Wednesday, 30 August 2017

How we Approach Living More Minimally and Thrift Shopping

Last week Tharin and I were at a garage sale and there was a beautiful Moses basket for a very reasonable price which I really contemplated purchasing. In the end, I decided against the purchase for a few reasons, and I thought, in light of this dilemma, I would write about something I mentioned in my previous thrifting post: how I approach being minimalistic and thrift shopping.

We are not minimalists by any stretch, but throughout the past year of moving and packing and downsizing, I have gotten rid of many, many items from our home, and Tharin has become much more open to simplifying and purging, as well. We have experienced a lot of freedom in being able to find a place for everything in our home, and in having less to tidy up.

Allie Casazza was my initial inspiration for wanting to purge our home, though, when I first discovered this type of minimalism I never would have guessed how much I would purge in that following year. Though I would not say it is a magical cure all to having stress over my home, it has definitely helped me to feel more peaceful in my space.

With our style to living more minimally in mind, I thought it was important to talk a little bit about how I approach thrift shopping. One of the challenges of purchasing things thrift is that so many items can be found at reasonable prices making it difficult to be really discerning about purchases. After all, a three dollar purchase here and there is pretty easy to budget for, and it can be difficult to pass up a good or useful item when found inexpensively.

However, I have had to teach myself to be really conscious about these easy purchases and to really discern every item before bringing it into our home. In the example of the Moses basket, it was something I really wanted because I have seen so many beautiful pictures on Instagram with similar baskets, but when I weighed this desire against my criteria for something being a necessary purchase, I knew it was not.

Trying to live minimally seems to compliment Montessori really well, as it makes it (more) possible to prepare the environment in an orderly and beautiful way. Having less in our home, in general, makes it possible for there to be open space, a designated place for everything, and encourages that we are more careful and thoughtful about the items in our home.

I am a firm believer in how thrift shopping and Montessori coincide because of how expensive it can be to try and implement this ideology. There are many items, specific to Montessori, which would be very difficult to purchase thrift, but things like baskets, carpets, glass dishes, trays, puzzles, wooden toys, and practical life items are replete in thrift stores, and I truly feel that if you are diligent and patient, you need spend very little to make your home Montessori-friendly. Again, as with all things thrift, it is important to be very thoughtful about what we purchase, as it is really not necessary to have all the items we may believe are needed. (In the spirit of full-disclosure, I know I still struggle with this, as I have a ridiculously hard time passing up baskets and children's books.)

For these reasons, I have found it important, and very beneficial, to find a way to balance both minimalism and thrift shopping in our Montessori journey.

If you are wondering what my criteria were for the Moses basket, in particular, some of my reasoning was: we already have a basket, the one Tharin's mother used for her children, and I can always use it if I so desire. However, in trying to fully embrace Montessori, I know I will have to reshape the way I approach infanthood and will be doing many things differently with this baby. I read a really awesome post on the Montessori newborn the other day, and know I want to consciously limit the amount of time I contain my newborns. Tharin will be building a co-sleeper for this baby for our bedroom, and my plan is to have a movement area with a baby quilt and mobile hanger set up in our main living area so that the baby will have freedom of movement from birth.

Not specific to the Moses basket, I also try not to have collections, as we have a tendency to collect more than we need with this mentality, and I always try to foresee if an item will be truly useful, or if it will often be stored. I believe the items in our homes should be beautiful to us, as well as purposeful, and that, if possible, they should perform more than one function. I am extremely strict about the size of items we bring into our home, how long they would be useful to us, and how easy and how often it would need to be stored. In the example of the Moses basket, I knew I likely would have found myself wanting to get rid of it or sell it in lieu of trying to find a way to store it efficiently.

Lastly, just because something is inexpensive does not mean it is worth making a place in our homes for, especially if there is a chance it will be something we get rid of once again. I make purchases (and purge) with the mentality that I am not a slave to my home and my possessions, and try to keep my home as open and free of clutter as I can, even the closets and storage spaces that are not visible.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this post! Especially the criteria for things you buy at the bottom!