Category Archives: Monthly Challenge

Why a 30 day challenge?

Hello! Happy March.

Today marks the beginning of the month but most importantly the beginning of a new 30 day challenge.

30 day challenges are a big thing here in the blogosphere. They are easy content fodder. Throw down a challenge invite the readers and let the competition begin.

I’ve seen some really good ones and some that don’t quite make sense. Of course the best ones for me are the ones that rile me up enough to join the group. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s home, food or personal almost anything seems to be able to be boiled down to a good ol’ 30 day challenge. Continue reading Why a 30 day challenge?

Surprise! Why me? Dealing with bad surprises

You know that feeling you get, you know when to feel like “I just can’t believe this is happening to me” and not in a good way.

But in a
Why me? way.

That is how I was feeling lately.


Because of the Surprise!
It wasn’t even a good surprise.

It was another unexpected, out of nowhere, break you expense.
Well, it could have been, had we not been in the financial position we are today.

Emergency fund, rainy day fund, unexpected expenses fund. It doesn’t matter what it’s called. Every one is touting be prepare. Like an 11 year old boy scout.

But honestly most people just don’t do it.  One survey showed that up to 62% of people wouldn’t be able to cover a $1,000 expense. While we all seem to expect the worst in some scenarios in others we think ” that will never happen to me. To us. That only happens to them.” It’s almost like we think bad things only happen to people who deserve it. If we are good, nice , caring people we should be fine.

Whether it’s Karma or God you believe in, banking that things will be good all the time is just not realistic. Life is messy so being prepared is key.

You, I, we all need an emergency fund.

When disaster strikes

Personally when an emergency happens its all about what’s going on in the moment. What needs to get done, what do you need to figure out.  Your in the moment and you might not realize whats happening until later.

Looking back I can’t believe the last 12 months.

It’s been Emergency after emergency. Though I don’t think you should freak out and expect an emergency to pop up everyday of the month like this poverty simulation.* It seems like it would be in your best interest to plan for 1 every quarter.


That means you should plan to have a minimum of 1K in the bank at all times and be able to save $333 a month to replenish any 1K emergency after only 3 months. Therefore, covering you 1K every quarter. Lets take a moment to digest that why don’t we. What I am saying is you need to have a $333 wiggle room in your budget at all times. But we can tackle that after building up the initial 1K.

Like I said earlier, this past year has been rife with the unexpected high cost expenses here at Traveling Wallet HQ. The financial emergency if you will.

I don’t remember a year so full of unwelcome surprises.

1 year 4 bad surprises

Last December less then 12 months ago Mr. Roamer was surprised by a hit and run driver. Leaving the car in shambles and us asking. Is this covered by the insurance? Luckily it was, but we were still liable for the 1k deductible.  2 months later and 1k copay we were back to 2 cars.

Bad Surprise # 1, Cost $1,000 paid out in February

March saw us loose our childcare. While this didn’t cost us money paid out. It did cost us used vacation and lost hrs for 2 weeks as we juggled the new situation.  If we didn’t have vacations saved up or flexible employers it would have meant lost wages. I was able to change to 2nd shift to adjust to our new family needs. Could you have afforded not being paid for 2 weeks?  What if the employer hadn’t allowed a shift change? Could you have handled losing the wages of 1 earner? Or found emergency childcare and paid the extra money to have it immediately?

Bad Surprise #2, Cost ~$600 in used vacation in March

Oct saw my car stop working right as I needed to drop off Jr to school.  Jr. missed school and later we discovered a rodent decided to take refuge and chew through some wires. A $4,000+ quote later we are asking once again, will the insurance cover this? The insurance coverage with the same 1 k deductible. Back down to one car for 3 wk and this time we really struggled to make it work. With our staggered work schedules we could no longer carpool and we seriously discussed getting a rental car.  In the end we choose not to. But would you need to get a rental car on top of paying for the repairs or your deductible.

Bad Surprise #3, Cost $842 repair in October

Finally November saw another bomb dropped on the Traveling Wallet household. This one costing over 3k in perpetuity.

Bad Surprise #4, Cost 3K+ in November.

