Minimalism

A Minimalist Lists Out Her Belongings

Although I’m still not at the point where I can fit everything I own into one suitcase, I have simplified my physical belongings to the essentials and there really is something therapeutic about having all of my belongings right in front of me and being able to see exactly what I have.

Clothing

6 short-sleeved tees (white, black, 2 sky blue, dark blue, light gray)

7 long-sleeved tees (3 black, navy, stone blue, purple, blue stripes)

black tank dress

black shirt dress

stone blue wrap dress

sky blue embroidered dress

gray t-shirt dress

olive green t-shirt dress

4 camis (2 black, 1 white, 1 sky blue)

3 pairs of black leggings

3 sweatshirts (black, sky blue, gray)

2 cashmere sweaters (black and sky blue)

navy & white striped acrylic sweater

sky blue cotton sweater

military green utility jacket

black puffer jacket

cream white down jacket

underwear and socks

Winter Accessories

crocheted cream white wool hat (handmade)

basic navy hat

navy wool gloves

purple ski gloves

3-in-1 white and blue gloves

gray earmuffs

Accessories

black baseball cap

light blue resin ring

Shoes

white sneakers

black and white striped flip-flops

simple black flats

Bags

purse (black, white, and blue pattern)

teal backpack

2 duffle bags (blue, purple)

Technology

21.5” iMac

jet black iPhone 7

blue iPod Touch 5

Canon T6

white LED desk lamp

Instrument

Guitalele

Notebooks/Miscellaneous

white marble journal

blue bullet journal

dark blue spiral-bound journal

2 composition books

notepad

forms and documents folder

college diploma

various office supplies: pens, pencils, colored pencils, stapler, erasers

Stuffed Animals

Not listed because who’s interested in those? I have a bunch of mice. They all fit into one blue duffle bag.

Why aren’t there any CDs or Books?

I use my computer and phone to read and listen to music. I’ve digitized my media collection.

10 Things Simple Living Advocates Do

1. Work on side hustles. Minimalists are the kings and queens of side hustles. They may write blogs, novels, articles, inspirational books, and songs for both personal fulfillment and extra income. They may have a YouTube channel or podcast where they share their ideas. They would rather create their own media than consume media made by mega-corporations. They also may have some side businesses that involve personal branding, creative advertising, web development, coding productivity apps, or making products that are distinct from what is mass-produced on the market.

2. Spend less time doing chores. While many argue that not working on chores all the time is considered lazy, minimalists are accomplished in making their homes look neater and doing less to upkeep it. They have less stuff, they choose to live in smaller spaces, they have smaller yards, and they are selective about the people they invite over, so they don't need to use their homes to impress others.

3. Wear plain clothes in neutral colors. Minimalists are huge advocates of capsule wardrobes and wearing only what is comfortable and practical. They don't focus too much on how they look because it is a waste of time and energy. However, they do dress better in less time because they know what fits them and what colors look best on them and don't waste time on chasing trends or wearing things that aren't suited for their day-to-day lives.

4. Regularly donate or sell things they don't use. They like to donate and sell things to get rid of clutter and make room for things that are more important to them.

5. Say no more often to things that do not matter to them. Going to the mall on Black Friday? No. That holiday party with people you barely know? No. That dinner party hosted by someone powerful who intimidates you? No thanks. That vacation to a touristy part of a big city with your friend? No way. Minimalists like to say no and keep their schedules uncluttered, so that they have more time to devote to more important activities like relaxation, being alone, being with people who are most dear to them, and working on their side hustles.

6. Read minimalism blogs and watch minimalism videos. They like to learn about new ways to keep organized, maintain a budget, and find more meaning in a slower-paced lifestyle. 

7. See the "bigger picture" of life. They understand that life is too short to keep up with the rat race, they aren't guaranteed tomorrow, their life doesn't have to follow a standard formula, and focusing on how life looks to others can make one feel more anxious and depressed. They don't get caught up in the little details or fuss over how things don't look perfect enough. All these things are fleeting and feeling stressed out over things that don't last is a waste of time, burdensome, and unnecessary.

8. Value time more than money. They would rather find a smart way to earn more money in less time. They would rather spend time on something they enjoy than fill their schedules to the brim. They know that time is more valuable than money because they can never regain the time that they lost doing something that isn't essential to them. 

9. Never feel bored. Feeling bored is a crime. Boredom is why most people go shopping for things they don't need, spend too much time watching television, compare themselves to others on social media, and believe that external things will make them happy. Minimalists don't feel uneasy when they find themselves sitting still, nor do they seek out entertainment for every waking moment of the day. They understand that stillness is beneficial and consuming things just to alleviate boredom won't cure feelings of emptiness inside.

