Minimalism 101

min·i·mal·ism
  • A trend in sculpture and painting that arose in the 1950s and used simple, typically massive, forms.
  • An avant-garde movement in music characterized by the repetition of very short phrases that change gradually, producing a hypnotic effect.

If you’re new to the idea of minimizing or need a gentle push to get back on track, here are a few simple things that can get you moving in the right direction.

These days, we’ve come to know the term “minimalism” to mean simplifying our lives to reduce the time we spend focusing on the things that don’t matter, to create more space for the things that do. Minimizing our lives can “produce a hypnotic effect,” or presence. It can help us Be All There.

It’s so much fun hearing about your experiences with minimalism and how it impacts your lives! You’ve commented that this gradual shift in mindset is simple, fun and rewarding!

What I’ve learned so far about minimalism has come from a few difference communities, such as, Courtney Carver’s http://www.bemorewithless.com, Tammy Strobel’s http://www.rowdykittens.com, and Joshua Becker’s http://www.becomingminimalist.com.  They have inspired me to embark on this journey and to share it with you here and I’m so grateful to them!

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As I simplify my life, and make more time for meaningful relationships, here’s what’s been working for me, and what I hope you find useful:
 
1. Minimize Your Stuff
 
The One-In-One-Out Rule
This was a game changer for me. What this basically means is that, before you buy that tank top, pair of pants, new bag, or tool, get rid of a similar item that no longer serves you. This will immediately halt the influx of more stuff. By following this basic rule, you will stop the momentum and begin to raise your awareness of what you actually have and what you really NEED. You might also find that you have more time for how you actually WANT to spend your time. I still get kind of giddy when I think about when I first realized how simple and rewarding this could be. I wrote about it here http://beallthere.net/2015/04/25/live-more-with-less/
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Get Rid of Things That Don’t Serve You Anymore
This came fairly easy once I realized I was holding onto some real junk! Go through your clothes, housewares, personal care items, tools, gardening and home office items, everything, and really look at it. Get rid of old, ripped, stained, chipped, expired, duplicate, broken, stretched out, ill-fitting, items. If you’re like me, you’re holding onto some really old things and you don’t even know why, it’s just that you never thought to get rid of them. This will take time, so be patient, and I’ve found that I go through cycles. I discard things that obviously need to go, live with what’s left, then dig a little deeper next time, if it feels right. I took this opportunity to upgrade in a few areas. I got rid of my old, pitted, stained plastic storage containers and replaced them with glass storage containers, something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I gave away 6 bags and got two good quality ones. They are versatile enough to use for many occasions and, since they are of good quality, they will last a long time. We’re worth it!
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Use What You Have
If you have things that are nice, use them! If you’re like me, you’re saving the “nice soap”  and that luxurious hand cream for someone really special. We all deserve nice things and if you have them, use them for yourself and your family! Since I started this journey, I haven’t run out of  nice soap yet! I’ve also found that I buy new shampoo and conditioner before I run out of my old stuff, therefore, I have several almost empty bottles in my shower. If this sounds familiar to you, I urge you to use up what you have BEFORE buying more. I experimented with this and I had enough shampoo and conditioner in those almost empty bottles that lasted for a few months! Using what you have is a great way to minimize your stuff and save money. Why hang onto it if you’re not going to use it?
Luckily, my husband has fully embraced minimalism, but, if your family is not yet on board, just focus on your own stuff. I think you’ll find that you’ll create an interest in what you’re doing, and other family members will find it as exciting as you!
 
2. Minimize Your Screen Time
 
Unplug to De-clutter Mentally
This was a big one for me. Since we tend to carry our phones around with us, we can constantly search and connect, but it doesn’t mean we have to. It’s our choice as to how we set boundaries and integrate technology into our lives.

I chose to stop checking work email at home, to limit my time on social media and to continue to choose interacting with people around me rather than getting lost in my phone.

Instead of constantly checking Facebook, for example, I check it 2 or 3 times per day. I realized I didn’t miss anything. I’ve stuck to most of these boundaries, but, I have to admit, I need to do another social media cleanse since I’ve gotten off track with this.

When I limit my screen time, I’m more present for myself and those I love. I’ve always said that we are not designed to take in and process the huge amount of information that technology provides. It’s overwhelming and stressful. Limiting my screen time created more calmness and focus in my life and I think it can for you too. Give it a try!
3. Make More Time for Yourself and Others
LIVE more with less.
Making more time for myself and the people who I love is what this journey is all about for me.  I’ve been working on putting myself first, which doesn’t come naturally for me.
Over the last year, I’ve realized that, in making self-care a priority, I am better able to Be All There for my family and my friends. It’s not always perfect, but I do my best to make time for what I enjoy doing, and I realize that I don’t have to say yes to every invitation. If I get off track with my self-care routine, I do my best to get back on track with compassion towards myself. 
At first, I thought that this would limit my social interactions, but I’ve actually found the opposite to be true. With less focus on stuff and more focus on relationships, I’ve found myself reaching out and connecting with people more than ever!
I’ve realized that everyone isn’t for me and I’m not for everyone, and that’s really OK. I just want to fill my life with people and relationships that I connect with. Read more about my self-care routine and how I’m not everyone’s cup of tea here: https://beallthere.net/2015/03/15/my-cup-of-tea/.
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4. Keep It Simple
 
Trust your gut.
Keep it simple and do what works for you at your own pace.  I’m de-cluttering and eliminating things gradually, in stages or waves. What works for me is to minimize my stuff to a point where I’m comfortable, live there for a while, then revisit to see if I can eliminate more stuff. It’s working! 
I recently attempted to create a self hosted site for my blog, and spent two days, too much money and too much time on live chat trying to set things up correctly. 
This created so much stress for me that I took a step back and thought about I was trying to accomplish. I wasn’t even sure what self hosting would even add to what I was already doing and what I really wanted was to have my own domain name, something that reflected what I wanted to share with you.  I realized that this was way too complicated for me at this point and decided to stick with what I have, for now. It’s simple, I understand it, and it works for me. 
I hope that you’ve found this information useful and that it helps you to Be All There!
 
 
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5 thoughts on “Minimalism 101

    • Thanks! Yes, I’m working on unplugging, as well. I think it will be a daily challenge, but so worth it! I find it helpful to shut my phone off or put it out of sight for a while. Let’s keep at it!

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  1. Thank goodness for your blog Jeanne, it is a good reminder to get back on track in becoming more of a minimalist, something I talk about but procrastinate to put into action. As I get older I realize just how much better I feel when I focus on decluttering materially and mentally!

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    • Yes, it DOES feel freeing to declutter!! I’ve been taking it slowly and in cycles, each time I dig a little deeper. That plastic theme park cup seemed special the first time around, but not this time, it’s out!

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  2. Pingback: A Lesson in Perspective From a Veggie Wrap | Be All There

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