August 27, 2008

…turn to more important matters than transporting gold to your grave.  ~Credenda~


structube modern furniture

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.

related posts: minimalista; operation: minimalist office complete

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.

related posts: the story of stuff; minimalism in america, part 2

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

two by two

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.

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…

related posts: benefit #4 – easier to clean; i had to do something

hans hofmann on minimalism

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.

related posts: humor; minimalism – the heart’s desire of most