Be more with less blogger, Courtney Carver’s, 7 Tiny Steps for the Beginner Minimalist, offers ways through which the novice minimalist can begin to live with less. If you read my last post, you know that I questioned some of the steps on Carver’s list. From the perspective of the novice minimalist, my apprehension may be the result of an attachment to my material possession rather than genuine skepticism. Nevertheless, I explored the seven tiny steps.
Step 1: Write it down
Carver’s first step suggests creating a list of all the reasons you would consider simplifying your life. Although I still feel that making a list is only a small percentage of the battle-the remaining effort coming from motivation- I did find the list eyeopening. Minimalism was something I was curious about, but not a lifestyle I necessarily felt i needed to do.Writing down potential reasons brought up an immediate need for simplicity that I didn’t know existed!
Step 2: Discard the duplicates
Currently residing in a tiny apartment in Syracuse, New York, I didn’t bring too many objects with me when I made the move from Connecticut. Don’t be too proud of me for “traveling lightly,” as Carver puts it, because my room in Connecticut is full of duplicates! I focused on papers for this experiment. As a writer and editor, I have stacks of manuscripts, notes, and edits, much of which are for the same piece or project. I spent s little time (okay, five hours) sorting through the piles and tossing anything that was a duplicate of another paper. The longest and most stressful five hours ever. But as I looked at my slightly more empty room, I did feel lighter.
Step 3: Declare a clutter free zone
After working on this step, I am still doubtful of its effectiveness. Once I discarded the piles of duplicate papers, I found that my room actually has a desk! One that I can sit at and work! The newly decluttered space, however, slowly began to acquire coffee cups, notebooks, and camera equipment, just as I had expected.
Step 4: Travel lightly
If you were stranded on an Island, and could only bring one thing, what would it be? Another island, attached to that island, filled with all of my things? I experimented with this step by strategically filling a single carryon luggage with what I consider to be essentials. I’m traveling to London this summer for two months, and panicked at how little I would be bringing if I traveled lightly. Step 4 is a separate project that needs its own dedication.
Step 5: Dress with less
Similar to step 2, I sorted through my closet and put all the duplicate items in a small suitcase. I haven’t gotten to the point where I’m ready to fully commit to project 333, but I was excited to downsize my closet. I feel anxious trying to decide what to where, only to end up wearing one of the five same outfits. This step encouraged me to wonder why I needed four of the same sweater in different colors, 3 pairs of skinny jeans, or so many T-shirts when I only ever wear a select few. I’m keeping them under my bed, and if I don’t need them by Summer time, then I’m donating them.
Step 6: Eat similar meals
I was excited to see my meals down on paper. I knew this would probably be the easiest step on the list, as I eat the same thing for the majority of the week. I didn’t realize how small the list really is, but I never feel stuck in a food rut so I’m not complaining! I find that Carver is right. Having a simple menu that you follow every day saves so much time, of which I don’t have a lot to offer in my busy schedule! This is a win for me.
Step 7: Save $1000
I am the daughter of a practical woman who taught me how to save money at a young age. Carver suggests relieving stress by saving up enough money to have an emergency bank account. I already am fairly good at saving my money, but when I got to college I discovered my one weakness: coffee. After owning up to this, I calculated the money I spent in one week on coffee shops, and vowed to spend the week french pressing my own caffeine fix. Although I miss my daily coffee shop visit, I don’t miss the hit to my bank account.