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A Beginner’s Stab at Minimalism

***By “stab” I mean “attempt to streamline and curate my possessions”, not “attack minimalism with a fork.”

My complicated relationship with minimalism

Minimalism has been big topic in the blogosphere for the past year or so, coexisting nicely with other Generation-Y phrases such as “lifestyle design,” “location independence,” and “my life rocks and if you buy my ebook your life will too!” (okay, I made up the last one. That was a wee bit tongue-in-cheek!icon wink A Beginners Stab at Minimalism). There are many people I admire in the minimalism blogger space, such as Miss Minimalist, and Everyday Minimalist (aka FB!). Still, in certain circles the formula seem to be minimalism = empty rooms + lots of Apple toys.

Now, having said all of that, I might have to take a big swig of the humble juice, because I’ve realized that gosh, stuff takes up time and energy and space, and many times it’s stuff that I don’t really like or use. Yes, this is something I have realized in the past, and although I’ve been slowly decluttering, for some reason I seem to add just as much as I’ve cleared out.

Maybe, instead of looking at minimalism with a skeptical eye, I should see what I can learn from these minimalists who have whittled down their things and have more time and money to do thing. So humble juice ingested, I present to you:

My 8 Steps to Semi-Minimalism

1. No more buying clothes without donating or selling an existing piece. I am using the 1-to-1 rule: one piece in, one piece out.
2. I am allowed to keep 20 copies of paper magazines (what can I say, I love flipping through magazines), but they must stay in their magazine holder when they are not being read.
3. No more buying kitchen appliances, cookware, or dishware. We have everything we need, and some we don’t (and never use).
4. No more buying accessories (I will make allowances for 3-4 pairs of stylish and comfortable shoes this year).
5. I will shred all the papers that I don’t need anymore, and file the rest away.
6. No more buying skincare products or makeup unless I run out of an item that I’ve used up.
7. No buying home decor items – we’d only have to lug whatever we buy in a few years anyway.
8. Maintain a collection of 30 books. Everything else I can borrow from the library.

I don’t want to set up “The Year of No Spending” or something of that sort. I also know that I don’t find particular pride in having 100 or 85 or 50 items that I own (even though I read with interest the accounting of some cool people). I would like to save money, and I think I should, if I am able to resist from buying things that don’t add much value to my life. But money – gasp – isn’t the primary reason of this little experiment.

I just want to want less, be happy and appreciate what I have, and focus more of my limited time and resources on what matters instead of what doesn’t. If minimalism will help me get there, why not?

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