when i minimalized my office three weeks ago (read about it here), i made the decision to remove the desktop icons from my pc.  ever since, i have been looking for just the right desktop wallpaper to accent my new clutter-free desktop and office.  i like what i just found…

 visit becoming minimalist’s new site.

i have heard minimalism referred to as “reducing life down to the lowest common denominator.”  it’s about reducing life to the essentials – to the minimum.  one practical way to accomplish this is to “cut things in half” and see if they still allow you to function properly.  if they do, cut them in half again.  as soon as you reach a level that prevents you from living a desirable life, go back to the previous level – that is your lowest common denominator.

take shampoo for example.  the next time you wash your hair, cut your shampoo usage in half.  does your hair still get clean?  if so, cut it in half again…  you get the picture:

here are some places to start:

  • shampoo/shaving cream/toothpaste/make-up/perfume
  • laundry detergent/dishwasher soap
  • food serving size
  • clothes in your closet
  • checking your email/surfing the internet
  • soda intake
  • number of glasses in your cupboard/figurines on your shelf

here are some places not to try this experiment:

  • the number of times you kiss your spouse/child – actually, double that.
  • the number of bills that you pay – better stick to 100%.
  • the amount of clothes that you wear – you’ll still need top and bottom.
  • the amount of homework that you do – getting a D is not “desirable.”
  • holes of golf that you play – 4.5 holes doesn’t sound much fun.
  • the number of times in a week that you check this blog.

 

one month

June 29, 2008

we’ve been minimal for one month now…

  • the house is cleaner.
  • the house stays cleaner. 
  • there is less clutter taking up space and energy in almost every room.
  • needed items are easier to find – especially in closets.
  • there is less distraction in our offices – work and home.
  • spending is down.
  • we’ve made $250 selling our old things and donated countless items to charity.

it’s been a good month for a typical suburban family in america becoming minimalist

last week, one reader commented that she had been inspired to donate 5 bags of clothing to the salvation army.  have you been inspired to minimalize any part of your home/life over the past month?  if so, let us know.

empty boxes

June 29, 2008

i didn’t wake up saturday morning with any minimalist projects on my mind.  i just woke up a little bit earlier than everyone else and happened to walk downstairs.

in our storage room, i noticed an old, empty box from a light fixture.  i also noticed a large empty box from a stereo that i purchased 9 years ago.  i have a habit of holding on to empty boxes from purchases (mostly major purchases, but there are some minor purchases too).  i like to have the boxes because it makes taking the item back easier if i need to. 

but as i looked around the room i couldn’t believe how much space was being taken up by boxes.  so i made a decision to recycle every box from any purchase made over 6 months ago.  i recycled over 15 empty boxes saturday morning. 

feels good to have space back.

a minimalist kitchen

June 27, 2008

i have been dreading the day that our journey to minimalism lands in the kitchen. so many gadgets in so many drawers and so many pots/pans/bowls on so many shelves – i have no idea where to start.

until today. i just found an awesome article at the new york times: A No-Frills Kitchen Still Cooks.  mark bittman, a professional chef, decks out an entire kitchen for $300 with every cooking utensil that you would need to cook like a pro.  not only does he list every utensil that you need, but he lists exactly how much to spend on it.  and i love his philosophy that “it needs only to be functional, not prestigious, lavish or expensive.”

it’s a must-read for anyone tired of their kitchen clutter.

you can see my first post on the failure of minimalism to catch on in america right here.

i just read some more interesting statistics reinforcing the notion of america’s unquenchable desire for everything material. 

  • it took 25 years for the storage industry to build its first billion square feet of storage space. the second billion square feet was added in just seven years, from 1998 to 2005, according to the self storage association.
  • in 1995, one in 17 american households rented storage space. by 2007, that ratio had increased to one in 10, according to the self storage association.
  • the average american home has grown from 1,400 square feet in 1970 to 2,300 square feet today, but the average size of the household has shrunk from 3.1 to 2.5.
  • five years ago, the total amount of revolving debt — mainly credit card debt — that americans owed was $800 billion. today, according to the June credit report released by the federal reserve, it’s nearly $1 trillion, even as millions of us regularly plundered home equity to pay off plastic.

i can’t help but wonder what kind of a difference america could be making around the world if they had spent that $300 billion on feeding hungry children or delivering medical supplies to needy families around the world instead of spending it on stuff and empty spaces to store their stuff.  i’m not judging, i’m just wondering…

 

You can read the whole article here: The High Price of Too Much Stuff.

minimalist income

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.