Minimalism

That’s a hard word to type, let alone say.  Minimalism.  I’ve become intrigued by this topic.  The other day I stumbled upon a blog called Zen Habits.  It is written by a man by the name of Leo Babauta.  He also has written some books, including “Living with Less” and most recently an e-book called “The Simple Guid to a Minimalist Life”. 

minimalistguideI downloaded this book for $9.95 and  really enjoyed it.  It’s only 105 pages long, but he gives some good advice and makes you think about your “stuff” in  different way. 

Even the Bible warns us against too much stuff.  Jesus said:  “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15 NIV)

We really don’t need a ton of stuff.  Advertising and society just make us think we do.  As an example, just the other day I saw an ad for this metal grid that you put in a baking pan before you pour in the batter to help create even squares of brownies, cakes, etc.  Do we really need that?  I can see so many people saying…wow, that would be nice because I can’t always cut it in even pieces.  But does it really matter if we don’t have perfectly even pieces of brownies or cake?  I mean really, does it?  Once you spend your hard earned money on something like this, it is now something extra to clean and store.  And really how often are you going to use it?  There are so many products like this, that we are made to believe we reallyneed…that will somehow make our lives easier. 

But wouldn’t having less stuff make our lives easier?  With less stuff, we’ve spent less money, we have less clutter in our homes, less to clean up and around, less to store, less to move, less to then deal with once we realize we don’t use it.  And I could go on and on. 

I think it helps that I have an organizing business because I see first hand what too much stuff can do to people, and that is a huge motivator to me.  By the time they call me, they are overwhelmed with their stuff.  It has taken over a portion of their house, or their entire house and they don’t know how to get out from under it.  It’s very overwhelming.

I always start with suggesting we go through everything and get rid of as much as we can.  So you can see why I think it is very important to focus on not buying too much stuff in the first place.   I believe it would save a lot of people a lot of stress and anxiety. 

Some people shop when they are bored, or stressed, or anxious.  But then more stuff can create an environment that creates more stress and anxiety.  And if we buy our kids too much stuff…they get bored and want more stuff.  We need to help our kids use their imaginations more and play with less.  Encourage them to create things with clean items from your recycle bin…like boxes, the inside of a paper towel rolls, scrap paper, used wrapping paper and ribbons.  Encourage them to get outside more and pretend.  Go on scavenger hunts looking for rocks, flowers, special leaves etc.  Ride their bikes.  Play catch.  Go to the park.

My daughter will take stuff out of the recycle bin and make up a little “city” as she calls it.  She pretends it is a kingdom.  She can do this for hours.  And I don’t have to buy one thing for her to do that.  Now, she does have toys, but I have been slowly trying to minimize the amount of toys she has.  We have reduced the amount quite a bit over the past few years.  I encourage her to give things away that she doesn’t use, so that kids who cannot buy a lot can play with them.  She is always willing to give things away for this reason.

This is really just one area that he talks about in his book.  He continues with tips on creating a very peaceful environment on your computer, with less icons and distractions so you can focus on what is important to you.  And allows you more time for what you love, rather than weeding through a bunch of files, icons, and programs.  He talks about saving files on-line, scanning paperwork, and other inexpensive easy ways to simplify your computer and how you use it. 

Here are links to both of his blogs:

www.zenhabits.net

www.mnmlist.com

And if you are interested in downloading his book for $9.95, click here .

It is all very interesting to me.  I am going to continue on my journey to living with less.  I’ll keep an update going on my progress   Let me know if you have any tips or ideas on the subject.  I’d love to hear them!

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4 thoughts on “Minimalism

  1. I love reading your comments about this. I have a long way to go but at least it gets me thinking about living with less! And it was so funny you mentioned that brownie pan insert, because just last night I saw that ad on TV and thought, wow, that’s kind of cool but something I definitely don’t need! And a lot tougher to clean than a knife (and I have discovered that a plastic knife cuts brownies perfectly!)

    • Thanks! I love this stuff, I’m becoming more and more addicted to minimizing our stuff. There is still quite a few things that I haven’t used since Brian and I got married. And if I haven’t used it in almost 2 years, it needs to go!

  2. I’m with you on the brownie thing. We just saw that too. (Does that mean we all watch too much t.v. 🙂 ) But, the comments were good. As I am quickly running out of closet and cupboard space I see that I need to cut back. I could use some simplifying and decluttering in my life.

    • It starts slowly, but I think once you get going it becomes so much easier. You start looking at things in your house and in the closets, and you think twice about whether you really love them or use them. And it’s continual. I’m always trying to give things away or sell them. It’s actually fun for me now. 🙂

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