Trying out minimalism

Hot air ballooning over Charlottesville, VA

One of the new things I’ve been working on this year is minimalism. Minimalism can mean different things to different people, but generally it means enjoying more experiences and not getting bogged down by extraneous stuff. Stuff can be objects or possessions, or stuff can be relationships, jobs or extracurricular activities that aren’t adding value to your life.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I discovered minimalism, but knowing myself, I probably saw something on Pinterest. I do know that after I started looking at minimalism, I discovered that there really aren’t any rules. There have been a bunch of blogs and websites that I’ve visited to learn more. The ones that I’ve gotten the most value from are: theminimalists.com, bemorewithless.com, becomingminimalist.com and zenhabits.net. The authors of these sites have different lives – 2 single guys, a mom, a dad with 2 kids and a dad with 6 kids, respectively – so you can take what works for you and incorporate it how you see fit.

While there aren’t any rules, there are certainly games and challenges that the above mentioned websites present to people who want to practice minimalism.  One person challenges you to pare down your wardrobe to 33 pieces (not including accessories and underwear).  The 2 single guys present a challenge for one month – on the first day get rid of one thing, the second day 2 things, the third day 3 things…..the thirtieth day 30 things.  I challenge you to explore at least 2 of the websites above and at least think about how your life would be different if you practiced a little bit of minimalism.

I ran across one person’s website who only owns 100 things and can name every one of them and why they own it.  This is not me.  Can I live with only 100 things?  Yes.  Do I want to?  No.  This was too extreme for me.  I have more than 33 items of clothing and I still like to have decorations in my house to look at.

Minimalism isn’t always about getting rid of things either.  Minimalism is also about giving back to other people to take the focus off always wanting more for yourself.  Sometimes you gain more by giving back to others – laughter, support, experiences, etc.  I’ve read many articles recently about how people who donate their time feel happier and more fulfilled in their lives.

I plan on writing more posts on things I have done, am doing and plan on doing to incorporate minimalism into my life.  Stay tuned.

(originally posted 9/1/14 on bottlesofhamburgers.wordpress.com)

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