Day 3091 – Minimalism Series – Minimizing Your Social World And Media Consumption

I’ve grown and changed a lot over the last five years, from getting sober, to moving a lot, to changing careers several times, and just a whole bunch of different mindset shifts. Through all of this growth, I’ve learned how to be honest with myself and true to myself. There are things that can make me upset, there are things that are draining, there are things that I see online that will deeply affect me for hours or days.

To help keep my social feeds healthy, I have created friends and pages lists. This helps me to keep my mind and soul protected.

You can set time limits and night time/morning time cut offs. I turn off my work notifications from about 5 pm – 8/9 am every day, and none on weekends (except for special circumstances).

I’ve also learned that it really throws off my work week if I work out of the apartment multiple days in the row. So I take very special care to keep my out of apartment days spread out. Again, there are some special circumstances at different times of the year (I’m looking at you week before Christmas!)

Here’s an example of what happens when I work out of the apartment too many days in a row

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Day 3090 – Minimalism Series – Take Small Steps To Figure Things Out

One thing we encourage others about minimalism is that it takes time. It’s a process, sometimes a very long process. We are continually refining things. You don’t have to make sweeping changes all at once, you can do it little by little.

My favorite “how to figure out what clothes to keep” trick is this:
Turn all of your hangers around now. When you hang something back up after you’ve worn it, hang it up the right way. After a few months, give away the clothes you haven’t worn. Maybe give your more special occasion clothes a little more time.

I’m taking my own advice and turned around all my shirts!

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Day 3089 – Minimalism Series – No Christmas Presents

One way we were minimalists before we even knew to call it that was not giving Christmas presents.

I stopped buying Christmas presents about 9 years ago. Like most things in my life, I started/stopped doing it for a superficial reason but the deeper reasons that resulted from the change became very important to me. I stopped Christmas gifts because of my own debt and the example of a close family from church who didn’t do gifts. I thought, huh, that’s interesting. So, I stopped. I’ll admit, that first Christmas was a little awkward, but my friends and family know I don’t do gifts. I still get a few gifts here and there (which I totally appreciate!) but now it’s expected that I won’t give one back.

As time went on, I still didn’t give Christmas gifts. Bret felt the same about giving gifts, so we didn’t. Looking back, I can see how those deeper reasons were a lot of the points the author of the above article made. Since we’re minimalists, we’re all about less stuff. And in turn, we don’t want to add to someone else’s “stuff.” It also frees us to give generously at other times of the year. The unexpected gifts are the best, in my opinion. 🙂

But I have to say, the biggest benefit has been a nearly stress-free holiday season, every year. There’s no “what am I going to get XXX for Christmas?” or “I have SO much to do!” Honestly, the biggest stress of our holidays is getting to and from the airport and flight delays. Since we’re not stressed about all the “stuff you have to do” at the holidays, we can truly sit back and reflect about the real reason for Christmas (pssst, it’s Jesus).

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Day 3088 – Minimalism Series – What Is Minimalism?

As we’re gearing up for a new year, I wanted to do a series for y’all about minimalism. I’ll share some things we’ve learned over the past few years and give you some tips to make changes in your life.

For today, I wanted to answer the question “what is minimalism?” What I love about it is that it can have a million definitions and I don’t think any of them would be wrong.

To me, minimalism is minimizing the bad (and the good) to make room for the great.

If you want to get rid of a lot of things just so you can have a massive movie collection, I think you’re still a minimalist, for example. Or if you have a big house with furniture, you can still be a minimalist.

What minimalism has taught me is that is causes you to ask why more often about what you own, as well as the things you do, more often and more deeply. It’s not about getting rid of all of your clothes, it’s about asking – “Do I wear this? Do I enjoy wearing it? If it doesn’t fit right, why do I keep it?” Some things are harder to let go than others, to be sure, but it’s a continual process. I can tell you, about 90% of the clothes in my closet bring me joy and I would call them my favorite clothes.

It also makes me more purposeful in the things I own and do. I don’t just whittle down my to do list and social calendar for no reason. Everything I do and everyone I see is on purpose. This gives me more time to hit the businesses hard, to read a lot, and hang out with Bret.

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Day 2816 – Letting Go Of The Past

Oh my goodness, what an emotional 24 hours! Yesterday, I finally made the decision to cancel my wedding photography business domain. I had no reason to keep it other than my email address, and a way to point people to my online photo galleries (which aren’t going anywhere!) It was costing me money each year, and that amount wasn’t worth keeping. Before I initiated the cancellation, I went through all of my weddings, and put details about each couple in their online gallery. That way, if someone Googles, cool person A and cool person B’s wedding photos, they’ll find them. It was such a sweet journey seeing all of the amazing people I’ve photographed over the years. Being a wedding photographer was such an awesome time in my life. Oh sure, it was hard work, and I cried many tears (not just the happy tears at the wedding), but as a whole, it was a great time in my life.

Then I thought it would be a great idea to start going through some of our stuff. We’re moving to a new apartment in a week or so, and have hopes of minimizing even more. I started in the closet, pulling a few things I didn’t wear anymore, a few things that could be thrown away, or recycled. Then I tackled a box I never tackle. It’s one of those things that just follows me wherever I go. It is a box of letters and cards. There were cards from my 14th birthday in there! That’s over 20 years ago! Ha, it’s boxes like this that reveal I’m not quite as minimal as I’d like. We are using this move as a chance to really evaluate what we do have and making sure we need what we have. I did small things like take Bret’s associate’s degree out of the envelope, put it in the holder, and recycle the envelope….I mean, why didn’t I do that before?

I also tackled another box I just take from place to place….the computer box. There were instruction manuals and CDs from things I don’t even own anymore! It was quite the freeing feeling parring that down too!

Funniest thing I found in my travels? This printer test page….

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