Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Magic of Less

I don't think I'll ever be a true minimalist although the concept definitely intrigues me.  I like the theory of only having something like 30 pieces of clothes but in practice, I don't think I could do it.  I also really like the theory of having such a clean and organized garage with so little in it that we never have to spend a sunny spring day cleaning it out, but in practice I know that also will likely never happen.  (Our garage is currently awaiting one of those spring clean outs, it's not at it's worst but it could definitely be cleaner.)

However, I have started to realize how much I prefer to have fewer options.  The whole 80/20 principle where you use 20% of your things 80% of the time?  Yeah, that.  Maybe I just need the 20%?  Maybe that's not entirely practical either but I have started cutting out some of the 80% of things that we don't use, or don't use often.  The less you have, the less decisions you have to make.  I can save my brain energies for more important things.  Decisions are generally easier with fewer choices.  A few small changes in my life recently which has made this more obvious.

I've been on a big cleanout-cleanup of my iTunes lately, which is slightly a pain because for various computer reasons I don't understand (something about iTunes not cooperating with the video card on my desktop?) I keep my iTunes on our laptop (which we bought for $200, thank you very much, and is used primarily for my music and watching movies at the lake).  I had 3000+ songs a few years ago.  Cut that down to 1400ish.  Realized there were still songs I was skipping, even with my so excellent taste in music (I doubt anyone agrees with me, and I'm ok with that).  I cut it down to under 1100 which is staying for now although I wouldn't mind having it under 1000.  This is still around 60 hours of music so it's not like I don't have enough to listen to, I just got rid of some of the ones I didn't like so much.  It makes "shuffle all" that much more enjoyable.

(While working on this I remarked to Matt that he'd be surprised at how much music we have in common.  I just had (stopped to do math)...200 songs by boy bands and their solo projects.  I told him never mind.  Maybe we don't have that much in common...  And not ALL of those 200 made this purging cut, I did delete some.)

Then there are fashion things.  I feel like with clothes and accessories I am frequently throwing a bunch of stuff against the wall (on me) and seeing what sticks (doesn't end up in the garage sale pile).  I went through a phase a few years ago when I was buying a bunch of flats in different colors/patterns.  I tried a bunch of different ones (all from Target?  Why, yes, they were.).  I think I had 9 pairs at one point?  Then I slowly realized, I was wearing the same few pairs over and over and over again.  So I got rid of the rest.  I'm down to 4 pairs (one of which isn't going to wear out soon).  The ones I wear the most, the ones that keep getting repeated, that are worn often in the spring and fall (i.e. when I don't need boots to stay warm or sandals to stay cool.)  It's easier not to have to think about which pair to wear, trying to work in all the other colors.  If I'm at home I'm probably going to be wearing my grey pair (like I am right now).  If I'm going to work or church or somewhere nicer then I'll wear black or navy, depending on the pants I'm wearing.  It's so much easier.

I used to have a bunch of scarves as well.  I tried a bunch of different kinds, figuring out which ones I liked and actually wore (maybe someday I'll figure these things out without buying a bunch of different ones).  I slowly narrowed it down to 5.  One floral for spring, 2 plaid for fall/winter (one of which I made), a grey leopard print, and a plain white for whenever.  Those were the ones I was wearing the most anyways!  Now I don't have to feel bad about not working others in my rotation, I only have the ones I know I'll like and wear often. 

Fewer choices, makes it easier. 

I know, music and clothes are pretty frivolous but working on applying this to a lot more in our lives, mainly possessions, it takes too much brain power right now to figure out how to apply to time and energies and the real important stuff.  See, I need fewer things, fewer choices to make so I have the brain power for the more important.  The less we have, the less to maintain, the less choices to make.  I can save my decision making energies for the important things.  Maybe there really is something to this minimalism thing.  So far, I'm seeing the benefits.

Have you noticed the 80/20 rule at work in your life?  Done some downsizing!  I need more inspiration!  I always love hearing what others can live without!

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