10. Have a mindset of abundance, not scarcity. They recognize that they have potential to give something of value to the world and inspire others to think and live differently from the rest of society. They believe that life is more than just surviving by competing with others for scarce resources. They know that making decisions out of fear and lack will only worsen their lives and never give them a sense of peace or fulfillment.

The Five Types of Journals You Need To Keep Your Life Organized

A Bullet Journal

Bullet journals are great for having all of your important pieces of information in one place. You can customize your bullet journal, but an organized and detailed one will generally have these things:

  1. Building a customized calendar and/or planner that works for you and helps to keep track of important appointments, your work schedule, vacations, major changes, etc.

  2. Keeping track of your passwords and usernames (so that you don't scribble them down on random pieces of torn up paper - not only is this unsafe, but it also is very disorganized)

  3. Making charts to keep track of things (some examples include budget trackers, a wish list, a grocery list, meal plan)

  4. Daily and weekly to-do lists

  5. Any super important things related to planning that you wish to include

A Moleskine Journal

For anyone who loves writing, a Moleskine notebook is wonderful for keeping track of things that you want to write about, ideas for future writings, and anything that inspires you in the moment that you don't want to forget about later.

A Pretty Journal With a Cover Design That Is Visually Appealing

For me, personally, DesignWorks Ink makes some pretty amazing journals with high-quality paper and gorgeous covers. I highly recommend them.

This journal is meant for you to express yourself honestly, pour out your heart, and write down unfiltered thoughts.

A Composition Book

This is recommended for keeping track of what you learn (such as coding, a foreign language, marketing, or any concrete skill). 

A Small Notepad

If you don't carry all of your notebooks or journals around on a daily basis, a small notepad (you can find $0.50 ones at Wal-Mart) is very useful for jotting down quick notes that you can go over later. Or maybe, when you're on the phone and you need to write something down before you forget it, it's great to have a small notepad with you at all times.

50 Things I Already Don't Spend Money On

I read a lot of personal finance blogs and articles, and I find it interesting how other people cut back a ton of spending in response to difficult economic times (student loan debt, unaffordable medical care, expensive rent, competitive job market, low wages, etc.). But for myself, there wasn't much I could cut back on since I already follow basic, common sense saving recommendations. 

I wouldn't call myself an expert in saving, but I am more of a saver than a spender.

So without further adieu, let's see what kinds of things personal finance bloggers recommend people not to buy that I already don't even spend on.

  1. Makeup

  2. Bleach and other toxic cleaners

  3. Netflix subscription

  4. Alcoholic beverages

  5. Going to bars and clubs

  6. Throwing parties for people

  7. Meals at dine-in restaurants

  8. The latest hit albums on the iTunes homepage (obscene cover art makes my eyes bleed)

  9. Gym membership

  10. Cigarettes (ew...gross)

  11. Movies and movie tickets

  12. New York Times bestselling books that are popular today and forgotten tomorrow

  13. Tacky, gaudy clothes

  14. WEDDINGS - seriously, this takes the cake (unoriginal pun intended) for the most exorbitant expenses

  15. Gas station snacks

  16. Snacks at grocery checkout lines

  17. Candy

  18. Designer purses, totes, and handbags

  19. Cable TV

  20. Board games

  21. Video games

  22. Women's magazines

  23. Harry Potter fan products you find at bookstores and Wal-Mart

  24. Any product relating to a fandom

  25. Celebrity merch

  26. Jewelry

  27. HOLIDAY DECOR

  28. Heels, wedges, and ballet flats (I'm a sneakers and flip-flops girl)

  29. Overhyped self-help books

  30. Overhyped InstaPoet books

  31. Amusement Parks

  32. Vacations

  33. Home decor items

  34. Rugs

  35. Decorative throw pillows (just more clutter for the room)

  36. Unnecessary kitchen supplies

  37. Spotify Premium

  38. Random arts & crafts supplies

  39. Planners

  40. Anything related to sports

  41. Fad diets

  42. Courses that seem like get-rich-quick marketing schemes

  43. Luxury bath products

  44. Hair straightener and curling iron

  45. Boho-chic clothing

  46. Disney stuff

  47. Anything that is ugly and aesthetically unappealing

  48. Excessive number of mugs and cups

  49. Concert tickets

  50. Furniture that I can't fold or pack into the trunk of my car

 

Maintaining a Simple Lifestyle

1. Understand your root motivation and purpose for living simply. 

Living a simplified life is easier if you can identify the specific "why" behind the general "what." Do you want to write a book? Do you want to inspire change and influence the way others think? Do you want to make music that no one else is making? Do you want to travel more? Live in a smaller, neater home that fosters creativity, relaxation, and rejuvenation?  Not have to worry about emergencies? Save more money to supply your passions? Not have to live paycheck-to-paycheck? Not have debt as your slave-master? By identifying what you honestly want to do in life, you will be more determined to pursue a minimalistic lifestyle and be ruthless in rooting out things that make you feel overly stressed, drained, powerless, and unproductive. 