Now like I said, this seems like an unusually high set of occurrences. It is, but I’m a real person and this is what’s been going on in my real life. If we switched places would you have survived my last year?

So lets get serious

So I know you need an emergency fund , you know you need an emergency fund, what are we going to do about it?

First off I’m going to drop a bomb. You want to build a 1k emergency fund in 15 months, sorry the rest of this post isn’t for you.

Seriously 15 months? no. You need 1k in your bank account NOW!

It can’t wait anymore. You need to take a challenge and get those funds together in 1 month.

Now I’m not saying what you do in the next month is going to be sustainable for the long term. I’m saying that while improving your whole financial health might be a marathon. An emergency fund is a sprint. You need to push yourself to the limit then push yourself some more.

Its completely possible. I know because I’ve carried a 1K savings since high school.

Getting the 1k in a month

We are emergency fund ninjas! HAAA YA!
We are emergency fund ninjas! HAAA YA!

Extreme times call for extreme measures. I’m sure you’ll read through this list and think uck.  But not having $1,000 in cash to cover emergency expenses is in itself a big huge emergency that needs to be taken care of ASAP.

So lets get started

  •  Need money? Pull it out of a vacation fund. Maybe your on the up and up and are saving small amounts for your emergency fund, a vacation and the holidays. Christmas is around the corner. Pretty much you’ve decided to tackle multiple financial goals.

Sorry, but funding your emergency fund takes priority and is actually your current 1k emergency. Everything else needs to take a back seat until you have your 1k sitting safely in the bank.

If you have money sitting around waiting for a purchase. Post pone the purchase until your e-fund is built.  Potential $100-$500

  • Cut out cable for a month. Whether it’s movies or sports you watch take a break for 1 month to get your finances in shape. $70-$120
  • Lower your grocery bill. Apparently people spend big bucks on feeding the family. Up in the 1k a month range.
    Remember your taking a one month extreme challenge. Cut out all meat. Cut out any fancy items like expensive cheese. Cut out food waste by buying smaller qty.  If you have food going into the garbage your wasting money. $1000 reduced to $600 means $400 + for savings. And honestly I think you can do better then that. We are a family  of 4 and spend $400-$500 per month and we still eat meat occasionally, and we don’t eat ramen at all.
  • Cut out eating out at work. Pack your lunch 4 days a week. If you spend $10/day that equals $40/wk and $160/month. That still leaves you 1 day a week to go eat out.
  • Cut out eating out as a family. That can easily cost $50-$100 per outing. Cut it out twice this month and save $100-$200
  • Cut out unnecessary expenses. I said Christmas is right around the corner and many people will say presents is a necessary part of that. How much you spend on presents is totally optional, cut down or cut out the qty. And give your family the gift of surviving an emergency unscathed.  Can you save $100 from your holiday budget?
  • Reduce your driving. On the weekends walk or bike around town for entertainment. Save 1 tank of gas. $30- $70.
The stroller we sold for $50
The stroller we sold for $50
  • Sell extra things around the house. I made $50 with a stroller sale. Can you find a few things to sell? Earn and save $50
  • Close your storage unit. Sell enough of your unused items and you can close out your storage space. Or at the very least move to a smaller unit. $50- $100 saved

Add up all the lower end stuff and all the higher end stuff this list has the potential to save you $1060- $1700.  Some stuff will apply some won’t and you might have to even think of some of your own ideas. Like getting a second or side job for a month and saving all the earnings. That will get you to your 1 K safety net real fast.

So if you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a thousand times. In the end you  and I need an Emergency fund. So stop procrastinating. As you saw with me you might have years where nothing happens and then you have 4 in one year. Don’t wait be ready now.

Do you have an emergency fund? If not what are you going to do to make sure you are all set by the end of the next 30 days?

The Roamer traveling wallet

*Spent is a simulation test to see if you’d survive with 1k for a month.

Capsule Wardrobe Lessons: Love yourself

Its November and I am in the last month of my 2nd capsule wardrobe. But before we can talk about the 2nd go I want to share a recap. In September I completed my first capsule wardrobe challenge. This year I’ve really enjoyed taking on these monthly challenges. It’s an organized way to try something new, and usually it’s really fun too.

