Desirae Endres is a work from home mom and podcaster. Her passion for the message of minimalism and living intentionally started as she jumped into the journey with her husband just over a year ago and got rid of 3/4 of their belongings and downsized into a much smaller home. She soon found the peace and life change that comes from decluttering and having less possessions and wanted to share that message and share her story, so out of that came the Minimalish podcast– a podcast encouraging women and moms to find more time and more joy through having less stuff cluttering up their homes and through slower, intentional living.
In This Episode, You Will Learn:
- What life was like for Desirae prior to learning about minimalism.
- How Desirae keeps a clutter-free home (even with a busy toddler).
- How to handle grandparents who want to fill your home with toys.
- The first steps toward decluttering your home (and life).
- What to do if your partner isn’t interested in minimalism.
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Desirae, thanks so much for taking time to hang with me today.
Yeah, thanks so much for having me on.
You’re all about minimalism – almost; Minimal-ish-ism. How were you and your husband introduced to minimalism and what attracted you to that way of life?
I started using the term “minimal-ish” recently, but in the beginning, it was kind of an introduction to minimalism for us when my daughter was about 5-months old. I was a brand new mom and at that time, I’d gone back to work part-time. I was a teacher out of the home and I had started back to work part-time, at that point I had two part-time work from home jobs. On the days I was home, I felt like I was really drowning in my day.
So, you had your daughter that you were taking care of and two part-time jobs that you were also working from home?
Yeah, it was a lot. I chose it so that I could be home with her a little bit, but finances were rough at that time, so it was what I felt like I had to do. At that time, I felt like I was drowning. And as the story goes, I was at home one day with her and I was surrounded by clutter in my home. I started to feel like I couldn’t move and I felt like I couldn’t really move into action to do anything about it. I put Netflix on one day, classic. I like documentaries and while I was waiting for my husband to get home, I saw The Minimalists documentary pop-up. I hadn’t really heard that word much before, so I put it on and it looked interesting. As soon as I started watching it, I thought it would be something that my husband would be interested in. So, once he got home, we both watched it together and the rest was history from there. We looked at each other at the end of the film and we were like, “Should we do this?” We were both on the same page and that was a really great start to minimalism for us.
For those of us who haven’t watched the documentary, how would you describe it? What’s it all about?
It’s a really cool film. I don’t even know if it’s still on Netflix. But it’s all about different perspectives on minimalism. And also, on the idea of living with less, so that you have more time to do the things that matter to you and to spend time on the things that matter to you. The people who created it are “The Minimalists” and they’re two men. It doesn’t just show their perspective, because that’s not relatable to everyone. It’s relatable to a lot of people, but not everyone. So, it shows the perspectives of a married couple and a family. That really spoke to us, knowing that you could do this with a family. I think what really drew us to it.
For me it was the idea of having less stress. The deeper part of it hit home for me. I started to wonder that maybe I hadn’t realized it all my life, but maybe the physical clutter is a thing that is affecting me and maybe I can have access to less stress and less anxiety. I think for my husband, it was that idea as well, plus he just likes a tidy environment. And when he married me, he signed up knowing that I’m just not a naturally tidy person. I think the idea was attractive to him as well, more than it was to me. For me it was, “Less stress, let’s go for this.”
How would you describe your personal life and also your family’s life prior to focusing on minimalism?
For me, before minimalism and even further back before I had a family and before I was married, I cannot remember a life without clutter.
What would that look like? What kind of clutter? Paper or knickknacks or what?
Everything. If I could give you a glimpse into my personal room as a teenager, it’s piles of clothes and just random stuff, books and literally mess. A dirty dish that needed to be taken downstairs and just physical clutter. Then marrying someone who’s the totally opposite of me, maybe you could even say “neat freak”. I don’t use that in a negative way, he isn’t quite that extreme, but he has a military background and he values a tidy space. That was a common argument for us. I felt like he was trying to push it on me and tell me that I’m supposed to have a cleaner environment. And he felt that if you just pick up your own stuff, it’s serving the people you live with. I just didn’t get that, so it wasn’t a huge problem but it was definitely a common argument.
