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Self-Care and Minimalism

Sunday is my laundry day.  Since I live in an apartment with no laundry facilities, this is what works for me.  I take a weeks worth of laundry and a current read, book or magazine, some tunes then I  spend about an hour at the laundry mat.  I fold my clothes there as well, because they tend to get wrinkled if I don’t or I never fold them.

Since I minimized my wardrobe, I pretty much have a ‘uniform’.  I do this so I can wash all my clothes in cold, I have less decisions to make and to simplify my life, frankly its just so much easier.  Black T-shirt, black jeans, black socks, black sweater, occasionally I wear a hat to spice it up, or a printed Tee if I’m feeling it.  My wardrobe is a work in progress, finding out what works, what doesn’t, getting rid of T-shirts that are stained or have holes.

All of the above things are typical minimalist things.  Capsule wardrobe, owning less and using community items like a washer and dryer, the minimalist ‘uniform’, lessening the amount of decisions you make in a day.  But these things are also a form of Self-Care.

I do all these things for two reasons one, I want to simplify my life on a day-to-day basis so I can spend my time and energy on the things I value and two, because I care for myself and all these things are how I show myself I care.

As a society and culture, we like to show that we care for others.  But really how do we care for ourselves in a healthy way?  Well how I do it is, I wash my clothes, I work on having less so I have less I am beholden to, I take care of what I have, I respect my things and myself by taking good care of all I own.  But I also continue to own less so I am more able to take care of what I own and then I can buy better quality items because I am purchasing less.

I think it is important to recognize that even a small thing like folding the laundry is actually self-care, because it is something done intentionally for our betterment.

How do you show yourself, in everyday ways, that you care?  Can you get better?  How?  Can minimalism help you take better care of yourself?  Is it taking a walk, folding your clothes, making a lunch to take to work, or is it minimizing your closet?  Or is it cutting out social media so you can…write, create, draw, dance or some other thing that only you can do for this world?  We need everybody creating and using their voice!

Practice some self-care today!

Cheers,  Riley

 

 

It’s Been a Long Strange, Trip? Part II

Vanlife. Nomadic life. Travelling life. Outdoor life. Writing Life. Just, Life.

I moved into my van a week ago. I was tired of paying a lot for rent and associated costs, electricity, internet, etc and/or having a bunch of roommates. I want/ed to live by myself since I broke up with my ex four years ago. Circumstances however would not allow it any other way. I am lucky I guess, definatley happy to have my own space however small, and blessed to have the resources of things and people to help along the way.

Bathing

I have the requisit gym membership to shower. I have all the hot water I can take!!! Also this makes me work out, when previously I couldnt even drag myself to the gym, last week I worked out like four times and even ran twice. To be fair I do have a camp shower and I got quite good at taking a camp shower outdoors this summer at my last situation, but the weather has turned cold and where I am parked has kids about outside until after dark, which makes that impossible. The kind folks I am parked at have offered their shower and bathroom, I try only to use it as a back up, in absolute neccesity.

Laundry

This is not much different than previously. I take my clothes to the local laundry mat or a willing friend’s house. $5 and one load of laundry a week about covers it. I have minimized my clothing I think pretty well.

Food

This is an area of real struggle right now. Into week one, this is the area that I need the most work/help in currently. Without access to electricity I beg off making camp coffee/hot chocolate in the mornings before work. I have adapted use of my work fridge and bought coffee creamer and used it all week which made me very happy. I also felt successful at life. Coffee=Life=Love

However, I need to work on making meals instead of buying out three times a day, this is very expensive.

The Art of the Go Girl, or How to Pee in the Woods:

A Go Girl is the best invention that has come to women in camping….ever! https://go-girl.com/ this is totally not a paid advertisement, but seriously if you are female and cringe at the idea of peeing in the woods please go look and see what wonders they have created! I have one in my car…and I have actually used it once in an emergency! The Go Girl for the uninitiated allows women to pee standing up. This is useful in more ways than writing your name in the snow…you get the idea.

The Saga Continues….

Take it slow folks!

