October 5, 2008
September 29, 2008
an interesting conversation occurred with my wife last night when she informed that a good family friend of ours had offered to give our 2-year old daughter a large box of hand-me-down toys that her daughter had outgrown. included in the collection is a large-wooden dollhouse. my wife was interested to see how i would respond based on our decision to become minimalist.
as i began to think through what it would mean to bring in a large number of toys, i had a number of questions for my wife.
- are the toys something that our daughter will enjoy playing? easy answer – yes. she absolutely loves dolls! that’s her thing – playing with dolls. i can picture the joy on her face already of having a dollhouse to put them in. shame on me if my quest to become minimalist would rob her of that joy.
- are the toys something that the other family wants to use to bless our family or just get out of their own house? we all know the family that graciously offers to give you their old treadmill or foosball table – not for the sake of blessing, but for the sake of removing the clutter from their own house. my wife assured me that they were genuinely hoping to bless our family - even to the point that the daughter ran up to her excitedly to tell about the toys that she had picked out for us.
- do we have toys that we can remove from our daughter’s current collection to make room for the new ones? absolutely! there are many toys in the toy room that my little girl has outgrown or no longer has an interest in. we will sort out some of those toys and remove them to make room for the new ones.
i can’t wait to see the joy on my daughter’s face when the new dollhouse appears in our toyroom! and i am very grateful for the wonderful family whose generosity will bring her that joy. thank you.
September 2, 2008
the first time i noticed it i was 21 years old. i had a good paying job and had just broken up with my girlfriend. and for the first time in my life i had money and nothing to do. i didn’t notice it right away. actually, i didn’t notice it until a friend came over and asked to borrow a shirt. i took him to my closet and i began pulling new shirt after new shirt out of the closet and remarking how i really didn’t like them that much. that’s when my friend said, “too much free time?” and it dawned on me… because i had nothing to do, i was going shopping to fill my time and spending money on things that i really didn’t need. idle time was leading to money spent.
now that i am older, in a career, and have a family, i find myself with less free time and less disposable income. i don’t go shopping to fill my idle time all that often. but the subtly of free time still remains.
many of the things that we use to fill our free time (whether it be a holiday, vacation, or weekend) cost money. we go shopping, see a movie, improve our home, eat out, or continue a hobby.
now, i’m not saying that we should never enjoy some downtime and i know many hard-working, successful individuals who subscribe to the “work hard, play hard” mentality. but as i journey to become minimalist, i have learned to pay closer attention to where my money goes… and idle time seems to have a habit of taking it from me.
since my move to vermont, i have learned to enjoy more outdoor activities (hiking, the beach, etc.) that don’t require money. what are some of the things that you use to fill your idle time that don’t cost any money? i’d love to know…
August 18, 2008
July 5, 2008
this afternoon, we went to the beach. while soaking in the sun, i realized how far i still have to go to become minimalist. i looked around at our belongings strewn all over the sand and counted over 50 items:
- 3 large inflatable devices
- 19 small plastic toys
- 2 chairs
- 6 towels
- 2 coolers
- 1 pop-up tent
- 3 cell phones/camera
- soda cans/bags of chips/fruit snacks
- 3 bags to carry everything
the goal was to have 3.5 hours of relaxation – and we needed 50 man-made things to make that happen. we’ve got so far to go.
July 2, 2008
does our decision to become minimalist disqualify me from ever owning this?
June 27, 2008
less than one month from our first ebay sale, we surpassed $125 in income yesterday. add in our garage sale income and our decision to become minimalist has grossed roughly $250 in the past month. we’re not quitting our jobs or anything, but it is fun to turn your household clutter into cash.
and it hasn’t been that hard or time consuming – we have yet to ship anything that doesn’t fit in an envelope or small shoebox (clothes, shoes, books, and cds). as you minimalize your own possessions, create a pile for items to sell and use ebay or craigslist to turn them into cash (just be sure to throw them away if they don’t sell).
anyway, we have been debating what to do with our new minimalist income and would like your help. friend or visitor, help us with a click of your mouse.