2. Organize your room every weekend.

This simple practice helps you re-organize not only your living space, but also your life. It's important to re-evaluate what you want to do, evaluate how external things affect your internal reactions, and come up with new ways to be even more organized and make the next week less chaotic than the last.

3. Let go of past memories and thoughts that paralyze you.

This is one of the most difficult aspects of maintaining a simple life. Within a matter of days, you may find it easy to clear out clutter, create a more solid routine, and stop buying things that do not help you with your goals - and by doing these external things, you may think that you have it all together, but then you realize you can't get easily get rid of the feeling of weight holding you down. That's because letting go of past events, guilt, and other people's negative judgments of you can take years to do since they are internal distractions, which are far more difficult to root out than external distractions. They still paralyze you, hold you down, and make you progress more slowly than you would like to. And despite how much conscious effort you make to forget the past and forget about how people have left you scarred, those memories will always follow you around. When that happens, remember that all you have is now and the present is an echo of eternity - living in the past is like living in a graveyard of dead dreams, suffocating sorrows, and hemorrhaging hopes. Whenever doubt arises and fear threatens to paralyze you, know that you are no longer who you once were and focus more on what brings you most joy and what you are able to do today because that is all you have now. You no longer own the past, neither should the past own you. 

4. Avoid situations where you fall into the black hole of comparison and competition.

It is so easy to get caught up with what other people are doing, how far ahead of you they seem to be, and how much other people praise them for being the best. Unfollow people who make you feel insufficient, stop eavesdropping on people's conversations, and stop evaluating how unworthy you are in comparison to someone else. Understand that you are here on earth to live, and do something worthwhile that only you can do. Anything that is done for the sole purpose of attaining extrinsic rewards will burn in the flames of obscurity on the day of your death. And seeking to validate your existence based on other people's judgments of you is not only depressing way to live, but it also costs a lot more time, energy, and even money because you will try to do too much just to prove that you can do the work of 15 of the most talented people you know and seek to overpass them, not out of love, but out of spite for those who criticize you for not being sufficient or worthy enough. Your mind, body, and soul mustn't be traded away to prove that you are worthy to those who have oppressed you and aren't satisfied with anything you do - regardless of how much blood, sweet, and tears you have shed to earn their love.

5. Make a realistic, daily routine that works for you. 

A daily routine is there to keep yourself accountable, know exactly when you have the most amount of energy and the least amount of energy, and what's important for you to do today. A daily routine helps us focus on what is most important to us and how much time we need to accomplish certain tasks. However, it is important not to condemn ourselves for not doing enough, so it is imperative that you make one that is realistic and allows for flexibility to accommodate any change of plans or simply an unscheduled block of time for recuperation and self-reflection.

Simple: Part II

The pursuit of simplicity isn't something virtuous or superior to the pursuit of pleasure and other things that deliver immediate gratification. It's not a philosophy or an application of philosophies of the enlightened, though the world may interpret it that way. 

I live simply, not because I want to be more virtuous than others, but because I am easily overwhelmed and want to take control by eliminating things that aren't essential to me. That is not to say that I live as a nun or live with just two pieces of clothing, a bible, and a hymnal (I am not under the law of strict asceticism). I still like nice things, and I like my gadgets, clothes, stuffed animals, notebooks, etc. However, I am not burdened by incessant demands from the world or have the instinctual need to hoard or accumulate things just for the sake of my self-image or to fulfill an empty void within me. I used to buy a lot of books, which I half-heartedly liked, but the main reason was that I idolized the idea of people perceiving me as a "deep thinker" if I read certain books and kept up with the latest and greatest in 21st century philosophical spirituality and pragmatic self-improvement. I used to buy a bunch of music like classic rock albums and obscure albums by random artists just so people can be impressed by my "deep" and eccentric music tastes. I used to buy a bunch of clothes that I thought would make me look more fit, sophisticated, and stylish. All of these purchases were foolish, since I ended up donating a lot of these after I graduated from college and moved out. 

