Closet Challenge : Seven Month Review / Thinking about Minimalism and Mindfulness

In my goal of having fewer things you could maybe read between the lines and see something like : spending less on things, not spending/shopping at all, reducing clutter. All of those things might come out of this challenge, but those aren’t the reasons I entered into this, and maybe we’re getting a little off track with that kind of mindset. Something I’d like to focus on in the the coming months is being mindful about my minimalism approach. Looking for ways to make smarter purchases, purchasing for quality over quantity, keeping the things I need and/or use, letting the rest go – this what the challenge should be about. With that in mind I’ve come up with some guidelines to keep myself on track. These are the things I’m comfortable with splurging on :

Good, real food – I like to eat, a lot, and I particularly like unprocessed food made with ingredients I can pronounce, that don’t come with all sorts of added chemicals, pink slime, or unidentifiable stuff.

Learning new things – Last year I signed up for a Metalworking class at a local museum despite having no idea about anything having to do with metalsmithing. What a wonderful experience! The year before I did a certificate on Business Foundations that covered things like financial accounting (yikes!) and stretched the limits of my brain beyond where I thought they could stretch. It was a definite struggle, I hate it at times, and in the end I learned nearly as much about myself as I did about accounting. Under this heading I’d file things like travel, professional development, conferences, networking groups, and philanthropic endeavors.

Services that make my life better – Of course I could probably super glue some shoes back together or stitch up a seam myself but taking these things to a professional serves two purposes for me, getting a job (really) well done and giving myself a break. I like both those things.

Quality, Purposeful “Stuff” – Whether the trusty (cheap) one cup coffee maker I use every day and still runs like a charm, the boots I wear almost daily all winter long, my last car that I drove for more than ten years before it finally bit the dust, it just feels plain good to use something up completely. Fast fashion, wasting food, and planned obsolescence just aren’t for me. I get such satisfaction from knowing my cost per use is a fraction of a penny, and that I’m purchasing things that are made of good quality and served their purpose well.

Giving (Back) – This one can come in many, varied forms. My giving back of choice is by joining philanthropic groups in our area, in particular, Young Friends groups that support local organizations. These groups typically involve planning and executing events that raise capital for the organization, awareness of a cause, and involvement with the community. Under this heading I also lump in gifting to others for any occasion. I enjoy taking the time to select a perfect, thoughtful, quality, and purposeful gift for each recipient. There’s something delightful about finding that exact match.

Finding Joy / Unique Experiences – This one sort of sums up the others; finding joy in the opportunities presented to me and recognizing the uniqueness of a moment. This is easiest to find when traveling somewhere new but can also be present in daily experiences. More than anything it’s mindfulness, being aware of the moments as they happen, and delighting in them when they do.

Great resources :

http://www.simplyfiercely.com/how-i-became-a-minimalist/

http://www.missminimalist.com/

(image of tall trees / idea of freedom from things + freedom to do instead)

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