Riley the Slow Minimalist

It’s Been a Long Strange Trip… Part 1

Well, after a short hiatus I am back!  Apologies for the delay!  On a personal note, living situations since a break up a few years ago have been rife with change and strange upsets.  I have lived in at least six different situations in the last four years.  As a Cancer this upsets my inner balance, as a minimalist this has been very productive time.

I went from living with my long-term partner (now ex) in a two bedroom condo with two cats, to living alone in an apartment with my two cats, barely any furniture, not even a bed just an air mattress.  Then to a co-op living with seven others multiple cats and dogs, then living with some very dirty college students.  Moving again and living with friends and their dogs, then most recently living in a house with up to seven other people including a less than one year old, in a bedroom-no cat (at least not for me).  Chaotic, sudden and filled with a lot of folks, it’s been a mixed bag I’m not gonna lie.

So with some really expensive options around me, I live in a southern city with colleges galore.  The lowest cost shared space I could find was $475 a month, not bad but the housing shortage is real.  Affordable housing for those who make at or around $10-12/hour is few and far between, hence having 6-7 roommates regularly.   The other option is living an hour away from work so I can have cheaper rent but I just can’t I currently have an older vehicle with over 250,000 and I simply cannot see driving that much on the daily.  Oh and public transit really is not useful for this area unfortunately.  Side note:  I lived in Denver for seven years and was without a car for six of those seven years, so I know the benefits of a good public transportation system, physically, and financially.

So after some egregious landlord dealings that I was at the bad end of, I moved into my Van.  I’m rather over roommates for the time being and though I would not suggest coming into Vanlife this way, I have however, and now I am here in the thick of it.

Gotta Run…..Until next time….

Take it slow,

The Slow Minimalist

Riley ❤

 

 

The Slowdrobe Part 4 EDC -ish

Some of my favorite things:

My new Lamy Studio black matte fine tip fountain pen.

Moleskin Journal smaller than 5×8 size

Duluth Trading Co Women’s Lifetime Medium Sling Bag

Personal Handcarved Hawk Totem (currently mia)

Liberty Silver piece

Silver Compass Necklace choker

Black on Black Arc’teryx Conveyor Belt

Brown Rainbow wide thong sandals

Ukelele-Cordoba

Hydro Flask Cup, canteen, water bottle….basically anything Hydro Flask

My Amazon Music Acct (So Sorry)

Libby Library app for Audio Books (So NOT Sorry)

and my personal ‘Spirit Animal’  Amanda Fucking Palmer.  Hey, if my Massage instructor can have Bob Ross as his Spirit Animal, then I can have Amanda Palmer…

So this is an EDC of sorts, what is yours?  Empty your pockets and see, if you need it more functional then, change it up! Or if you need more joy then put those things in your pocket that lend to increased happiness, a note from a loved one maybe, or a shell you got from the beach.

Good Luck

The Slow Minimalist

Cheers,

Riley

 

 

 

 

 

The Slowdrobe Part 3 Flair or Flare?

To Recap:

In part 1 & 2 I briefly talked about the concepts of a capsule wardrobe and the idea of adopting a uniform of some type.  I personally like the uniform idea because one it makes dressing easy and my choices simple and two because I can usually do one load of laundry a week.  Save clothes, save water= win/win.

Our trusty friends at Oxford American Dictionary:

Flair- (for brevity sake) style.

Flare-a sudden burst (of something).

Well some of us may want to dress with flare.  But most of us would probably be happier with plain ole flair.  Back about a hundred years ago, we all owned less.  Partially i think because of the culture and partially because we made less money, manufactured less as a nation.  The culture was one of have regular work clothes and then a suit/dress for Sunday best.  Simplicity.  Not a bad way to be.  Now with the overwhelming choice it’s very hard to just pick a couple of items and stick with them.

This step takes some work.  Sometimes it takes internal work and thought to figure out what you like, what looks good on you and what kind of style you want to exude.  How do you want to present yourself to others?  What makes you feel good?  What makes you feel good about your body and all of its quirks?  Because everybody has quirks and it’s totally cool, the point is to feel good about them.    And what kind of clothing do you need for you job or for your practical life?  But it is helpful to do the work and figure out what works for you.  This step can also take some time so be patient with yourself.  Try out different uniforms.  Go to the thrift store and pick some items and wear them for a few weeks or months, is it you?  Does it feel comfortable and is it appropriate for what you do on the daily?