Was he trying to get you to do push-ups as payback or something? “Down and give me twenty.”
Definitely not, but it was just the fact that I would have a mess of my clothes in our bedroom and his side of the bedroom would be tidy. It’s not that we couldn’t live happily like that, we surely did, but it’s just that living in a cluttered environment stressed him out and there wasn’t really anything he could do about it because he wasn’t going to try changing me. It wasn’t a huge issue, but it was an argument that happened because I just didn’t value it the way he did. I didn’t value a tidy space. So that kind of gives you the perspective of what I was going into minimalism with. Physical clutter seemed normal to me and it seemed like that’s how I naturally was.
Sure, living in a minimalistic way didn’t come naturally to you. It was a different way. So, your daughter, Gemma is on the way and I’m assuming people are starting to give you items like diapers or clothes or a crib or car seats? All this stuff starts coming into your home prior to minimalism, did this exacerbate things? What were you feeling at that point?
Oh yeah, for sure. At that time, we had a lot of extra space in the home we were in and that was part of the problem. We would leave some rooms completely cluttered because we didn’t use them. A part of the minimalism documentary talked about how much extra space we have in American homes, but that’s beside the point.
What did you call that room? Did you have a name for it?
Actually, we called it the “big room”, because it was a really big room. It just had a lot of random stuff in it. It was my office too, because I did work from home at that point.
I think some people call those rooms “the junk room” or “the pile”. I live in Southern California, so most people don’t have an extra room because it’s so expensive to live here, but I grew up in Kentucky and I remember we had more than one extra room. Some of them would just be piled up with stuff.
Exactly and that’s what it was like. We had a lot of extra space. I’m not even sure why we moved into that big of a house, because at that point it was just two of us. But I guess it just felt like, that’s what you do, you move into a bigger house. We started filling it with all this kids’ stuff. Mostly, we got stuff given to us second hand or as gifts and it was just a lot.
Diving into parenthood is already like diving off into the deep-end and then just trying to find your way. And then there is all this physical clutter, which is very common and I didn’t know at the time that it was a problem. but it was. I had a lot on my plate and I was just tired. I was burned out. I felt like my home was a mess and that I was a mess. I was always forgetful and always rushing and really anxious. I tend towards anxiety and I’m easily overwhelmed and I thought that’s just what life was going to be like for me and what motherhood was going to be like for me.
So, she’s five months old and you watched this documentary. What was your first step? What did you do? When you both looked at each other on the couch, did you both get up and start tidying up?
I feel like we both remember it differently, but I do think that that day we decided to declutter our pantry. That was the first place that we started. This was actually something that I had already done in the past because I cook a lot, I wanted to at least know where things were. So, I had our pantry kind of organized already, but when you organize something and there’s still too much stuff, it doesn’t stay organized.
We’re both teachers, so we were lucky. We had a week off coming up for spring break and we took that week to completely declutter our home as much as we possibly could within that week. It was pretty crazy because I feel like the decluttering process gives you more clutter at first. You’re just swimming in it because you have to take it all out. If you know the Marie Kondo version of it; pull everything out so that you can touch it and see it. That’s what we had to do. Is there another way? I’m not sure, but that’s what we did.
How did you go about making the decisions on what you kept and what you didn’t keep? And then, what you didn’t keep, what did you do with it?
It was hard, because I think at that point, I had a harder time letting go of things than Nick did. Overtime it’s gotten easier for me, but it depends on what it is. I need a few days until I can feel better about letting something go.
What do you have a hard time letting go of?
It could be anything, really. It could be a kitchen utensil. For some reason I just need a day to make sure that I’m not going to use the thing we want to get rid of. And then my mind will come to this point where I can just decide, “Why do I need that? I already have another spatula, I don’t need two.” Little things or bigger things.
But the spatula has memories.