I no longer buy any clothes for a "better future me," (since that is a fantasy mentality that most women succumb to when they go shopping). However, I do have at least one basic outfit for different situations (weddings, interviews, special events, etc.), just so I do not have to do any last-minute shopping or spend more than I need. Most of the clothes I own are practical, simple, and versatile. 

I rarely buy any digital music because I don't feel the need to keep up with the music industry (both mainstream and underground), and I only buy from the very few artists I like. I've stopped impulsively buying books since my ability to write isn't defined by how much I read or how much I spend on building up a library of books that other writers say that I must read to be better version of myself. I read what I want to read. I like what I like and I've found that over time, my likes have been fewer in number and I have grown more selective about what I spend my time, energy, and resources on. I cannot afford to buy all the things that others recommend, so I need to be very selective and bring in only what would improve me the most. 

Simple

I don't have a lot of stuff. I never moved around a lot as a kid, but after moving three times within the past two years, I realized that there was too much clutter in my life (despite the fact that it was able to fit in a little Honda). I still wanted to get rid of as much as I could.

I've spent weekends since then purging, throwing away, donating, and a bit of selling. Decluttering is by far my number one hobby and I always feel refreshed and more focused after it's done. 

Clothes: All of my clothes are blue (mostly sky blue but a few darker blues), black, white, and green. I don't have a lot of color because I like having everything color-coordinated. I am not a super minimalist with under 20 items, but I have the right number of items for me because I do like pretty clothes and like having some options.

Shoes: I only have four pairs of shoes (white sneakers, black ankle boots, Hollister flip flops, and blue faux leather sandals). I wear sneakers and flip flops the most.

Technology: Desktop, laptop, iPad, iPod, Camera, phone, Chromebook

Stuffed animals: I have more than the average adult, but they do fit into one box and I don't plan on getting any more.

Books: KJV Bible, pocket Bible, hymnal

Office supplies: one pencil, pack of pens, colored pencils set, scissors, USB's, notebooks

Instrument: Guitalele

That's pretty much all I own! 

25 Little Things You Can Do To Make Life Less Hectic

  1. Add gas to your tank when it's half-empty.

  2. Throw out what you don't need or use.

  3. Know your top three priorities in life. It's fine if you have more, but make sure you have the time, energy, and resources for each (if not, cut it out).

  4. Schedule car appointments at least three days in advance.

  5. Clean your room every Sunday (or whenever you want to).

  6. Wake up an hour (even better, two hours) earlier than you do now.

  7. Have a capsule wardrobe.

  8. Write down a to-do list the night before.

  9. Write a master to-do list the week before.

  10. If you have somewhere to be, leave one hour in advance (speaking from personal experience, it seems like traffic incidents always happen whenever I have an appointment, interview, meeting, etc.).

  11. Before you leave the house, check that everything's turned off and make sure all doors and windows are locked.

  12. Put your keys into your pocket or purse immediately after you kill the engine. Don't leave keys locked in the car.

  13. Go to bed an hour earlier.

  14. Eat at the same time every day.

  15. Sleep and wake up at the same time every day.

  16. Limit social media use to 2 hours a day.

  17. Don't say things you'll regret.

  18. If you want something, put it on a wishlist and see if you still want it after a month.

  19. Instead of creating a monthly budget, create a weekly budget (for monthly bills, calculate the amount you need to set aside a week). It's easier to save little chunks at a time instead of having a large bill stare at you menacingly at the end of the month.

  20. Have one outfit ready for different special events. You do not need more than one for each type of event.

  21. Have one general resume ready at all times.

  22. Chill without Internet for a day.

  23. Be proactive in preventing any possible annoyance - ranging from an inconvenience to a full-on emergency. This means making sure your car doors are actually shut and lights are off (to avoid battery drain), making sure the stoves are turned off (to prevent fires), turning off faucets and anything that's not in use, remaining watchful whenever you go out, making your home as theft-proof as possible, and being careful about who you share personal information with (ideally, shared with no one).

  24. Organize your bag and charge your phone the night before.

  25. Keep a junk journal of unfiltered thoughts that you keep only for yourself.

10 Obstacles That Stand in the Way of a Simple Life

If a minimalist lifestyle were so easy to attain, then more people would be pursuing it. The truth is, there are many obstacles that prevent many of us from making radical to make our lifestyles work for us instead of us working for our lifestyles. These obstacles leave us with crippling amounts of debt, a lifestyle we can’t afford, health problems, emotional distress, and anxiety over the future.

