minimalist

Fight Club – Was Tyler Durden a Minimalist?

If you’ve ever seen the movie Fight Club (which, I hope you have – if not, go watch it right away), then you’ve probably noticed a thing or two about Tyler Durden.

Warning: Spoiler Alert –

According the the Fight Club wiki fan page, “Tyler Durden is the Narrator’s split personality. He was created by the perfect storm of the Narrator’s insomnia-induced insanity and his frustration with a hollow life of wage-slavery and consumerism. He is the manifestation of the completely free person the Narrator wishes he could be.”

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Here are some quotes from Fight Club. I’ll let you decide if he was a minimalist.

  • The things you own end up owning you.
  • If you are reading this, then this warning is for you: Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don’t you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can’t think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all that claim it? Do you read everything you’re supposed to read? Do you think everything you’re supposed to think? Buy what you’re told to want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you’re alive. If you don’t claim your humanity, you will become a statistic. You have been warned.
  • It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.
  • You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.
  • Fuck off with your sofa units and strine green stripe patterns. I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let’s evolve—let the chips fall where they may.
  • Reject the basic assumptions of civilization—especially the importance of material possessions.
  • The liberator who destroyed my property has realigned my perceptions.
  • Do you know what a duvet is? It’s a blanket. Just a blanket. Now why do guys like you and me know what a duvet is? Is this essential to our survival, in the hunter-gatherer sense of the word? No. What are we then? We are consumers. We’re the byproducts of a lifestyle obsession.
  • Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. Goddammit, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables—slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man: No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war; our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.
  • We’re consumers. We are the byproducts of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty—these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra…fuck Martha Stewart. Martha’s polishing the brass on the Titanic. It’s all going down, man. So fuck off with your sofa units and strine green stripe patterns.
  • What do you want? Wanna go back to the shit job, fucking condo world, watching sitcoms? Fuck you—I won’t do it.
  • Explaining consumerism: We are all part of the same compost heap.
  • A metaphor for the modern consumer-driven lifestyle: How embarrassing—a house full of condiments and no food.
  • Hitting bottom isn’t a weekend retreat. It’s not a goddamn seminar. Stop trying to control everything, and just let go! LET GO!
  • Only after disaster can we be resurrected.

 

We should all learn something here and start ridding ourselves of corporate, consumerism, and cultural influences that control our lives. “Our lives are ending one minute at a time.” Do what makes you happy. Don’t let third parties dictate what we want and feel. Be you, not your things.

 

 

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What is a Packing Party?

If you’re unsure what to keep and what to donate/toss try having a Packing Party!

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What is a Packing Party, you say? Well, keep reading.

The basic idea is to invite some friends over, have some snacks, listen to music, maybe drink a little wine (this is the party part) and pack everything you own into boxes. Obviously, this isn’t for those not ready to jump in completely because it will take some time and effort. However, this is perfect for those who have already downsized and bit and want to declutter even more but do not know how to do so.

You should probably warn you friends beforehand that they will be helping pack your entire life into boxes during the party, but most good friends won’t mind giving you a hand.

Once everything you own is packed (organize and label these boxes- it will make your life much easier) over the next 3 to 4 weeks (or longer, depending how quick you want to do this) you will take out things as you use them. For example, the very first night you will probably pull out your toothbrush, bed, couch, bedding, pajamas, etc. Once you have taken something out of the box and used it, place it where it belongs in your home.

The Minimalists created the idea of a Packing Party. Here is an excerpt from their blog on the topic:

“You see, I didn’t want to spend months slowly paring down my possessions like Josh had. That was fine for him, but I needed faster results. So we came up with a crazy idea: let’s throw a Packing Party. (Everything is more fun when you put “party” at the end.) We decided to pack all my belongings as if I were moving. And then I would unpack only the items I needed over the next three weeks.

Josh came over and helped me box up everything: my clothes, my kitchenware, my towels, my electronics, my TVs, my framed photographs and paintings, my toiletries, even my furniture. Everything. We literally pretended I was moving.

After nine hours and a couple pizza deliveries, everything was packed. There we were, sitting in my second living room, feeling exhausted, staring at boxes stacked halfway to my twelve-foot ceiling. My condo was empty and everything smelled like cardboard. Everything I owned—every single thing I had worked for over the past decade—was there in that room. Boxes stacked on top of boxes stacked on top of boxes.

Each box was labeled so I’d know where to go when I needed a particular item. Labels like, “living room,” “junk drawer #1,” “kitchen utensils,” “bedroom closet,” “junk drawer #7.” So forth and so on.

