Thursday, January 12, 2017


Lately I have been inspired with some of the processes that my coworkers have been testing out in their daily work. My design team is constantly trying to figure out how best to parallel our work with that of the developers on our teams, and each product team is in itself discovering the processes for the best collaboration and output.

All of this has gotten me thinking more about how I can become more efficient in my personal life. I have some processes that I'd like to improve, and have been wrestling with how I can do that. As an easy example, there's a little nook in my bedroom. Part of it is a closet whose door I never close because I am always wedging myself into the little space between the open door and the wall to get at my dresser (which is in the closet).

So I unscrewed the door from its hinges.

And I did it on the last day of 2016. It just happened to be a coincidence, but now I see it as a sort of catalyst for how great 2017 is going to be for me. Yep, you heard it here first everyone, 2017 is the year of Chloe. And it begins with good habits.

My friend introduced me to the concept of minimalism a few months ago. We liked to joke about his minimal wardrobe, mostly devoid of colour. It always reminded me of this:

The minimalist starter kit. Note all the black jeans are the exact same pair of jeans.

But maybe he was onto something...wouldn't it be nice to eliminate the excess from one's life in favour of a simpler way of living? Why do I take so much care in selecting what I will wear each day, when these four articles of clothing (shoes don't count...they never count) would do the trick?

This friend also recommended an interesting documentary on the subject called The Minimalists, created by Josh and Ryan, two guys who run a website and blog with the same name. They have a book and a message, and travel all over the States showing people how to simplify their lives.

In order to be a minimalist, do you have to get rid of all your stuff? Heck no. As Josh and Ryan say,
At first glance, people might think the point of minimalism is only to get rid of material possessions: Eliminating. Jettisoning. Extracting. Detaching. Decluttering. Paring down. Letting go. But that’s a mistake.
True, removing the excess is an important part of the recipe—but it’s just one ingredient. If we’re concerned solely with the stuff, then we’re missing the larger point.
Minimalists don’t focus on having less, less, less; rather, we focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more experiences, more growth, more contribution, more contentment. More freedom. Clearing the clutter from life’s path helps us make that room. Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.
There's lots of good stuff going on here. I certainly have room to pare down items, which will give me more freedom (especially in the case of my closet door), but I also have the ability to design my life in a better way to provide myself that freedom.

One other way to do this is to buy quality items that completely fulfull my needs and expectations for that item. Why have a bunch of crappy free pens lying around when I can choose to own one or two really great pens?

This is easier said than done, though. After some thought about how I would go about doing this, I realized that people who are young or inexperienced in life will have a harder time adopting the lifestyle of a minimalist because they have not discovered what items work best for them. I suppose that's why some people are loyal to specific brands; because they trust the quality of the items. I feel that way about Uniqlo products (no product placement here, just truth).

I have a lot of little knick knacks that are very dear to me, but sometimes I feel like they are coming at me from all sides in my apartment. A way to approach that in a minimal way might be to keep one single shelf whose purpose is to display one item, and maybe switch the item up every once in a while. The rest have to go away into storage and be subbed in. And if an item stays out of sight for long enough, you'll either grow to love it more, or into the recycle bin it goes.

For all the trades I do on Bunz, I sometimes wonder if it's helping me with my minimalism goals. Depending on the day, I'll trade a bunch of clothing and knick knacks away for an 8lb pork shoulder roast (which is good because I'll eat it and then it's gone), and on other days I'm buying a specific contact solution as a special request to trade for a 3D effect notepad (complete with 3D glasses and utterly useless). So I'm not really sure, but I suppose the odd frivolous trade makes for some good fun and isn't costing me any money. Plus, it's allowing my items to go to a good home, and there's definitely value in that.

I am now the proud owner of this frozen hunk of flesh.

I need to take a little more time to think about my minimalism goals and how I can realize them. I feel like while removal of items is part of this process, it's just as much about understanding the limitations and undiscovered uses of the items I already own. Basically, I need to exercise my ability to "take a door off its hinges" in every ritual of my daily life. 

If you have any suggestions of things that have worked for you, let me know!

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