I just finished reading a killer article on appreciating what you have over at ExperienceLife.com ( pretty cool site/magazine btw, never heard of before?) and littered throughout it were handfuls of great tips to help you become better at life.
If you read minimalism blogs you may have heard some of these before, but I thought we’d highlight a bunch of them here in case they spark some good brain power.
Let me know if you’ve tried any!
#1. “Pack all of one kind of clothing item in a box — sweaters, shoes, etc. — and for the next month, take out only what you need. After 30 days, consider donating what’s left over.”
Beautiful. I’ve never tried this one on purpose (only in between moves), but from my limited experience it definitely helps sort your “loves” from your “mehs” :) And how awesome would it be to actually love ALL the clothes you put on vs only a % of them?
#2. “Put a week’s worth of clothes in a suitcase, as if you’re going on a trip. Then wear only what you’ve packed for those seven days. See how it feels to work with a smaller wardrobe.”
YES!! And you also find that you don’t even wear all the items you’ve packed either, at least if you’re an overpacker like me :) I swear I never wear 30% of the stuff I bring, yet I continue to pack them up every dang time… Still, there’s always that “freeing” feeling that anything you need for the next X days is right there in your suitcase for you. Which also helps you get dressed faster too! Less options = more speed.
(On an un-related note, I’ve started combining different parts of my clothes into “themes” in my closet, which has made quite the difference every time I get dressed now. Instead of separating out all my t-shirts and socks and boxers in their respective areas, I now clump them up into two different sections – the clothes I need for the morning, and the clothes I need at night.
For example, in the mornings I need socks, t-shirts, and jeans, so I put them all together in one spot making it easier to grab and match up. Then in the evenings, when I take a shower and need to get my pjs on, I head straight for the “night section” which now includes the other piles of shirts and pants and socks (different from those above), as well as the new home for all my boxers.
So basically any time I need to get dressed now, I just head straight to the respective section and avoid having to sort through double the clothes to find what I’m looking for. It’s not life-changing stuff, but I gotta say – it’s certainly making my mornings and evenings more pleasant! Who knew mashing things up would actually be better for efficiency? :))
#3. “Make nonspending into a game. How many days can you go without buying clothes, nonessential trinkets, or little “rewards” for yourself? When you do buy something, start over the next day and see if you can beat your record.”
Agree 100%!! This has been one of the BEST things I’ve done for my money by far since paying attention to it all (the other being tracking my net worth every month). I lasted 40 days in a row the first time I tried this, and it completely shifted my mindset going forward as well as my wallet. I’ve since cut out 90% of my mindless shopping, and probably save about $200 a month now. I’ve never tried to beat the 40 day record, but maybe that’s the next challenge? :)
#4. “After your next grocery trip, see how long you can go without buying food again. You’ll be surprised how creative you can be with leftovers. Plus, it trains you to use what you have and reduce food waste.”
This one’s the scariest of them all, haha… Perhaps I’m too picky or just a big ol’ wuss (or both?) but my lack of culinary skills and desire here would fail me pretty big. There would literally need to be a cash prize or trophy or something at the end to push me to want to try this as I’d probably end up eating the leftover baby food if put to the test, haha… Though I hear it’s pretty tasty?
#5. “Before you walk into a store, make a list, or stop and ask yourself exactly what you’re going to buy. Then make a beeline for those items and head to the cashier.”
If only!!! Target would go out of business! ;) But yes – hell of a good habit to get into if you can pull it off. (Maybe a better challenge is to just pick out *3* extra items anytime you ever go anywhere?). I will say this though – going shopping while hungry and going shopping while not are two compleeeeeeetely different experiences. Don’t dare set foot in a grocery store before you’ve eaten!
#6. “Look around one room in your home. If you were to suffer a natural disaster and lose everything you see, what would you miss? Would you feel relieved if certain items were lost?”
I TALK ABOUT THIS ALL THE TIME!! Such a great – and fast – way to put things in perspective. My wife and kids might say differently, but outside my coin collection I personally wouldn’t miss much (though it would be rather annoying having to replace all the stuff you do need!). We posted about this the other year and it was pretty interesting to see peoples’ responses… Let me see if I can find it real quick..
Ahh, here we go! “It’s Your Own Fault You Own Expensive Stuff” It’s actually a bit different now that I read it again, haha, but still along the same lines of seeing how you’d react in a situation where your stuff gets taken away… Good mental exercise to go through for sure.
#7. “Whatever object you see first when you glance away from reading this, keep looking at it for 30 seconds. Try to view it as if you’ve never seen it before. Notice the detail, the color, the shape. This meditation technique trains your brain to focus on one thing at a time — and appreciate what you’re seeing.”
*Goes to stare as his coffee cup*
*Sees how pretty all the leaves are on it and the neat little mermaid logo staring back at me*
*Now getting thirstier and thirstier and just want to dump it all down my throat!!*
*10 more seconds to go in this experiment, ack…..*
*Ahhh, that’s the good stuff…. *gulp gulp gulp* … Thanks for keeping my
cocaine caffeine warm coffee cup!*
#8. “Track the moments of your day in a journal: what you eat, read, work on, drink, even daydream about. Just jot down a couple of short sentences about each. Then read them a few days later. You might be surprised to find how many moments you don’t recall because you were operating on autopilot.”
Totally. I used to do this every morning during the first year of the Benjamin Franklin Experiment and loved flipping back through the pages to remember what transpired just a few days before. It really is amazing how many of the details you forget. Probably good for the bad parts, but not so much for the joys in life! Haha…
It can also do wonders for your finances too, btw – if you swap out “moments” with “expenses”. Check out our friend Cait’s Mindful Budgeting Planner which is great for this type of tracking!
There you have it… More experiments to try whenever you’re in the spirit :)
Check out the full article on these tips here: “The Art of Enough“. It really is a great read, especially if you’re new to the more minimal lifestyle idea.
And let us know if you end up trying any of these, or have already! You never know what’ll turn into a habit over the years, so always good to test things out and see what happens.
See ya back on Friday.