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  1. #46
    Forum Member TurtleWax's Avatar
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    I strongly believe your space and your life should be filled with those things that help you be the person you want to be. I love minimalism as a filter of the extraneous.
    Instead of thirty passable shirts, I have sixteen that I love. Instead of eight pairs of shoes, I have four that fill all my needs. I care more for the things I have because I need them every day.

    I started actively paring down because it was difficult to move. Most of the stuff I was carrying in and out of 3rd floor apartments wasn't worth its weight. I would prepare to bring something out to my car and think 'oh, I forgot I had that'. Hauling unread books from apartment to apartment. Unused art supplies. That sewing project I wanted to do someday. The scarf I wanted to knit. Multiple guitars.
    The funny thing is that physical clutter often reflects our mental clutter. In order to part with those things, I had to give up the ideal version of me that would use them. I had priorities that I cared about far more than being a musician or an artist, books I wanted to read more than the backlog on my shelf. Releasing myself from the obligation to fill those roles was liberating.

    On the flipside, it is possible to take minimalism too far...and I did for a while. Lamenting over the fact that I owned two backpacks instead of one. Constantly stuffing things in buckets to see if I could live without them. Luckily I caught myself before I got to the 'I only own 300 items' level. There is a sweet spot in the spectrum where you control your items, they don't control you.

    I have gathered a few different tricks from numerous different minimalist sites (most of the sources have already been listed) and will list them here:
    -Pare down items by group. Gather all 68 of your pens into one pile, and then decide how many to keep. If you have a lot of stuff, this method has a real shock factor to it
    -Ask yourself 'when will I use this next?' If you have no clear answer, or you catch yourself saying 'someday when...', you may not need it. Be real with your expectations for your future self. Asking too much will just lead to stress.
    -'How easy would this be to replace?' I was recently gifted 2000 drip coffee filters. I was very grateful, but I don't have room to keep that many backups. I distributed them among my friends instead, and will drop a few bucks on replacements when I need them. Coffee filters sounds like a silly example, but if you keep too many extras it adds up ridiculously fast.
    -Go for the small victories first to gain momentum. Old clothes or decorations that you haven't used in years? Easy pickings! Hauling a few bags of goodies to the thrift shop is a great feeling.
    -Don't try to do it all at once, break the problem down into bite-sized pieces. Pick a single type of clothing, or a single room. Work for half an hour. Otherwise the whole house will get torn apart and you'll be burnt out.
    -Don't be afraid to challenge yourself. Try and put one item in the donation box every day. If you fail, you will still learn a lot.
    -Compare to your past self, not to others. Take progress photos, take time to enjoy how far you've come.
    S19 + DLBP + DLBC + SCB + TT

    “In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made many people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.”
    --Douglas Adams

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by melminimalist View Post
    Bring them to consignment store or second hand shop and get some more eyes for the clothes that are still brand new, or sell on poshmark.

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
    Seriously, sell your things on Poshmark (or at a local consignment store, or if it's fancy, The Real Real.) I have made $900 this year selling old clothes-- some were too small, but most were things I just didn't really like or wear. I also decided that limiting my clothing budget to the amount I earned selling things was really helpful: I no longer felt guilty about spending money (I always kind of feel guilty, even though I am debt-free and I have the money to spend), and having a very specific amount meant I've been able to better prioritize what I buy. I have $900 to spend on clothes, guilt-free? Great! Rather than fritter it away on crappy impulse buys, I've given myself permission to buy one or two really nice things I really want. I'm all around much happier with my clothes this way. My closet is less stuffed, I've been able to get rid of four big ugly Rubbermaid storage bins, and I feel like I can breathe.

    AND, in addition to making you money, you might also make someone else very happy. I recently got a dress off The Real Real. I already own this dress, only problem is it no longer fits. I love this dress; it was perfect for one very specific, but hard to outfit, aspect of my life. I've now got a version that fits and am super happy! Thank you, random person, who consigned (rather than throwing away or letting languish in your closet, unworn) this dress. I'm also on the lookout for a very specific Uniqlo jacket that I loved, and lost while traveling, last year, and keep hoping someone will put it on Poshmark.

