Week 11: Make holidays more meaningful

When I decided to simplify my life and reduce my belongings, I didn’t realize that the “holiday gift-giving department” of my life would be a bit more challenging than I had expected.  

I am a very generous person. I love to give. Giving makes my soul happy.

I provide for my aging parents back home (Philippines). I have supported my six siblings through school when my parents became unemployed. I spoil my nephew and nieces with gifts.

I regularly send at least one balikbayan box full of stuff to my family every Christmas since 2007.

I donate to charities. I volunteer in my community.

I love giving gifts. In fact, I find the act of wrapping gifts very, very “relaxing”. I put my heart and soul in every gift that I wrap.

But then, the question is, how can I celebrate the holidays without compromising my own minimalist ways?

How can we make holidays more meaningful?

Here are a number of simple suggestions for making the holidays more meaningful—for you, your friends, and your family. They’re guaranteed to help you savor this season of warmth and caring.

REMEMBER WHAT THE SEASON IS ALL ABOUT

It is so easy to be swept up in the consumerism of the season, but remember that holidays are not about money and material things.

Holiday season is more about traditions and togetherness – and less about consumerism.

So this year, celebrate the holidays by spending more time with the people you care about and less on unimportant material things.

DON’T BUY IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT

Taking out a loan or going bankrupt in order to cover holiday expenses is simply ridiculous.

If you can’t afford to buy your family some expensive gifts, then just don’t do it – it’s okay to say no.

Losing your mind due to holiday financial stress is far more detrimental to you and your family than skipping a few presents.

GET CREATIVE WITH GIFT GIVING

You can still spread the holiday cheer by making personalized and/or handmade presents. These are extremely thoughtful and nice gifts that you can make while spending only a fraction of the cost.

Just like what they say, “It’s the thought that counts.”

GIFT EXPERIENCES, NOT THINGS

When Steve and I got married, we set the expectation with our friends and family that we don’t need any more stuff, and if they want to give us gifts, they can get us experiences we will enjoy.

I love the fact that they were able to celebrate our new married life with us by spending time with us, not by piling on more stuff.

GIVE YOUR TIME

What if your parents want nothing more than a visit from you?

What if your little kids might love nothing more than to play or have fun with you?

For me, the people I care about mean much more to me than a fancy new gadget or another unimportant expensive gift.

Your best present is your presence.

Whatever you decide when it comes to giving gifts, this is my holiday wish for you: 

Less mess, less stress.

Less debt, more peace of mind.

Less presents, more presence.

Live with less, give more love.

With much love,

Jomay

Week 9: Adopt eco-friendly habits – 30 simple ways to become environmentally-friendly

Being environmentally friendly simply means having a lifestyle that are better for the environment. It’s all about taking small steps towards making our planet a better place for generations to come.

This week’s blog post features environmentally-friendly habits that are definitely worth adding into your daily routines.

Embrace these habits and soon you’ll notice you are beginning to think and act in a more eco-friendly manner without even realizing it.

So here’s the 30-day challenge to help you get started with an environmentally-friendly lifestyle:

  1. Stop using plastic cups
  2. Use own mugs when buying coffee and other beverages
  3. Say no to plastic straws
  4. Stop using plastic bags
  5. Bring re-usable bags when you shop
  6. Stop using plastic wrap
  7. Use old cloths instead of paper towels
  8. Buy locally-sourced products
  9. Support local farmers’ markets
  10. Use eco-friendly products such as loofah, bamboo toothbrush
  11. Don’t litter
  12. Segregate household wastes
  13. Recycle items
  14. Re-use old jars and containers
  15. Buy second-hand items
  16. Shop less
  17. Plan your meals
  18. Bring lunch to work
  19. Eat less meat
  20. Eat more vegetables
  21. Choose organic
  22. Help save the bees!
  23. Make your home energy-efficient
  24. Turn off the lights
  25. Unplug unused appliances
  26. Drive less
  27. Take a bus or carpool to work
  28. Avoid using Styrofoam materials
  29. Start composting program at home and at work
  30. Educate other people

Now is the best time to embrace an eco-friendly change. Join me in this exciting 30-day challenge and share this among your family and friends!

