Thursday, May 24, 2012

Minimal Living 101

Music is a huge part of my life, it always has been. Whenever I have the chance, I reach for my laptop or phone and jam out to music from the 60's and 70's. Those decades of such inspiring influence on the music scene speak to me the most. I feel cool, calm and relaxed.

Recently, I have been looking for ways to declutter my life in every way possible. I find myself been pulled to gather unnecessary objects that I've been collecting over the years to recycle, sell and give away. Each time, I finish, I feel I need to do more as if the job isn't done yet.

I have been reading tons of online articles on tips and advice on what I can do to purge once and for all and to make it a habit to living a successful minimalist lifestyle.

Here are 10 great tips.

  1. Your Possessions - Too many material possessions complicate our lives to a greater degree than we ever give them credit. They drain our bank account, our energy, and our attention. They keep us from the ones we love and from living a life based on our values. If you will invest the time to remove nonessential possessions from your life, you will never regret it. For further reading on this, consider Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life.
  2. Your Time Commitments – Most of us have filled our days full from beginning to end with time commitments: work, home, kid’s activities, community events, religious endeavors, hobbies… the list goes on. When possible, release yourself from the time commitments that are not in line with your greatest values.
  3. Your Goals – Reduce the number of goals you are intentionally striving for in your life to one or two. By reducing the number of goals that you are striving to accomplish, you will improve your focus and your success rate. Make a list of the things that you want to accomplish in your life and choose the two most important. When you finish one, add another from your list.
  4. Your Negative Thoughts – Most negative emotions are completely useless. Resentment, bitterness, hate, and jealousy have never improved the quality of life for a single human being. Take responsibility for your mind. Forgive past hurts and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
  5. Your Debt – If debt is holding you captive, reduce it. Start today. Do what you’ve got to do to get out from under its weight. Find the help that you need. Sacrifice luxury today to enjoy freedom tomorrow.
  6. Your Words – Use fewer words. Keep your speech plain and honest. Mean what you say. Avoid gossip.
  7. Your Artificial Ingredients – Avoid trans fats, refined grain (white bread), high-fructose corn syrup, and too much sodium. Minimizing these ingredients will improve your energy level in the short-term and your health in the long-term. Also, as much as possible, reduce your consumption of over-the-counter medicine – allow your body to heal itself naturally as opposed to building a dependency on substances.
  8. Your Screen Time – Focusing your attention on television, movies, video games, and technology affects your life more than you think. Media rearranges your values. It begins to dominate your life. And it has a profound impact on your attitude and outlook. Unfortunately, when you live in that world on a consistent basis, you don’t even notice how it is impacting you. The only way to fully appreciate its influence in your life is to turn them off.
  9. Your Connections to the World - Relationships with others are good, but constant streams of distraction are bad. Learn when to power off the blackberry, log off facebook, or not read a text. Focus on the important, not the urgent. A steady flow of distractions from other people may make us feel important, needed, or wanted, but feeling important and accomplishing importance are completely different things.
  10. Your Multi-Tasking - Research indicates that multi-tasking increases stress and lowers productivity. while single-tasking is becoming a lost art, learn it. Handle one task at a time. Do it well. And when it is complete, move to the next.

I find that possessions ring the most true for me in the above list. I have cleansed myself if you will of a lot of possessions over the past few months but I still feel consumed.

The main inspiration of this direction in my life is my constant moving. I have moved 3 times in less than a year and packing was a nightmare for me. In fact, moving back to Laurel from College Park really showed me how living a minimalist lifestyle looks and feels better. Two weeks before the move date, everything I did not need or use was in boxes in a closet. All that was left in my room was a bookcase with a few things, my nightstand which had my alarm and lamp, my bed, my desk with nothing on it and my aquarium and stand. The feelings I had each time I entered my room were, calm, relaxed and not stressed.

There are plenty of great writers and websites out there to gather more important and tips to start and live a minimalist lifestyle. The list could go on if I compiled such a thing.

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