Yeah, and to be honest, that’s the thing. There is a lot of emotion attached to stuff. For some reason we attach our emotions to stuff and it makes it harder to let it go. But, the more I decluttered, the more I think anyone does, it’s very satisfying to see what happens. It’s one thing to see what happens to your physical space, but it’s also great to see what decluttering does to your mental space. To feel the clarity it gives you and the space it gives you to be able to be more creative and to be less anxious. It becomes addicting, in a good way.
So, I decluttered my closet one time through. I still had way too much stuff, so I decided to go through it another time and keep doing that until I got to this point where it felt right. We didn’t stop until it felt like the right amount of stuff for us. And the stuff that we did get rid of, we donated a lot of it to Goodwill. It was hard because it was huge amounts of stuff and we wanted to donate as much of it as possible, but it was overwhelming. Some of it honestly, we threw away. We got rid of things that we felt weren’t very useful or valuable anymore. Now we try to make runs to Goodwill or a Salvation Army or try to think, “Can anyone else use this?” I don’t want to add to my friends or family’s clutter, so I try to only do that if I really think that it’s something that they could use.
So, you got rid of a number of clothing items. What are some other things that you got rid of on that first purge?
Definitely our closet was a huge one and it’s baby stuff, now. On the initial purge, we did get rid of a lot of baby stuff because we just had too much of it for one baby. We had three baby swings. I don’t know why we had that many, we only have one baby. Paper clutter is huge for us now and that’s something that we had to really sort through back then. I think we kept everything that came in the mail for whatever reason. Now I get rid of that stuff right away, as soon as I possibly can, as it comes into the house. The kitchen was another big one. At that point I had such a big kitchen and I could just store so much. We’d use one pan, not wash it and then just use another one later. Things would just pile up.
Soon after we did our first purge, we moved. When we were packing stuff up, we realized that we had gotten rid of a lot, but we were still asking ourselves, “What do we see that we still aren’t using?” And then we decluttered again. And then after we moved, as we were unpacking, we decluttered again. Now, I’m still decluttering because like I said, it takes me time to let go of things. But as we live our lives, we’ve realized that there are seasons where things are really useful to us. It’s okay to decide that this item has served its purpose and that it’s no longer useful to me now. It’s just taking up my space and time and I can let go of it now.
Gemma is how many months old now?
She’s one and half.
So, you’ve been at this for about a year now. A lot of moms are listening, maybe they have young kids or even kids in elementary school. The toys, the clothes, the battery operated cars, all of this stuff; how is it even possible to keep a house uncluttered with a toddler? Give me some of your tips. How are you doing this on a daily basis?
I think that’s such a good question, because I think it’s hardest for a parent to accept that minimalism is possible for them. It’s also part of the reason why I’ve adapted my own version of minimalism in minimal-ish. With a toddler, it felt like I needed more freedom than the term minimalism offers. It seems like, how can you even do this with a kid? They make messes all day. There’s nothing stopping from that.
Especially at that age.
Even if I got rid of all of her toys, she would dump out the kitchen cupboards. She needs to play and play is a good thing. I recognize that I have one kid and someone that could be listening to this, maybe they have four and of course it’s going to be different for them. Gemma is obviously still at the point where I can make decisions on how many toys she has without any fuss. But still, what I cling to now and what I think that I’ll continue to cling to, is that minimalism is possible with a toddler and with kids because I’m the parent. My husband and I are the parents and we get to decide what the tone of our home is going to be. If we want that to be a calm and uncluttered environment and if we feel like that’s valuable, then that’s what we’re going to fight for.
I believe it’s good for my daughter to have less. I believe it’s good for me and for my husband and for our family in general. And not only do I just believe it, but I see it. When she’s in a less cluttered environment and when I’ve tidied up her toys after naptime and she comes out of her bed after nap, she’s just calmer. Of course, she’s less tired, but she’s calmer than she would be after she’s dumped out a bunch of toys. The fact of the matter is, if I give her less options to play with, then she’s not going to build up that clutter. And then if I minimize my clutter, she’s not going to have to live in a hugely cluttered environment. It’s not just about her of course, it’s about all of us. She’s happier, less cranky and more creative in her playtime. And then of course, I’m happier, less cranky and more creative in my life and in the way I approach motherhood. It just makes sense to me to fight for that. To fight past the messes that she does make.