Do you have any eco-friendly tips you would like to share? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

For Mother Nature,

Jomay

Week 8: Build a simple wardrobe – Introducing Project 333

Over the next 3 months, I’m going to be participating in a minimalist fashion experiment called Project 333™.

Project 333™ is the minimalist fashion challenge created by Courtney Carver of Be More With Less. The project is about dressing with less – which is basically dressing with 33 items or less for 3 months.

The Rules

  • When: Every three months (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)
  • What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
  • What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (but your workout clothes have to workout).
  • How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.
  • What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.

I have begun embracing minimalism to improve my way of life since about 3-4 years ago. Since then I have donated and sold a lot of clothing and shoes, however, I still feel the need to declutter my closet and simplify my wardrobe even better.

I’ve read about Project 333™ several months ago but I didn’t have quite the time to get started.

But now that holiday season is upon us (which means more vacation time), I thought this is the best time to join the Project 333 challenge and see the benefits for myself.

So the first thing I did was sign up for the free Project 333™ Capsule Quick-Start Guide.


Minimalism is not about depriving yourself of owning things – it is more about appreciating what you already have and get only what you need.

By clearing the clutter from our lives, we are able to eliminate debt, stress, sadness and other negativity in our life. Once we have successfully removed such negativity, only then we can truly enjoy peace of mind, contentment and happiness.

So for this week’s challenge, I invite you to read the rules and tips on how to start Project 333™. I will share with you my experience soon and I hope that you can share yours, too!

Have fun and best regards,

Jomay

Week 7: Live with less, adopt intentional living

Have you ever been frustrated by the clutter in your home?

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the amount of time that you spend cleaning and caring for your stuff?

Have you ever felt that your earthly belongings were weighing you down?

Have you ever felt the need to change your life?

If you have felt any of these things, then maybe it’s time to consider living with less and adopt intentional living.

Learning how to live a minimalist lifestyle is all about understanding what minimalism is. It starts with making lifestyle changes that will help you live life with intention.

MINIMALISM DEFINED

Minimalism is a growing lifestyle trend that is prompting many people around the world to consider living with less and adopt a more intentional way of life.

minimalist lifestyle means different things to different people, and the good news is that you can define minimalism for yourself.

For some people, minimalism is about owning fewer number of possessions and having a living space that’s as small as possible yes functional and meaningful.

Many people start living a minimalist and intentional lifestyle by removing clutter in their homes, which is a great place to start.

Others embrace it by using a minimalist approach to the way they dress, work, travel, and manage relationships.

Other people also look at living a simple life and making decisions and actions that protect the environment.

For me, minimalism is about simplifying my life, owning less and being mindful of others and the environment – so that I can be healthy, do things that make me happy and spend quality time with the people I truly care about.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE

For this week’s challenge, I invite you to read my four blog posts below to learn how you can get started with minimalism and intentional living:

The Benefits of Minimalism: 12 Amazing benefits of living with less

What the heck is minimalism?

Becoming a Minimalist: 10 Essential steps to get started

Journey of Joy: A 90-day journey to a happy, meaningful life


Thank you (in advance) for taking the time to check out these helpful blog posts and congratulations on taking the first step to a better, more meaningful life!

Please don’t be shy to share your minimalist journey through the comment section below. 

All the best,

Jomay

Journey of Joy: A 90-day journey to a happy, meaningful life

I love the idea of always trying to improve myself towards becoming the best version of me that I can possibly be.

Every now and then I would start a 30-day challenge to improve a certain aspect of my life.

Whether it is to lose weight, change a habit, or help a community, taking up a challenge can help solidify a new habit that you want to improve or incorporate into your daily routine, or eliminate that nasty habit that hasn’t been good for your health or well-being.

While many people wait until January to set their new year’s resolutions, the window of opportunity is always open for those who want to set new goals. In fact, now is the right time to take up a challenge and strive towards improvement.

Since I started my blog in August, I have been thinking of creating a challenge that is, in such a way, focused on a few areas of my life. Rather than lay out my project for the entire year in detail, I have made a list of specific things I want to work on every week for the next 3 months.

