The Art of being minimalist
Over the past 18 months or so, my attitude towards some of my possessions has dramatically changed.
I’ve made a seismic shift from someone who never really thought about ‘stuff’ to someone who sometimes wishes the decluttering fairy would visit with a Fairy Godmother in tow.
You see, I’ve realised that I spend too much time looking after my stuff. Time I would rather spend indulging in more meaningful pursuits. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying I’m ungrateful for what I have. On the contrary, I feel blessed daily that I have everything I need; especially when there are so many people in the world with nothing; it’s just that sometimes I would like to live a more zen like existence.
The bottom line is, we have too much stuff for the space here at Chez Green. It seems obvious that everything should have a home and you should put it back in its home after use. That way nothing gets lost, you don’t waste your time looking for things and life is so much easier and organised.
The reality is, things can’t have a home here because we have too many of them and not enough space to put them all.
Unfortunately for me, Mr Green is a hoarder, which leaves my closet minimalist in a bit of a quandry.
I remember distinctly clearing space off a shelf once and Mr Green asked me what I was going to put there.
Duh! I wanted the space, he likes to fill spaces…
I set myself a grand wardrobe declutter this month. I absolutely know that I only wear a small fraction of my clothes and the rest I keep for, I don’t know what or why or how….
I wonder if there is a subconscious poverty mentality going on. Don’t I trust that everything will be ok? Don’t I trust that if I let something go something else will come to me if I really need it? I certainly believe this on a conscious level, so perhaps I’ve bought into the marketing which tells me I need stuff in order to be liked, healthy, sexy, fun to be with, ok, accepted ….
Consciously I don’t believe that crap either.
Anyway, I’ve been totally inspired by Everett Bogue’s “Art of being Minimalist” book. I wouldn’t personally take things as far as him, but his work is inspiring and he’s taking Downshifting to the next stage. He quit his job, gave away most of his stuff, kept 100 carefully chosen items (which he could carry in a backpack) and set off with $3000 in his bank account. It would seem he has never looked back!
Everett is happier, healthier, doing the things he loves, is less burdened and has found his purpose in life. He’s telling everyone how to see through the American dream and start living life! We all know that happiness is not measured by the things we own, yet we still keep buying things to give us an emotional fix. I wrote a while ago about how I felt about choice and happiness and there appears to be a growing movement of people who are seeking something else in life. Something that brings fulfilment, true lasting happiness, meaning, purpose and a sense of okness with the world such as Leo Babauta over on Zen Habits, Tammy Strobe from Rowdy Kittens and Chris Baskind from More Minimal.
Everett’s “The Art of being minimalist” was written to help people declutter their lives, untangle their schedules, and find the freedom they’ve always dreamed they could have. If that sounds like you, then head over and buy yourself a copy. It’s beautifully written, the art work is suitably minimalist and even if you don’t pack 100 items into a backpack and head off into the sunset I can guarantee it will get you rethinking your life and making subtle changes. There are plenty of tips to get you started … Click here to visit Everett Bogue and buy the book! and if you need more convincing, you can view the first 30 pages for free on his site.
Let me know what you think!
Sounds like a very inspiring book. Nine months ago, my husband and I sold our entire household and moved to Montevideo, Uruguay (South America) with only what we could bring on the plane – and our one year old daughter of course. Getting rid of all of the clutter and material possessions was one of the most liberating experiences of our lives. It really has taught us to live a much simpler lifestyle, and we’re happier because of it. If we return to the States, we won’t be living the same consumerist lifestyle that most North Americans live. I’ll have to check out this book.
I really think this is a great philosophy. I think everyone has too much ‘stuff’ nowadays, and with the wide availability of cheap tat and affordable electronics, people just upgrade all the time and buy more and more things they think they need to live a happy fulfilling life.
I’ve moved country a lot over the last 6 or 7 years, and as a result have had to pack my life in my rucksack. Moving can be stressful, but it’s a great way to lose all the accummulated ‘stuff’that has piled up. And I always end up giving a lot of stuff to charity or passing it on to friends who need it. It gives one a sense of lightness and freedom to just leave all the clutter and head off with one bag.
We really don’t need much to have happy, healthy lives, but advertising brainwashes us to think we need every new flashy gizmo on the market. They use beautiful, tanned healthy looking models in exciting situations, surrounded by similar smiling, exstatic ‘friends’ looking like their lives are complete because they own the latest phone, camera, car, sofa etc. It really is a good way to make the vast majority of us working folk feel like we are missing out. I guess it’s just up to us to use our brains and remind ourselves that these are expensive, well staged ads and life is nothing like they are trying to portray it usually.
We need to find joy in the little things, nature around us and the company of good friends.
Here is an article about a guy who took simple living to the extreme and has decided to live without money. he lives in a caravan in the woods, uses solar power, finds lots of free food outside restuarants and also forages for food in the woods!
This would be a really tough transition for most people to make but he seems genuinely happy. Good for him!
Who knows, we may be inspired to do a bit of foraging this weekend!
@Chrystal @ Happy Mothering: Chrystal; thank you so much for sharing your experience; it sounds awesome. Fearful, but amazing at the same time. I’m so pleased you have found peace from it all. Well done you! Inspiring stuff.
@Sinead: wonderful comment Sinead – thank you for sharing here. It sounds like you have lots of experience of letting things go and the sense of freedom that comes with it. I know Mark, who was featured in the article you posted; he is a wonderful person. I adore what he is doing and he has a pure soul to match 🙂