We have open shelving in the kitchen and she takes stuff off of it. It’s fine because it’s okay to also have a lived in home. That’s why I started using the term “Minimal-ish” because we do have toys and we do have stuff and we do have messes. We have much less than maybe the average person, but I realized that I was striving for this version of perfectionism as a stay at home mom of a toddler that just wasn’t going to happen. It’s not going to happen for anyone, but it’s definitely not going to happen for me. I decided that we’re going to live in this home every day, we’re going to be here and that’s okay. It’s okay for there to be messes, but if we have less stuff and less of those messes and it can take less time to pick up, then we’re all going to be happier and we’re all going to thrive in that environment.
One, I’m hearing, less things. And two, you’re talking about picking up some items along the way. I know to some people; it’s a mess, you’re tired, you’re exhausted, you’re trying to get food on the table. How long does it take to pick up those items when she comes out from a nap? Convince me that it’s worth it, how long does it take?
Actually, I try to pick up the toys before I put her down for a nap. And that’s because the two hours or whatever that she is sleeping, I want to have that time to do what I either want to do for my podcast or work or to just relax and take a breather and rest. It takes me maybe ten minutes on a good day, because I maintain it throughout the day. I’ve been actually timing myself on some things lately and one of my goals in March is to have more of a cleaning schedule. It’s not about clutter, because we do have a pretty uncluttered home, but it’s more about actually doing the cleaning. Because I’ve never naturally been a tidy person, that means I’ve never naturally saw a huge value or have a love of cleaning.
What I do right now is I take twenty minutes in my day, or more if I have the energy. But it really only needs to be twenty minutes to do some kind of maintenance of our home. Because our home is small, maybe it’s vacuuming one day or wiping down kitchen appliances. And then I take probably ten to fifteen minute intervals throughout the day where I’m just picking up and maintaining our stuff after breakfast. And because we don’t have twenty pans, I can’t just let them pile up in the sink. I’m just going to take the three minutes that it takes to wipe down that one pan and put it away. I would say it’s maybe an hour total in my day. And that’s on a day where the house is pretty much tidy all day unless my daughter is playing. To me that’s worth it, because at the end of the evening I get to relax in a space that is tidy and peaceful. And in the morning, I get to wake up and have that space. And during her naptime, I get to have that space.
I’ve been seeing this term, “resetting rooms”. And it’s basically putting things away as you take them out. To some people that comes totally naturally, to me it doesn’t. Whenever I think about how I used to go about my day, I called myself a “tornado”. I would use something and then just leave it in the place that I used it instead of putting it back. And when you have less stuff, you’re taking less stuff out. You’re using less stuff, so then it takes less time to put that thing away.
I’ve been so much more creative. I’ve been so much calmer. I’ve been happier. I’ve left my home more. I’ve been a happier mom since I’ve been doing this. If it takes an hour all together between the five minutes that I cleaned up the dishes after breakfast and the fifteen minutes it takes to tidy up her stuff before her nap, then that hour, if it’s an hour, is worth it.
My wife and I have a bit of this flavor too. I’m more of a natural tidy up person. Everything’s got a spot and it’s organized, except for drawers. I don’t mind shoving things in drawers, I’m a drawer-shover. Her on the other hand, she doesn’t mind if it’s kind of a mess, but she likes things to be clean. I can actually go quite a while if it’s not clean, as long as it’s tidy. It’s kind of a good combo. But we will do that if we go on vacation. We don’t go on vacations a lot, but if it’s a weekend away to see family, it is so good to walk back into the house and everything is in place. There’s not a dish in the sink. The pillows are perfectly placed on the couch. Everything’s dialed in. That is the best feeling ever to walk back in from a vacation and it not feel like a tornado has hit. We can’t do it all the time, but I love that feeling.