In the next 90 days, I will embark on an exciting journey that I believe will lead me to an even happier and more meaningful life. 

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m incredibly blessed and happy, but I also believe there are always areas in which I can improve.

For this 90-day personal challenge, I wrote down things that I want to change in my life.

After carefully examining my list, I have identified five general aspects of my life that I need some improvement.

Here are the five general areas that I would like to improve:


HEALTH & WELLNESS

  • Achieve a healthy weight
  • Eat more plant-based food
  • Move more – regularly and consistently
  • Get enough rest and sleep
  • Feel healthy for real

SELF-CARE

  • Have special “me” time
  • Take time to pray and be grateful
  • Start a journal
  • Create/do something new
  • Ditch bad habits and start good ones

MARRIAGE & RELATIONSHIPS

  • Prioritize our relationship
  • Respect alone time and plan fun together –regularly
  • Communicate with kindness
  • Support and understand each other
  • Spend quality time with family and friends

INTENTIONAL LIVING

  • Embrace a minimalist lifestyle
  • Adopt a simple living
  • Keep a simple wardrobe
  • Pay it forward
  • Protect the environment

PERSONAL FINANCE

  • Spend less money
  • Pay off debts
  • Earn extra money
  • Save up for an emergency fund
  • Build a strong credit

NOTE: You can also create your own list of things that you want to improve using my example above. If you need help with that, please send me a quick note using the contact form below and I’d be happy to share some helpful tips.

Here we go…

The “Journey of Joy” challenge STARTS RIGHT NOW!

From October 1 to December 30, 2018, I will post both my weekly challenge and personal reflections every Monday.

There will be a total of 13 weekly challenges throughout this journey.

Week 1 starts today (October 1st) and ends on Sunday (October 7th).

The “Journey of Joy” project really excites me and I am so confident that after 90 days, I will not only achieve significant changes but will also learn so much about myself and the world we live in!

Please feel free to join me on this journey by subscribing here

Goodnight and talk to you again tomorrow!

love lots,

Jomay

Becoming a Minimalist: 10 Essential steps to get started

Want to become a minimalist but don’t know where to start? Here are our top 10 tips for getting started with minimalism.


I did not become a minimalist overnight. In fact, it took me two years to fully understand the concept, and another two years to finally have the courage to let go more than half of what I own.

I honestly had no idea that my one burning desire to change my life would actually lead me to embracing a minimalist lifestyle.

Over the course of four years, I simplified my life – I stopped going to the malls, sold some of my stuff, donated most of them, paid my debts and changed my spending habits. But I wasn’t just getting rid of stuff – I also wanted to know what meant most to me and what made (and would make) my soul happy. 🙂

That day when I decided to declutter my life, I was overwhelmed by the difficulty and complexity of the tasks I made for myself (ugh!). There were just so much stuff I have accumulated over the years that I didn’t even know where to begin with. It was such a daunting task, but I knew I had to do it.

If you are a beginner or somewhere in your journey to simplify your life and become a minimalist and are looking for help, you’ve come to the right place! (*wink*)

Here are the 10 essential steps I did to get started:

1. IDENTIFY YOUR GOALS AND PRIORITIES.

Write down all the reasons why you want to start a minimalist lifestyle. What made you decide to simplify your life? What are the things that matter to you most? What makes you happy? Your list of goals and priorities should inspire you to keep going and make that big change in your life.

2. EVALUATE YOUR POSSESSIONS.

Now that you’ve set your priorities, it’s time to address your material possessions. Think about everything you own and make a list. Now ask yourself: do these things make your life any better? Do these things help you reach your goals and priorities, or do they just weigh you down? Do they make you happy, or do they cause you unnecessary financial burden? Ask yourself if your material possessions truly add any significant meaning or purpose to your life. If not, then let them go and make room for things or people that truly matter to you.

Have you heard about the 10/10 Material Possession Theory? According to The Minimalists, our ten most expensive material possessions from the last decade and ten things that add the most value to our life “likely share zero things in common”.