  3. #48
    Forum Member melminimalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turnleftbrighteyes View Post
    Seriously, sell your things on Poshmark (or at a local consignment store, or if it's fancy, The Real Real.) I have made $900 this year selling old clothes-- some were too small, but most were things I just didn't really like or wear. I also decided that limiting my clothing budget to the amount I earned selling things was really helpful: I no longer felt guilty about spending money (I always kind of feel guilty, even though I am debt-free and I have the money to spend), and having a very specific amount meant I've been able to better prioritize what I buy. I have $900 to spend on clothes, guilt-free? Great! Rather than fritter it away on crappy impulse buys, I've given myself permission to buy one or two really nice things I really want. I'm all around much happier with my clothes this way. My closet is less stuffed, I've been able to get rid of four big ugly Rubbermaid storage bins, and I feel like I can breathe.

    AND, in addition to making you money, you might also make someone else very happy. I recently got a dress off The Real Real. I already own this dress, only problem is it no longer fits. I love this dress; it was perfect for one very specific, but hard to outfit, aspect of my life. I've now got a version that fits and am super happy! Thank you, random person, who consigned (rather than throwing away or letting languish in your closet, unworn) this dress. I'm also on the lookout for a very specific Uniqlo jacket that I loved, and lost while traveling, last year, and keep hoping someone will put it on Poshmark.
    That's the best part about poshmark. If something you no longer fits you can sometimes find the next size up even if you bought it years ago. Also if you loose something, if you waitong enough it will usually pop up. Also one time I wanted some Columbia shorts that were sold out in my size everywhere, I found them on poshmark brand new for half the price! Upcycling works! P.S. I also limit my shopping budget to whatever I make on poshmark, so if I want a new necklace then I sell some jewelry first.

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
    "Not all who wander are lost"
    "Love people, use things, because the opposite never works" - The Minimalists
    Synapse 25 in Olive, Aubergine Side Effect, UV A30 PCBP, Sitka PCSB

  4. #49
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    I've been into it for quite a while, for various reasons.

    Mostly professional. I travel quite a bit for work (250+ days out of the United States per year), and it makes it easier on me if my luggage fits into a single backpack.

    I swap between a Synapse 25 and a Synapse 19 as needed, based on climate and the needs of my trip.

  5. #50
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    Well, a release of new items from TB does not help with decluttering. Actually, it's quite the opposite. Sigh.

  6. #51
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    Better Late than Never

    What started me on the road to minimalism was getting old. When you age, your body becomes minimalist. At some point, you come to realize that you have less strength, less energy, less flexibility, less visual acuity, less time left -- you get the picture.

    But we old minimalists can gain more than we lose. We can gain clarity, discernment, balance, simple joy and wisdom, along with an increasing intolerance for self-delusion, or any kind of crap.

    As a result of these newfound assets and deficits, I naturally began minimalizing all aspects of my life. My grandmother once very cheerfully told me that this process was "getting ready to die". I didn't get that until I was over sixty. Better late than never, I suppose.

    It took years, but I have reduced all the "things" of my life to 40% of what they were...and does it ever feel great! Despite my failing memory, I can find anything I need quickly because the things that I still have are so well organized now. Organization is a happy side-effect of minimalizing. I am surrounded only by things that I love or want to use. It will be relatively easy for my family members to deal with my estate. This is one of the nicest things anyone could do for their family. And again...better late than never.

    The following people have helped me to become a minimalist:
    Marie Kondo (books, audiobooks, YouTube presentations)
    Angela Horn (TEDx Talk, YouTube presentations)
    Jennifer L. Scott (books, YouTube channel, TEDx Talk)
    Gayle Goddard (YouTube presentations)
    Elizabeth Dulemba (TEDx Talk)
    Tom Bihn (leads by example)

  7. #52
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    @MelC,

    You go, girl! I love your sparky attitude about getting older. My mom is doing the same thing with minimizing and I so admire her and her ability to move forward with less and prepare for the future that will be. She also knows very well how to not give a crap, a wonderful lesson to me, as I still give a little bit too much of a crap about silly things. Know you are a great lesson many. Loved your sources too, thanks!