June 18, 2008
today, we began our biggest minimalization effort to date – our basement/toy room. i included some panoramic photos of the room to show you some “before” pictures. i should say that our basement toy room doesn’t typically look this bad. it has taken on some extra weight during our minimalizing efforts upstairs as the temporary holding cell for some of the items that landed in the “relocate” pile. regardless, you can tell it’s no small project.
today was our first day and very effective. we removed many of the large items that were taking up space (foosball table, cd shelves, etc.). we began heavy sorting of cds, movies, books, and definitely toys. when going through our stuff, i typically have three piles (throw away, keep, sell on ebay).
and i should mention that i am super-proud of my five-year old son. we certainly wanted him to play a part in the purging of his toys and we weren’t sure what to expect. he did great – actually, we were humbled to see his ability to part with his possessions. at one point, he even made up a song about sorting out toys which included the line, “pick your toys, sort them out, and play with them one last time…”
i wish the day was longer so that we could have accomplished more, but we took some time this evening to play monopoly jr. with my son and “baby” with my 2-year old daughter… and the toy room project will take the back-burner for a few days as i do some traveling for work.
but the end product will feature less furniture, more storage, and new paint. i’ll keep you posted.
June 8, 2008
at my work, this tuesday has been designated as office clean-up day complete with turning off phones and minimal office hours. i am very excited because my office has become overrun with clutter over the last three years since i moved in. i have done minimal clean-up (mostly desktops) and am looking forward to a full office make-over.
i have several ideas that i am looking forward to incorporating on tuesday including:
- take home every book that i have not used / eliminate at least one entire book shelf
- transfer olf paper files to digital files
- remove many items from my walls including my keith green record albums and university degrees
- sort and store all digital media (cd’s, dvd’s, sdcards, and usb drives)
- remove all items from my desktop (lamps, stackable files, stapler, etc.)
- remove clutter in my office (sport souvenirs, travel souvenirs)
- add a fresh coat of paint – something light, neutral, and less-distracting
do you have any other ideas for me? granted, you haven’t seen my office – but any general minimalist office helps would be appreciated.
this will also be the first project where i post before and after photos.
June 2, 2008
i need some help here. i always knew that my desire to become minimalist would spread to my office at work but i didn’t know that my company would pay me to do it. today, an email was sent to all staff that next tuesday has been designated as “office clean-up day.” the office will be closed and the phones set to auto-attendant as everybody cleans their personal desk, office, and shared space.
by tuesday, june 10, i need to have a plan in my head for minimalizing my office. and i would like your help. i realize that you don’t know anything about my office or my line of work. but i can give you a quick snapshot of what is currently in my office and on my walls. i can tell you some things that i know i will do for sure. and i would appreciate any comments that you have.
sitting in my office right now, i can see…
- a large flat corner desk with four drawers, and plenty of uncovered shelving.
- three bookcases
- one office chair
- two guest chairs
- one laptop connected to a monitor
- one bulletin board
- two degrees on my wall
- two calendatrs
- miscellaneous quotes on the wall
- three pictures on the wall
- two family photos in frames
- lava lamp
- three stackable file holders
- sports souvenirs on one bookcase, travel souvenirs on another
- stack of cd’s (photos), stack of dvd’s (personal videos)
- one mug that says, “world’s best boss.” i saw it at spencer gifts and had to get it.
here are the easy solutions:
- decrease book collection to two (or even one) bookcase
- remove one calendar (why would you need two)
- one family photo
- remove lava lamp
- remove clutter from bulletin board
- store cd’s & dvd’s out of sight
you can help me by offering some other suggestions. have you minimalized your office? if so, what were the best decisions that you made? if you haven’t, how would you go about it? what thought process or specific steps would you employ?