“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” -William Morris
I used this quote in my last post but I feel that it holds the same truth and value in this post. I was thinking about it a bit and there are a lot of reasons that I have a dog. Some people only need one, which is great too, but I really love for everything in my home to be multitaskers. My dog isn’t just a companion; she has irreplaceable value. I remember when my husband worked 4 hours from Las Vegas and we only got to see each other on the weekends for a year. At first I had no problem being home alone at night but all of the sudden every noise that the wind caused would set me on edge. And every time I was sure someone was breaking into my house. What kept me calm and soothed my worries was having my 45 lbs. A-type labradoodle start sleeping next to my bed. I knew that if anyone was actually coming into the house she would start barking and do her best to protect the home. And it’s a bit funny because I originally got her because, 1, I fell in love with her for no apparent reason at the pet store and, 2, she is a high energy dog that was a perfect companion for my long distance running.
(This is Lexy and Caramel’s spot in the house. They know that they can go here and not get bothered if it gets too hectic.)
Honestly, I couldn’t ask for a better subject to approach in regards to minimalism. Pets are a true reflection on how we approach things. They are so wonderful because they require very little but can bring more joy and life into our living spaces. But there is a known secret about pets that many may not consider. Hold on. This is a bit of a truth bomb.
Pets don’t need much. In fact Pets need very little to not only survive but thrive.
Consider these needs:
- They need their own space and a place to sleep. Kennel, dog bed, etc. While kennels may be a bit on an investment and take up a lot of space this ensures that have their own space that they can go when they need to and mimics a den like environment. This may not be necessary if you choose another training method for your dog other than kennel training.
- Food (and bowls). Another bulky item but something that should be manageable and easy to place somewhere tucked away in the kitchen and out of site.
- Supplements: supplemental treats for hair, skin, nail, and bone growth or for teeth health. Buy as needed
- Grooming: Soap/Conditioner, Brush, Nail Clippers (Do it yourself! It’s easy!)
- Toys: I only have 1 or 2 for each dog at a time. I’m not really into the whole dog toys covered in drool laying all over the floor in my living space look. I would definitely have more when they were puppies but only keep one out and the rest in a basket.
- Collar/Leash/Harness. This is a must for dog walks or runs. It is up to you to find what works best. Some owners prefer a harness where others do just fine with a leash. Once you find what works get rid of what does not!
- Medical supplies. This widely differs from pet to pet. I am definitely not an expert but all I can say is use your best judgement on finding what works….and then get rid of the rest!
Additional needs: These needs depend on the weather. I don’t really need weather gear for my pets due to the warm weather conditions and little rain. But I would invest in more weather gear for running if I lived in either a colder or rainier climate.
(All I bring when I take that dogs for a walk. Well not the whole roll of baggies. I’ll tuck one or two into my workout pants. If I am going for a run I’ll grab my armband too.)
Then consider these wants:
- Some may argue that this isn’t a need but I disagree. When training my puppy I would give them pieces of food that worked perfectly since they were the perfect size the go through a handful of during a training session. To me personally, treats is an extra. I will buy these once in a while but once they are gone I don’t feel the need to keep them stocked in my pantry.
- Extra toys. If they are a puppy then this really is more important to have but other than that I keep it minimal.
- Extra of anything. While the above needs are important we don’t necessarily need two of them. But, have not fear, I have a tip that could help with that below.
Pro Tip: I have a small enclosed basket in my entryway that houses all my dog stuff. For both doggies too! I realized that I had a little bit of everything around my house but when I put them all in one spot I found I didn’t need a good amount of it. I either had an extra leash or toys or old collars that I no longer needed. To be honest I could probably stand to go through it again. What I like about it is that I can fit EVERYTHING into one spot. There is even enough room for the dog bowls if I really wanted to put them in there for some reason. When you limit space for your dog’s stuff then you can be more choosey about what you decide to keep for them. The trick is not to stuff it. If it’s stuffed then it will be hard to see what is in there and hard to decide what should stay or go.
(If this isn’t puppy love then I don’t know what is. Lexy (My labradoodle usually gets shafted while my kids dote on Caramel (the Cheweenie). And I can see why. She’s cute! But I think Lexy will always be my favorite; so it all evens out.)
I think that it is worth saying at this point that minimalism isn’t a contest about how little stuff you have. It is about only having what you need so you can live your life as richly as possible. When your life is cluttered to the point where you cannot see the forest for the trees than that this can cause stress and unnecessary weight on you on a daily basis. There is room is your life for a furry companion to be a less stressful experience and more enjoyable! And if that means semi-ignoring my rules than go for it. The goal is to have less. You have the freedom to decide between what is peaceful and stressful! And really, rules are meant to be broken anyways.
When they aren’t on their beds they’re usually under my feet. I was taking a pic of the walking gear and I look up and there they were. Sometimes I get annoyed by it because tripping on them gets old fast. But often times I remind myself that all they want is to be right near me; and that’s not so bad.
It’s funny but all pets want is our love and attention. They don’t really care about much else.
Meet The Semi-Minimalist. Mama and full-time student by day. Blogger and sewist by night. Born in Stuart, Florida she currently resides in the southern California desert. Beginning her blogging journey in December of last year she has also spends her spare time developing both her home with minimalism and beginning the journey of creating her business of ethically sourced clothing.
Read more at Thesemiminimalist.com or find her on Instagram @thesemiminimalist for more minimalist misadventures and sewing antics. Have any questions about minimalism?
Feel free to ask at firstname.lastname@example.org.