I’ve been thinking a lot this week about simplifying and reducing and letting go of “stuff” of all kinds. Some of this pondering has been prompted by encountering various posts about minimalism, and some of this pondering has led me to searching for more information about minimalism.
I am definitely not a minimalist now, and I’m not sure that’s really where I want to wind up. But I am inspired by these people who have really dedicated themselves to simplifying their lives down to the minimum in order to make space for the things that matter more to them: travel, freedom, choices, or other rewards. Today’s list of links are a few of the recent (and not so recent) posts that I have found helpful as I consider my own next steps.
Any project of downsizing needs to start with an assessment of what is truly needed and what isn’t. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists had a recent post that tackled this topic called Need, Want, Like. I’ve often heard of splitting things into the need vs. want categories, but I like the use of the three categories (need, want, and like) that they advocate in this post. Essentially, they define this as things that add value to one’s life are wants, whereas those things that don’t provide much value are likes. This gives me the room to go beyond true needs while still honoring those things that make life better and without indulging everything that catches my eye.
Brooke McAlary of Slow Your Home (I’ll mention this blog again later) had a guest post on Becoming Minimalist this week called Bird by Bird: The Slow Guide to Minimalism. In this post, she acknowledges how easy it is to get overwhelmed by all that needs to be gone through when first starting a de-cluttering/minimalizing project. She offers some encouragement here to take things slow and do one thing at a time on the process. As one who easily gets overwhelmed by trying to do it all at once, this was a great reminder not to overdo.
Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist takes this a step further with his post 10 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home. He offers ten great ways to implement a bird by bird approach by breaking things into smaller pieces. I really like the different options that he gives here for finding ways to keep the process manageable. I will definitely be using several of these!
Two of the biggest areas where I struggle with excess clutter are my books (I have over 2000 of them) and sentimental stuff (gifts from others, family heirlooms, things with memories attached). Rachel of Home Your Way tackles the book question in her post In Defense of a Small Home Library. I’m highly unlikely to downsize my library as much as she has anytime soon, but her post does help me begin to at least start considering whether there are areas that I would be comfortable downsizing a bit more and whether I have an unconscious emotional attachments to having so many books that I could perhaps shift to make more space.
Joshua Field Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists tackle the sentimental items question in their post Letting Go of Sentimental Items. This post tackled the subject head on by looking at how one of them handled dealing with his mother’s items after her death. He describes his shift in approach to this topic as he moved through the grieving process and what this taught him about how to think about these kinds of sentimental items in the future as well. This gives me lots to think about in my own struggle with this question, and I really appreciated his candor in describing his personal journey.
Finally, Brooke McAlary of Slow Your Home had a post on her own blog called ‘K’ is for Kindred Spirits: A-Z of Simple Living. This post contains an annotated list of a number of the blogs that she has found useful as she has taken her own journey toward minimalism. I’ve now followed a number of these blogs either on Twitter or via RSS feed (or both) to help me decide what my own goals are as I aim to simplify my life. If you have any interest in this topic, you might find some useful resources here as well.
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