‘There’s nothing wrong with possessions; it’s just that they add value to us only when we use them, engage them, enjoy them. They’re nouns that mean something only in conjunction with verbs…If you’re not careful you can end up with a garage full of nouns’. -Rob Bell
Stop for a moment, whether you’re at work or home, and stand in a space that you spend a lot of time in, a space that is yours. As you turn in a circle, look at all the stuff surrounding you. How do you feel? Are you content and motivated, or do you feel overwhelmed? Look closer. Are there things that you use often, that add value to your life, that make you smile? Or are there things you don’t use that may be taking up valuable space in your home, office, or life, and potentially getting in the way of your ability to find what you need when you need it?
Are the things in your life supporting you and contributing to the life you want? We need to think about the “stuff” we own. The more we have, the more we need to maintain and take care of. These “things” have an initial cost (think “purchase or acquisition price”), but they have an ongoing cost as well. We pay to store, maintain, and manage the things in our life. Sometimes our things, when we have an excess, can get in the way of our hopes, dreams, relationships, time for what matters most and peace of mind.
You may have heard of people drastically changing their lives by adhering to a minimalist lifestyle, essentially paring back possessions and owning only what is absolutely necessary. While that can work for some, it may be a bit extreme for most. We’d like to investigate what minimalism can look like in a more practical sense – by helping you evaluate your environment and relationship to ‘stuff’ at home and work. While extreme minimalism (i.e.: paring your worldly possessions down to fewer than 100 items) may be a turn-off for you, “practical minimalism” is something anyone could work towards.
A great description of minimalism, at least in the direction we speaking about, is found on The Minimalists website: ‘What is minimalism? If we had to sum it up in a single sentence, we would say, Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom’. We’d like to help you focus on those more important things!
Questions to Ask
You can embrace the “Less is More” idea of Practical Minimalism simply by periodically asking yourself about the items in your home or work space. Which of those items are essential or important to the life you want to live, the relationships you have, the activities in which you engage, or hold a value beyond the price you paid for the item at one point in time? Reduce clutter and free up space by letting go of items that no longer serve you well, or don’t support the goals you have or values you hold.
Do you have a garage full of nouns? Where have you found verbs (experiences) to be more rewarding than nouns (things). Have you made an attempt towards minimalism? Know someone who has dramatically reduced their possessions to move into a tiny home, travel the world or because someone issued them a challenge to live with less? We’d love to hear your about your experiences with or reaction to the concept of minimalism. We’ve got some ideas for how you can work towards “Practical Minimalism” that we’ll share in upcoming posts.
Who is in for a month-long minimalism challenge? It’s an easy and fun way to release 465 items you no longer want or need in a month’s time. You’ll release one item on Day 1, two items on Day 2, three items on Day 3 and so forth through the month. These items can be as small as a single piece of clothing, or as large as a piece of furniture. We’ll post updates on the challenge on our Facebook page, so keep your eye on that to participate. Pictures of what you’re releasing are encouraged in the post comments!