Brain Change

Focus on life through a simplified mind

Living room complete

My wife and I have been working on painting the interior of the house for the last two weekends.  We are mostly done, with a hallway and a room in the rear of the house left to do.  What we have been able to accomplish is some major paring down of stuff.  When you paint it is a great way to be able to remove every thing from a room and replace only those things that matter the most.  We also shampooed the carpets and then one by one added items back in.  Here is an example of just one room in our house what we were able to do.  What a fresh feeling to be ablet to relax in a wide open living space.

Our Living Room

Electronics/entertainment: 

TV/DVD/Dish network reciever/Xbox/Wii/Games for machines

Furniture:

Sectional couch/coffee table

Decoration:

Area Rug/Clock/Grandparents Whiskey Bottle collection on corner shelf/Rubber Tree/Ivy/Plant

14 items total, I know I grouped up the games and whiskey bottle collection.  This may be far from minimalist but it is fantastic.  The rooms is filled with space that we never knew we had before.  Here is what we were able to eliminate from the room. 

Bookshelf/Small Corner Table/Dishes hanging on wall/3 Porcelain Dolls/2 8×10 mirrors/40-50 DVDs (to be stored as digital media per previous post)/DVD shelf/6 framed photos and many unframed that were propped up around room/60 or so VHS tapes/Potpouri container/decorative jars/Wind Chime/Coin Display(moved to my office)

So by minimalist standards we are still crazed consumerists but by our own standard we are moving slowly toward the lifestyle that more is not betterBetter is better.  When you start to pare down your possesions to those that truly matter you end up with those items of exceptional Quality and those of exceptional meaning in your life.  I could post how our dining room, front room and kitchen have all changed but it would be almost redundant to the living room.  We cut and slashed a lot of stuff over the last two weekends freeing our space up significantly.  I am getting closer to being able to create a list of everything I own without being innundated with useless objects on the list.

Advertisements

November 14, 2010 Posted by | decluttering, minimalism | , , | Leave a comment

Can you make the move to digital?

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”

Antoine de Saint-Exupe

You should not have a single CD left in your house!  The pile of plastic boxes with silver discs inside has plagued us long enough.  It is time to eliminate another needless space waster.  Will you be able to rid yourself of these?  I did.  Well not quite but im close.  Here is what I am doing..

 Two days ago I was trying to figure out the next step on my journey and I read a post by Sara Raush at her website Life more lived.  Sara mentioned going to digital with all your movies and CD’s and I was all in.  I have an entire crate of Compact Discs in my garage.  (around 200) and I also have around 150 DVDs.  I began to understand that I could place all of this information onto one sleek, sexy, portable hard drive.  I would eliminate approximatley 350 possesions and still retain the same amount of information.  What could be better?

So after walking into my local Radio shack and purchasing a portable hard drive.  I began to load CDs into my Itunes and save them over to the hard drive.  After loading all my discs onto the drive i put them up for auction on E-bay.  I am trying to recoup the cost of the hard drive with my CD auction.  I also believe time would be better served by selling them as a lot vs. trying to sell them individually.  Next step… load all my movies onto the drive and auction them off as well.   Any movie  can then be watched over my laptop, of course its not a big screen TV with surround sound but I could watch a movie I wanted pretty much wherever and whenever I want,  I will have portable media over my computer.  Start thinking about what you could eliminate.  After my DVD’s are gone I am going to try to go paperless with bill payments. 

What else could you move to digital?

Have you had any luck reducing clutter in your life?

I would love to hear your stories.  Use the comment button to share them.

Please share this with your friends if you think it will help.

November 3, 2010 Posted by | decluttering, minimalism, Personal Finance, simplicity | , , , | 4 Comments

Bedroom closet complete

Finally!! I did it I took on the bedroom closet and got this monster put to bed.  Since posting in a previous blog that I was going to tackle it I have procrastinated and rationalized and let it fester until I was almost causing myself a brain tumor in worry.  The closet had become a huge mental stressor.  My bedroom closet is a huge walk-in and (was) packed from floor to ceiling with every item thats ever needed a place out of sight.  It was also completely filled with loads of clothing that my wife and I never wore.  I finally got the courage to make it happen using the approach recomended by most decluttering/minimalist authors.  I spent an hour unloading the closet completly taking everything out of it and I gave it a good scrubdown and vacuuming.  I then started sifting through the pile and decided on each item. 

KEEP/TOSS/SELL. 

I probably could have filed another pile for donate but most items that were in the toss pile would have made me feel funny to try to donate it was junk old paper cardboard boxes torn and ripped clothing among other things.  It didnt seem right for me to donate my trash just to feel good about donating.

The items in the sell pile were items that I could list on E-bay right now.  What food/shelter/donation place would like to be handing out old I-pods to the needy?  it just didnt feel right donating consumerist items to less fortunate people perpetuating the myth in society that “stuff” will make you happy. 