So what’s the benefit of a capsule wardrobe? How many items do you get? Is it going to benefit you financially? and most importantly what did you wear these past 3 months?

1st capsule outfits, Summer 2015

I’m so glad you asked. Well start with the easy one. Below you’ll find a collage of my outfits. At work I wear a uniform (self imposed) which falls outside of my main pieces. This mean that I had a more unique situation going on where I wasn’t really relying on my capsule for 7 days a week.  So I really only needed to rely on my capsule during the weekends.

Traveling wallet, Capsule wardrobe, mom style

My first capsule was for summer and it ran from June until the end of August. We spent lots of time, off at the beach on the weekends but also attended a wedding. I needed very casual clothes but some other items I could dress up for a wedding.


  •  38 items for my main capsule.
  •  63 items total including work clothes and lounge ware.
  • $0 spent on 1st capsule
  • Purged over 24 items at the start.

Trying out a capsule wardrobe was a fun experiment, but I also learned a few valuable lessons.

Money money money

I know I had moments in my past where I had a closet full of clothes but still felt like I had nothing to wear. ( I even posted a comment to that affect on facebook and had many female friends echo the same feeling).

Its that feeling that probably pushes you out the door in search of a new outfit. Even when you feel like ” I know I own something that is great” The difficulty of finding it in the plethora of items in your closet still pushes you out the door with money or credit card in hand.

In the beginning of this challenge you do lots of work sorting through your items. But its worth it because you take time to clear out all the crud and leave only things that fit or that you like.   You purge the bad, keep the good and hide the maybes. Clearing up your closet. The clothes you leave out for the season fit you so you shouldn’t ever be shopping because you feel like you need to.  Feelings of chaos and dread,  that you have nothing to wear will be replaced by creativity and exploration.

If you do find a hole in your wardrobe you can write the item down and use your competitive spirit to accept the challenge in its fullest. See if you can stick to the rule that says no shopping for the entire capsule wardrobe season. Save any purchases until the end of the challenge. In that way you save money.

You save money when you know what you have. You save money when what you have fits you and makes you feel good. But most importantly you save money when you can retrieve and don those items without having to go hunting.

More Creativity

Something I found myself doing through out this experience multiple times was growing.

No, no .no …. not physically but creatively.

As I would get dressed I would look at my clothes and new ideas about how to wear an item with another would constantly be popping into my head.

Clothes might seem like a trivial thing to look at, but if you get down to the root of what was really happening it would look like this.

I was breaking down rules, and thinking outside the boxes I had created, where I would assume this only goes with that.

It was fun saying hey I can make this dress a skirt by paring it with this top. Or any other such thoughts and ideas. The point is my mind was working and popping out ideas.  An improvement to the previous routine of trying to subdue frustrations.

Get more comfortable in your skin

When you capsule you are by design limited in choices, you have to work with what you have.

When you capsule you keep what you really like so its a big confidence boost to put any item on and have all of them fit you well and make you feel good. There isn’t a single item in there that makes you feel uncomfortable in your skin. That’s a great thing! to feel comfortable in your skin.

This challenge really pushed me to get comfortable not just with my skin but with my beliefs too.

You see I hate shaving my legs. Its the most annoying thing we are taught to do as women….why? Because its never ending and it serves no purpose… I mean think about it. If you want to be silky smooth all the time, it just never stops. But I have out grown the ritual & commitment it requires.  This meant that I use to confine myself to wearing long dresses or pants. Or some how I would muster up the motivation to either wax or shave.

But that motivation has dwindled and dwindled. It’s hard to waste time doing something you don’t believe in.

Tomboy Capsule wardrobe ideas
My most boyish looks.

So I decided I needed to at least try to remove this barrier. The one that limited my choices just because of how I looked.

I wore my shorts first, with a tiny bit of apprehension. “These are actual boy shorts” I thought to myself “and I am kind of a Tomboy. So in a way leg hair makes sense.” It was a safety blanket I felt I could use to explain away any quizzical looks or questions.

Skirts, shorts, leg hair
Rocking my natural self.