I spent the next twenty-one days unpacking only the items I needed. My toothbrush. My bed and bedsheets. Clothes for work. The furniture I actually used. Kitchenware. A tool set. Just the things that added value to my life.

After three weeks, 80% of my stuff was still in those boxes. Just sitting there. Unaccessed. I looked at those boxes and couldn’t even remember what was in most of them. All those things that were supposed to make me happy weren’t doing their job.

So I donated and sold all of it.

And you know what? I started to feel rich for the first time in my life. I felt rich once I got everything out of the way, so I could make room for everything that remains.”

You can read the entire article here.

  • If packing up your entire apartment or house seems too overwhelming, which it will to those who have quite a bit they’re wanting to downsize, then I suggest to try doing a packing party with individual rooms. For example, do your bedroom and write on the calendar when it’s been 4 weeks so you’ll know your deadline. You can pack up more rooms within those next few weeks or literally just do one at a time and wait until the 3 or 4 weeks is up before starting on another room. This is the easiest way to do the Packing Party. But, I wanted to give you all the backstory of the Packing Party, especially for those who are ready for that big change and don’t want to wait.

I hope this has inspired you. If you have done something similar to downsize your own items, how did you do it?

 

 

Steps & Tips to Declutter the Bathroom

The bathroom was one of the hardest places to declutter when I first started my journey. With bath & beauty products, I always feel like I may use it one day. “But, what if….” or “But, when I…” It was a never ending cycle of bringing in new things to try, keeping the old, and never purging because of those “buts.” However, I finally allowed myself to get rid of everything except those items I use regularly or know I’ll use within the next 30 days. A good rule of thumb is the 30/30 Rule. “If you haven’t used it in the past 30 days and won’t use it in the next 30 days, then toss it.” It has worked wonders in how I decide what I should keep and what I shouldn’t. Though, if the 30/30 Rule makes you a bit nervous, feel free to expand it to 60/60 or whatever makes you feel a little more comfortable. Just be honest with yourself.

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I have come up with a few steps to get you started on purging those items you no longer need or use and a couple tips of how you can store the items you decide to keep.

  1. Remove items: First things, first. Each section of your bathroom will be done individually, or if you’re feeling extra motivated you can do the entire bathroom all at once. You are going to take out EVERYTHING from that section of your bathroom. For example, medicine cabinet, under sink, makeup, nail polish, closet, shower, etc. I do this one at a time, but feel free to completely clear your bathroom if it’ll help keep you on task.
  2. Clean, clean, clean: When you have that space emptied out – scrub! You have no idea how much better your bathroom will look if instead of just throwing stuff out, you literally take everything out and clean the space it will be placed back into. Also, everything you are deciding to keep – clean those too. Bathroom items get hair spray, water spots, tooth paste, makeup, and all sorts of things on the containers. I suggest picking up some of those generic cleansing wipes and wiping them down before placing them back into the freshly cleaned space. Or, to save even more money just fill a bowl with some soapy water and use a wash cloth!
  3. Throw away ALL expired items: Don’t try to convince yourself it’s still good, just toss it. If you need it again one day then you can go out and buy it. More than likely if you have items that are expired, you don’t use them much. This includes, medicines, lotions, creams, face wash, anything that has an expiration date. They put that date on there for a reason. This also includes just items you know to be really old. Doesn’t have to have a date. If it’s been there for a couple of years or more, go ahead and get rid of it.
  4. Separate what is left in four piles: Trash, Donate, Sell, Keep. You will use these four piles in every room in your house. Bathrooms may, or may not, have a lot to put in the sell pile so I typically stick to the remaining three. The donate pile can be separated as well. I usually make one charity pile (Goodwill, Salvation Army, Homeless Shelters, etc) and another pile is a donation to friends/family whom I know would find joy in the items. If you’re planning to donate the items to charity, be sure they are unused (if it’s an item that shouldn’t be shared) or mostly full.
  5. Only keep the items you actually use: Remember to think back to that 30/30 Rule. Clean off the items you’re planning to keep and start putting them back in an organized fashion– like items with like items, used most, etc. You can find your own unique way to organize your items. Also, a good idea is to go to a Dollar Tree near you and grab a couple organizational bins/trays that you can keep certain items in to make it look nice and be more efficient. Loose items, like bobby pins, hair things, etc should all be placed in a container for easy access and to keep the clutter from forming elsewhere in the bathroom.

