August 27, 2008
…turn to more important matters than transporting gold to your grave. ~Credenda~
August 25, 2008
we’re taking some relatives to montreal tomorrow to show them the city.
whenever we visit montreal, we always make a stop at one of my favorite minimalist furniture stores: structube. it’s like minimalista, but more affordable. specifically, i’ll be looking for a new clock for the wall in my redesigned office. i’ll let you know if i find anything… in the meantime, check out some of structube’s furniture design.
August 23, 2008
i made some time to do some work around the house today and decided to take a trip to the garbage dump. over the last three months, i have thrown countless things into our garbage cans for the garbage man to haul away. but we have also amassed a small pile of “large items” that won’t be picked up curbside.
i loaded up the family mini-van with old vacuums, a chair, suitcases, a garage door opener, two old doors, weed whacker, sheet rock, a medium sized bag of tools, two large toys, and some other miscellaneous trash. while at the dump, two things struck me.
1. i paid $15.50 to dump the junk. while i was actually quite happy with the price, i couldn’t help but think, “this is so ironic. i’m giving you good-for-nothing junk and you’re charging me money? i mean, i already had to pay for this stuff once, i’ve got to pay again just to get rid of it!” it got me thinking… essentially i just paid them $15.50 to purchase some space for my junk. i am simply buying real estate in some hole somewhere in the earth to store my stuff. now, i’m smart enough to know that there are other costs that go into running a junkyard such as tranportation, machinery, and labor… but essentially, i’m just paying them for space in their garbage hole aren’t i?
that reality led me to lesson #1. whenever i make a purchase, i am forever responsible for finding the space to store that item – whether it be a baseball, a vacuum, or a sofa. unless i can sell the responsibility to somebody else, it will always be my duty to find space for it to exist (even if it means a one-time fee of $15.50). and that seems like a good way to think though any purchase.
2. i helped a young man unload a treadmill machine from the back of his pick-up to leave at the dump. i was thinking of the good feeling that i was experiencing after removing the large items from my home and i said to him, “i bet it feels good to get this out of the house.” “it sure does,” he responded with a smile on his face. lesson #2 – never buy a treadmill.
August 23, 2008
next time you decide to minimalize your wife’s football shaped jello molds that she was planning to use for your son’s birthday party… don’t!
related posts: note to self – scratch paper
August 22, 2008
today i ran into some interesting advice from christine over at organize magazine for my linen closet. she wrote: “a bed requires only two sets of sheets, period – one to wash, and one to wear. the rule of twos applies to towels as well: two bath towels, two hand towels and two washcloths per family member. (have some extras for guests, but not too many.)”
i can’t think of any good argument against the two-by-two rule. looks like i’ve got some more work to do.
you can read the whole article about organizing solutions for your linen closet right here.
August 21, 2008
i did some minimalizing around the house yesterday. i didn’t set out to find a minimalizing project, i was just looking for some dishsoap. but when i opened the cabinet door under the kitchen sink, i knew i had found my most recent minimalizing effort – cleaning solutions of all sorts, sponges, scrapers, and plastic bottles.
i followed my typical formula: pull out everything, create three piles (sell/donate/trash, relocate, return), reorganize, and complete. but for this project, i added one important step: test. that’s right! i took every product that we don’t use regularly and tested it before deciding to keep it. it’s amazing how many “specialized” cleaning solutions seem to do the same job as one multi-purpose disinfectant.
it took me one trash bag and about 45 minutes to complete the task. at the end, i had one new minimalized, clutter-free cabinet, a new understanding of our cleaning solutions, and one clean shower (the bathroom cleanser worked so good i decided to keep cleaning and finish the shower too).
my advice to my wife and to you – the next time you are about to buy a new, specialized cleaning solution in fresh-looking packaging, ask yourself if you really need it. and if you do, ask yourself how you ever kept it clean without it…
August 19, 2008
i found inspiration this afternoon from hans hofmann who was once labeled the “artist of the century” by american heritage magazine. he said…
“the ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
becoming minimalist is ultimately about removing the unnecessary so that we have room in our lives for the necessary – brilliant.
August 18, 2008
August 18, 2008
yesterday, i gave away a book to a friend named jenna. it really wasn’t that big of a deal. i overheard her mention that she was planning to go buy a certain book. i knew that i had a copy of the book on my shelf that i had already read. the next time that i saw her, i grabbed it and gave it to her. she was thrilled. i had saved her money and communicated the value that i place on our relationship.
the whole episode got me thinking, “as a minimalist, what should i do with my books?” i’ve seen the same question asked elsewhere. here are my thoughts on the subject:
- books that i have never read nor plan to read – get rid of them. examples would include books that were given to you or books that were recommended to you that no longer interest you. these books are just taking up space, creating clutter, and distracting you from the important things in your life. donate to a local library, goodwill, or garbage dump.
- books that i have read and have no use for anymore – get rid of them. examples would include fictional books or self-help books that weren’t all that helpful. again, get rid of them. there’s just no reason to keep them on your shelf or in your life.
- books that i have read that have become influential in my life – lend them out. these are the books that have helped shaped my life. they have made a difference in me and made me a better person. if so, these books woud make the same positive difference in someone else’s life. holding on to them would be a shame. put your name in the front cover and lend it out to someone who be equally challenged - and keep track of who you’ve given them to so that you can get them back.
- books that i have read and use often – keep them close. examples would include reference books, inspirational books, devotionals, etc. if you are drawing knowledge or inspiration from them on a regular basis, keep them handy on your shelf. and you should be able to find them easier with the other three categories removed.
happy reading. and minimalizing.
August 16, 2008
this afternoon during a trip to six flags, new england, i took a seat on a bench to wait for a friend. as i sat down, i was suprised to see two young men walk by with HUGE stuffed animals draped around their necks. they had obviously just won them at a “carnival game” and i turned to see which one. it was the basketball shot challenge… and i was immediately intrigued.
i like to think that i can hold my own on a basketball court – especially shooting a long-range jump shot. these young men didn’t look they were anything special and so i began to watch the other contestants.
$2 got you 1 shot and $5 got you 3 shots. make one basket and win a prize – a 4 foot tall stuffed puppy with the tongue hanging out. of the three current contestants, one won. at about that time, a team of 12-year old basketball players and their coaches arrived to give it a shot. when i noticed a high percentage of the players winning on one particular basket, i figured i was on to something and began reaching in my pocket to find a $5 bill thinking that my kids would love the gift!
and then i stopped. “wait a minute, i’m becoming minimalist. what am i going to do with a 4-foot tall stuffed puppy in my basement?” i asked myself. i imagined my kids thinking the puppy was pretty cute at first and then pushing it into a corner to go back to their old toys. the puppy would just sit there, lonely, taking up space in my basement.
i gripped my $5 tighter and tighter as i wrestled with the decision. and when my friend arrived, i used it to buy him some ice cream. i’m very happy with my decision.