This is a post about minimalism. I believe, as many of you have commented on my organizing posts in the past, it is a topic of interest.
At least it is for me.
I’ve mentioned before how to set up a RSS feed so instead of bookmarking blogs that look interesting in the hopes you’ll go back to them for new posts, the new content is delivered to you. Presumably by little internet squirrels. Several of the blogs I read on a regular basis have a distinct minimalist mindset. So much has this infiltrated my thinking that I’ve unsubscribed a few of those non-essential minimalist blogs on my reader in an effort to minimize what I read on a daily basis.
For example, I’ve stopped reading the lovely Tiny House Blog because I’m not building a Tiny House. Although their sister site Tiny House Landscapes is adorable and gave me one of my favorite dream escapes: I want to work here.
One of the blogs I kept was Everett Bogue’s Far Beyond the Stars. Everett is the epitome of location independent as he owns less than 100 possessions, no property or a car. He lives very, very simply and encourages his readers to do the same.
I own far more than 100 things. Hell, I probably own 100 highlighters because I’m only halfway through the 12-Steps Office Supply Addiction Program.
So if we live different lives and disagree strongly about certain things, why do I read Everett’s blog?
I appreciate people who challenge my status quo.
I’ve been called… argumentative at times, which is absolutely a product of speech & debate in college. I don’t mind being the devil’s advocate in the short term as I’ve learned it teaches me even more than defending my own belief. I’m not afraid of an in depth, respectful, fun conversation about the interesting things in life. Which is to say I’m not going to debate Jersey Shore, Paris Hilton or other “interests” which I judge as unworthy of my time and attention.
Today I bought an ebook. Actually, 17 ebooks.
A group of highly qualified, compelling authors who are living minimalist lives want to communicate how that looks and feels and works for their families. That is compelling and worth far beyond the $27 price tag. The catch, and there’s always a catch, is this sale lasts 3 days so if you’re interested in minimalist living you need to buy before October 7th. That’s not an affiliate link, by the way, I will make no money from the recommendation.
Now about my dog…
Wilson has more than 100 things. He has a collar and tags, a training collar, a leash, bowls and food cups, toys, treats, beds, blankets and yes, even Halloween costumes. He has flea medication and brushes, doggy shampoo and registration papers. Vet papers.
He’s not even a high maintenance dog!
A line from Everett Bogue’s ebook about owning 1 really nice towel that cost $20 versus 8 or 9 crappy towels that cost $2-3 apiece reminded me of how much my dogs have. For the record, I have a dozen towels that are each at least 20 years old for spills, doggy baths and the muddy paws winter brings. Two dogs, 8 paws, 8 trips outside per day. You do the math.
I’m not going to downsize my life to exclude my pets so I can own under 100 items.
It’s just not going to happen!
Reading and reflecting on the things I do own for the dogs led me to think how I could downsize. I have a dozen feeding bowls because they belonged to my grandma who had the compulsive need to feed her 5 cats every time they meowed. If she couldn’t find a pet food bowl she would use a human bowl. Thus, a dozen pet food bowls so I would never find cat hair in my cereal bowl. Do I need that many pet bowls now? Nope.
The costumes started off as a joke, I dressed Wilson as a crustacean and took him to visit my grandparents on Halloween. Wilson waddled down the hall with his 12 little legs and my grandpa laughed. Laughed. Here he is last year with Wilson and his doppleganger Chase:
I’m not going to forgo what makes people I love happy for the sake of minimalism.
I can sell or donate the older costumes that don’t fit and keep just one (the lobster one was already given away).
For me, learning about the minimalist movement is not about competition or giving everything up. But it is about learning what’s important to you (and why) and pursuing that instead of living life a little numb and driving around in a fog. Consider buying this amazing set of ebooks, it’s $27 which is less than a tank of gas. Here’s the link again and remember to buy before October 7th.
This is my debate nerd coming out again, thinking of the arguments I’ll hear back about the post…
I know it’s not the “dog in costume” that makes my grandpa happy. Mom and I visited him on Saturday with both dogs, no costumes and he was happy. We do the things that matter to him like going out to lunch, I go there for breakfast, we visit with the dogs and bring pictures of the family to him. But twice a year he also gets to go around with his friends to show off a dog in a costume and it makes him laugh. That’s worth it to me. So if it means trading $6 or $7 and some time at Target for the hot dog costume or Santa hat then it’s a trade-off I will make.
At least I’m doing it consciously.