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I’m a minimalist, so giving up to living it up is just another stream in life’s landscape. Minimalism has been a long journey that involved investing in stuff and then devesting stuff.
I used to shop the halls of craft stores in hopes of making my home just a bit better. It took longer than I care to admit that improving home life doesn’t involve more stuff but less stuff.
Just like a buffet, there is a fine line between enough and stuffed.
My journey is unique and occasionally repetitive as I boom and bust on cycles of stuff. My minimalism is a journey, not a destination with a limit of 1,000 things or less. It’s an ebb and flow depending on interest, finances, and time.
I was a scrapbooker. I had plenty of sheets for crafting scrapbooks, cards, or any other paper-like confections. With the correct glue, a box of ribbons, and a skill set that would rival a 1st grader on a good day, I was crafty.
Yet, I found little joy in it. It was easy to delay crafting and I had plenty of excuses. When my excuses ran drier than the Sahara, I had to summon fortitude and positive words to start a new project. After years of moving craft stuff and mandated crafting, I finally admitted that I’m not a scrapbooker.
I like the idea of being crafting more than the art of crafting. Once I accepted this truth and the mandatory guilt of misused Michael’s coupons, I donated all the paper, glue, and pretty storage boxes to a place that does crafts daily – a children’s museum.
Since that day, I haven’t thought of crafting or felt guilty for buying a card instead of making one.
I was able to let go of stuff that was guilt inducing and open up more time for hobbies that don’t require a pep talk.
On a day like today, I have plenty of free time to accomplish my goal for the morning, but it quickly gets littered with distractions that turn an hour task into a half-day gantlet.
Check Twitter, open email for the fifth time, and
check the stock market. Small moments that fill up an empty day. I can’t stop every distraction, but I can set myself up for success by discarding distractions.
- My phone and computer are game-free
- Routinely, I delete/shred digital and physical folders
- I avoid paying for TV or subscriptions
- Every day the mail is sorted, filed, recycled, or discarded
- Notifications are silenced except for phone calls and texts
- I cultivate inbox zero
A tiny army of distractions, but I can feel their collective pull. It only takes a moment to be pitched into a cascade of distractions. I can craft success by removing what I can or make it harder to access them.
Minimize to Thrive
Decluttering is a practice that doesn’t have a master level. No black belts of accomplishment, shiny stars of achievement, or a fancy dinner with special words. Instead, it’s a frequent occurrence of removing waste like going to the bathroom but with less paperwork.
I’ve been practicing for years. Initially, I had many things to donate from home decor to clothes to books. I had extras everywhere.
As the years piled up, I ended up with less piles. At one point, it was hard to tell the difference between a want versus a need, but with many more opportunities for practice, it became easier.
The effort is now effortless because I can stand in a store, stare at an enticing shiny object waiting on a shelf and know it’s residence will be short or long. A majority of the time its shorter than a line for bran muffins on a hot day.
Less purchased has decluttered my budget too as an unexpected side effect of giving up to living it up.
I still keep donation bags that manage to get a few entries throughout the year, but it can take many months before I feel confident that the donation attendant won’t look at me expecting more when I drop them off.
Giving Up to Living It Up
It’s easy to put pressure on what I want to be in the future. In the future, I’m a woman who meditates for an hour, is confident even in her mistakes, and never gets annoyed at bad drivers who always seem to be in front of me. It’s easy to put pressure on the future because it’s less work for today’s default.
Per the guru at Maximum Gratitude, Minimal Stuff, “behave like the person you want to be. It’s the secret to happiness.“
Distractions, expectations, and extra stuff can carry my time away from priorities. By dumping and discarding, I can free up space, time, and energy for the work that’s important like getting hustled by saloon girls on the Charlie Russell Chew Choo.