My Memorabilia Bin

Ever since I left for college 25 years ago I’ve had this bin:

When I got ready to leave for college, my mother filled it mostly with childhood toys, as the label says. I had a second, smaller green one with other memorabilia. She hung onto it for over a decade as I lived in tiny dorms, then tiny campus apartments with four roommates, then a Back Bay studio approximately the size of most peoples’ walk-in closets.

When I finally bought my own place in Upstate New York (an absolutely adorable little two-story three-bedroom, she and her husband helped me moved (I didn’t even own a car, because Boston). When she arrived at said tiny apartment, she had brought the two bins with her, completely understandable as I now quite literally had more living space than her.

Over the next 15 years, I did manage to whittle it down to just the larger blue bin – took some stuff out, and added some more memorabilia as an adult.

As mentioned in my intro, when it came time to sell my house and move across the country to Colorado, I was ruthless with selling and donating everything, including all my furniture except my desk, chair, and office bookcase. However, the month previous to closing was quite insane and where I ran out of time to declutter was my blue bin, so right onto the little U-Haul (their smallest truck) it went, untouched. It stayed packed away in the garage of our Boulder townhouse for another nine months, and then was shoved into the garage of our new home.

Six months later, I asked Karl to drag it out of storage, put it in the middle of my office, and opened it. I was immediately hit with so many memories and quickly remembered why I never really decluttered it. It’s so true that it’s the toughest category!

So this week I’ve been veeeeeeeeeery slowly discarding items from it here and there as part of the Mins Game, but it is really difficult to let go. I’ve heard wonderful tips such as taking photos, or writing about the memory the item is attached to, or even using it one last time, but…well, this is going to be a struggle.

I really would like to get it down to just a small number of the most important things. Any ideas? Please?

Love and Peace,

Veronica

#MentalHealthMonth Challenge Week One

So I’ve completed my first week of the #MentalHealthMonth challenge. I’m really proud that despite a crazy week I only missed one checkbox and it’s the one I’m worried least about (more on that later).

Yoga: I’m doing Yoga with Adrienne’s 30-Day Challenge from last year, called “Home.” The playlist is here if you want to join the fun. It was definitely harder than expected, especially yesterday’s session. (And this is definitely beginner-level stuff). Don’t let anyone tell you yoga is just easy stretching – I can bench 100lbs but Downward Facing Dog and TableTop leave my arms trembling. I always felt more relaxed and aligned (to use a hippie, New Age term, LOL) afterwards.

Meditation: This was Days 1-7 of Basics I in the Headspace app. It was definitely hard at times, especially since I’m dealing with dental issues (root canal tomorrow, yay) that leave me with a constant toothache that’s hard to ignore during meditating. Definitely struggling to not “rush out into the traffic” as Andy says. On a positive note, I love Andy’s voice and find him so soothing and reassuring. I also love that they just added a black woman as one of the options! Headspace offered me 40% off Headspace Plus this week so I signed up, which will allow me to continue through Basics II and III.

Decluttering: Probably the easiest of the items aside from reading, but the first week is always easy with the Mins Game. I did haul out my memorabilia bin this weekend as the next thing to go through. (It was the only category that I didn’t have a chance to minimize before the cross-country move. I simply ran out of time.) This one will definitely get harder starting next week. A lot of this week’s discarded items were literally junk/trash type of things.

Blog/Course: The course is Courtney Carver’s How to Create a Microbusiness that Matters course. It reminds me a lot of Marie Forleo’s “Start the Right Business” module in B-School. The goal was to either work on the course or write a blog entry (or both) every day. As it happens, I alternated days this week. I do want to improve my blogging next week by adding photos. It’s not that I don’t know how, I’m just trying to get in the habit of writing a “plain” blog post first, LOL. I did add links for the first time to this post. In general, if I can keep at 3 posts a week I’ll be very happy. Let’s make that a standing goal, LOL.

Running: As a longtime runner, this one was the easiest for me in someways, and hardest for me in others. I used to be a triathlete and marathon runner but got out of it after my hysterectomy 2.5 years ago. This is totally in my comfort zone in many ways, but also the most foreign in other ways – I’m 15 pounds heavier, out of shape, and moved from 1700′ elevation to 8500′ elevation, so running doesn’t feel easy and effortless like it used to, which is extremely frustrating. With yoga, meditation, and blogging I can very much keep a beginner’s mind, but going from a 4 hour marathon to 13 minute miles has been tough. I ran 23 miles this week, which I’m pretty happy about.

Reading: Like running, this was the easiest, but also the one where I missed the day. I’m rereading my favorite minimalism/simplicity books. I finished “Goodbye, Things” and am halfway through “Soulful Simplicity.” (I’m not doing the actions in them as I already have this challenge going on, I’m just reading for inspiration.) Thanks to a last-minute dentist appointment that turned into an impromptu date night I missed Friday. Luckily I love reading so am not worried about creating a habit around it. (And I’m not starting over because this is #MentalHealthMonth, not #75Hard, and part of mental health is knowing when to have grace with yourself. If I had missed yoga or meditation that would have been different.)

