We have made it 2 weeks, and it's been amazing seeing just how much stuff we've been able to say goodbye to. And while this is the halfway point, time-wise, we're not even a quarter of the way through all of the items we'll be getting rid of. The cumulative celeration chart shows exactly how many things have gone, and the trend that is leveling off. What the graph doesn't show is just how good it has felt to get rid of these possessions, and to revisit some possessions that are really worth keeping. The scientist in me (more-so, Dan) still demands some objective way to measure the impact of this project, other than just number of items gone, which has led to the questions:
As I have been posting and researching for this minimalist project, creepy Google has been providing me with stories about others’ minimalist journeys, many of which are very different from our own. The stories make me wonder if any two people have the same answer to what minimalism is really about.
Gweneth Patrow’s NY penthouse suite:
The other day, a story about Gweneth Paltrow came up. It said, “Gweneth Paltrow’s NY penthouse suite is a minimalist’s dream!” The title seemed a bit of an oxymoron to me, but I took a look. It was a large penthouse that looked like a magazine cover. The entire penthouse was white or off-white and there was maybe one item on each surface. It was pristine – actually, sterile might be a better word to describe it.
The dream house for show:
There is a clip in the documentary, Minimalism, with the author of Clutterfree with Kids. I have not read this book, but the images of this house made it look like minimalism means having NOTHING. They were standing a large “American Dream” home, but there was nothing in it from what the viewer could see. It actually looked like the family had just walked into a brand new home and the mother was signing the mortgage papers on the counter.
You can catch a glimpse of what we are talking about at minute 2 in this video trailer.
I’m not sharing these stories to say that these are poor representations of minimalism. Gweneth Paltrow is probably an accurate representation of minimalism from the rich and famous standpoint. Of course, when you show that to the average American, it looks lavish and probably inspires many people to go buy more things to copy that lifestyle. And, the family living in the empty house may just like to have their own organizational system where everything is put away. Maybe having a house that looks like a display home makes them happy.
But talking to people outside of these extremes shows that to live a ‘minimalist’ lifestyle, you don’t HAVE to live in a home that looks up for sale, or a home that is all white. You don’t HAVE to sell 90% of everything you own. There is no one "right" way to do it.
I think the point of living a minimalist lifestyle is to eliminate things that don’t fulfill you and keep things that do, in a way that adds to your happiness. It also doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever buy anything. But rather, make thoughtful decisions about the things you buy. Think about whether you are buying the item because some advertisement told you to or whether you are buying it because it will bring fulfillment and joy to you.
And this isn't an easy thing to do. The other day a coupon and advertisement for home goods came in the mail, and I immediately started dreaming about owning the backyard furniture it displayed. But I did not desire any of this before the advertisement came. It would have been very tempting to go out and buy those things...if I had a back yard...
My reminder as we head into week 3 is that it is not about having as few things as possible. It is about re-evaluating the value that each item brings to you. Keep what makes you happy. And as far as measuring the outcomes or impact of this project, for now, happiness will just have to do.
Here is our day 15. Sushi accessories we don't use. Don't worry there are still plenty of sushi tools that are staying...and being used to make some sushi tonight!
Dan and I are one week in to clearing out all of our 'unnecessaries'. This is basically our permanent version of a spring cleaning. I spent last week talking about how we have too much "stuff" and how it is getting in the way of enjoying what truly matters. We are spending 30 days progressively getting rid of more items each day, tracking what we can, and sharing it with you.
Here is our week 1 update.
Planners are great for time management. We all get it; we are more likely to do something if we write it down. And writing down where your time goes helps to create plans for managing that time wisely. Of course, it is about more than just time, isn't it? Time by itself, doesn't give us a lot to work with, we also need to know what we are going to do with that time - it’s about behaviors. Maybe this is why watches were going extinct until fitness trackers came along and saved them.
There are accumulating articles and videos on millennials these days. Some are positive, many are negative, but most of them conclude that we millennials are fickle. We are less likely to stay at a job long term, have short attention spans, and are entitled. But at the same time, millennials have also created some of the largest and best known companies around today. Have you heard of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Airbnb, Dropbox, EventBrite, Lyft, Snapchat, or Stripe? All started by millennials. Many of these founders fit those stereotypes of millennials that are often perceived as negative. They quit their jobs after short stints or dropped out of school. But, who is to say this is a bad thing? Since when is trying to be happier a bad thing? Because of these so-called millennials rejecting the status-quo, we have products and services that have fundamentally changed daily living.
2016 is coming to a close and with that we are reflecting on the events this year brought us. The internet is flowing with serious videos of well-known figures that have passed away and humorous videos of songs about how crappy 2016 was. It seems that many people are celebrating the ending of 2016 this year rather than the usual celebrations of the New Year to come.
Either way, with a new year comes new opportunity. And the tone and possibilities for 2017 are still up in the air. While none of us can really control what will happen in the world in 2017, we do have some control over what will happen in our world. And so it is time to decide who you will be in 2017. New Year’s resolutions have been falling out of popularity over recent years, but more than ever 2017 needs to bring back this tradition.
Who will you be in 2017? Will you decide to better yourself, or the world around you? It is hard to ignore the political situation with the coming of the New Year. And whether you are happy that Obama is leaving or scared that Trump is entering, it is up to all of us to set the mood for 2017 and add goodness into our communities. It’s time to be proactive. So, to help you get started, here is a list of 39 New Year’s resolutions to make 2017 a more positive, active, and successful year, along with tips on how to accomplish those resolutions.
Ahh the holidays…the magical time of year. The time for loved ones reuniting, giving and receiving, and lights filling the streets. Also the time for overeating, stressing over in-laws, and losing track of our normal schedules. The holidays often add a long to do list for many people - decorating the house, shopping, cleaning, cooking, and scheduling times to visit family. And with this long to-do list comes added stress. For others visiting with family means sitting inside for extended periods of time and skipping usual plans for physical activity.
Today, we bring you a how to guide for avoiding falling too far into this unhealthy pattern of behaviors - without having to avoid the holidays altogether.
You feel like you're stuck in a rut at work or in life, where you just can't bring yourself to get things done? Learn 6 powerful techniques to help get back in the zone.
The other day, I came across an interesting post on the get disciplined sub-Reddit. This person told a story about a some serious motivation and performance issues he was experiencing, to the extent that is was seriously affecting his career and personal life. He asked the question “how do I get out of a rut?” and this really resonated with me, as he described some feelings that I could definitely relate with.
Sometimes it can be hard to get started on a task. Just when it seems like you are ready to get moving on that thing you have been putting off, something on Facebook pops up.
And we both know it is probably really important.
So you should check it before you get started.
Just in case....
Be honest, are you reading this now because you are avoiding doing something else?
To ensure that your working time is actually effective, take some time to arrange your environment in a way that will help your productivity before you get started. If you do this you will go a long way in making the most of your work time.
One really helpful strategy is to set up separate “zones” for your work and home life.
Recently there has been a lot of talk about increasing the minimum wage in the U.S. Much of this debate has centered around the potential economic effects of such a raise. One side argues that increasing the minimum wage will decrease the number of jobs available as employers are forced to cut costs to afford new higher wages. On the other side advocates suggest that past wage hikes have not adversely affected employment.