Last weekend my wife and I watch a documentary called The Minimalists on Netflix. It’s the story about two men who slowly got rid of more and more things in their life and became much happier. They’ve written a book and started a movement. There is also The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, another resource on how to get started simplifying your life. The documentary inspired me and my wife to start our spring cleaning early.
We live in a 2 bedroom townhouse with a 2 car garage. We have a one year old who occupies one of the bedrooms and we share the other. Truth be told, I think our bedrooms are pretty simple. There is a bed, a dresser, very few things on top of the dressers, and a few things on the wall. I’m actually very happy with the status of our bedrooms. It’s the closets, my desk, our kitchen cabinets, and the garage that are full of all kinds of things we just don’t need.
Here are 5 ways to simplify your life and find more freedom:
Start with your clothes. I went into my clothes and immediately got rid of over 3 bags of clothes I haven’t worn in years. I also handed down a load of athletic gear that I just don’t use because I’ve updated. I love updating my stuff, but now I must get rid of something before I put that new piece in my closet. There is a lot more space, my choices are easier, and it feels great!
Move to your cabinets. We have excess dishes, too many coffee cups, utensils that haven’t been used in many years, oven mitts that have never been used. That’s not discussing all the food in the back of the cabinets. It’s a whole storage hiding area in and of itself. We have more teas than anyone could need. Get rid of it I say!!! We’re doing it and it’s feeling pretty darn good.
Pass along your books. I know this is very hard for a lot of people. We have multiple bookshelves in our home and while many of those books did bring us joy, they are finished doing their job and now they sit on a shelf. This is where the, “will it bring someone else more joy,” comes into play. There are certain things I’m going to keep like my National Geographic collection and some books that I refer to, but otherwise, most of them get passed along.
Get rid of toys and chotckies. There are so many little gifts I’ve gotten over the years and many of those things are super cool, well thought out gifts. But at this point in my life I just don’t need the clutter. I know I feel better when my desk is clear. I’ve officially started getting rid of at least 1 thing everyday. It’s my little tactic to keep the momentum up. I’ll let you know how it goes. They toy department of the family lies with our little one. We have way too many stuffed animals and way too many toys. She’s already over stimulated by all the stuff she has and I’m sure she’s only going to collect more. We’re going to teach her a limit and when she gets something new, she has to let go of something old. This teaches compassion, giving, and generosity.
Excavate the garage. This might be my toughest challenge. I’m an adventure guy, I come with gear. I have swim gear, 4 bikes, trail running gear, camping gear, photo & video gear. The list goes on and on. But I will say, in my defense, I do use a lot of the gear. But I definitely don’t need 2 bins of old bike parts, “just in case.” That’s my litmus test for the garage. If I’m holding on to it just in case, I’m getting rid of it.
Finally, I’m so excited about this new venture we’re on as a family. It also reminds me of my meditations. Meditating is all about being with your thoughts and living simply. It’s about understanding your mind and not being attached to your thoughts. Becoming a minimalist, to what ever degree you desire, is about finding freedom with less. It’s not about suffering, it’s about freedom. I teach the same thing in my 7 day meditation course. I’ve found that meditation is one of the best ways to understand your own mind and find joy in the simple things. I hope you can do the same. I’m always here if you want to chat. Find me @teddymcdonald
Originally published on the author’s website.
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