So all in all I’m very happy with how the week went, especially with how crazy the week was with multiple doctor appointments and contractors in the house all day every day.

Goals for Next Week (aside from the obvious continuing the challenge):

  • Don’t miss a day of reading this time.
  • Up mileage to at least 25 miles for the week.
  • At least 3 blog posts, all with at least one picture.

Peace and Love,

Veronica

240

I had my annual physical (first one in at least a couple years, really) a couple weeks ago. As usual, this included a whole bunch of bloodwork.

The results finally came back a couple days ago and although everything else was perfectly normal, my cholesterol was 240. Now, I’ve always had a high-ish cholesterol, but usually hanging just over 200. With excellent HDL and ratios, my doctors were never very worried about it.

I wouldn’t say this was upsetting in the usual sense, but it once again reinforced that I haven’t been taking good care of myself the past 2 or 3 years. I went from being an Ironman athlete to not exercising regularly (and changing from triathlon training to running to weight lifting to all other things so there was never any progressive overload) and eating crap. Add more beers, 10 extra pounds, and stress (thank you 2020) and…yeah. Wake up call. No wonder my cholesterol went up so much!

Now, my #MentalHealthMonth challenge does include regular exercise (yoga every day, running six days a week), but I was going to wait until next month to start tackling diet as to not try to take on too much all at once. With a retest in three months, that plan has changed a bit.

I’m starting with some simple swaps – instead of my usual two eggs for breakfast, one egg and one serving of Egg Beaters (I actually really love their Southwestern Style ones), chicken breast instead of drumsticks, etc. Also no more obvious junk food, which isn’t good for health or stress anyway.

I’m hoping these changes along with the exercise will help make some good headway in this first month. For April, I’ll definitely be focusing on diet. I don’t want to make another challenge because I want to make small, sustainable changes instead of doing anything drastic.

The GERD and high cholesterol have really opened my eyes and I think given me the nudge I needed to treat myself better. I’m definitely going to start now before those nudges become full-fledged bricks being thrown through the metaphorical window.

Peace and Love,

Veronica

#MentalHealthMonth Challenge

As mentioned in my introduction post, my stress levels have skyrocketed to the point of affecting my mental health. To start working on reducing stress and increasing my happiness, I developed a little 30 day challenge for March. I don’t have a catchy name for it yet so let’s just call it “Mental Health Month Challenge.”

Every day in March I’m going to:

  • Do Yoga (I’m using one of Yoga with Adrienne’s 30-day challenges)
  • Meditate using Headspace
  • Read at least 10 pages of an inspiring book.
  • Declutter doing the Mins Game
  • Run or Lift (well, six days a week so I have a rest day).
  • Blog or do Courtney Carver’s “How to Start a Microbusiness” course.

I’ll be providing weekly recaps as the day-to-day is pretty boring and repetitive, but so far I do think it’s helping. I’m using a 75 Hard template checklist to make sure I do every item. (I crossed out the actions and replaced them with my own.) Although March is already underway, I invite you to join me to bring down the stress levels and simplify a bit. If you do, please let me know! I’d love to follow your journey as well.

Peace and Love,

Veronica

My Story

Hi there! I’m Veronica, a.k.a. The Minimalist Hobbit (or, attempting to be, but we’ll get to that). I’m in my mid-40’s and live with my wonderful partner of 15 years in the Colorado Rockies, where we just bought a house last year and currently work remotely in the IT industry.

So why am I starting this, or in this case, restarting?

I started dabbling in minimalism about ten years ago when “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” came out. After living in tiny places in downtown Boston for years, I bought my first house – a cute little three-bedroom way larger than any space I had lived in before. Although I had moved with all my possessions (including furniture) fitting into U-Haul’s smallest van and my stepfather’s minivan, I quickly filled up the new space with way more than I had ever owned in my life. The breaking point for me was my office closet – a large double closet literally overflowing with stuff of all types that would fall out when you opened the doors.

I started decluttering my piles of shoes, clothes, books, etc. I did two or three KonMari rounds over the proceeding years, a Declutter 1000 Things Challenge, and countless rounds of the Mins Game. These all helped a lot to reduce my belongings to a less-overwhelming number although I definitely still had way more than I needed. The final push came in 2019 when my partner and I sold or gave away about 90% of tour possessions including all furniture in his five-bedroom house and my three-bedroom one so we could fit into a small two-bedroom furnished townhouse across the country in Boulder. It was at this point that I was finally back down to what I felt like was a manageable amount of possessions.

Shortly after moving, however, I discovered shopping in a city for the first time in 15 years. Specifically, Boulder”s amazing consignment stores. My wardrobe, which had been pared down to almost nothing, quickly tripled in size. Nine months later, we bought a house in the mountains that was much bigger than the Boulder townhouse and purchasing continued (Hello, 2020 stress!). Overwhelm has now hit hard – not just in my possessions, but also with work stress, health issues (some a direct result of stress), and pouring money into our fixer-upper.

So now I’m on a mission to simplify – not just my stuff, but every other part of my life as well. To kick off things and start to try to lower my stress levels I’m starting off a 30 day challenge, which I will talk about in my next blog!

Peace and Love,

Veronica