It is a great feeling. And I think there’s this image in motherhood of the “hot mess mom”. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard that, but it’s kind of like, if you have kids, your house is going to be destroyed and you’re not going to be able to control it. And because of that, maybe you haven’t showered in four days. And because of that, maybe it makes motherhood feel joyless or tiresome. That’s all it’s about, being tired and overwhelmed. It’s not just about having a clean home so that when someone comes over, they think you have it put together. It’s not about having it looking like you have your life together, it’s a form of self-care. I just posted that today on an Instagram story, because I’ve been learning that. Literally, tidying and cleaning up is something that I’m doing to care for myself. Not just for my family, but for myself too.
That’s wonderful. I work from home; my wife is a kindergarten teacher. So, I either work in an office that we have or on the couch in our living room. I have to have our living room perfect and nothing out of place in order for me to feel the most creative and the most clear-headed. Sometimes I’ll take a picture of our home, because I decorate it kind of fun and playful sometimes. So, I’ll take a picture and post it on Facebook for friends to see, and people will always comment, “Does anybody live there?” “Of course, we live here, it’s awesome.” And they go, “Does it always look like that?” I’m like, “Yup, pretty much. Before we go to bed at night, we put the pillows back. We put the remotes back in the remote holder.” It’s not perfect all the time, but there is that sense of, when you wake up in the morning, things are in place and it feels good.
I don’t know if you have family that lives nearby, but I know when our kids were young, the gifts from grandparents or friends, they were all well-meaning and good but they were like a tornado coming into the home. Did you have conversations with your relatives? How did that play out?
Yeah, we do have family that’s really close since we’ve moved. I love it. I’m very close with my family. I love being close to them. But Gemma is the first grandchild on both sides, so you probably know what that means. She is totally spoiled and she does get gifts. It’s funny because my husband and I talked about it and even before we lived here, we would get stuff in the mail. They would come visit and bring bags of stuff. I think it overwhelmed him even before minimalism. What’s happened since, is that we’ve had conversations about it with them. I think we showed them all The Minimalists documentary just because it’s been so lifechanging for us. We didn’t show them with the intention of telling them to give us less stuff, but we wanted to show them because we feel that it’s lifechanging.
Now that I see my mom and dad almost every day and I see my grandma almost every day, my grandma is the biggest giver of gifts. They all really just love to give. My family loves to give but they know our values and they respect our values. The biggest thing is to just accept it. It wasn’t very hard for me to do, but I think it was a little bit harder for my husband when we talked about it. I’ve just decided to shift my mindset about it and look at is as a blessing. I’ve hardly ever bought any clothes or toys for Gemma because of how much is given to us. So that’s really a financial blessing.
But regardless, if it’s like a tornado of stuff or not, I see that it brings them joy to give her things. And like I said, we’ve had the conversation, so there is a respect and I know that they would give us so much more if they weren’t thinking about us. I know that they do think about us and they think about our values. But still, Gemma might come home with a new thing every other time they’re with her and it might be anywhere from a small stuffed animal to something bigger.
What do you do? If you say, “Okay, we’ve already got this. This is getting too much.” Do you give it away? Do you put it in a closet? What do you do with it?
There are a couple things that I do. If it’s a bigger item, sometimes it comes into our house for a little bit and then it goes to Grandma’s house. If I see that it’s something bigger, I’ll basically just wait to see how much she uses it. And if it’s not something that we want to keep in our main space and it’s not something that she’s using often, then it goes to Grandma’s house. I should say GG, because that’s what we call her. But if GG is okay with something staying at her place because she bought it, then that’s where it goes. They bought her a huge block set and they keep it at her house and that’s relevant to us because they’re nearby. But even if you don’t see them as often, I think it can be relevant as well, because when they do visit, do you really want to lug a whole bag of toys over to their house? I think that’s helped cut down a lot.
Another thing I do is rotate toys for Gemma. That’s just been something that I’ve seen is fun for her, because she sees it and she’s excited about it. I find a space where I can store some things. It’s not a lot but maybe a small bin of toys. I won’t lie, we do have a lot of stuffed animals. But we have one little basket of the extra ones that go away. And then eventually I will see that we have a little bit more clutter then I’d like to have. We have a little bit more toys. Or our basket of stuffed animals is overflowing a little bit more than I’d like. The room gets messier faster, she’s not focused on her toys as much, that’s when it’s time to declutter. At that point, I will send a basket to my mom’s house. And if I don’t think it’s something we should get rid of, I will donate it or I will keep it maybe for a future child. But that is a very small number of actual toys. I don’t keep that many toys, because I think they are really easy to regain. You can buy them again or GG is going to get it for us.
