Hello and Welcome!

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Us in Kakamega Forest, Kenya!

My name is Joslyn.  I live in Arizona with my husband, Richard, our two dogs and one cat.  A few years ago I decided to become a minimalist.  At the time we were living out of backpacks on Catalina Island while working for an outdoor education company.  This was after three years of living in a 100 sq ft bedroom in my in laws house.  We had been talking about going full time into overseas ministry at some point and I began to realize that I would always be living out of suitcases or in tiny flats probably the rest of my life.  That realization, combined with my OCD that wrecks havoc on my psyche when disorder abounds, led me to choose a minimalist lifestyle.  I saw why being a minimalist was so important for us when we spent the month of June in Kenya on a short term missions trip.  Being able to pack in one 40 liter bag myself and a 65 liter bag (he had clothing requirements I didn’t) and one garment bag for an entire month was really helpful when traveling around Eastern Kenya.  We are now living in a 650 sq ft rental home in Northern Arizona and looking for our next big adventure

Now I’m not interested in being the kind of minimalist that only has 100 things or trying to get my belonging down to some magical number that has nothing to do with whether I need something or not.  I just want to have things I use and I don’t want things I don’t use.  I’d also like to own the smallest, most practical version of things, as well as have all my things be useful for more than one task.  In short, I want to own my stuff, not have my stuff own me.  I have a few other considerations when I buy things, including durability, quality, and whether it is a sustainable product (aka if it can be recycled, was made out of recycled materials, and/or is made out of biodegradable materials), but the first and constant question is always, “do I need it?”

Now for the explanation of the name of this blog.  See, I want to have less stuff than most people and I do.  I really do, but I have yet to get any of the basic benefits that everyone says you magically have when you get rid of your stuff.  They tell you that when you become a minimalist that you will find wonderful new joys, like easier organization, faster cleaning, you can find things quickly, and have more time.  I have to be honest, I must be doing it wrong, because I’m not getting any of those things.  I have less stuff.  I only have 6 place settings, 5 pots, 2 skillets, and 6 glasses.  I own less than 200 items of clothing.  I have nothing I don’t use, but for some reason my sinks are overflowing with dishes, my laundry is backed up, and my floors haven’t been cleaned in weeks.  I have a suspicion that this minimalist thing is harder for some than others…  While looking around at articles and blogs touting the merits of minimalism and sharing how to be a minimalist, I found there was little out there for the frustrated minimalist that maybe, despite best efforts, was still struggling with things like materialism, messy house syndrome, disorganization and other not so minimalist things.  All these blogs were crisp and clean.  The pictures they showed were of perfect little apartments and tiny houses that were clean and well organized.  I saw them and then saw my house:

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Me, Showing off my Nerd Pride and my messy house.

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From left to right: Jaeger, Olivia (Olive) and Sasha. Behind them is another mess.

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Jaeger and Sasha, and some more mess!

Okay, okay it’s not all my fault.  I should probably mention that I have no dishwasher, no dryer, and the house has two closets in all, and the double sink is half depth and 2-3 inches from the edge of the counter, making it painful to do the dishes.  I also have help with the mess in Richard, but I knew how messy he was when we met.  Still with all this, I feel frustrated and annoyed that I don’t do better.  I’ve decided that we’re all imperfect.  I can’t be the only one and I bet that a few of those people with the crisp pictures are taking them on the one day everything is clean.  I wanted this blog to be different.  I want to show everything about life as a minimalist, even the things most normal people wouldn’t admit to.  The good, the bad, and the downright dirty, not just the crispy clean.  So welcome and thank you for taking this journey with me!