I love it when my thoughts or actions become a part of what my husband calls pancraniology—a word he made up to describe when the collective actions or thoughts of multiple individuals converge, initially unknown to them, into a synchronized concept that is explored regionally if not globally.
So it was with the beginnings of my minimalist lifestyle. It started with the privilege of assuming the Executive Director position at the Sedona Community Center in January of this year. The new job also meant a move from the Phoenix Valley, and in the process necessitated that I down-size into a smaller rental while the process of transitioning the family home to the Sedona area has been underway. Except that as time has gone along, I have come to realize the term ‘down-sizing’ really does not fit the process. It is not so much about eliminating or making something smaller as much as it is about embracing simplicity, meaning, and value with what one possesses and how one lives. When this whole minimalist lifestyle concept began hitting the social media sites recently, I realized ‘wow’ pancraniology had put me smack dab in the middle of a new trend.
Maybe you are a person who really likes your ‘stuff’ and cannot imagine parting with one single item or perhaps you are ready for a change and want to jump into a minimalist lifestyle head first. Whichever you may be, or if you are somewhere in between—the following tips can simplify and organize your life in beneficial ways:
Clothing—One source says we wear 20% of the clothes we own. The website Oxfam.org.uk reports that the British wear 44% of the clothes they own and that “half of the nation admits to having regular wardrobe rage.” With a reported 3.6 billion unworn clothes—or average of 57 undesirable items per person—hanging in British closets, I can see why they rage. To be a successful clothes minimalist, try the following, 1) Box up everything that does not fit, needs repair, or you have not worn in over two weeks, 2) keep no duplicate items, 3) when it’s time to buy, purchase only quality garments, if possible. Keep your boxed up clothes for a month. If you have not missed anything in the box, don’t open it back up. Simply gift it to your favorite clothing charity.
Decorations & Countertops—Home décor and knickknacks can multiply over time for a variety of reasons. Items kept because they were a color-match, a gift, or previously relevant may be lining your shelves and countertops with no current value to you. Guilt and other emotions can be associated with items if they were gifts from a beloved relative or friend. Resist the misplaced obligation; walk through your home and remove items that do not reflect your lifestyle. An overabundance of mementos creates chaotic visual competition that is distracting. Retain only those items that are the most beautiful and expressive. The positive benefits of décor purging is that your space will exemplify who you are now, tell the story of what you truly value and be much more enjoyable for you and your guests.
Declutter and Detach on a Regular Basis—True minimalist living is about a purposeful, peaceful lifestyle with a focus on what is important in your present life, not yesterday’s. Starting is the biggest and possibly the most difficult step. Once implemented, though, you may come to enjoy as I did, the increasing sense of clarity and freedom with each disposed of item, box, or bag. A regular schedule of decluttering is helpful to keep you on track and, of course, the tips above can be applied to other areas such as the kitchen, the office, or garage. Those practicing minimalists who have been at it for a while say that in addition to minimizing your belongs, a mindset of detached gratefulness for what we do possess helps to maintain a healthy minimalist balance.
At the Sedona Community Center we are all about balance. In the kitchen, Chef Peggy and her crew cook up balanced, delicious, and nutritious lunches Monday through Friday on site at our Melody Lane location. A cadre of amazing volunteers then deliver the meals to older adults age 60 and above in their own homes or serve the meals up, piping hot, to seniors in the Center’s dining room. Along with the good food comes a healthy balance of social interaction and lively discussions over a glass of iced tea or cup of coffee. If you would like more information about the eligibility guidelines for our Meals on Wheels or Community Lunch program, please call us at 928.282.2834.