“The best way to enjoy your favorite things every day, is to only own your favorite things”. – Anonymous
The word minimalism means different things to different people.
Most of us probably conjure up the image of a single white sofa, a coffee table with nothing on it, and a single plant in the corner of a 300 square foot apartment.
For me, it has come to mean simply living more with less.
Living more…with less. Now doesn’t that sound lovely?
After all, the things you actually want in this life likely aren’t things at all. Right?
Have you ever noticed that when you walk into a spa there isn’t crap everywhere? It’s simple…by design. Cluttered surroundings lead to a cluttered mind, and the spa is intended to inspire a feeling of peace and calm.
If you look around and wish your surroundings inspired more peace than panic, you may want to start by decluttering.
Decluttering and getting rid of a lifetime of accumulation has been an ongoing learning experience to say the least.
Here are 3 tips I have used to help me along the way. Put these into practice and perhaps it will make living more with less a little easier for you. Either to begin…or continue.
Firstly, just avoid the mall altogether. Besides being the shining symbol of all things horrid and wrong in our consumer driven society, the sheer volume of available choices makes it more likely you’ll buy something you don’t need. Stay away. Rant over. Apologies.
Next, make a conscious effort to shop for needs, not wants. Then, choose quality over quantity. For instance, don’t buy the 6 pack of throw away kitchen knives at Costco. Buy one good knife that will last you a lifetime. It’s going to cost more, but if it lasts a lifetime thats a good investment both for you and the planet. Disposable doesn’t mean disposed of. This thinking can translate neatly to nearly everything you purchase.
ONE IN THREE OUT
Okay, you’ve decided to buy something. Great! Do you love it? Great! Before checking out though…can you think of three things you can get rid of when you bring that shiny new object into your life? If not, it should wait.
Approaching purchases this way will help you buy less purely by forcing you to put actual thought into what you are buying. Buying one new book? – Donate 3. One shirt – donate 3. You get the idea. If you know you have to get rid of 3 things in it’s place… the one thing you are adding, by definition, will have to be really great.
Getting rid of things can, and will, be hard. I promise.
In my article Giving It All Away I discussed how hard it was to get rid of a particular possession that carried a lot of meaning for me. But living more simply is going to mean less stuff. There is no way around it.
Start with the garage, a room, a closet or even a single kitchen drawer. Don’t overthink, just start. Then, once you begin organizing ask yourself these three simple questions:
- Do I use it?
- Do I love it?
- Does it bring me joy?
If the answer is yes to all of those. Keep it. If not, donate it, sell it or give it away. Chances are you can replace the item if you ever need it again, but chances are better you wont.
The idea isn’t to get rid of everything you own. The idea is to truly enjoy the things you decide to keep in your life. Remember, the best way to enjoy your favorite things every day, is to only own your favorite things.
See you on the journey.