Monday, February 25, 2013 -- maximize life by minimizing

I am still de-cluttering.  When I come home, I still ask myself what I can get rid of next.  Believe it or not, the movie-lover and the bibliophile just got rid of a ton of movies and a bunch of books.  I'm pretty sure I decreased my movie collection by 75% and my books by 50%.  There a lot of books I have to keep for school purposes.  Some movies I really could not part with either because (1) they are difficult to find anywhere, or (2) I really do watch them often.  Some of my fiction books, I couldn't bear to get rid of because (1) I started my children's book collection with a purpose and (2) some were gifts.  Even by keeping all those, I greatly decreased my belongings!

So I come home and I open closets and assess whether or not I am satisfied with the amount of things in it and the organization.  If I am not, I go back to de-cluttering.  It's definitely a process.  Some things, you really have to think about whether or not you want to keep it.  A few rules of mine:

1. If I didn't realize you had it, I have lived without it, so you obviously I not need it.  Toss it.
2. I am allowed one Sterilite container of keepsakes.  No more than that.  This keeps things under control.  After a while, I might digitize some of my keepsakes, like cards people have given me with messages that have touched my heart.  I really don't need the cards; I want the messages.
3. I am a single individual.  I do not need ten water bottles, or eight bottles of lotion, or an economy-sized pack of post-it notes.
4. Before donating, ask if a friend needs anything you're giving away.  Sometimes you have just what they are looking for.
5. Out with the old, in with the new.  If I have something old that is not operating as it should, replace it but do not keep the old item!
6. Sit and stare at an area for five minutes.  Does anything about that area bother you?  Does it begin to stress you out?  Do something about it!
7. I ask myself, "In three days, will I desperately miss this?"  If the answer is no, I toss it.
8. I like to focus on the results of de-cluttering.  When I move, there will be much less to deal with, making a less stressful move.  When I clean, there is less to deal with.  I save time and there is less stress.

Whenever I imagine my life without all the stuff I can part with, happy feelings brew inside me.  I was just bouncing around the internet the other day and I found this awesome blog: Becoming Minimalist.  I poked around and realized that this was the lifestyle I wanted to achieve.

The blog features a post that lists 21 benefits of minimalism.  Click >>here<< to read it.  I want all 21 of those benefits.  I want to spend less, to have less stress, to be more productive, to have more freedom, to help the environment and to be happier.  I have found that this is the key for my happiness.  Simple living.  Minimalism.

I have important things in my life that I don't treat as important as I should.  I need to focus more on my faith and charity and spending more quality time with the people (and puppies) that mean the most to me.  I think that making a minimalist lifestyle the goal is going to help me with that.

What I like about this whole minimalist thing is that it is pretty subjective.  Yes, own fewer things, consume less, etc.  Each person has a different beginning point.  I know before I even started this whole process, I had waaay less than a lot of people I know.  The minimalist point is different for everyone.  We don't all have to have white walls and no television and no electronics to become minimalist.

Minimalism for me is to have as little clutter as possible and to ensure that all the belongings I have are purposeful.  Does this picture on my wall bring me happiness? No?  Then take it down.  I want to go shopping and not be lured by everything I see.  I want to be focused on my list and only get what I went there for.  I have spent so much money in the past - this whole process contributes to my financial well-being as well.

I think everyone can do things that make them more minimalist.  Everyone might not be comfortable with this lifestyle, but I think everyone can focus on one aspect of their live and minimize, whether it be one closet, one room, one bookshelf, limiting any type of consumption... it all contributes to positivity.

I am doing this.  I know my goal and I am going for it.

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