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I started my true minimalism journey a few months ago by going through clothes, nik naks, books, dishes, and decorations.  I have to say I began by just listening to pod casts by people who practice minimalism, watched documentaries, listened to TED talks, and read a few blogs. The more I did the research and understood what the benefits were the more I was wanting to go through with things. Let go of things that were serving no purpose but clutter. I have to say I was inspired by my 14-year-old daughter. She had watched the first documentary on minimalism on Netflix Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. After she watched this documentary, she started going through things she owned. I noticed she had nothing on her dressers. She proceeded to get rid of more and more things as time went on. She now has less than 200 items across both houses. She says this makes her feel clean less cluttered freer. At first, she was a little drastic, refused to by replacement clothes when things were too small. Eventually she came around and now if she is replacing items, she feels better about purchasing things. Our house now is only filled with things we use on a regular basis. When I tell people I only have 8 plates and silver settings, they ask what happens when you have people over for dinner that is more than 8? I say 99% of the time we will use paper products. I currently only have the decorations that mean something. I used to complain that it would take forever to clean my house but now with less furniture and less nik naks it takes no time at all. Giving me more time to enjoy other things.

Practicing minimalism is not living like a monk or not having anything. Its more about not over consuming. Not buying things because it’s the hottest item on the market. It about purchasing things with an intention. Asking yourself how with this item enhance my life. Like today I have been contemplating purchasing a picture. While its only twelve dollars, will it bring joy to me, where will I hang it etc.  Evaluating the purchase instead of just purchasing it shows mindfulness and intention. The likelihood of you using the object more is quite promising.

To start a minimalistic life, you could go balls to the walls and have what some call a packing party. This is where you would pack everything in your house as if you were moving. Over the next month or so if you don’t go searching for the item you obviously need to reconsider keeping it. Maybe someone else could get more value out it. You could also do the 30-day minimalist challenge. This is where you get rid of one item on the first day of the month two on the second day three on third and so on. You will end up getting rid of almost 500 items. You can read more about this challenge on the minimalist page. ( ) You could also start small. Consider just going through your clothes. You could turn all your hangers around in your closet. If you wear the item on the hanger turn the hanger back around when you place back. For the items that are still backwards you could probably get rid of them. This brings up a point. The less choices you have in the clothing department the less stress you might have in making a choice of what to wear. If you look at some of the minimalists that are online, you will see that they tend to wear a black shirt and a pair of jeans every day. There is another blogger out there that practices Be More with Less and minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 ( ) . This is the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months. There are many practicing minimalists out on the web that have plenty of ideas on how to live with more intent and live with less.

When you live with less items and less clutter it brings more room in your life for gratefulness. Being grateful for what you have and enjoying what you have. Experiencing life instead of purchasing items that just clutter your home. I would much rather spend time with my kids experiencing something together as a family then purchasing the hottest item on the market as a gift. My mom started to give my kids and the other grandkids homemade gift certificates. All of them were experiences. For example, going to the zoo, going roller skating, and creating art together. She also made sure that they were all done prior to the following Christmas. If you ask my kids what items they got for Christmas or a birthday they are likely to say they don’t remember. However, if you ask them what they did on their last vacation or their last experience they could tell you all about it. I am not saying that kids don’t need toys or items in their lives. I’m just saying they need less items. When my kids were younger, I would require them on Christmas Eve to give 10 toys each back to Santa. We would put them in a box and under the tree. I told them that Santa would take them back and repair or pretty them up and give them to kids that appreciate them. This was teaching them to give back what they were no longer using and have someone else enjoy them. Now that they are older, they chose a charity or something to donate funds to. Last year my daughter chose to donate to Ocean Conservation. My son chose to donate to the Philadelphia Zoo to feed a sloth for the year. We have yet to go see the sloth but will attempt before the end of the year. I feel like this is teaching them that experiences, time with family and friends, and donating to others is more important then having the latest iPhone.

Having less of everything gives you so much more freedom. Having less items to clean and care for gives you more time to enjoy reading or spending time with family. Having less debt gives you the ability to do other things in life. Having more meaningful relationships and having relationships that enhance your life is much better than having over 500 friends on Facebook. Spending less time on social media and more time reading, learning, and experiencing things sounds so much better. I wonder how much time is wasted on reading what others are doing. Who cares what Jane had for dinner. This reminds me of a comment remember when there wasn’t social media. We would take pictures of our food get the picture developed and then take it over to our friends to show them. Um yeah, we never did that. So that brings up the question then why do we do it now? Because its available to us? This brings up a documentary that I watched. It really shed light on social media and how it affects us. It is on Netflix and is called The Social Dilemma. It brings tremendous awareness as to what is happening and what could happen with the world of social media. The intent of just bringing people together and sharing as now become how can we make money from these people since we have them all in one place. While the documentary is very intense it brings up deep concerns.

So, I said a lot in this blog today, however I hope some of it helps you. The less you have in your life the simpler your life becomes and the less stress you have. I leave with a piece from the popular poem The Dash, For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matter is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.