Grocery Shopping Minimally

Years ago, I knew someone who went out every Sunday morning and bought a Sunday paper. Not for the articles or the weather updates, but for the coupons and adds. He would then spend the better part of the morning pouring over those adds and clipping coupons while at the same time making a grocery list for that week.

The list usually had 3-5 stores listed, with that stores sales items and coupons grouped by store to make sure they were used at the right places on the right items. The weeks meals were then planned based primarily on what was on sale or had a coupon.

The shopping would happen on Monday. It would take about 5 hours with each store being mapped so there would be no backtracking and the required cooler in the back to ensure nothing got too warm during the outing.

Don’t get me wrong. I think this is probably an extreme, albeit real, example. I think truth be told most people plan a weekly or bi-weekly trip to the grocery store, buy what looks good and sadly according to CBS news, wastes an average of 30% of what they buy. Groceries account for 71% of all impulse buys.

About a year ago MP and I signed up for Instacart. It’s a grocery delivery program, that lets you choose from the stores nearest you for grocery delivery to your home. The cost is about $100 per year. I won’t go into all the details of the program, but I will say it has cut our grocery bill and allows us to stay out of stores that not only take time but encourage spontaneous and often unhealthy buying.

We no longer get up on Saturday morning and make the run to Winco. We don’t battle crowds to get the crackers we love and we don’t spend time debating new products that are strategically located in the center isles. Instead, I make a menu most weeks, figure out what we need to have for those meals and order just what we need.

No more weird snacks that looked good in the store going to waste on my shelf. No ice cream in the freezer that I don’t want to have to decide every night not to eat. No throwing away veggies found in the bottom of a crisper having gone bad. Instead, we have healthy dinners with lunches made each night and while we do still get a treat now and again, we mostly have healthy options to choose from when a late evening craving wins out.

Lastly, because a personal shopper does all the shopping, I no longer need to keep up my Costco membership just for groceries. Instacart makes sure the shopper has the membership and I can still get the deals and products I’m used to.

Instacart has been a fabulous option for us. We save time, money and energy to use on the things that matter most to us. And for those of you wondering, I do still go to the store for special occasions to buy something specific. Instacart may not be for every day, but it can be for most days.

Minimalism. Its about trading the things that fill our time and space and take our focus off the things that matter for what’s really important. For me, right now, one of my top priorities is time. Time to do the things I love. Time to be with those I love. And I don’t know about you, but grocery shopping doesn’t fall on either list.

Let me know if you’ve used this or another service and how it helped you realize a more stress free or minimalist life.


Weekend Freedom

Last weekend was the first time it happened
Less stuff (to do) meant more time to be

It was so freeing
We made plans
Just for fun

We started Saturday morning by each doing something that made us happy
I spent two hours in my studio creating, playing, enjoying every minute
MP took a LONG and strenuous bike ride to the gym and back
He came home wrecked and happy

And that launched our weekend 
We filled it with outdoor Art and holding hands
Laughter and lunch with friends
A swim and meeting a new neighbor who is our age alive and vibrant
living a similar minimalist life

And a Nap!
A Sunday nap.
It was heavenly

This was a weekend unheard of a year ago
so much time
so much fun
so much enthusiasm for life and the ability to take in all its offerings

And… no guilt for all the things we ‘should’ have done
This is what we hoped for when we made the big decisions

I think we’ve arrived
at least for a while

And now…I’m off to plan another weekend
Full of all the things I love. 
Which will most definitely include another Sunday nap


Good Bye to the House of Wales- written 9/9/19

The following post was taken from my ‘journal’ on the day we said good bye to our house. I post it here as a way of sharing the journey to minimalism. I hope it captures the heart of our choice, that while some things may sting or create sadness, it does not make them wrong. I believe sometimes saying good bye to one thing and looking forward to the future with excitement can co-exist. This is my personal walk through one of those times. 

Yesterday was a day I knew was coming and I knew would come.
I hadn’t intentionally put it off
The timing had not been right before yesterday.
I had to be open enough to let it arrive, and to accept that it was happening.

As I walked in, I knew it was the day.
I walked slowly through each room.

The decision on which granite and which appliances.
The laying of each floorboard in each room.
The night fires and cool morning swims.

And like a wave the emotion caught me.
Quietly at first.
As if it might be a small wave.

But then it began to come in torrential sweeping gusts.
Over and over the emotion along with the memories.
Each casting of my eyes another memory and another ache at there never being another in this place.

It had always been the plan.
Live a while.
Sell when we’d make money.

It had taken so long to feel like mine.
I thought maybe it never would.
But as I stood at the railing, I knew that it was my home and I was leaving it and saying goodbye for the last time.

He held me very, very close as the sobs escaped over and over again.
And when he released me, his eyes too were shiny with tears.

We reviewed our fondest moments.
Times of laughter and learning.
Change and hope and growth.

We paused and prayed, our hearts full of gratitude and asked that the place be a haven to another and a path to Him who provides all.

It’s time to go now.
I’ve no doubt.
It doesn’t make the leaving any less emotional or in some ways sad.
It’s always a little sad to close a good chapter.
Knowing there were some lasts that we didn’t realize.

But we said our thank yous and our goodbyes.
We acknowledged all the good.
We turned our faces to the next adventure and prayed the journey continue to be blessed.

The memories will remain.

I loved you, House of Wales.
You were so good to our family and to me.
I honor your giving to us and us to you.

Thank you.


More is not better… better is better.

Welcome to Middle Age Minimalism. I’m glad you’ve taken a few minutes to stop by and I hope you find useful and enjoyable information as we take this journey together.

My name is Rachel and my husband Mark and I are what we like to call Middle Age. Somewhere between having kids at home and approaching retirement. We have made some really big and unique choices as we prepare and plan for what we hope will be the best years of our lives.

A few of the ways we’ve done things differently is that 2 years ago we bought a small (baby house) in Mesa, Az, with plans of spending most of our winters there in the future and we get there as often as we can now. We recently minimized our life by selling our large, 4 bedroom home and moving into a 1000 sq. foot condo. And with our current jobs we plan to be debt very soon and have the ability to start making some of our grand plans become reality.

My husband has a great blog that details our experiences through middle age from his perspective at He is a great writer and I think you’ll enjoy his take on this adventure too.

So much of this journey is about minimizing our stuff and our commitments so we free up the time, space and money to do the things we really love. I hope to share some of the things we are learning along the way, how we are minimizing 109 years worth of stuff, not just tangibly but emotionally as well and what kinds of adventures we are taking because of those choices.

I’ll share more about us along the way, but for now, thanks for visiting. I’m excited about the journey and look forward to your comments as we go.