The Simplicity Project

Though I haven’t delved into this topic yet (been too busy snacking on dark chocolate and watching X-Files and fleeing the country), one of my M.O.s, along with nutrition, saving money, and occasionally regularly indulging in a bit of obsessive-compulsive behavior, is simplicity. I call this site “Healthy Minimalist” because, in my opinion, each of these words by itself tends to call forth quite extreme images –“healthy,” when taken to the extreme, becomes fussy, complicated, expensive; while “minimalism,” taken to its extreme, brings to mind a blank white room with a few pieces of stainless steel furniture, a lack of color, emotion, and the fun good things that make life soulful.

Therefore, I like to soften my otherwise minimalistic lifestyle around the edges by including a few “messy” elements simply because they make me warm and happy, and to simplify my attempts at healthiness with substitutions and, often, deletions when I feel it is necessary to keep sanity and $avings intact. Also, healthyminimalist.wordpress.com wasn’t taken yet and I’d already spent way too much time trying to decide on a name.

With all my simplicity-loving philosophies, I feel there are several areas in my life where I could safely chuck unnecessary items out the window and not look back. There have been moments of, gasp, frazzled rustling around when attempting to locate something lost, and my control-freak self has a difficult time with that.

Living thousands of miles away from home for the next couple of months with only a suitcase full of personal belongings, I suspect the craving for further simplicity will grow, as it has already in my last two weeks abroad. I figure it’s time to ignite a stronger flame of sorts. Plus, it’s a new year and all. These clean-out-the-closet attitudes are inevitable. The fact that I won’t be able to implement many of the simplification strategies I have in mind until my return to the States in spring will hopefully give me time to firm up the plans a bit while getting used to a more minimalist lifestyle here (In Germany, I’m staying in a small one-room apartment with a kitchenette, have no car, and am without most of the products and tools I’ve grown fond of back home–evidenced below).

P1050318

Lots of pretty plans are in the works, at least in my brain. But perhaps I’ll be able to set certain techniques into motion while still here–we shall certainly see.

So! I’d like to propose a new project for the year–the simplicity project. To cut out items, actions, habits, responsibilities, attitudes, and expenses we feel are unnecessary and that don’t add considerable value/usefulness to our lives. We couldn’t go into this project unprepared, could we? Maybe that’s just me. I told you–control freak. So here’s a rough, tentative plan, which I’m sure will be revised throughout the journey. I invite you to join me if you’re getting that clean-out-the-closet feeling, too.

1. Make a list of 5-10 items (objects, activities, people, etc.) that are most important to you and add the most value to your life.

2. Make another list of items that you know you need to downsize/give away/ignore/delete/spend less time on, and do so.*

3. Each week, find a way to downsize/delete at least one item from the extraneous list, and replace it with more of an item of real value.

4. Think twice before purchasing anything. If it’s not absolutely necessary and doesn’t add considerable value to your life, don’t buy it. If it’s not a necessity but will add considerable value to your life, try getting it for free. Only spend money as a last resort. This is my favorite, since I’m a tightwad.

*Just don’t ask me to spend less time watching X-Files or eating dark chocolate, I’m afraid it won’t do any good.

If you’d like to join in this project with me, drop me a line! You probably have ideas I’ve never even thought of, and I want them. What items add the most value to your life? What areas would you like to simplify? What strategies have worked well for you in the past? Please share.

“Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.

I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.”

-Langston Hughes

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “The Simplicity Project

  1. I have been practicing the “Think twice before purchasing anything” rule for many years now, and it’s left me with very little possessions. Subsequently, Michelle and I have learned two things:

    1. The less stuff we buy, the more money we save.

    2. The less stuff we own, the less space we need.

    These two have put us in a position where we can finish and rent out our basement, which will save us and our hopeful tenet even more money in the long run.

    One question: we are considering buying things like solar panels and backup generators. These will make our home more independent and save us money in the long run, but they will also complicate things. Does this fit with your concept of simplicity?

    • Pól, you are absolutely right about these two facts. It’s amazing how many people’s lives are governed by their stuff, and that’s a serious problem. Ideally, we would all own as much as would fit in a couple suitcases (not counting necessary furniture). Once we understand how much we DON’T need, we end up WANTING less, and being happier for it. I personally love not needing a ton of space to store a ton of stuff. This leads to more FREEDOM, which is directly tied to my idea of simplicity.

      Which brings me to your question. Your idea to invest in solar panels and backup generators is a great one in my opinion, because it provides more freedom from outside sources and powers and, as you’ve said, saves you money in the long run. As long as you are in a good position to do so, it could end up being a huge benefit to you–I like it. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Pingback: Simplicity Project: Week 1 | Healthy Minimalist

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s