Monday, May 21, 2012

Mini Minimalist Interview: Kristine

Today's Mini Minimalist Interview features Kristine from Utah.
  1. What is your current living situation?
    Family house

  2. What do you think of when you think of "minimalism"?
    I think of simplicity and outdoor living.  Reducing clutter. Donating unused belongings. Cutting back on purchases. Setting priorities. Borrowing books at the library. Seeing the world through a child’s eyes. Taking a walk in the springtime. Visiting the local farm. Participating in a trail running race, the kind without expos.

  3. What about daily life can be stressful? What do you like about daily life?
    Commuting. Enough said. 
    I enjoy spending time with family and friends, running, and teaching students.

  4. What are some of your hobbies? Do you collect anything?
    My favorite hobbies are hiking, trail running, spending time with family, reading, listening to music, and photography. I enjoy organizing photos and collecting postcards, as reminders of fun trips!

  5. What are some of your most prized possessions?
    Family photos and race medals. The photos are memories of special family times while the medals are reminders to keep working hard when the going gets tough.

  6. What are one or two things about life you'd like to "minimize"?
    I’d like to minimize and organize emails. I cannot keep up with all the work and personal emails in my inbox! Also, I’d like to donate extra clothes, limit media (web surfing, television), and cancel catalog mail.

  7. Any other thoughts?
    I highly recommend the Four-Hour Work Week book by Timothy Ferriss. This book provides helpful tips on the journey toward minimalism, since I have not arrived at the destination yet! Just note the disclaimer that not all the principles may apply to service professions!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mini Minimalist Interview: Joyce

Today's Mini Minimalist Interview features Joyce from Lawrence, Kansas. Joyce is.......... my mother!

I really wouldn’t say that I am a full blown minimalist (stark home, only ten hangers in the closet),
however, I feel like I am increasingly becoming a person who wants to be surrounded by less. I don’t
want a museum, I don’t need to be stocked and ready for every situation, and I like the mental and
physical breathing room of open space. I don’t want my “stuff” to ultimately limit my portability, my
time, my resources and my availability either to God or to people.

When we had a house full of children, it was easy to “blame” excess and acquisition on our kids. As
empty nesters, we find ourselves as being the point where the buck stops. Each of our children DOES
seem to have an ample stash left in our home that they supposedly will claim “someday”, but this is
reasonably well contained. My husband and I have felt the liberty, however, to divest ourselves of many
items that were more useful in a different season of life. (Yes, we have kept the Barbies, the Legos and
the other classic toys that our grandkids will enjoy!)

I have tried over the last few years to make various changes to reduce and simplify the excess baggage
that has piled up. I’m not a Feng Shui person, but one time a friend who is a practitioner told me that
her cardinal rule is to surround yourself with things you love and that make you happy, and to not feel
the least bit bad about parting with the rest. Good advice. Example: Knitting sets off my tendinitis –
why keep a giant box of yarn and a full array of needles and patterns?

The benefits have been clear to me. When I clean out the excess, it becomes easier to access what I
need. There’s less to maintain. I no longer feel guilt pangs about not eating/using/wearing items that
I never liked. Time for them to go into the trash, or into the hands of someone who would like them. I
find myself desiring less, because I am happy with what I currently have.

My best success at moving forward is with setting small attainable goals. I can sift through a closet, a
shelf, or an area. Results are quickly visible, and the task doesn’t take an overwhelming amount of time.

I read somewhere that typical Blog readers are looking for voyeuristic intimate secrets. And now for a
few deep dark revelations regarding my “no guilt” kitchen purge -
  • You know those cookbooks that only have one go-to recipe? I’ve copied off those single recipes to file in a notebook and donated the cookbooks to the library book sale.
  • Since doing Weight Watchers, our eating habits have radically changed and I’ve eliminated cookbooks that are simply vehicles for consuming cheese, cream soups, and various forms of fat.
  • Time to revisit the stack of recipes I’d clipped from a magazine or printed from the internet. Save or toss? Most got tossed.
  • I cleaned out my cupboards, pantry and freezer of anything that was expired, overlooked or had been around for more than a year. I got rid of all the spices that were more than 18 months old. I was embarrassed and horrified by how much I tossed. I’m now shopping smarter, utilizing what I have, and wasting less. Fresh is so much better.
No, I’m not ready to get down to nothing but the bare bones, as I love creature comforts and items that
bring pleasant memories. However, it has been good to learn that I can enjoy those things even MORE
when I’m actually surrounded by LESS.