So for me, since I went to massage school I do not wear hardly any jewelry and what I do wear.  I picked items I like and I leave in my body piercing jewlery.  I change them only a couple of times a year.  I don’t wear rings.  I wear one necklace that is silver with a dime sized medallion of a compass.  I have a pair of earings I leave in captive ball titanium and an industrial piercing with a bar.  I also wear a Buddhist blessing string around my right wrist.  That’s if for my jewelery.  I leave all this on, I do not take it off for sleeping or showering and this works for me.

So I’m not saying don’t ever change anything, variety is the spice of life, but maybe aim for more consistency.  Pick some items you love and wear them daily, wear the heck out of them, dont save them for special occasions…life is now, enjoy it now.

To be continued,

Riley

The Slow Minimalist

The Slowdrobe Part 2: The Uniform

Uniform – not changing in form or character; remaining the same in all cases and at all times is the Concise Oxford American Dictionary’s definition.

Highly publicized, possibly misunderstood.  The Uniform.

There are many different ideas of minimalist clothing, uniform, and wardrobe.  Some say a true minimalist will only wear black and/or white, or will only have 3 shirts, a pair of pants, and definitely no underwear (JK).  The last part makes me think of a thru hiker for the AT Trail more than a minimalist (also hard, but in other ways).

A minimalist is like a snowflake, no two are they, nor should they necessarily be…the same.  It’s nice to have a template to follow, there are a lots of blogs about minimalist clothing options and ideas.  My personal favorite is https://bemorewithless.com/project-333/

Courtney Carver has perfected her formula for a minimalist wardrobe and it is tremendously helpful in structuring your wardrobe with simplicity.  I used her OG model setting up my closet, following it closely for many years.  I sort of adhere to it now, but in a more freeform individual sense, if you are new to minimalism and need some parameters, it’s fantastic!  And remember, use what works and throw away the rest.  You will have your own preferences and sometimes looking at a lot of different perspectives can help you decide what you truly want and desire out of your wardrobe.  Experiment, try different things until you feel comfortable with your choices.

Why a uniform?

If you have read anything about minimalism or simple living you have probably heard about the ‘multitude of choice’ we are generally faced with on a daily basis.  It’s overwhelming.  This is one reason I do not watch standard TV, and limit my exposure to commercials.  The paradox of choice is a real thing.  I like to limit my daily choices as much as possible because I want to spend my ‘choice dollars’ (so to speak) on bigger choices and prevent choice fatigue.

It’s very similar to ‘Spoon Theory’.  We as humans, have only so many spoons per day, I don’t want to use my spoon/personal decision energy on my clothing.  This is one of the reasons minimalism works for me.

I also like to have a simple array of clothing to choose from, so my clothing choice is minimal.  I set out my clothes the evening before I go to work, so I am on the tail end of my choice fatigue when picking my clothes for the next day.  I do like variety, and I do get pleasure from choosing my socks and shirt for the next day.  But I have worked to eliminate choice in my clothing as much as possible.

A clothing uniform also minimizes the amount of money I spend on clothing.  I buy some from thrift stores, and I also tend to buy quality items I know will last for a long time and I limit my clothing purchase at this point mostly to replacing worn out items.  I do not window shop so I don’t come home with spree purchases.  I don’t go to the mall or a store unless I am wanting something specific.

I find that as I stick to the capsule wardrobe I have created, and my wearing a uniform daily, that I don’t need to buy more things.

And minimalism is just as much about what you don’t buy.

I found that as soon as I minimized my closet, I began purchasing more clothing to fill the space I had just made.  It is important to be very mindful when you get to this stage.

Minimalism only works when you minimize AND consume less (and consume more mindfully, preferably) going forward.

Good Luck,

Riley

The Slow Minimalist

 

The Slowdrobe Part 1

Ok! Yes. I made up that word.  But my wardrobe was the easiest and quickest minimalist thing that I managed to conquer and accomplish on my slow journey into Minimalism.  I am least attached to my clothes.  When I went through and started getting rid of clothing it was easy to look for items that had stains or holes and immediately put them in the sleep wear, donate, or rag pile.

