October 14, 2013
My friend got this kindle book free (it's currently $1 on their website) and told me it was a good read. I read it within a few days. It's a compilation of short essays on various ways to minimize and get rid of the superfluous in our lives. This ranges from your wardrobe to your kitchen, to your book or toy shelves to your shopping and finances, even relationships and media. He had some graeat down-to-earth ideas. I found it refreshing and have since cleared out 5 boxes of things for D.I. that I realized I'm just not using or needing.
I think of minimalism as modern day Amish to some extent. Amish don't bring any extraneous tools/things into their lives that they can relatively do well without. However, they will add tools that add significantly to their ability to live and provide (ex: a simple plow that will help them do a great amount of work that would otherwise take forever). So in essence, what I got from reading these essays is a deeper appreciation for simplifying what we have and have intention behind what we do and meaning behind what we choose to bring into our lives.
The author tells of various experiments he's tried in going without certain items: cell phone, laptop (which he said is impossible for him, but at least now he understands why he has it and can set ground rules for it's needed use), shopping for things other than basic food needs, etc. I think it's a great idea to go through things you have in various areas and get rid of things you don't need or use. Try to buy things that accomplish a variety of purposes instead of a one-time only use. And try experimenting what things you might be able to do with. (I know Cooleys are without a microwave and have fared just fine. We too are now going that route.) There's always the car...try to only drive it once or twice a week and lump as much as you can together in one outing. Or your cell phone: try only using it during certain periods and turning off facebook and email notifications that interrupt your daily life and impose their urgency on you.
He also poses questions throughout that make you think. What if you could live with only your ten favorite books or 10 favorite photos. and why do we have them all. (It's also mentioned to digitize many things and get rid of clutter which is very helpful).
There's a lot more in the books that is fun to think about. I definitely think it worth the $1! So "splurge" and have some fun reading. Try what you like and ignore what you don't. Why not?
*On a personal side note: I think being a minimalst spiritually is also a healthy, good way to live. If we can get rid the what's unnecessary and worrisome or burdensome in our lives and just keep what is happy and edifying without the heavy weight, then our lives will be more joy-filled and light. Isn't this what Christ's atonement is for--to empower us to let go of things weighing us down and to lift us to our eternal and divine potential.