I did this exercise myself and I had a rude awakening that I spent so much time, money and energy on some less important things at the expense of the things and people that I truly care about. (sniff*)

3. CLASSIFY YOUR BELONGINGS.

Your next step is to identify the things that you need on a regular basis.

Start by emptying that one area of your house that you want to declutter (for example, your kitchen pantry). Then start taking only the basic items that you will actually use back into that place. The rest can be categorized and tossed into four different boxes labeled as the following:

  • to donate
  • to sell
  • to recycle
  • to throw away

Place these boxes in an area where you can always see them (say, living room). This is a good visual reminder to declutter your space regularly and toss unwanted items into your boxes (For bulky items, you can use sticky notes to mark them). Make sure that you place at least 2-3 items in each box at least once a week. Do this for 30 days. You will be surprised by how much stuff you don’t need and are able to let go.

4. DECLUTTER ONE SPACE AT A TIME. 

Start clearing out clutter one place at a time. The best way to do this is to start with the smallest area of your house.

You can begin with a small drawer in your bedroom, the bookshelf in the living room or the kitchen pantry. Then in the next few weeks, you can start working on your closet, your shoes and accessories collection, the bedroom, the kitchen, the garage, and other areas of your home.

Avoid decluttering multiple spaces at the same time. It can be very overwhelming and stressful and may discourage you from doing it again. Start small and take your time.

5. EMPTY THOSE SPECIAL BOXES CONSISTENTLY.

Remember those four large boxes where you put your unwanted stuff? Empty those out every week or at the end of the month. Keeping the boxes at home for more than a month will ruin your momentum and may tempt you to change your mind about giving your stuff up.

Take all items for donation to the nearest charity shops, such as The Salvation Army Thrift Store, Value Village and MCC Thrift Shop. You can also donate your big household items to Hands of Hope Mission, a charitable organization that provides furniture and household items to people in need.

As for items for sale, take a photo of each item and post an ad to kijiji, Craiglist or eBay. I personally have sold a bunch of stuff through kijiji and 204 Filipino marketplace in Facebook.

Did you know that more than half of your household waste can be recycled? Be sure to follow local rules and guidelines in recycling. If you live in Canada, check out www.simplyrecycle.ca to get a few helpful hints and tips to make recycling more effective in your home.

6. JUST LET GO.

Like most people, we feel that there’s always something in our life that’s holding us back – the old toys we had kept since we were kids; a basement full of old, broken items we refuse to recycle; a big shelf of sentimental items collecting dusts; a crappy friendship that we can’t seem to get rid of; or a nasty spending habit that we can’t shake off. (sigh…)

Why are we holding on to these things? What if letting go of these things means having a cleaner home, a clearer mind, a less stressful life?

There is no better time to let go than now. Just. Let. Go.

7. LIVE SIMPLY.

We tend to buy more of less important stuff than of things that we truly need. We tend to spend more than what we actually have. We tend to have more clothes than space to accommodate them. We tend to have more time browsing Facebook than spending quality time with our kids.

We always tend to complicate our lives rather than simplify it.

One way of simplifying your life is to live with less.

I’d rather have 33 quality clothes that I enjoy wearing everyday than get stuck with a closetful of clothing that broke my wallet.

I’d rather prepare a few simple healthy meals to repeat for the next several days than waste too much time and energy trying to think of different meals to prepare every single day of the week.

I’d rather spend my time having fun with my husband than work overtime to pay for things I didn’t need in the first place.

I’d rather have a smaller and calm-looking space than own a big house brimming with stuff I don’t enjoy.

I’d rather live with less than live with regrets.

8. STOP BUYING UNNECESSARY THINGS.

Minimalism was a key component in my own journey towards financial freedom. One of the things that I have gained through this journey is finally being able to improve my spending habit.

I used to go to the shopping malls every weekend just “to stroll”, but I always end up buying a couple of items from different shops. I also used to bike around my neighborhood to “stay fit” but it was just my excuse to check out a few garage sales in the area. I also used to browse the flyers and websites for items “on sale” even though I really didn’t need them.

Minimalism is not about depriving yourself of owning things – it is more about appreciating what you already have and get only what you need. By clearing the clutter from our lives, we are able to eliminate debt and spend your hard-earned money on things that truly add value to your life.

9. LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS.

Most of the people I know who own big houses, several cars, expensive clothing and jewelries unfortunately live paycheck to paycheck.

According to Ipsos’ recent poll, the average Canadian owes $8,539.50 in consumer debt. This amount does not include mortgage debt. The report also states that “the generation that appears to have the most consumer debt is that of the Gen Xers, or people aged 35-54, who report an average debt above $10,000”.

This is a very sad reality of the world we live in and unfortunately, this is very common in the Filipino communities across Canada. If you are in a big financial trouble, seek help. There are several credit and debt counselling services available in your city – all you need to do is pick up your phone and book your appointment.

Living within your means is one of the most important steps in achieving financial freedom. Know how much you make and spend less money than you bring in. Find ways to boost your income and stop relying on your credit cards. Limit your spending, save up and enjoy a modest lifestyle.

10. STAY MOTIVATED. 

If you have done steps 1 to 9, congratulations! (Yay!) 🙂

Take a break and celebrate your victory! Embracing a minimalist lifestyle is definitely not an easy road to take, but I assure you it is a worthwhile adventure.

Now that you have come this far, it is important to stay motivated. Remember, a lot of people have done all sorts of declutter and minimalism challenge, however, most of them fell right back into their old bad habits because of lack of determination and discipline. Be consistent and focus on your goals. Then repeat steps 1 to 9. Do not stop until you’re satisfied with all the changes in your life.



What I have learned from the past four years is that change will come only if you want it so bad. Your “why” should be greater than your excuses, not the other way around.

Minimalism is a journey. Take the first steps, enjoy each moment and learn from it. Be happy knowing that your journey to living with less lets you do more.

What have you learned from your own journey towards a minimalist lifestyle?

I want to learn from you. Please share in the comment box below. 

Sincerely,

Jomay

12 Amazing Benefits of living with less

The first step towards freedom is getting rid of most of your material possessions.

Doing so may be difficult at first, but the rewards you get from simplifying your life is life-changing.

Here are 12 amazing benefits a minimalist attitude could bring to your life:

1. PEACE OF MIND

Before embracing minimalism, I was very unhappy with my life.

My mortgage, debts and closetful of stuff literally weighed me down.

My situation just made me feel anxious, sad and depressed. I thought there was no way out.

But when I started clearing out my closets and getting rid of things that I didn’t need, I felt good inside.

When I finally stopped going to the malls and instead paid off most of my debts, I was relieved!

There was something about clearing my life’s clutter that calmed my mind and soothed my soul.

How would you like going to bed and waking up in the morning with peace of mind? Take the first step and change your life.

2. MORE FREEDOM

Embracing minimalism is like embracing freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from stress. Freedom from depression. Freedom from your Earthly possessions.

If you own less, then you don’t have to spend a lot of time organizing your closet or cleaning your space. Instead, you have the freedom to appreciate the things that really matter to you.

If you have less debt, then you don’t have to work long hours to pay it off. Instead, you will have more freedom to enjoy your time with the people you truly care about.

By living with less, we reclaim our time – and our freedom.

3. LESS STRESS

A lot of anxiety and stress is mostly caused by the chaos that surrounds you every day.

But when you focus on having less, your thoughts and attention are more centered.

In choosing to live with less, you eliminate the constant feeling of wanting – that strong urge to spend and splurge. In believing that you already have what you need and what matters, you eventually reduce your stress level and enhance your happiness.

4. BETTER RELATIONSHIPS

When you have a lot of things, your focus is all over the place. It makes it hard for you to give the important things enough attention.

We tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking relationships with our parents, our spouse, our children and our friends.

Do you still spend quality time with your family? How many family dinners or special occasions did you miss because you had to work overtime? Do you still make time to reconnect with your close friends?

Minimalism enables us to look past the material part of our life by paying attention to how we feel about our relationships and nurturing the ones we care most about.

5. MORE HAPPINESS

Minimalism promotes a lifestyle focused on less consumerism and more personal meaning.

Living with only the bare essentials allows us to enjoy simple things such as a tidy room or a simple wardrobe. It also allows us to enjoy a feeling of contentment and gratitude.

