Many of you know that I have been practicing the minimalist lifestyle for over a year now. I would like to tell you a bit about what I did, the results and why I believe it is important.
First off, I would like to clarify, I am not a hardcore minimalist. I didn't sell everything I own and move into a suitcase. I admire that type of dedication to simplicity and sustainability, but it's a little out of reach for me. What I would like to do here though is go through all that I did minimalize and maybe you can use it as inspiration for your own life.
What I did
- I trimmed digital communications by 80%. Well, not EXACTLY 80%, but roughly, for sure. In order to achieve this, the very first thing I did was turn off ALL notifications on my phone. No facebook, no texts, no twitter, no email, nothing. I find that most of these communications provide little to no value at all, so I pitched them.
Result: People stopped emailing me for no reason. When something really important was going on, they either took responsibility, rather than sidestepping with an email, or they called me!
- I cut my fashion spend and time spend getting ready in the morning to almost nothing. I had 100 graphic t-shirts that I would rifle through every morning for a few minutes adding up to hours of lost time over something that no one cares about (I still do it with my socks)!
Result: I spend zero time looking for clothing. I know what I love and that is what I wear.
• Leather boots (they are good for walking and motorcycling and look good in professional situations)
• Naked and Famous Jeans (I have been wearing the same pair since last August and I have washed them once)
• Icebreaker black wool t-shirts (I have two that I wear for about two weeks at a time, they don't absorb smell easily and also rarely need to be washed and they are very comfy and durable)
• Filson Wool Jak-shirt (this shirt has been my sweater and cocktail party shirt and outdoor apparel since July of last year, again, wool doesn't retain smell, I wash it by wiping it down with wet hands to get dirt and hair off)
• As you can see my laundry costs have gone to very close to zero!
- I sold my second car. My family of six + two dogs now exists with only one car (a passenger van).
Result: I commute by motorcycle, biking or walking or I carpool which are all vastly more efficient and affordable ways to commute.
- I changed my diet. I was on the ketogenic diet for almost a year straight. Now I just eat more simply and far less (one full meal a day, usually). Although I must admit that I have been road-tripping and eating more of what is available rather than working extra hard to maintain a perfect diet.
Result: I can subsist on very little, and find energy in fasting rather than getting hangry all the time.
- I cut my work services. I no longer do anything for anyone. I focus on my Graphic and Branding work and that's it.
Result: I am no longer spread too thin and unavailable. I can give the whole of myself to my clients and do world class work without feeling like I have to cut corners to save time and get to the next project.
What's the point?
The point is, it is easy to fill our lives with immense amounts of crap that we care very little about. It is hard to decide what we truly love and focus hard on it. It is even harder to be self aware enough to realize when our lizard brain is making us fill our lives with bs just to cover or ignore the tough issues in our focus that need attention.
The point is, that my decisions to be minimalist might seem extreme to you, but we can all benefit from a reduction in our consumption, because when we aren't consuming, we are contributing. As my favorite philosopher and spiritual teacher said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."