- Organizing & Decluttering
4 Things That Should Not Be Minimized
Minimize, Minimize, Minimize
There is a big movement out there to minimize all of the things in our homes. Keep only what you need and adds value to your life. We, as Americans, have accumulated a lot of unnecessary things and I am all for reducing possessions to a minimum. Some people really get into it where they have only 2 sets of clothes and everything fits into a backpack. I've heard that some even minimize the money they make, keep, invest, etc. Seriously, they minimize everything. But are there things that should never be minimized? I think there are and I think these things are very important to living a full minimized life.
Seriously, can you ever have too much knowledge? Some industries, such as healthcare and IT, require it to keep licenses and keep up with the ever changing world. Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work You Love, recommends investing 3-5% of your income in learning and acquiring knowledge. Reading books and magazines is the most obvious way to acquire knowledge. "Readers are leaders" as it is said, You don't have to clutter your house with books and magazines in order to read. I use an e-reader. Books and magazines can also be borrowed from the library or friends. My book and magazine collection includes copywriting, english and grammar references, health, diet in the first century Middle East, green cleaning, Mediterranean cookbooks and other eating plans, pets, and a multitude of other things. There are also online courses for everything under the sun. I have used these and they can be a great source of knowledge. At the moment I have 2 copywriting courses but would really like to buy a few more on some other things as soon as I am ready. There are some great courses at Undemy and Skillshare. Courses can also be bought from the people who created them. One example is the life changing course from Dave Ramsey called Financial Peace University, which I have been through and it's really great. If you do a search for something you are interested in they will come up. For a bit more money there are conferences, summits, workshops, seminars, and webinars to attend. These may require some travel but well worth it if you can afford to go without putting it on a credit card or going into any kind of debt. Check out classes in your local community. Science and history museums are also great sources of knowledge. In my opinion, a museum is the perfect date! If you can justify the cost, college courses are, of course, very valuable but I would not recommend that without a great return on your investment. Don't attend college just for the sake of acquiring knowledge. That should be reserved for helping you earn a good living and even then, only if it is absolutely necessary and can be done without debt. A good documentary can help expand your knowledge as well. Netflix, Discovery Channel, National Geographics, and probably more have great documentaries. I like ones about the Bible vs science, minimalism, ancient living, and interesting historical people and cultures to name a few. And finally podcasts. I listen to lots of podcasts. Some are just for entertainment and that's okay. Some are debate and discussion. But many of them are very educational as well as entertaining. I listen to most of the Dave Ramsey personalities, some on blogging and copywriting, sermons, true crime stories and other historical commentaries.
Money and Income
I know people who settle for low or moderate paying jobs because they don't believe they can do anything else but I don't personally know anyone who is allergic to money. Everyone needs some money for living. But extra is always good. I'm a fan of the Dave Ramsey plan for getting out of debt, saving for emergencies, and building wealth. I am a fan of having money available for emergencies, necessities, giving and helping others, and fun. I've had a water heater go out, my only vehicle die, travel across country for my kids, and things that required money. I have aging family that, when they die, I will need to travel. These are things everyone experiences in one way or another. And there are several holidays a year including birthdays and anniversaries. As minimalists we may not be into buying physical gifts but there is nothing wrong with a gift card for a night out, a spa day, or some other experience. I don't think there is a better gift than that. But it's still a cost we have to be prepared for. Life throws things at us all the time and we need to know the bills are paid and needs are met and we need leisure and vacations we can afford so money is good and should not be minimized.
What is life without experiences? They can range from a day at the museum to exotic vacations. It all depends on what you can afford, what you're comfortable with, and what you enjoy. Experiences make life full and help us enjoy our families. Personally, if I could, I would be doing something special at least once or twice a month: museums, day trips, weekend trips, anything to keep life interesting and fun. And at least yearly I'd take a big vacation for at least 2 weeks anywhere in the world I could afford to go. Minimalists, in general, do not have collections of things. But a collection of memories is very okay for everyone and experiences are great for creating those.
Giving should never be minimized. Giving is part of building wealth. It also makes us feel good, gives us a sense of community. And for those of us who have been given to, it gives the feeling of giving back. For Evangelical Christians that means tithing to the local church as well as free will offerings. But giving does not have to be monetary. You can give of your time. Find volunteer opportunities like at animal shelters or your local church, school, or library. I have volunteered at my church with the food distribution and currently in the nursery on Wednesday nights during the school year. Others on Wednesdays mentor and/or teach the kids. Some also fill backpacks for the backpack food program at the local school. There is also a rotation for nursery duty on Sunday mornings as well. I live in a very rural village but the big cities would have many more opportunities than are available here like homeless shelters, soup kitchens, rec centers, the list goes on. If you are in the process of minimizing your possessions or minimizing further, there are many ways to donate your stuff. I donate to the thrift store but there are also shelters and places I am unaware of that can use what you no longer need. There are countless ways to give of your time and money. Be careful when giving money. Check out the organizations to make sure they are legitimate. Dave Ramsey has tips on how to do that. May we all be cheerful givers of all our resources.
What Will You Maximize?
While we are minimizing our material possessions there are certainly some things we can maximize to also enrich our lives. I covered just 4 of them here. You can not have too You cannot know too much, earn or save too much, have too much fun, or give too much, within your budget, of course.Everything should be done within your budget. That is very important. Stay within your budget. Minimalism frees up a lot of your time so fill it with these things that add value without cluttering up your life and environment. You can still grow and develop and expand your horizons and that is always a good thing. So while you are minimizing the parts of your life that cause you stress, maximize the parts the help you to grow and will enrich your life.