things

Why Our Family Collects Experiences and Yours Should Too

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I’m not the type of person who needs to own a lot of things. I love to shop and decorate and have a home full of beautiful things that make me happy.

But I’m not obsessed with having a lot of stuff. That might seem pretty obvious since my whole business is centered around minimalism.

But it’s more than just not buying things so my house doesn’t get cluttered. I mean, that’s a pretty great side effect. It’s just not like my holy grail of why I’m a minimalist.

Our family is really big on experiencing things rather than owning things. Brian and I definitely have a core value of prioritizing experiences over possessions when it comes to how we handle our finances.

That’s doesn’t mean we never buy anything or that you should never buy anything.

I’m not telling you to only have a suitcase amount of possession and to  go to Disneyland every weekend.

That’s not where I’m coming from at all. I mean, if that’s what you want to do, you do you. That’s just not my heart.

We do enjoy taking the kids to Disneyland or Legoland. And weekly date nights are really important to Brian and I.

Traveling is something we really enjoy and something that is important to us and we want to do more of.


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Our priority is experiencing things together.

That’s where we kind of put our money where our mouth is. Like when we flew our family to Nashville for two weeks of fun and staying at different Airbnb’s and hotels and experiencing new people.

Whether it’s trying out a new restaurant or taking the boys to a baseball game. We’d rather do things together as a family than sit around around in a house full of stuff.

We’d rather have date nights than purchase things that don’t really contribute to the vision we have for our family. That takes a lot of intentionality on our part.

Brian and I work really hard to have a successful business so that our budget is bigger and we can plan for those types of things. But even when we were pretty broke, we always prioritized experiences over things.


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experiences last

Experiences are so much more fulfilling and have so much more depth to them than material possessions. Research even shows this!

The happiness that people get from purchases fades away pretty quickly. But the joy that we get from experiencing something actually increases over time as you remember and as you look back on it (which I think is super incredible).

Basically, it’s like a good return on an investment. It’s adding happiness to your life and then it’s increasing that happiness over time because positive experiences give us positive memories. And that’s something that all of us desire and find fulfilling.




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We learn to be present and enjoy the moment when we’re out doing things.

When we’re holding hands with our kids, we wonder how we can live that way more often. How we can soak up little moments in even the mundane moments of life.

And when you get out of your little bubble, you get to meet other people. You get the chance to strengthen your bond with your family. I can’t emphasize the importance of that enough.

Yeah, when you travel somewhere with your kids, it’s crazy and hard and there are negative aspects to it. But when you just decide to suck it up and do it,  to go to Disneyland or to a movie or the beach, or really anywhere away from your typical atmosphere, it gives you the gift of connection to the people who belong to you.

That’s so worth any frustration or embarrassment that comes from traveling with little people.

Adventuring together is where the funny stuff and the weird stuff happens and where meaningful conversations are started. Connection is built and cultivated and that’s vital, especially with your husband and your kids.

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ask yourself how you can infuse your family with more experiences

It doesn’t have to be a huge trip somewhere. It can be, though! And if that’s what you want to do, you can start saving money for that.

But it can also just be a fun experience in your neighborhood this weekend. Go out for ice cream or see if there’s a kid-friendly street fair in your city.

Instead of laying around your house and doing nothing because you’re exhausted, get yourself up, get the kids dressed and go do something fun. Sure, you’re probably going to be tired later but I promise you’re not going to regret it.

You don’t get forever with your kids. You only get so much time  to invest in and be a big part of your kids’ lives. And once they leave, it’s just going to be you and your husband so you want to make sure you’re nourishing that relationship now too.

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HERE’S YOUR WAKE UP CALL

If you’re thinking, “Allie, this all sounds really good but I don’t know if  I can do this.” Like maybe you’ve spent a lot of money on material things and you feel a little unbalanced on where your focus is versus where you want it to be.

I hope this will serve as a wake-up call for you. Starting now you can begin to focus on experiencing life and connecting with your family and you can make sure your finances reflect that priority a little bit more.

And you know what, buying less stuff means less clutter. Which I’m super passionate about because clutter causes us stress.

It  requires maintenance and takes up our time. Time that we could be spending experiencing things. Cut clutter from your life so you can be unfettered and live more abundantly.

In our home, we’re still cutting out clutter and we’ve been minimalists for years. But with all the travel we’ve been doing, we’ve been focused on going deeper with minimalism and letting go of even more stuff so our home can be even simpler.

