Simple Steps – Making Minimalism

Today I read this article over at Becoming Minimalist which inspired me to do my own little “top tips”, especially for beginners.

I think so many people are afraid of the term minimalism. They seem to think it means we must go without luxury and give everything we own away. However, in my eyes, it’s releasing anything that doesn’t serve my purpose: Anything extraneous; anything that doesn’t bring happiness or warmth to my life.

For me, minimalism is about awareness.

I buy new things when I need them. I buy quality to lessen my effect on the environment.

Some items are similar to the eight tips mentioned in the above article, though mine perhaps focus a little on specific applications:

Purging

I’m also working on purging possessions I don’t love/don’t enrich my life. When I read the above article, I was drawn to this tip:

  • reject anything that is producing an addiction in you. refuse to be a slave to anything: coffee, cigarettes, soda, television, chocolate, alcohol…   ~ Becoming Minimalist

Now. I may be good at certain things in my life and indeed portray myself that way on this blog, but I have to be completely honest here. My response was: “but..bu..b..bu..bu.but.. chocolate..”

I believe that pretty much says it all.

I believe it’s a good tip and I don’t drink often, I often can’t be bothered to watch television, I don’t smoke nor drink tea or coffee (caffeine), nor fizzy drinks.  But chocolate is my source of caffeine and I like it. To each their own.

Technology

I have a phone, mp3 player, camera and laptop of middle spec, and won’t be replaced until they break. I don’t have nor need a blackberry/iPhone. Who would want to be on call 24/7? If I’m going somewhere, I want my phone to ensure safety should an emergency occur. However, I don’t want it to beep saying I’ve 16 urgent emails.

Be honest, how “urgent” are they? Will the entire world collapse in on itself if you wait half an hour to answer?

As Stephen Fry so eloquently pointed out about phones: emails are no different if you can access them anywhere:

[I apologise for it’s length of 4:04, but it’s worth it  ~  for those of you in a hurry, start listening from 3:26-3:57]

Why invite rudeness into your life like that?

Nature

No matter how I’m feeling or what is going on in my life, I find a five-minute stroll can do wonders. Even if you live in urban surroundings; the sky is readily available; you can usually find a patch of grass or tree; often see insects or people walking dogs.

From a Buddhist point of view; you are nature. Our breath and heartbeat are as much a part of nature as the ocean waves or the drifting clouds; so focus and become aware.

Honesty

I have to admit, this is one I still struggle with. I often find myself exaggerating or mis-representing information. However, I think we all know how draining it is to keep up pretences of a lie or reiterating ourselves if we weren’t clear in our initial instructions. Be as honest as you can, where it harms none. Use integrity and watch life flow effortlessly.

Routine

I’ll be doing a more in-depth post on this subject later, but the general application can be utilised without knowing the ins and outs. I find life is so much simpler if I have a routine. Maybe you don’t get up at the same time each day; but do you always make a drink, shower, get dressed; in that order? Incorporate the odd moment of stillness or purging. For example, while the kettle is boiling, could you recycle that junk mail/put bills in a “to be paid” tray/place, so that it won’t pile up and take hours to go through at  a later date?

The Illusion of Free

Another tip I find invaluable as I try to make my living space authentic to my life aims:

Don’t accept freebies. I had a stall with the society I co-run and each stall handed out bags and flyers. Almost daily there’s someone giving out flyers as I walk to the bus stop, for venues in town. If I know I’m not going clubbing or pubbing for a week or so; I don’t take one. To be honest, I don’t take one anyway. I’ll find out when I get there/look online.

Another tip which I’ve only incorporated lately are the “savings” of BOGOF.

“Buy 2 for £2; or £1:30 each”.  – Sure; I could save 60p and buy two.

This week, I did my fortnightly shop and I didn’t buy into this (excuse the pun). If this is something I can happily use/would have bought 2 of anyway; then awesome. However, I bought one; which saved me 70p. So in my eyes at least; I’m 10p up.

Appreciate

I’ve mentioned before the effect of gratitude. It lowers blood pressure, releases hormones which make us feel better and it helps us to notice opportunities. My life always seems to flow much easier when I’m appreciating the little things.

Today, I sat on the bus and gazed out at the seagulls, floating on the thermals in the clear blue sky, while the shone on my face, warming me.

Life doesn’t get much simpler than that.

~Rose

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