October 5, 2008
September 12, 2008
it’s no small secret among those who know me best that when it comes to trips, i am a lousy packer. i pack too much (and still manage to forget something). our family of two adults and two small children (5 & 1 at the time) once took six large suitcases for a christmas vacation to family – and all six were delayed by the airline.
but one of the unforseen benefits of becoming minimalist is that it has made packing for trips much easier and much lighter. plainly stated, we just don’t pack as much stuff. and surprisingly, our vacation wasn’t ruined by taking less items – it became more enjoyable. less luggage to the car and through the airport, more room in the hotel rooms, and less time repacking to come home were just some of the things that made this summer’s vacation better by packing lighter. and now that the airlines are charging extra for the second bag (and sometimes the first), it has also become cheaper as well.
August 10, 2008
i originally found this benefit in a zenhabits blog post titled, “a guide to creating a minimalist home.” their thoughts on minimalization are amazing! because i have noticed many people are ending up at this blog after searching for “minimalism benefits” i wanted to be sure that it got on the list because i have found it to be so true!
more appealing. think about photos of homes that are cluttered, and photos of minimalist homes. the ones with almost nothing in them except some beautiful furniture, some nice artwork, and a very few pretty decorations, are the ones that appeal to most of us. you can make your home more appealing by making it more minimalist.
we have found this to be true in our home over and over again. whether it be something simple like removing crowded knick-knacks from a shelf or something large like removing unused pieces of furniture, we continue to enjoy the look of our home more and more as we continue to become more and more minimalist.
August 7, 2008
antiquing (v): the act of shopping, identifying, negotiating, or bargaining for old things like dressers, canisters, postcards, or bird cages. items can be bought for personal use, gifts, or just to sit on your shelf for another 20 years. antiquing is performed at garage sales, estate sales, resort towns, antiques districts, collectives, international auction houses, and other places with nothing to do.
and because i have become minimalist, i never have to do it again. thank goodness.
related posts: benefits of minimalism
July 22, 2008
we enjoy entertaining and having people over to our house. we almost always have guests in our home once per week, occasionally twice per week, and sometime three times a week. with this much company, you would think that we would do a better job of keeping our house spotlessly clean. but with two small children, it’s not that easy. and just like most families, we are tidying, dusting, and vaccuming in the hours preceding the guests’ arrival hoping that none of them arrive too early.
since intentionally becoming minimalist 45 days ago, we have noticed a significant decrease in the amount of preparation time before our guests arrive. there are less things in the house that need to be relocated. there are less things that need to be cleaned or dusted, and we have a tendency to keep our house cleaner throughout the week because the clutter is more obvious in a minimalist home.
this benefit came sharply into focus over the last two test cases. 1) my mother-in-law came to stay with us for a week to watch our kids. 2) a group of strangers came over for an evening to discuss investing in our businees. in both cases, we were ready preparing the house in record time and even had time to spare before the guests arrive.
since going minimalist, we have found it easier to entertain and more enjoyable.
July 14, 2008
i just returned home from a week-long trip near new orleans. it became significant because it was our first trip away since intentionally deciding to become minimalist. although i wasn’t thinking about the blog, the last day of the trip we were in the city near the flea market when i just happened upon another benefit of minimalism – easier souvenir shopping. and i immediately knew, it had to make my list.
of our vacation traditions, we always included a day in the local marketplace/flea market/souvenir shops hoping to find just the right souvenir to take home with us. despite the many hours that we spent looking, many of our souvenirs ended up in the basement in a box with all the other souvenirs that seemed to be a good purchase at the time – colored blankets, knick-knacks, chess sets, postcards, cups, etc. and with each passing vacation/souvenir, the pressure to find a good souvenir that would survive the trip home and the test of time would mount. simply, i was tired of spending money on things just to put them in a box.
this past saturday in new orleans, we went to the market because we had others along with us who wanted some souvenirs from the trip. as we floated from shop to shop deciding which items to buy for their home/life, i felt no pressure. none. i had no desire to buy anything for my home – we are living a different life now. because i knew that i wasn’t going to buy anything, i was free to enjoy the walk taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells while our companions felt all the pressure to find “just the right souvenir.” another benefit of minimalism - easier souvenir shopping.
remind me never to go back to that previous lifestyle.