Clothing is my cornerstone minimalist action.  When I feel stuck or like the rest of my journey into minimalism is incomplete or too difficult, I go back to my closet to see what more I can cull.  There is almost always, something I can purge…always.

Long before I considered myself a minimalist, my wardrobe was at least, a partial exception.  I’m not gonna lie, it took me a long time to feel that way, years even and I realized that it wasnt just having a minimal amount of clothing that was key for me, it was not buying random clothing, not going ‘clothes’ shopping or even window shopping when I would end up with a new hoodie or tee-shirt.  I had to become very intentional about what I brought back into my closet after I had thinned out my items.  The following is a basic break down.

2 Pairs Black Jeans – Old Navy

10 Assorted Tees, Mostly Black, some with print

A Belt

9 Pairs of shoes as follows:

2 pairs of sneakers-both black

3 pairs of sandals-one pair…of course, black

1 pair of boots-yes black again

2 pair of slip on shoes-black with print

1 pair of running shoes-black

I will just do my wardrobe for summer.  I also have a couple of pairs of shorts, assorted tank tops, one utilitarian skirt I got at the Thrift store and 2 bikinis!  So for this week I challenge you to go through part of your wardrobe, maybe start with socks? or underware?  get rid of the ripped, stained, or holey items you no longer wear or that do not fit.

Studies show, we wear the same few items regularly.  Most of our clothing sits in a drawer or hangs in a closet untouched.

Put unused items into the rag bin, donate if salvageable, or trash what isn’t fit to wear.  You will feel better and you’ll be on your way to a simpler, more minimalist lifestyle.

Good Luck!

Riley The Slow Minimalist

 

 

 

 

 

Butterflies, Billiards, & Beer

Death is surprisingly simple.  Maybe one of the simplest things we end up doing in life because it all comes down the heart.  The heart just plain stops.  For whatever reason, it becomes still.  It’s after death that things get really complicated, kinda like weddings.  Once your start planning one everyone has a have a say.  Everyone imports what they want into a wedding, and into a funeral.

I was reading a Patreon post from Amanda Palmer (check her the post about Omega here, support to read it https://www.patreon.com/amandapalmer).  It was about death and suicide.  And while death could be argued to be the simplest thing we do it is the most complicated, complicated by emotions and feelings of all types: ambivalence, hate, anger, love, fear, pain, sadness, depression, gladness, relief, worry amongst a multitude of other things.

I was talking with a loved one.  I told them my grandmother didn’t want a funeral.  But as those left behind how do we honor the person that has died and yet honor our own need for closure?  It’s a fine and tricky line.  For my family, we opted for a bit of a wake.  My mother was present for the internment.  It was simple, it was sparse, it was family reminiscing about my grandmother and a reason for extended family to gather and spend time together when we rarely do.

My loved one piped up.  I don’t want a funeral.  I was taken aback.  Funerals are for those whom are left behind.  Funerals are for us.  For us to find closure, for us to say goodbye.  The family, friend or person that died is gone, they have done their part.  What is left, is for us to pick up the pieces and find the strength to go on.  I feel like funerals are there to do just that.  Not sure if they are successful but I believe that’s their purpose.

I responded to my loved one was saying, “I’ll release 100 butterflies” they responded, “yeah!  Id like that!”  then they added “and billiards!  I want there to be billiards.”  I was like ok, interesting choice, but cool.  Then I said “and beer, like a wake”  They smiled “yes beer”.

Death is never easy.  Even when you hope for someones pain to be relieved in it, death is still…so…very final, feeling.  It may or not be, final, we won’t know until we go there (not wanting to rush anyone!) but maybe we can bring a little simplicity back to the processes that surround it?  Have a conversation with your loved ones, it doesn’t have to be grand or deep or super emotional.  Maybe just let them know something you would like or something you would like for them.  Be creative.  Be thoughtful.  Be yourself.  More importantly live a life that is true to you, be kind.  That is the best gift you can give the world right now, we need you!  Every single one!  You are all important!

Cheers,

Riley

The Slow Minimalist