1. Fear of what other people think. This is the number one reason why people hold onto things that have no meaning to them. They’re afraid of letting go of material possessions for the fear that others may think they’re crazy. They’re afraid of saying no to extra work loads for the fear that they may be seen as unambitious and downright lazy. They’re afraid of not showing up to every social event for the fear that others may exclude them and they’ll end up lonely. They’re afraid of not keeping up with the latest entertainment for the fear of missing out and not having something to talk about.

2. Dishonesty with ourselves. I’ve been dishonest with myself for quite a long time, especially during my late teens and early 20’s when I wanted to be an engineer, an intellectual, a young 21st century philosopher, a young adult fantasy author, a modern classic science fiction author, a famous pop singer, a fierce lone wolf who also was well-liked by others, and an attractive woman who was more desirable than the most beautiful model. I was chasing after all these things and created these unrealistic demands for myself to accomplish by the age of 22. I wasn’t being honest with myself about what was achievable with what I already have. It’s critical to be honest with yourself, acknowledge your own vanity, understand that outward “success” isn’t a measure of your value, and be content even when nobody is giving you recognition.

3. Being easily manipulated and influenced. Many of us are easily influenced by external things like advertising, the media, politics, and our peers. However, not all of these influences are good – in fact, most of them are bad because they instill fear of the future and feed on our insecurities in order to get us to do what they want. And this often results in spending more money on what we don’t need, pretending to be someone we’re not, and living a stressful life chasing after things that become worthless in the end.

4. Allowing others to determine our self-worth. Sure we all have things we need to improve on, but when we let other people zero in on our imperfections, we begin to question our self-worth, doubt that we’re capable of pursuing a life that’s good for us, and waste away our lives trying to prove them wrong in order to “earn back” our self-worth in their eyes. And that always complicates our lives because there’s a disconnect between what they want you to be and who you are.

5. Feeling insecure and inadequate. The more insecure and inadequate we feel about ourselves, the more likely we will overwork ourselves in order to prove that we’re ambitious enough, spend more money in order to prove that we’re rich enough, and try to be friends with everyone in order to prove that we’re outgoing enough. However, even if you do all these things to prove that you are not insecure or inadequate, it will never be enough for anyone you’re trying to please.

6. Feeling bored easily. People tend to spend the most money when they are bored. They waste their time with TV or other media when they are bored. They fill their lives with the most meaningless things when they are bored. Boredom causes us to be unsatisfied with our lives and fill us with the urge to buy or do something that looks “fun.” However, the more we feel bored, the more we trash our lives with random junk in order to achieve a short-term state of pleasure. In the end, this robs us of our time, money, and energy – which we could have utilized to pursue a greater purpose in life.

7. Having the urge to “do something” all the time. People think that doing nothing is very unproductive and that we should be overflowing our schedules with as much as we can. Not only does this cause us to lead stressful lives, it also makes us too busy to evaluate what is absolutely essential to us and what only distracts us from that. We don’t have to fill every waking moment with frivolous activities. Likewise, we don’t need do be doing something all the time to validate ourselves to others.

8. Letting past mistakes define us. This prevents us from creating a life that will truly make us happy because based on our past mistakes, we believe that we don’t deserve to live a life free from debt, stress, or bad health. Letting our past mistakes label us as failures is the most dangerous thought because it causes us to believe that our past forms our core identity and has power over the future. The truth is, it doesn’t. Who you once were is not who you are and not who you will be in the future.

9. Not understanding who we are. When we don’t have a solid foundation that forms the essence of who we are, we are lost. We spend our lives searching for what will make us feel “complete,” buying things to relieve stress or boredom, and working on things that make us believe we are worthy enough. Knowing your strengths, passions, and purpose can simplify your life, helping you avoid things that won’t contribute to that purpose or won’t bring long-term happiness.

10. Fear of being nothing. When people think of minimalism or a simple life, they think of people living in an empty house, doing nothing, eating nothing, and being nothing – unknown to the world, leading unexciting lives, not buying “fun” stuff, and overall just being a boring nobody with nothing. However, this is a huge misconception because people who live a simple life keep only the few things that are valuable to them and spend their time doing only the few things that bring them joy and align with their purpose in life. Despite minimalists being perceived as “having nothing,” they are the ones who are content with what they have, feel no pressure to fill their schedules with unimportant things, have enough savings, are debt-free, are more focused in their area of expertise, know that they have nothing to prove to anyone, and don’t allow others to manipulate them or make them feel inadequate. So it’s okay to be “nothing,” because you will have everything – everything that you value and deem as important.