The real test came when it was time to wear a shorter skirt or dress… Dresses are the epitome of femininity. Leg hair, mmm,  not so much… But slowly I  challenge myself to wear it if I wanted. But I told myself I could always just wear nylons if I really felt uncomfortable and wanted to hide it.

But with sweltering heat here in California nylons didn’t make sense. Long story short I pushed through.

I got more comfortable in my skin and didn’t limit what I wore due to my bodies current state. And you know what?

The more I did it the more it felt fine, the more it felt normal.  I wondered why I cared or was so worried to begin with.

I was worried about what people would say. I was worried about what people would think. But no one said anything. In the end I realized I really didn’t care what anyone though specially if they kept it to themselves. I realized in my core I don’t believe or approve of this message we give females. Women or young girls, and that while some might be judging me, I was also hopefully inadvertently giving others courage.

This is me. And I’m ok with that.

Capsule wardrobe for a healthy body image.  Now that’s meaningful change.

Will everyone feel better in their skin after a capsule? I hope so.

Finally here are my individual items. I was super nervous about my choices at first but I think it turned out. 🙂

2015 summer capsule
All the items in my capsule 1.

The capsule challenge really surprised me. I learned a lot. I pushed through lots of barriers that I had myself put up. My world doesn’t revolve around fashion but I’m glad I took the challenge to simplify my wardrobe.

Have you taken a capsule wardrobe challenge? What did you learn from it?

The Roamer traveling wallet



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capsule wardrobe challenge

Challenges really seem to put a smile on my face and I’m excited to try something new, taking a 3 month capsule wardrobe challenge but blending multiple ideas and inspirations. In case you don’t know a capsule wardrobe is a limited number of items that you mix and match to make multiple outfits.

How to Start the Process for a Capsule Wardrobe

So clearly we are going to need to pick our items, but it isn’t as simple as picking some items out of our closets. Most of us have items in multiple places and maybe even in storage(bins). Well at least I did. So I used some of my knowledge of 5S principles to get me started.

The first step is…

Take all the clothes out of everywhere you store it. That means empty out your closet and any bins with stored items. This is a lot of work, but it is one of those moments where front loading the work will save you a lot of hassle later.

Take inventory. This is a great chance to really figure out how many of each item we own? Then ask  ourselves, How many do we really need? It gives us a chance to eliminate any unnecessary multiples by seeing them side by side. I’m a bit meticulous in that I want to know what I have in each color. In my case that means figuring out how many green skirts, blue, or pink shirts. You get the idea.

 Eliminate the Uglies. While you inventory you are going to touch each article of clothing you own. Take this time to start making the get rid of pile, with the never wear and doesn’t fit items. This won’t be hard if you are truly open an honest with yourself about which clothes you haven’t worn in over six month or more. I like hard numbers, so I counted how many items ended up in that box. I removed 24 right off the bat.

My piles of color coded clothing. :-)
My piles of color coded clothing. 🙂

I wasn’t super lean in my process because I ended up separating my clothes in different ways several times. First I separated clothes by color. I wrote down numbers as I transitioned those color piles into stacks of particular items, for example, pants, t-shirts, and blouses. But you don’t need to spend time on this.

Before you make your capsule you need to decided if you can swing having your capsule wardrobe cover your work and play. For me this just didn’t suit, so I also created a work uniform and removed all my other work clothes. Essentially creating a mini work capsule wardrobe.

So now that you know what you’re capsule is covering you can just follow the guidelines set by The project 333 site. Which is picking out all your “I love” items. For me that seemed difficult so I used this other go by, pictured below. Which is just 3 of every item.

Capsule wardrobe suggestions

After you pick your items put everything else away. Not back in the closet but away away.. I used bins. This is a great way to ensure you follow through. If you simply place stuff back into the closet( even if its the far side) then it will be easier for you to grab other items and slowly but surely increase your capsule until your closet is full again. Take a page from my 5S guide and increase your chances of success by making it sustainable. Put the no items for this round in boxes or bins. Then tape them closed. The extra effort will keep you focused on what you have available to wear.

This whole process took me 2 days. I didn’t take any short cuts and I wanted to make sure I addressed every item. Realize though that the more stuff you have the longer it can take to go through this process. Also don’t waste time thinking you need a helpful printable as you can see I just used pen and paper for this process.

What prompted me?

I first became aware that I didn’t need much clothing during a long trip to visit family. After Minnie Roamer’s birth I planned my FMLA/PFL so that we could take a long 3 week vacation in MI during Christmas . We needed to keep suitcases to a minimum since we already needed to be able to maneuver around the airport with 2 kids, 2 car seats, a stroller, diaper bag and of course the suitcases. Everything also need to be able to fit into our ride once we arrived. So packing 4 peoples clothes in one suitcase and 2 back packs that needed to include big winter coats meant few but versatile clothing options for everyone.

Capsule Wardrobe, My first encounter, and inspiration.
Capsule Wardrobe, My first encounter, and inspiration.

That lead me to do some research and I came across this picture. It blew my mind and since then 2 years ago its been kicking around in my head. However, in June coming off another minimalist challenge I decided to do more research and try it full force.

My Capsule Wardrobe

After taking the steps above I ended up with this as my capsule wardrobe.

For my summer Capsule wardrobe I chose white and green and then added other colors as I saw fit.
For my summer Capsule wardrobe I chose white and green and then added other colors as I saw fit.

If you read the 333 article you’ll notice I didn’t follow all the rules but I did start off by using their suggestions. In the end to me its more about reducing the amount of items in my closet to the point where I am forced/encouraged to use the items I really like. Instead of defaulting into just wearing the same stuff everyday. So it’s not really about a specific number but I do suggest you start there. Summer Capsule shoes

I did want to be as transparent as possible so I am showing you my lounge/ work out clothes too. Which is a big gray area in the rules. So now you know how much clothes I have period. Note: I am not divulging or counting intimate garments, socks, accessories: belts, necklaces, hats, scarves. So accessories will be my gray area. Though in my wrap up I will let you know if that became a big thing. Normally I don’t accessorizes.

Capsule wardrobe
My itemized list of clothing. I have 3 main groups in my capsule wardrobe experiment.

So now you know what I have, and I just want to explain a little bit about why. I’m not a runway model and this isn’t about fashion for me. Though I think I have my moments where I look like a million bucks for the most part I’m a Tomboy and I have the men’s pants and men’s shorts to prove it. ( why do I need to prove it?) My #1 is comfort and functionality. I need to be able to run after kids. I need free range of motion.  But I am pushing the limits to try and wear some of my nicer items.

Like I said earlier I don’t want to mix work with fun.( Because work is a dusty and dirty place). But my capsule still needs to allow me to ride a bike, hit the beach, attend a wedding and most importantly run after kids. (Did I already say that?) Full disclosure, my capsule would be 4 items lighter if I wasn’t attending a wedding this season.


Awareness. I discovered that I owned 269 articles of clothing. A lot of which I really don’t even wear anymore. This awareness is a benefit that right away helps you be intentional with your wardrobe It helped me eliminate those 24 pieces right away.

I think its crazy to think that I own so much clothes, but whats crazier is that it probably pales in comparison to the average woman.
I think its crazy that I own so much clothes, but what’s crazier is that it probably pales in comparison to the average woman.

Save in costs. Don’t fall pray to being average. The average family spends about $2,000 dollars a year on clothes. BE EXCEPTIONAL. Going through the cataloging of your clothing is a great way to know what you have. You’ll be wearing items you love and that should leave you with no desire to buy any clothes during the challenge. Even if you do feel the urge, make it a goal to resist for just 3 months.

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without

Personally for me its Good practice for a life of travel. Learn to live on less is the perfect challenge. Seriously this Traveling Wallet blog will one day be written from a different local every month for at least 1 year. The better I understand my style and can be creative with clothing the more I can parse down on the quantity. The more I practice, the better prepared I’ll be for living out of a suitcase. 🙂 And that is benefit enough for me.

Need some more inspiration ?

Check out these other post. How to create a capsule wardrobe

Unfancy Capsule wardrobe 101

A work uniform post

So there you have it. I hope you checked out those articles and are excited to start a capsule wardrobe. Don’t forget to click the notify me of new posts, so that you can read my review and wrap up in September. To Find out how I did and what I think I’m sure there are more benefits to be discovered through the challenge. Don’t miss out.

Will you join me in this simple and intentional living challenge? Have you ever done a capsule wardrobe?






2nd Go at the mins game

At the beginning of May Mr. Roamer and I decided to give the #minsgame another try.  I am more and more drawn to minimalism and the idea of simplified living.

Round 2 of the Minsgame
Round 2 of the Minsgame

We didn’t make it to the end like last time. Actually comparatively  we did a lot worse (as you can see in the picture). However, I am still happy with the results as the changes still yield compound benefits. In the sense of now I have less to clean up and I’m never going to have to organize that item(s) ever again.

When I’m purging sometimes its very difficult. I can easily convince myself to keep stuff. I think someday I’ll use it. But I have a secret weapon….

When I get mad

On the good times when I get really upset I get cleaning whether its dishes or finally scrubbing the toilet when I see something and I’m really mad this pretty much runs through my head ” what the hell, why is this still, ruined, messy, dirty,( insert blank), FINE! I’LL JUST DO IT MYSELF!  ROAR!!”

This happened twice this month and the result was a big purge!

You see in the dinning area we have a desk that houses crayons, markers, pens, pencils as well as recycled paper the kids can use for doodling. But it has no drawers so all these items sit in stacks on top of the desk more or less as organized as possible.

But we had so many crayons!

So many pens! pencils and dried out markets! I knew there was more then one still there.

Container emptied out. On the right the crayons we kept.
Container emptied out. On the right the crayons we kept. Retrospectively I should have kept double of what fit in that little crayon holder.

As you can see in the picture that clear  bin was full of crayons. not just one compartment. ALL of them. Easily more then 100 crayons.

oh and did I tell you my kids like to accidentally as well as  purposefully break the crayons and peel their skin off. Which pretty much means the crayon quantity just keeps multiplying. :). ( well at least the count was)

This might still seem messy to some but its much better then before
This might still seem messy to some but its much better then before

Anyways one angry day I said I’ve had it and I started recycling papers, testing pens and markers and separating crayons. Trimming stuff down. Seriously they never used all the colors anyways.

In all honesty I probably got rid of enough crayons to satisfy the quantity for the whole challenge but we just counted it for a few days around when the mad purge happened.

Mad #2

In this instance I attacked the clothes in my closet. And the anger fueled me to say stuff like”why are you keeping this? you never wear it. Or when was the last time you wore this. Or sure this is your high school band sweater but you never wear it!!!!” or “this is such a cute blouse I wish it fit me better… but it doesn’t! so why am I keeping it” The underling message I was giving myself was wake up! stop lying to yourself! are these items really worth the extra work if you aren’t going to use them?

The answer was of course ….no.

My closet purge.
My closet purge.

There were really some things that I separated that were nice or new and I really liked them aesthetically. but they just didn’t fall on me right. Now I’m not scare of a bit of sewing but I was lying to myself saying that I was going to go and fix all these items. I wish, but it just didn’t make sense to make that a priority with all my other goals.


Now I’m not telling you to go on a mad purge or anything but hey its got to be better then yelling at your spouse and loosing your temper at the children and going around breaking stuff instead ( I know people who have done the latter).

Everything else that got cut.

Mr. Roamer doesn’t take pictures but here are some pictures of the other items I purged through this month’s journey.

Stuff included

  • receipts
  • event stubs
  • knickknacks
  • my 2013 pay stubs
  • Clothes
  • Baby stuff
  • Papers ( lots and lots of papers)
Mostly baby stuff
Mostly baby stuff

The Math

Doing the math 31 days on track equal 496 items purged and with 2 people that is 992 items. Seriously almost 1 thousand items.  An amazing feat when you can reach it.

With all the days we missed we got rid of 402 items. Sure crayons are small but I’m still counting. After all its all the little stuff that goes unnoticed and start to accumulate filling empty spaces in drawers and getting in between couch cushions.

We still have some items hanging around because I think they are in nice enough shape that I’d like to sell them on craigslist. How long do you hold on to items in the sell pile? Let me know in the comments.


Now we were clued into this 2nd hand store that gives you store credit when you make a donation. So we dropped stuff off and planned to get Jr. Roamer a sweater. We had a list of other items we thought we might need, but were thinking of postponing. However, we ended up going on a day with a 50% sale so we picked up everything else.

Items for the kids. 5 for Jr. Roamer and 3 for Minnie Roamer.
Items for the kids. 5 for Jr. Roamer and 3 for Minnie Roamer.

We are not cheap, we are just frugal so making sure the kids have what they need even if we end up bringing more stuff into the house is ok with us.

So I am super motivated to continue stripping out the excess. I have some clothes bins I am going to clean out and I am just going to work in the practice more routinely instead of just the intense bursts for a month.

Have you played the minsgame? Have you regretted getting rid of anything?

31 Day Challenge Update

Ahh, its about time I pump out this update.

Before the new year started I decided that I was going to participate in the minimalists’ game. The challenge was set to start on January 1st, and go until the 31st. The idea? To eliminate 1 item the first day, 2 items the second day and so on. To my surprise but joy, Mr. Roamer decided he would participate too. In essence doubling the amount of items we would have to purge.

Before the Challenge

Our closet. Looking exceptionally unkept.
Our closet. Looking exceptionally unkept.
A side of our room
A side of our room, boxes abound

Per our pictures you can see some of the stuff that has accumulated in our apartment. I’m kind of bummed. I really wish that I would have gotten some more before pictures. These 2 will have to do.

Before this challenge I had already participated in a few clean out days. My method before was to allocate 2 hrs on the weekend to go through old papers     (the biggest offender) and any other random items.  Stuff just seems to spawn in our house and I have to constantly keep on top of it.


Now… how best to present our results? I will be straight up and tell you that Mr. Roamer did not photograph any of the items he removed. Still we ended up with quite a few pictures and I thought doing a day by day review would just extend the length of this post excessively so instead I grouped similar items together.


A little bit of this and a little bit of that.
A little bit of this and a little bit of that.

About the hardest thing to get rid of when you are trying to clean house is stuff that has “meaning”. From best friends necklaces, to keys of our old house growing up, to the ticket stubs, of all the movies my dad had taken us to while growing up. I had a habit with collecting things. Like I said, I have gone through purging cycles before and these items have kept getting saved…


The 31 day challenge really pushed me to be more critical.  But it was also a book on Buddhism and impermanence that made me realize how silly it was to keep these thing. With that I had an epiphany and developed a mantra.

Let go now, or let go later, at some point you have to let everything go. (really its just a matter of time)

Pictures, stuffed animals, and even memories.Time has a way of deteriorating everything. It’s not a question of will you let go. Its just a question of when. So I found myself asking , If its going to happen anyway, why not today?

So out they go.

Baby Stuff

Items for a soon to come baby. Not mine, but a coworkers.
Items for a soon to come baby. Not mine, but a coworkers.
1 yr old boy clothes. It served my son and daughter well.
Month by month pamphlets that I got back in 2008 when my son was born.

I had been keeping baby items because of the possibility of growing our family. But with how many clothes we’ve been gifted by coworkers and the discovery of craigslist I was able to let items go. With 2 kids, I don’t have the miss conception that babies cost butt loads of money. So now I don’t feel like I am potentially wasting money in the future by gifting, selling or donating still good clothes.

Happily I was able to sell the boy items pictured plus another 9 to earn my first side hustle dollars of the year. Another upside of minimizing is cashing in on any valuable products that sit unused in your house.


Does anyone still use this model?
Does anyone still use this model?

Do recognize these items? An old Xbox, and how about these? An old Sega Genesis. These are just a few items that occupied a gray bin. Inside were floppy disks and more items that we wouldn’t be able to access. Due to how old they were.

Good times... over umm 15 years ago.
Good times… over umm 15 years ago.

