Good Habits – Living with Less

I think it’s hard for artists/crafters to live a minimalist life.  We need stuff to create.  We like having pretty stuff around.  We see potential in ordinary stuff that’s toss out on the sidewalk and we bring the stuff home.  I am definitely guilty of all of this and then some but I think it’s possible for me to live with less and be more organized. 

There’s a great article about simplicity on Zenhabits called The Four Laws of Simplicity and How to Apply Them to Life that really clicked with me.  The article is a great read and here are the four laws:

1. Collect everything in one place.

2. Choose the essential.

3. Eliminate the rest.

4. Organize the remaining stuff neatly and nicely. 

And a commenter suggested rule #5, Don’t collect more junk.

I’m quite excited about this and now I want to follow these steps for EVERYTHING in my home.  I love how these steps can be applied to a junk drawer, a room in the house, or life in general. 

As for my own journey to living with less, I’ve been doing the following:

1. I get rid of stuff I don’t need by diversifying the ways I give.  I always ask my friends first to see if they need anything that I’m about to part with.  Goodwill and Salvation Army are good places to donate usable things.  Yard sales, Craigslist and Ebay are good ways to make some money for getting rid of stuff.  If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of taking things to the donation site or post office, post them on Freecycle and ask people to pick them up.  Lastly, if you have blankets/towels/clothing that are too worn to be donated or sold, you might try calling the animal shelters to see if they need materials for the animals.  Oh yeah, and don’t forget to recycle as much as you can.

2. I try to use what I have instead of buying something new.  I’m trying to buy less “things” so I thought I can use my creativity to come up with alternate uses for what I have already.  For example, I’ve been trying to air dry my clothes over the heating vent (a great way to humidify the room AND save electricity) but I don’t have a drying rack.  I looked on Freecycle and Craiglist for one but couldn’t find any.  So instead of going to Target or Bed Bath and Beyond to buy a drying rack, I’ve been trying to think of ways I can make one myself.  So far I’ve dried some clothes on a ladder (since I still have 2 in my room!) and I’m trying to come up with something that involves 2 aluminum saw horses I have.  I’ll post it if it works so stay tuned.

3. Stop getting stuff.  One way to limit the amount of stuff you have is to stop shopping.  I somehow developed an aversion to shopping over the past year.  I’ve never liked shopping for clothes or shoes but I didn’t mind going to Target or JoAnn’s.  Now the sight of aisles and aisles of things piled up to the ceiling at the stores make me sick.  I’ve also been asking friends and relatives to stop giving me presents.  I tell them that I’m trying to live with less and that I really don’t need anything.  This is actually hard for many gift givers but be persistent and eventually they’ll respect your lifestyle. 

And if you want to stop getting most of the junk mail, give GreenDimes a try.  If you join through me (leave me a comment and I’ll send you a referral link), I get a $3 bonus.  🙂  I promise I won’t use that 3 bucks to buy useless stuff.


2 Responses to “Good Habits – Living with Less”

  1. 1 heather January 10, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    ok, i’ll take this challenge and up one. i have planned to clean my office and guest room this weekend, and organize it all. i am considering switching the two rooms but that’s too much work for one weekend.

    anyways, i’ll take before and after pictures and post them on my blog. this will hopefully motivate me to do a really good job….

  2. 2 Sanjiv January 11, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    GreenDimes here,

    Thanks for spreading the word. We appreciate it. Why don’t you contact me via the email provided? I can make your referral process a little easier.

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