I think you just need to tell them, “When you get the urge to buy her something, think about the monetary amount. If it’s $25, just feel free to buy us a $25 Target gift card. She will love that gift card. We’ll let her play with that gift card.”
Yeah, exactly. There you go. That’s a great plan too. I think it’s finding what works for you. What we did for her birthday was we made a list; there’s an option to make a registry for a birthday at Target. We had a lot of family here for her birthday. We went big with her first birthday in our small house with a lot of family. We have a big family. A lot of people did get us gift cards, because they saw our list. And it’s not to be mean or offensive but people know what our values are when it comes to just not having clutter. It doesn’t mean they can’t get her something.
Something I realized when I was trying to strive for perfection within minimalism, it started to feel like something I was burning out in. That’s when I started saying, “Minimal-ish.” I realized that it can steal your joy. It’s supposed to be about having less stuff so that you can have more joy and so that you can have more time to do the things you care about. But it can become this kind of game or this competition of, “Who has less stuff?” I just don’t want it to ever feel like I’m better than someone else because I have an uncluttered home. It’s something that is valuable to me, so I don’t want it to steal my joy because I’m stressed about someone bringing me stuff. And I don’t want it to steal their joy either.
So, the conversation is usually between my mom and I. When we’re out together and she wants to buy her something, I’ll say, “She doesn’t need it. You don’t have to buy it for her. She’ll be happy without it. But if it makes you really happy and if you really want to buy it for her, then okay.” She knows if it’s small versus big, then that’s better and I also don’t want it to be a financial stress that they feel like, “Oh, I want to get her gifts because she likes it.” And it’s true, she does. She’s so happy when you give her something, but she’s also one and half and she’ll be happy without it also.
I have some friends who have nearly ten million kids and their house is a disaster. If they were sitting right here, they would laugh and say, “Yes, our house is an absolute disaster.” When they have kids’ birthday parties, and it feels like they have them every other month, they actually have people donate to a cause rather than give the kids’ stuff. I thought that was so cool. Whether it’s a link to donate or asking people to bring cash or a check, they raise money for different causes that are important. And actually, that child gets excited about that particular cause and they build it into their family values. It’s a cool idea, huh?
Yeah, it is. There’s so many options for birthday parties. First of all, you can just not have one. But also, if you do want to have one, you can do a “no gifts” party. Some people that won’t fly with, but there really are so many options.
If people have not listened to this interview before, I asked a question to a gentleman a couple of weeks ago. His name is Fred Hill and he’s the founder of Ronald McDonald Houses. Are you familiar with Ronald McDonald House at all?
He owns a couple of McDonalds restaurants and when I was a kid, we would have McDonald’s birthday parties. You would have a birthday party at McDonalds, have you ever even heard of that?
I don’t think so.
Yes, and Ronald would actually show up to the party.
That is pretty cool.
You would get this super healthy Happy Meal and everybody got a little toy, it was awesome.
So, let’s say that you’ve got a spouse who is maybe a bit more like you. Maybe it’s the opposite, the person who’s listening is the more tidy one in the couple and they’re living with a partner or spouse that dug their feet in and said, “No, no, no. I’m a tornado. I feel really connected to that identity.” What would you say to the tidy spouse or the tidy partner that wanted to try minimalism? How do they handle that situation?
I think that what you just said is true of me before I was able to see minimalism through that documentary and understand what it was. I did feel like it was something about me. I was like, “This is who I am. I’m just not tidy. That must be just something that you don’t like about me.” I do think it’s something to be careful about and not to push on someone. Because when you’re that close to someone, sometimes it’s hardest to hear it from them because it can be very personal. You want this person to accept all of you and I do think my husband does accept all of me. But obviously there are going to be arguments and asking you to do something differently, it can become very personal and maybe there’s a lot of emotions attached to that.
I’ve actually had this question from some friends and a couple of things that I tell them is to one, have an honest conversation with them about why you want to do it. So not just like, “Hey, really cool. We could have a decluttered home. Think of this, if we just get rid of all of our stuff, we could have less to clean up.” No, what’s the deeper part of it? Because that’s what really gets me. And like I said, when I watched that documentary, I really connected to the thought of less anxiety and the deeper stuff that came along with minimalism. Like the fact that we just don’t need all this space that we are living in. Or we just don’t need all the stuff. The consumerism in America, that’s the stuff that gets to me. So, the “why?” is important for you to have and for you to talk about with them. Why is it going to help your family? Why do you want to live more intentionally in this way?
If that doesn’t work, that’s okay. It’s okay for them to still have their own opinions about it. I wouldn’t ever want some to feel like, “Okay, I just poured my heart out and they don’t care. They still don’t want to get rid of their stuff.” That person may be really attached to their stuff and that’s normal too. It shouldn’t be necessarily, but it just is. I think the next step could be to just do it on your own with your own stuff. So, don’t touch their stuff, because that could really lead to a lot of problems. But start living in the way that you would want your family to live together when it comes to your own stuff. Maybe they’ll see the actual emotional and mental clarity and happiness that comes from that.
Another thing that I always say is, I have to hear something from a few different sources before it really sinks in. My husband will always say, “I told you that, but you had to hear it from someone else?” I’m like, “Yeah, because it can be very personal when the person you’re living with tells you it.” I have to hear it from someone else and I’m like, “I will credit you, Nick. You told me it first, but I have to hear it from a couple other places.” It’s just a funny joke that we have. That’s kind of how minimalism was, even though he wasn’t calling it minimalism. He could have been living that way for a while if it wasn’t for me.
Another thing is to somehow, without pushing it on them, show them other opinions about it. If you say, “Let’s watch this documentary, it’s really cool,” before you even talk about minimalism. You know your style and you know your partner, what would work for them? Would it be helpful for them to watch something or listen to a podcast before you tell them, “Oh, I’d love to change our home in this way.” Or do they want to hear your reasoning behind it?
Desirae, I’ve got an amazing business idea for you. Are you ready?
Here it is; you offer to make phone calls to that messy spouse…
It could be either on their cell or at their workplace and you pose as a producer for the show Hoarders. You say, “I’ve gotten word from friends and family that you would be a great candidate for our show Hoarders and just wanted to check to see if that’s something you’re interested in.” You could charge for that.
That is so true. That’s perfect. Because that’s the thing, you don’t want to hear it from the person closest to you. So, if you hear it from someone else…
They would come home and be like, “Honey, I got this call from a Hoarders producer. What is that? I didn’t think our house was that bad.” They’d be like, “Well, you know…” That’s a business, $100 a call.
I like that.
Does minimalism impact your life more than your home environment? Whether it’s time management or meal planning or friendships, your car, your trunk, your glove compartment? How does minimalism impact other areas of life, if it does?
It definitely does and it’s funny that you mention the car, because that’s one area of my life that I still need to approach. I was literally thinking about that this morning. That’s maybe going to be my goal next month or when I’m ready for it. I would say it filters into every area of life and for me, it was in phases. At first it was just about the physical environment and decluttering. I was hoping for less stress and less anxiety, because that’s what really attracted me to it. But I didn’t know what that would feel like. So, once I saw what that felt like, I started wondering, “What’s next?” I think with minimalism, there’s a side to it that isn’t as pretty for Instagram. It’s really pretty to post decluttered homes, but there’s a deeper side to it. And that’s the, “Have less stuff, so that you have more time for the things that you really care about.” It’s intentional living and that’s my space in minimalism. That’s what I grasp onto.