The initial goal had been to put at least these gaming systems up on craigslist and see if anyone collected antiques.  🙂 But instead these item were removed from the house and put into storage.(Not mine, we don’t own one). Someone in the extended family just didn’t want to get rid of them. At first I was a bit upset but then I realized I should just be happy that they are no longer in the house and that now I have an empty bin to use. As long as the items stay out of the apartment I consider them removed.

Random Stuff



From crumbled blush, to an expired pregnancy test sometimes things just get lost in closets or cabinets. More random items that got removed included school paper work from our now 1st grader.

During this challenge I also finally took steps away from my dream of “owning” a library. I have always been fond of libraries but I always wanted to have my own, so books were another of those things I gladly collected.  It was a big change in mindset. Bye Bye books.

So are you going to take on the minimalist games in the coming month?

Some tips

Ask yourself a few questions.

  • What is this item for?
  • When was the last time I used it?
  • Why am I keeping it here?
  • Do I really want to keep it or do I feel obligated?

Asking myself these questions and just repeating my mantra to myself I was able to remove items I had previously chosen to keep.

Let go now, or let go later, at some point you have to let everything go. (really its just a matter of time)

This motto has help me clear out stuff. Specially when it comes to mementoes.

Before and After

As I mentioned before I wish I had captured some more before pictures. The area by our sink is doing so much better. Though we still have some boxes and storage bins to go through we were able to parse down quite a bit.  People always say pictures speak louder than word so here are side by side comparisons.

Some improvement.
2 boxes cleared out. Mr. Roamer thinks I should work on my staging skills.
More room to walk in the closet.
More room to walk into the closet.

Finally items that still need to get the boot. These toys all reside in a bin and are just waiting for someone to come rescue them on craigslist. If there are no bites then they will get donated. ( More toys then just items pictured).

We are just a little old, we're still good, we're still good.
We are just a little old, we’re still good, we’re still good.

So Are you joining in the games this coming month? Leave me a comment and tell me what is that one item you hold on to even though it just sits in storage?

The Roamer traveling wallet

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Will you take the 31 day Challenge?

I don’t really write about minimalism but it is implied… oh wait I haven’t implied it either.

Well then ok… As an aspirational traveler but also a parent stuff can easily become burdensome. I’ve been working on trimming down on my possessions because they really have become more trouble then they are worth.

To help keep me motivated and also spurn me into action. Aggressive action! I am going to do the challenge posed by The minimalists( you can read more about it here).

I will be starting January first.  I will try to follow the rules but I am making one alteration. I know how difficult it can be to resell stuff so I am giving myself 30 days to sell the stuff that I think I can sell. Other then that I think I can trash/ recycle and donate quickly on the day of.

Will you join me? Mr. Roamer is jumping in the Game so that means we will be getting rid of double the amount.

How does this challenge tie in to the goals of this Blog?

Easy let me give it to you like this

Do you pay for storage?

Get rid of enough stuff and you won’t have to. Bam! Money saved. If you don’t have a storage let me ask you this. How much cash have you spent buying bins or other tools for organizing? For things you don’t even use. Money saved there.

So we are addressing and improving finances.

Do you waste precious time organizing, fixing, and reorganizing stuff?

Well if you get rid of clutter that you never use you’ll save valuable time that you can use else where. Spend it with your kids playing games. Spend it growing your business. Or like me spend it writing a post. For me all those are great motivator. I would so much rather spend my time playing with my kids then endlessly organizing stuff! Plus less stuff means less to clean!

So here I’m picking Parenthood over stuff.

Do you want to travel the world?

If you plan to be a true Roamer you’ll realize that there is only so much you can carry. Trimming down items makes you more flexible.

Finally I am making myself and family more flexible to future moves and travel.

So there you have it how minimalism and this game/ challenge can help you start off the new year living the values I try to push here.

Mr. Roamer even asked Jr.Roamer if he wanted to do it. He said no way! Haha… We told him we would count each individual crayon but I guess he could feel all the pressure.

Actually the idea of challenges really sits well with me. Maybe I will make a new goal to have some sort of challenge month every month. Well see what happens.

So are you up to play a little game? Join me and let me know if you already have some stuff in mind.

Before you go, follow me on Twitter where I will post on my progress. And come back Feb 1st for the wrap up.