 

A FEW TIPS: 

  • Keep bathroom decorations to a minimum. You already are placing quite a bit in a small area. Decoration will just make that space seem cluttered.
  • Try to keep countertops and flat surfaces clear of items. If you want to put something on there, I suggest putting something on there that is used daily– handsoap, toothbrushes, etc. I’ve been to so many bathrooms where they have some sort of decorations on the sink/counter just to have something there. Believe me, your bathroom will look much neater and clean without it there.
  • Do NOT purchase more of an item that you already have. Use the item you already have until it is completely gone. This will not only save you money, but it will save your bathroom from getting cluttered again.
  • When in doubt of whether or not to purge an item, ask yourself these three questions. 1. Do I like this? 2. Do I use this? 3. Do I need this? If you answer no to any of those questions, you should consider parting with it.
  • If an item is discolored, separating, or has a foul odor – dispose of it, regardless of time kept. Bath, body, and beauty items stay good for a while, but not forever.
  • If you need to organize a bathroom drawer, consider purchasing a cheap silverware or other drawer organizer.
  • Spice racks work great within cabinets or on wall for those with very limited space.

 

I hope you have found this information beneficial in some way! Consider doing this in the bathroom at least a few times per year to keep it clean, organized, and clutter free.

 

Minimalism: A Documentary

If you’ve been into minimalism for a while then you probably already know about The Minimalists. Two amazing guys who travel the world sharing their stories on how, and why, they gave up their six-figure careers, fancy cars, and large houses. They were reaching the age of 30 and realizing that their material possessions weren’t making them happy. They had a void in their life and didn’t realize why. They do now. They are probably THE most inspiring group of minimalists that I’ve come across on my journey.

You can read about them and their stories here.

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But, I’m getting a little off topic. The purpose of this post was to introduce you to their documentary, “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.” Lucky for us, their film can be seen on Netflix. Sure, not everyone has Netflix but I’m sure everyone knows at least one person who does that may let them use their account for a night. If not, you can find the documentary online, including renting it on Amazon.

You can watch the trailer here.

“How might your life be better with less? MINIMALISM: A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE IMPORTANT THINGS examines the many flavors of minimalism by taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life—families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker—all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less.”

If you haven’t seen the documentary — it is a MUST WATCH.

If you are inspired by what you see and don’t know where to begin your own journey, you should check out my post about the 30 Bags in 30 Days Challenge.

Also, be sure to check out The Minimalists website. They have several YouTube videos and even a Podcast called, The Minimalists, that you can find on any Podcast site/app. If you have a job that you can listen to headphones at, my suggestion is to start at the beginning of their podcast and just listen through them. However, they are also named so if you’re only interested on minimalism with children, their stories, advice on letting go of sentimental items, then you can pick and choose based on your preference.

I hope you find The Minimalists to be just as inspiring as I have!

 

 

 

What is Minimalism?

You’ve heard the term thrown around by friends and family, but what does minimalism actually mean?

Minimalism means, “a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.”

The term minimalism used to be confined to a style or technique of art, but nowadays it has branched out to mean something much more. To live a more meaningful life with less stuff. Yes, stuff… things. We all know what “stuff” I’m referring to. All that clutter you have accumulated throughout your time here on Earth that you know damn well you don’t need or use.

People often times hear the word minimalism (or to be a minimalist) and their first reaction is fear. Fear of having to let go of things. Minimalism has no rules or restrictions. Just because you’re a minimalist doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your car and walk to work or downsize you’re entire life into a suitcase. No, no no. All it means is that you are aware that stuff has a way of dragging you down. Clutter in your house suddenly becomes a cluttering of your mind and thoughts. You just decide to live your life to the fullest without having a lot of unnecessary things in your way.

Do you really need those two closets full of clothing that you rarely wear? No, I highly doubt it. Do you really need those 45 pairs of shoes? Probably not. Do you need that massive collection of DVDS or CDs that has been collecting dust since collecting CDs or DVDs went out of style? More than likely, no. So, let me ask you? What is holding you back from letting them go?

There are several ways to let go of those items you no longer need, which I will get into in another blog post. But, I’m sure you can figure them out on your own. You know, the whole “Trash, Keep, Sell” piles? Well, there ya go. It’s a start.

So, let me end this post by saying don’t be scared of the term “minimalism.” It is just an easy way of letting people know you enjoy living your life with less “stuff.” Not living your life with nothing, but just less. Simple.