We want to feel like we can leave it more easily to travel and do more fun things together.

Because that’s what we truly believe is the most important thing.

I want to encourage you to prioritize experiences. Especially with your family.

Life is out there. There are things to be experienced. Don’t miss your moments. .


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Minimalism & Sentimental Items

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We attach memories to things. Looking at something that was once owned by someone we love transports us back to a happy time or to a pleasant memory. Unfortunately, these treasures are usually buried in an attic or placed in a box above our garage because we don’t want to clutter our homes. They usually only get rediscovered only when we are moving or clearing out our storage spaces. We really aren't giving our special memories and our history the treatment they deserve. 

People often assume minimalism means not being sentimental, and a lot of times people talk to me as if the only reason minimalism works so well for me is because I’m not sentimental. They take my intentional purging as not being the type of person to hold onto memories. This really couldn't be further from the truth. I'm a very sentimental person. 

I get weepy when I’m going through my kids’ clothes that no longer fit, I attach fond memories to the things they happened in or next to. I have the gloves I wore to prom where I fell in love with my now-husband (our story is about as cheesy as they come), and the letters he wrote me when we were dating. But I'm not going to let my memories take away from the intentional atmosphere I want to raise my kids in. For me, a cluttered space means a cluttered life; it means more time spent cleaning and rearranging and less time on the floor building train tracks with my kids and reading stories about unicorns. My memories are sweet to me, but they just aren't worth the new ones I'm making now. 

I have memories, but only a fool stores his past in the future.
— David Gerrold

Less does not mean none. 

Intentional doesn’t mean keeping only what you need in order to continue breathing. However, if you have boxes and boxes full of keepsakes, it might be time to pare down some and keep only what is truly soaked in memories that you can’t bear to lose. Here are some practical ways to help you honor your history and your memories without holding onto clutter. 

Consider displaying it.

Artwork, a lamp that belonged to your great grandmother, a vase full of buttons that were your mom’s...find a way to display your history. Others will enjoy hearing the stories about where they came from, and you will see it on a regular basis, which is much better than your memories being stored in a box in the garage. After all, what’s the point in holding onto keepsakes if they’re just going to be kept in a dusty box and lugged around with you next time you move?

Put it to use.

Maybe you’re keeping a special set of dishes or a vintage necklace passed down to you for a special occasion. Why not use it? Why hold onto it for something special when that probably means forgetting about it completely? Wear the necklace as a statement piece this weekend at church. Donate your current set of dishes and eat off the special set every night. What’s the point in storing them and then passing them on to your kids in a box years from now, never to be used? I think it’s much more special to use things like that.

Capture it forever before you give it up. 

Sometimes, holding onto something of sentimental value just doesn't make sense. Taking a photo of something special always helps ease the heart when you’re donating it. Recently I was cleaning out my boys’ dressers and I found a tiny tee shirt that had been worn by all three of them, but no longer fit our youngest and needed to be passed on. That shirt sat on top of my dresser for weeks, and my heart hurt every time I passed by it. I ended up putting it back on the baby (it was super snug and hilarious) and taking a picture of him in it one more time. I know I have pictures of all three of my boys in that shirt from the past too, so thinking of that helped me donate it. 

Want to know what to keep and what to let go? Let me send you a FREE guide so you can make decisions a little easier, mama!

Send it to the cloud.

If it’s a special piece of paper or artwork you want to save but not display, take a picture of it and upload it to Dropbox or whatever form of the cloud you use. This way, you still have it forever but it’s not taking up your physical space.

Go ahead and keep it.

There are some things too precious to get rid of, that may be useful later, and can’t be displayed or put on the cloud. I have kept a red pea coat that my daughter wore when she was a baby. It’s timeless and I know she can use it for her daughter one day. I’ve also kept the ivory dress she wore the day she was dedicated, and the first bow-tie I ever bought my first son, that's been worn by his two brothers as well. Things things are extremely special to me. I know this is breaking some minimalism laws, but these things are too precious to me and I’m okay with having one small box of physical keepsakes.

The problem lies in attaching our memories to items in a way that brings clutter and chaos to our homes. Purging is like a healthy exercise for the heart and soul. It hurts sometimes, but it’s good for us. You are not your things. Your memories are within you, not within your stuff.