With more time on our hands, we are able to pursue our passions and discover our missions. By finding our true purpose in life, we become happier and more grateful than ever.

6. LESS DEBT, MORE SAVINGS

Money, as the saying goes, is the root of all evil. It tears families apart, ruins marriages and relationships, and keeps people from being genuinely happy.

By simplifying our life – clearing the clutter, getting rid of the luxuries we don’t really need and stop making unnecessary purchases – we can focus on eliminating debt and making better financial decisions with fewer resources.

7. NO NEED TO WORK OVERTIME (PART TIME)

I used to work so hard by slaving myself 60 hours a week to acquire things that I don’t really need.

I had a three-bedroom house but I was never home. I was never home because I had to work two jobs. I had to work two jobs because I had debts to pay. I had a huge debt because I spent all of my money on things that didn’t give value to my life.

I missed out on more important things such as having meaningful relationships, new experiences and good health.

So next time you make a big purchase, ask yourself – would it actually add value to your life? Is it worth slaving yourself to a job that suck the life out of you?

8. MORE TIME FOR REST OR HOBBY

When I used to have two jobs, I would leave for work at 8:00am and come home at 11:30pm every single day. I even used to work on weekends and even holidays.

I literally had no time for rest or hobby, and not even had enough time for a good, quality sleep.

On most days, I would just stay home because I was too tired to hang out with my husband. Or I was sick due to over fatigue and lack of sleep.

I was also sad because I didn’t have the chance to pursue my passion (such as blogging) and activities that make me happy.

Once we have more freedom with schedules and time, then we can truly enjoy a well-balanced life.

9. MORE EXPERIENCES 

According to some research, experiences result in longer-lasting happiness than material possessions. People’s satisfaction with the things they buy decreases over time. Meanwhile their satisfaction with experiences increases over time.

Experiences also provide better memories. One reason I enjoy traveling is because of the many memories I have traveling with my loved ones. I look back on those moments with great joy and fondness. I remember them far better than almost any of the physical gifts I received in my life.

10. SIMPLE WARDROBE

One of the most difficult tasks in terms of applying minimalism into my life is downsizing my closet.

When I moved to Canada, I only brought one big suitcase with me. Ten years later, I have accumulated excess clothes and shoes big enough to fill at least 10 balikbayan boxes.

I already have donated about 5-7 bags of clothing, and I’m not even done yet. To put it into perspective, I have probably spent at least $2,000-$3,000 on those donated clothing. Just imagine how much that money can buy something that you really need – I could have paid another credit card or purchased a flight ticket to Manila to visit my family.

There is value in simplicity. When we consume less, we create more meaningful life – and a simpler wardrobe to choose from.

11. LESS CLUTTER

Again and again, the bottom line of minimalism is to get rid ourselves of excess stuff and get more out of our lives.

However, we tend to hoard more items that what we actually need. Have you ever been to the grocery store and ended up buying more “sale items” than what you actually need? Have you gone window shopping and ended up buying that dress that you will never wear? Have you gone out to bike around the neighborhood and ended up buying an item from a garage sale, which you probably will never ever use? Been there, done that. Guilty as charged.

Living with less is no easy task. It takes focus and dedication to actually make a big change. It should be clear to us that once the excess stuff is out of the way, staying organized is a breeze.

Remember: Less mess just simply means less stress.

12. GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

What people need to understand is that we all contribute to climate change. Our excessive consumerism leads to overconsumption that drains the Earth’s resources and accelerates climate change.

One of the benefits of minimalism is that it teaches us to live with intention and to be mindful of the consequences of our actions.

If we consume less, then we put less garbage in the landfill. Instead of buying plastic water bottles, get a reusable water bottle. Instead of using plastic straw, use metal straw or pasta, or just drink your beverage without them. Instead of buying plastic-wrapped foods, buy fresh food at the farmers’ market.

In our own small ways, we can reduce our eco-footprints, minimize pollution and help protect Mother Nature.

Is minimalism something you’ve considered before? How did it change your life? Please share your thoughts through the comments section below.

Enjoy your day,

Jomay