Intentional living as defined by me: Living with purpose, rid of things that cause anxiety and stress so that we can live out our passions, values, and goals to the fullest. Let me break it down specifically in terms of “stuff”. My husband and I chose to minimize “stuff” when we first bought our house. My sweet husband showed up on moving day with two boxes, a box of things, and a box of clothes. I showed up with multiple car loads of sweaters for the dog, a million Christmas decorations, and many more unless and non-purposeful items. He was unpacked in an hour while I was unpacked over the course of several months. I was embarrassed if we are being totally honest. How could he have so little and I have so much?
Simply put, my husband was intentional about the things he had.
I soon adopted this need for only having intentional items in my life as well. Partly because I didn’t want him to think I was a hoarder but also because all the purposeless things gave me anxiety just looking at them. In addition, we were on a journey to become debt-free and I craved saving money by staying away from stores that triggered me. And not to mention, I was sick and tired of spending my hard-earned days off putting away the exact same items in our home that I did the previous weekend and the weekend before that.
There are a lot of habits that had to be changed along the way.
For example, as a former shopaholic, I limit my shopping adventures. Now believe me, I can get down on a Target shopping spree. However, instead of loading up my cart with Target dollar spot items that would maybe get one use as former Amanda would do, present Amanda takes her shopping list in and sticks to it. Former Amanda would buy a clearance sweater because even though it didn’t fit her how it should, it was only $14.99! Present Amanda takes her time searching for quality made clothing that lasts a lifetime and fits her like a glove. Former Amanda would go out to Hobby Lobby every Saturday afternoon for something to do and come home with home decor she had no space for. Present Amanda is now selling that home decor on Marketplace because she wants more minimalist vibes in her home. You get the point, right?
Now let’s circle back to motherhood.
When we discovered we were expecting, we debated if we wanted to find out the baby’s gender. I’m a Type A, Enneagram 1, control freak, planner kind of person…I had to know if this baby was a boy or a girl. What we didn’t want though is for others to flood us with ‘little boy’ or ‘little girl’ items which we all know is exactly what would have happened. We wanted primarily gender-neutral items, clothes included, to be used for all of our future babies. See what we did there? Thinking long term with INTENTION about the items we were about to be bringing into our home. So we kept our sweet girl’s gender a secret from others.
Another reason for our super-secret mission Keep-Baby-B’s-Gender-Hush was so that we received the items we needed off our registry instead of the items others wanted to give us. As I write that out I feel like I sound rude, but hear me out. How cute are baby clothes, right? How many times have you known a friend or relative about to have a baby girl and you can’t help but be attracted to the girl’s department at Old Navy and buy 9 million girl outfits because of their cuteness? And how many times have you put those clothes down before checkout because you thought “I should really stick to the registry and get them the item they requested and need”… Yeah, I figured you might not have. So with the INTENTION of our friends and family shopping our gender-neutral registry, we received the items we truly needed for our baby.
Speaking of the baby registry, the retail market is out there to prey on new mothers, conning them to believe they need ‘all the things’. Be wise and INTENTIONAL about what you really need. And remember, every baby is different. Before registering for one of each of everything, think long and hard about what you’re bringing into your home, it’s function, and it’s length of use.
Intentional living takes time and practice.
It requires patience instead of impulse and internal questioning before swiping your card. It means valuing what is already in your home. It is always a work in progress. Most importantly, it requires the willpower to want to make a change.