I love my decluttered home, but I love that I get to live with more intention and I love what that’s done for me. Lately I’ve really dove into simplifying the deeper stuff and simplifying my schedule. That was the first thing for me. I’m a homebody. I like to be at home. I’m super blessed that I get to stay at home with Gemma and work from home right now and I was trying really hard to be this person I wasn’t in my schedule. I would say, “We need to do all the activities, because that will make Gemma happy and that makes me a good mom.” But then I looked at what’s in my day what’s stressing me out and I just had too much. I was trying to do too much. I like to be home and I like to move slower and so, now I do. That’s given me even more time to take those five minute decluttering sessions throughout the day. Decluttering my schedule, I talk about that a lot.
There’s this whole version of minimalism that’s about intentional living and then also slow living. And for me, it’s been mindset. I’ve had more time and space to do some self-discovery and to do some personal development, “Who am I actually? And who am I trying to be that just doesn’t fit?” And then, “How can I make sure that I’m accepting myself for who I am?” And now I’m molding my life to that and I’m actually enjoying my life now, because I got rid of the physical clutter. I can actually think through these deeper things that matter and that’s really been where the big difference has come.
And yes, it comes to meal planning as well. We’ve been on a budget and trying to pay off debt, so I started cooking everything in the house, which was really hard at first. But then I started thinking, “Okay, well if I’m going to cook every meal in the house, if I’m going to do this, then how do I enjoy it? How do I declutter that, in a way?” I can use the word declutter, it doesn’t maybe make sense, but how can I simplify that? It doesn’t have to look like this other person that you follow on social media. It can just look simpler. It’s basically fitting your life and molding your life to who you are. And that can happen whenever you don’t have all the physical stuff cluttering your mind.
I love it. One of the strategies that I know you’ve shared on social media recently, in the month of March 2019, no matter when you’re listening. You wanted to make March a no-spend month. What does that mean first of all and how’s it going? You’re one week in.
It can mean a couple different things depending on who you are. There is a more extreme version of no-spend month, where you literally stock up your groceries for that month and then you’re done. You’re not spending a dime that month except for your bills. For us, I want to do that in the future, we’ll see. We really value fresh foods and produce, so I don’t know that that would work for us.
I follow the debt-free community on Instagram for inspiration and I’ve seen a couple other people doing it, but you basically just really budget. Okay, there’s a budget and then there’s really budgeting. So, there’s maybe a miscellaneous category in your budget and you’re planning out what you’re spending within that as well as you can. There are days where I’m saying, “Okay, I succeeded in my no-spend month,” are the days when I’m forgetting that I had a gift to buy for a family member. Or you can say, “I’ll budget for time at a coffee shop once a week. I’m going to work during that time, that’s self-care. I’m going to spend money on just a coffee, so, it’s going to be $2.00 instead of $5.00.” That’s fine if I plan that ahead. But if I’m headed out for groceries and I need to grab a coffee at Starbucks, that doesn’t count.
So, I’m trying to track it on a calendar and if I’ve accomplished my goal that day, I’ll mark it down. It’s a day by day thing. It’s gone well because most days so far, I’ve done well. We have had a couple slip-ups, like forgetting about that gift I needed to buy. But that’s okay, there is room in our budget for it. It’s just about trying to keep that room so that we can put that towards debt.
You could have re-gifted something that your GG gave Gemma.
Well, she’s a little bit older than that.
We want to point everybody toward your website and your podcast; Minimal-ish Podcast. It’s available on iTunes and probably all the other places as well.
So, if people want to dive deeper into what you’re all about and what you’re sharing that’s where they should go. I loved your episode recently on getting clear about your values and your time and what you’re doing in terms of your priorities. That was great.
I also love that your word for the year is “Thrive”. That’s a great word. So good.
Yeah, thank you so much.
I just appreciate you sharing your own journey and I know it will definitely inspire other mom’s as well. What’s the best place for them to find you?
Instagram is @minimalish_motherhood and then you can find me at www.desiraeendres.com. You can find my podcast on iTunes as well as on the website. It will direct to you to all those different places as well.
www.desiraendres.com and @minimalish_motherhood on Instagram. Thank you for taking time, it was awesome to meet Gemma via Instagram. Such a cutie.
Thank you. It was great talking to you. Thank you so much.