  8. #53
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    Hi Anna! Thanks for your reply -- you made my day. My minimalism Final Frontier? Bags.

  9. #54
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    Minimalism for me started a little over decade ago in my early 20’s when I read a book or article with the quote “Stuff begets Stuff”. I don’t recall the topic of the piece but sitting there with my shelf full of books, meticulously organized article clipping collection, 100-200 of CD’s and DVD’s, crowded computer desktop and files, diverse portfolio of many of the same stocks and fund, and a life full of “busyness”. In high school, I learned the American Transcendentalists, but only enough of Thoreau’s Walden to pass the test, not its real meaning.

    “Stuff begets Stuff” was then my “a-ha” moment. Simple made more sense. Thoreau started making sense. I liked simple. Donated my books (90% then later all), boxed up my articles (got rid of them a year later of not using them), sold most CD’s (now all digital, don’t own anything to play a CD/DVD) cleaned up my computer, simplified my portfolio, and decided to work smarter, not harder.

    Fast forward to today. Elsewhere in this forum, I detailed my month trip to Europe with just a S25 and the clothes on my back. I could have gone months more as a digital nomad with no more stuff. “If I can live month(s) 7000 miles from home with just that, why do I need all this stuff?” I asked myself. Upon returning I reviewed my stuff. My S25 and a reusable shopping bag could conceivably fit all my personal items, the file boxes of papers are scanned thus unneeded, minimal furniture is replaceable/unneeded, and my truck is about it. I am at about 148 things for those that count. The farm and its associated items I don’t count in that number to be able to compare apples to apples of other minimalists. For equal size farm, I would fit a minimalist narrative in that regard of farm complexity, though when over width semi’s would be needed to haul some stuff, I don’t want to label that simple.

    I want to share a few of guiding principles of my simple minimalist mindset of life that I haven’t directly seen in the minimalist circles, but worth mention:

    “1 side of 1 piece of paper”
    And not in a small font size. I believe it was my reading of the Toyota Way that brought this concept forward for me. Minimalists focus on the physical possessions with associated mental benefit. This “1 side” concept really clicked for me back then to clear the mental clutter and allow focus and clarity on the important points. The “busyness” of things bothered me. As an attributed quote to Einstein says, “Make things simpler, but not less complex” the same can be achieved with the summary as the total document if done right. Also the quote “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Upon returning I really focused on this aspect of my minimalism. I have “1 side of 1 piece of paper” applied to my to-do list, intermediate tasks, goals, and short term financial budget. Another is my full year monthly financials with tax estimate and balance sheet. Another is 3-year budget cash flow projections on “1 side”. And, lastly, my crown jewel to me is my organic records and planning with field activities, input purchase, equipment washing, and sales record along with soil tests and field coordinates on “1 side.” Four pages that some would write 10’s of pages each to achieve the same info is very powerful to me. Clear the clutter.

    “Utility of food ingredients”
    Funny to bring this up about minimalism, but it got me thinking how learning to cook these last few years really requires far less inventory of food items and yet widens the possibilities. Case in point, I was hungry and had some flour, canned tomatoes, mushrooms, milk, mozzarella, normal pantry herbs and spices with a rolling pin, baking pan, and baking sheet. Couple years ago, I would have run to the store because there was “nothing here to eat”, that day I made a lasagna with fresh made lasagna noodles, tomato and mushroom sauce, cottage cheese, and topped with some mozzarella. Could have also made pizza, spaghetti, and more things a talented chef greater than I would know. Point is minimalists need to eat too and a basic, versatile set of ingredients with utility fits the mindset. Also need mention a tool, a Vitamix makes life simpler. For that regard, I only stock white sugar and jar of molasses, yet that yields me white sugar, powdered sugar, light brown sugar, and dark brown sugar. (and fresh made brown sugar tastes and smells so much better). My grocery list is basically milk, eggs, flour, sugar, fruit, vegetables, cheese, herbs, and spices.

    “One toolbox”
    I am not a master mechanic so I am focused on having all the tools I need in one toolbox I can carry to buy better tools instead of duplicates plus know when something is missing versus “it must be in the other toolbox (but it’s not)”

    “Quality over quantity”
    I must repeat it. Buy once and cry once or cry each time you replace poorer quality often.

    I feel I need to share my journey with the forum as it has been a great resource to me. Sorry for saying “stuff” so much, it’s not very classy but reiterated the point earlier. And fyi, a cheesehead is essential to own in these parts so that is in the 175 things.

  10. #55
    Forum Member skoobdo's Avatar
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    Organicfarmer, I can surely relate to downsizing, decluttering and living a minimalistic lifestyle. When retired I purchased an RV and then sold my house and got rid of 75% of all my stuff. I traveled and lived around the USA full-time in my RV for 10 years. Seen a lot! Now, I have everything I own in my RV which is in an RV storage lot.

    I currently travel and live around the world in furnished apartments, hotels, guesthouses or wherever. It saves lots of money too. No cable/satelite bill, no WiFi bill, no utility bill, no maintenance costs, no money spent on toilet paper, soap and cleaning supplies...junk. Free room landline phone for incoming calls from locals. Rooms with a fridge, coffee maker unlimited free coffee packets and microwave or rooftop for quick meals. And free daily breakfast. Can't beat that with a stick. Real simple living.

    But, the bottom line is I save a lot of money and able to spend a lot of time on myself and do what I like without all the "stuff" that weighs a person down. But, I still have all my Tom Bihn bags and other bags/luggage that greatly contributes to my traveling lifestyle. Wouldn't have anything any other way.
    Western Flyer (Org Halcyon/Wasabi), Synapse 25 (Org Halcyon/Wasabi), Large Cafe Bag (Org Halcyon/Wasabi), Parental Bag (used as a carryon), and Shop Bags (Org Halcyon, Iberian, Wasabi)

  11. #56
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    I love minimalism as a filter of the extraneous.
    I love this quote, and I find myself doing the same in the list couple of months. I, until very recently, was a person that just bought things just to buy them because I wanted to and I loved the momentary high I got from uboxing something new. I loved the smell of the wrapper, tinkering with a new piece of tech to see how it worked. After a few life events and changes, I have started to shift to being more critical of the things I purchase. The last items I purchases (especially the shoes), I bought because I actually needed them. My physical therapist strongly recommended I have more than 1 pair of running shoes for my knees, so I purchased a second pair. I noticed my hangers were not well built for my pants, so I bought one inexpensive dress pant hanger rather than destroy my hangers one by one.

  12. #57
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    skoobdo - the life you lived and living sounds amazing and amazingly simple, your possessions certainly haven't held you back. I aspire to live a life as free as that. I need to build up the savings to travel year round in hotels and AirBnb's and take my entire worldly constraints and worries down to that simple.

    I was reading some Thoreau the other day and I think this is a fitting quote to share on this thread:

    "Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end,… We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate." -Thoreau

    edit: spelling error

  13. #58
    Forum Member skoobdo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by organicfarmer View Post
    ......

    "Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end,… We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate." -Thoreau

    edit: spelling error
    So so true, we live in a daily ongoing distraction unfortunately.

    But, I cut that cord and decided to live life the way I want within my own set boundaries.

    Best wishes and thank you for that quote!
    Western Flyer (Org Halcyon/Wasabi), Synapse 25 (Org Halcyon/Wasabi), Large Cafe Bag (Org Halcyon/Wasabi), Parental Bag (used as a carryon), and Shop Bags (Org Halcyon, Iberian, Wasabi)

  14. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by organicfarmer View Post

    I was reading some Thoreau the other day and I think this is a fitting quote to share on this thread:

    "Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end,… We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate." -Thoreau
    Great quote. Thanks for sharing.

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