought new-to-us, gently used clothes for the kids even though they don’t really need anything in the clothing department. My hometown has a great children’s consignment shop, and they were having their annual $1 sale. Yes, one dollar. While I’ve heard of such a thing, it was like an urban legend to stumble across a sale like that. I ended up taking two trips to the store, and bought a total of 40 new articles of clothing for my kids. My oldest will not need any more clothing before the end of next summer. As a frugalitarian who hates to shop but still likes my kids to look adorable, I cannot tell you how happy this made me. As a minimalist, I am struggling to find places to put all those extra items in the kids closet.
- I received a Tassimo coffee machine from a friend with their blessing to use it while they are out of the country, even though I’m trying to drink less coffee and am ashamed of the amount of waste that comes along with the use of these machines. I wrote previously about these fancy machines that make coffee from pre-prepared pods of coffee grinds, and how as much as the coffee was delicious, I wouldn’t be buying one. Well, it’s harder to turn down one of these things when it turns up on your doorstep courtesy of a very good friend. My friends have been using this handy little machine for a few months and bought it prior to knowing that they would be moving out of the country for awhile. So when they offered it to me, I agreed to take ownership of it for the next year. The coffee is still delicious, and while the pods are disposable, the plastic from the Tassimo pods can be recycled if you put in a small amount of effort to clean out the used coffee grinds. I’m also taking a small amount of solace in the fact that I’ve given up buying coffee from coffee shops, which will eliminate my use of disposable cups, lids and sleeves.
- I ate very poorly for the second half of my vacation. For the second part of our 10 day vacation, we were in Armstrong with family and spent nearly every day at the Interior Provincial Exhibition (otherwise known as the IPE). With everyone being so busy taking in all the excitement of an agricultural fair, midway complete with rides, and the rodeo and stampede action, there wasn’t much time for grocery shopping or preparing meals. We ate out a lot, and if there’s one thing about Fair food, it’s that most of it is deep-fried. I ate more than my share of mini-donuts and french fries. We had some friends come in from out of town to spend the day with us at the Fair, and my girlfriend went so far as to indulge in a deep-fried Mars bar. Yes, it really does look as disgusting as it sounds. Needless to say, there were not too many fruits or vegetables consumed by anyone in our family over the course of the latter half of our trip. A sad statement really, considering my husband and I had spent the first half of our vacation eating very healthily and going for long walks/runs every evening.
Instead of allowing all of these things to hamper my efforts towards minimalism, simplicity and good health, I have renewed my efforts and desire to live better. I’m trying to consider the journey more so than the destination. If you have plans to live differently, don’t be discouraged if your best laid plans go astray – take comfort in the process and get motivated, even setting new, revised goals for yourself if that helps. If you fall off the proverbial wagon, just renew your efforts and get back on.
Like most things in life, minimalism is a journey, and the object of striving to live more simply is more so about the process than the end result. Rooms and closets that have been decluttered will likely need to be purged more than once in this lifetime. Eating poorly for a few days can be rectified by a return to a lifestyle of healthy eating and regular exercise. Dietary indulgences can be reflected upon and efforts doubled to do better in the future. Now that a few extra things have found their way into our home, I’ll be working to declutter a little more before the end of the year. As of last count, I’m at 4822 items decluttered in 2011. I’m hoping to hit the big 5K before the end of the year.
If you’re decluttering this year, I’d love to hear how your project is going! Keep me motivated by sharing your story in the comments.