Enough on that, I placed everthing I wanted to keep back into the closet one item at a time deciding on each piece do I need this? will I need this? (winter clothes,xmas decorations).  If not it was put in a pile and taken outside immediatley, or taken to a bin that I could start listing items on e-bay.  I filled the back of my pickup full of crap, I could not believe how much junk had piled up in that room. 

I am nowhere near what a true master declutterer or minimalist would be I still kept way to many t-shirts, way to many dress shirts, I did however reduced my dress pants down to two pair from around 10.  I also kept a collection of basketball/football/baseball cards some trophys me and my wife have won over the years and all the photographs we had stored in the closet.  I am just not ready mentally to let go of certain things.  Perhaps as I continue to reduce my lifestyle and consumption needs I will find a way to keep these memories but get rid of the physical items.

Overall the closet being done has been a huge success as it has lifted the burden of an undone task from my mind. 

What struggles are you having with decluttering?  I would love to hear how you have dealt with issues that come up when you start clearing your life of “stuff”.

Please share this if you think it will help someone.

October 13, 2010 Posted by | decluttering, minimalism | , , | Leave a comment

Uncluttered Bathroom

Spent an hour tonight with my wife cleaning out the bathroom drawers and cupboards.  we threw away 3 garbage bags full of stuff.  Today I also purchased new towels for ours and the kids bathrooms.  We will be keeping only 4 towels per bathroom, tossing the rest of the old towels.  Items that I have decided to keep and the only things left in our bathroom are as follows.

Toilet paper, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Shaving Cream, Razor, Deodorant, 4 towels, Blow Dryer, Curling Irons, assorted make up (she tossed a bunch), Mouthwash, Beard and Mustache Trimmer, Hair Clippers, Soap Supply, Shampoo, Conditioner, Cleaning supplies under the sink – All purpose cleanser, furniture polish, toilet cleaner, soap scum cleaner, Travel bag (for toiletries when I travel), Diabetes test kit, Thermometer, Contact solution/container.

When you write it down like this it sure does seem like a lot of stuff we need to be comfortable.  I imagine I could go caveman and do away with the smell nice stuff but I sure am not ready to become Uber minimalist yet. 

My wife and I also bought new bed sheets today and tossed all others we have not used that have been sitting in closets.  We purchased two new pillows for our bed and threw away the 4-5 pillows that have been lingering around our bedroom.

My battle with nicotine addiction is not nearly over.  I gained 10 lbs since quitting last monday and I broke over the weekend buying a pack and then another and another.  So now I am overweight again and a smoker.  I know this is not going to be an easy process but I am going to systematically beat down all the clutter and distraction in my life and make better choices.  Limiting myself to what is truly important and tossing the rest out the window.  I think that Mental toughness comes by in part by reducing how much your mind is having to deal with at a given moment.  The more you can trim away the fat and get to the meat of the issue to larger you intesity and focus becomes on resolving that issue.

August 23, 2010 Posted by | decluttering, minimalism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Cleaning House

I set up my auto savings today an additional $50 every two weeks will be deposited for quitting nicotine.  Just saying the word nicotine or tobacco or smokes or chew is enough to make you want to say Hell with it one wont hurt.  It is amazing how addictive the substance is to actually make you talk to yourself in third person rationalizing that it is ok to do it.  It may also be another entity but that would be for another post.  

Began cleaning my office throwing away perfectly good crap that I will never use.   It is very hard dissecting what I absolutely will need.  In the back of my mind I am still hearing dont throw that away you may use it someday.  I am having to forcefully make myself to throw stuff out.  I am going to have to make several passes at this cause I still find my desk stacked up with a bunch of stuff. 

I have not started my list of essential items that I would like to keep my life in possesion of.   I do not know if I am ready to limit my life to a few  possesions that I really need to live.  I have a lot of sentimental items that i would not know what to do with.  Guns, knives, cards.  What do we do with these items?  I know they are not essential to life but isnt the point of life to get experiences? If you have a card your father wrote to you and it makes you feel good when you read it, do you keep it? Or toss it because it wont benefit you.   I must think deeper on this issue to see if I really want to become a minimalist.  I dont want to do it for the environment but im sure it will help.  I want to do it for the  freedom it could bring not being chained to items.

Mortgage, Car payments, Credit Cards these are all opposed to reducing mental anguish in your life and can only increase stress.  I have found that focusing on these things only magnify their importance therefore magnifying the problem you have yourself in with Debt.

I am now focused on building savings.  As I focus on depositing money into my savings account for some reason I seem to have more money to deposit.  For those of you who have read “The Secret” you know why this may be happening.

For now more passes on ridding clutter, actually doing exercise, eating healthy are top on my agenda for the next few days.

August 18, 2010 Posted by | decluttering, minimalism, Personal Finance | , , , , | 3 Comments

   

%d bloggers like this: