Becoming a minimalist, or at least trying to.

28 June 2010

I have been going through some changes in my life recently, albeit small compared to what one usually thinks when they hear someone say that. One of the changes I am going through is that I am beginning to become a minimalist to some degree. We’re having a summer long yard sale at my aunt’s house and she said I can put anything I want to get rid of in there too. At first I thought that I really didn’t have anything to sell. But once I started looking around I found all sorts of stuff I had around to sell.

This process of becoming a minimalist actually started last year when I went through some of my things and started to toss out old junk that I didn’t need. It wasn’t much but it was a start. At the time I had no idea that I was or wanted to become a minimalist; it was just something I started to do. I don’t have a lot of living space or storage space, yet I seemed to collect a lot of clutter over the years and piled it up in the closets and what not. Now my apartment (in an old farm house) wasn’t a mess, it was always clean and stuff put where it belonged, but nonetheless I had a lot of stuff for a single guy.

I had lot’s of tech stuff and gadgets, stereo’s and so forth; you know, typical guy stuff. Once I started going through everything for the yard sale, I ended up having all kinds of things I was getting rid of. I figure that if I hadn’t used it in the last 6 -12 months, it had to go. With that in mind, a whole lot of stuff went bye bye! Instead of throwing it away, like I probably would have done with many things, except the expensive stuff, the yard sale was here! So I now get to try and make a few dollars on my stuff. So far I have made a couple of hundred dollars and if I sell the remaining big ticket items I have, I can make a few hundred dollars more.

Now that I have gone through most of my stuff and either tossed the real junk or moved it to the yard sale, my home (and garage space allotted to me) looks so much nicer and cleaner! I feel less crowded, cluttered and confined. Having tons of stuff almost feels like having overhead inventory at a store or overwhelming financial debt. Clearing the stuff, removes those feelings and I feel even happier than I normally do.

So this minimalist thing to me seems to be working out pretty cool. In the long run, provided I keep in tune with this life theme, I expect to save money as well. When I think about buying something, I am asking myself “Do I really need this?” and “Will I likely be using this in 6-12 months?”. If not, I won’t buy it. It’s already paid off a few times and I have saved money because of it.

I am sure we have all seen articles or TV shows of extreme minimalists who live in 175 square feet of space and own next to nothing. I have no intention of doing such things! I am not an extreme type of person on the whole and I try to stay more moderate and level flying.

Once I realized this minimalist thing, I did a cursory search on Google about it and found one site that I thought was neat and in line of what I am thinking a minimalist is. The site is A Guide to Creating a Minimalist Home. It has some good ideas of what to do and some cool pictures and links to pictures of really nice minimalist homes. I am not in a position to implement all of the ideas presented, but many of them I can.

As with all things in life that we try to change in ourselves, this will not happen totally overnight, but will be a process. So far I am liking the results. I will try to stick with only the things I truly need to live daily. Some things I won’t need daily, but occasionally and I will find nice out of the way spots to store them. Since my limited closet space is opening up, I’ll have somewhere to put these things!

Download the pdf version with pictures here.