I was quite  inspired today by a few lifehacker articles and websites relating to very minimal living:

The articles helped me reflect on my own, mostly unintentional journey toward minimal living that has occurred over the years as I have moved around quite a bit, digitized much of my life, got divorced, etc. There is a calm beauty in minimalism which I have found helps clear the mind and lets me focus on more fulfilling tasks. The house to the right is a good physical example of this idea.The functions of the living space are distilled to their essence and presented in a very clean way. Below is a summary of the “thus far” and “more to come” as it relates to clearing my life of all but the most necessary.

Thus Far

  • Sold my entire personal library, all books that come into my possession are read then sold, and the only books I purchase are digital copies on my Kindle.
  • Sold/trashed all videos, dvds, videogames. Any media I consume is now easily available via the internet.
  • Trashed nearly all of my personal effects that had been in storage in my mom’s house. I scanned and saved some old drawings and creative material from my youth, but everything else pretty much hit the dump.
  • Consolidated all of my tools into a sturdy chest and more or less “washed my hands” of the rest which are finding much more use at my mother’s house fixing boats and what not.
  • Deleted paper from my life, all of my documents/notes are managed with Evernote and my GTD system is managed with Remember the Milk. I have one small file folder that holds un-trashable items like titles. Any paper item I get that I might need for future reference is scanned and trashed.

More to Come

One problem with aspiring to live minimally is my penchant for impulsive spending, enjoyment of clothing, and especially my love of cars/motorcycles. On the other hand I very much agree with the words of Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to be Rich, who advocates frugality, but spending lavishly and responsibly on your passions. My personal thoughts revolve around the idea that one should aspire to quality over quantity, and chose to augment their life only a few, excellent things, rather then lots of cheep trash. I’m also fond of the idea, which I believe to be of easter origin, that all things can be an art. And so as an example, I find much more calm and enjoyment in chopping vegetables with a good knife, than using one of those silly slap-chop devices. In an effort to continue the march toward a more minimal life if have the following immediate thoughts:

  • I would like to try to only buy something if it will replace something I have and improve it, or if it directly relates to one of my passions, such as a different lens for my camera.
  • Begin to catalog my items like the gentleman over at Cult of Less in the A Simple Man section of this site. I hope that by having to consider the areas of where stuff accumulates, I will start to remove that stuff.
  • Take a hard look at my wardrobe, I have a decent amount of nice clothes, but I’m sure there is quite a few pieces that I don’t hardly wear, perhaps there is room to remove.

For those that might doubt the value in this style of living, I would say give it a try, once I tasted the calm of throwing away a two car garage of stuff and not missing it in the slightest, I’ve never turned back.