July 8, 2008
as a part of my job, i frequently take adults and students to third-world environments. and i have taken enough trips over the years i can predict what the emotional response is going to be in the life of somebody who has never seen life outside of the established, consumer-driven, american culture where i live.
they will have three emotions at some point during the trip:
- they will marvel that people with so little can be so joyful.
- they will long to enjoy life as much as the people they meet.
- they will say that they are blessed to live in america and own so many possessions.
the reflective ones will connect the dots and realize the foolishness of their third statement as soon as they say it out loud. others will repeat the same three emotions over and over again.
the truth is that “possessions” and “joy” are not equal. this can be seen in the statistics (america ranks #1 in rate of depression) and this can be seen in the people we meet in the third-world countries (which leads to the emotion #1 and #2).
the unfortunate truth is that for so long americans have equated possessions with joy in life that even when the evidence is right in front of their face, we are blind to recognize it. minimalism begins to conteract that belief structure. we begin to live with less and find that joy does not leave our lives.
it may even feed it.
July 1, 2008
assume for a moment that you have one of those mothers that does all the work around the house for you because she wants everything to be perfect for her family. every morning when you wake up she goes in and completely cleans your entire room top to bottom. and every time you go to bed, she comes in and puts everything away for you – just so that everything is perfect.
if that was the case, how would you show the most respect and honor to your mother? would you best bring her honor by pulling out every toy and making as large a mess as possible for her to clean? or would you bring her honor by keeping things clean, by putting your own toys away, and keeping the room as close to perfection as possible? the second one of course. you’d bring honor to her by sustaining the perfection that she desires for you as much as possible.
i believe that God created this earth perfect and will return to restore it to its original beauty. in the meantime, God has placed humanity over the earth to rule over it. and just like the child in the story above, we bring God the most honor and glory when we rule over the earth in a manner that sustains His original and ultimate plan as much as possible.
the less we consume, the less damage we do to the environment. and that benefits everybody!
June 22, 2008
i can’t take much credit for thinking of this benefit on my own – i originally found it in a zenhabits blog post titled, “a guide to creating a minimalist home.” by the way, their thoughts on minimalization are amazing! however, i have noticed that many people are ending up at this blog after searching for “minimalism benefits” so i wanted to be sure that it got on the list because i have found it to be so true!
a minimalist home is less stressful. clutter is a form of visual distraction, and everything in our vision pulls at our attention at least a little. the less clutter, the less visual stress we have. a minimalist home is calming.
i have found this to be true and you will too with a simple experiment. go compare two counter tops – one that is clear (minimal) and one that is cluttered. look at each of them separately. what is your internal emotional response? does the clear one bring about a calming effect? does the cluttered one bring emotions of distraction or anxiety?
a minimalist home is less stressful. i have found that to be so true as we continue to become minimalist.
June 19, 2008
over the past three weeks since we began this journey, i have noticed a change in my lifestyle. karen kingston helped me understand it.
in her book, clear your clutter with feng shui, karen writes this about clutter – “you know what it is like. you are walking down the street and you see that someone has thoughtlessly thrown an empty cigarette packet in the corner near the roadside. the next day you walk past the same spot, and the empty pack has been joined by a few more items of trash. before long it becomes a full-blown garbage dump. clutter accumulates the same way in your house. it starts with a bit and then it slowly, insidously, grows and grows.”
clutter attracts clutter. it just takes one piece of junk mail, one article of clothing left on a chair, or one receipt not filed properly to get the clutter momentum started.
what i have found over the last three weeks is that the opposite is also true. when a surface is left clean, that one piece of clutter seems out of place and calls you to put it away. since i minimalized my office and removed all the clutter, i can’t stand the idea of leaving one piece of paper sitting on my desk – and so i put it away. since i minimalized my wardrobe, i can’t stand the idea of leaving one shirt laying on the floor – and so i throw it down to the laundry. since we minimalized the living room, i can’t stand the idea of leaving my shoes in the corner or a book on the table - and so i put them where they go right away.
perhaps, i should have learned to just put things away years ago when i turned 20, 25, or 30. but for me another benefit of minimalism is that it leads to even more minimalism. and that’s a good change in my lifestyle – just ask my wife.