Getting Over The Excess Barrier

Today I want to discuss the excess barrier, that spot where we start learning to let go, minimize and bring our life to the comfortable, simple aspects thatI always talk about. The reason this is coming up today is recently I discovered that I too have a problem with the idea of letting go. For those who don’t know I plan to renovate a school bus into a mobile housing solution and while doing that I need to remove almost everything I own because it doesn’t fit in with the design.

Now I have been looking around my apartment and realizing that more than 50% of it will not be included in the new place. Meaning there is about to be a lot of stuff that I need to let go. Alright so let’s discuss getting over this barrier to let go of our things.

What sort of barriers are holding us back when it comes to stuff and changing our lifestyle, well typically we are attached to these things or we believe that absolutely need them. Then there are the sentimental items, the functional pieces, and clothing. Then one of the biggest problems in my mind is furniture, which is strange because most people seem to let go of their furniture every time they move.

Let’s start with the items we absolutely need and are attached to, these items are pretty difficult to let go of because we have used them a lot and they have become something we cannot let go of. I have come to the conclusion that I will be keeping my clothes, kitchen utensils and some close things like books and writing. Everything else becomes irrelevant to me because it is part of the lifestyle change. The barrier for things we are attached to can be overcome by assessing the things we are attached to by true need and absolute use. Things that are not used in more than 3 weeks is something that should not be kept. Things need to be in constant use and in constant need otherwise you don’t need to keep them. This is how life gets cluttered and eventually you can look around and realize there are things you haven’t used in months, clutter means forgetfulness and you actually lose the use of these pieces.

The hardest one being sentimental items, these are definitely hard to choose and I don’t blame anyone for having a hard time. Well alright when I moved out I kept the things dear to my childhood with my parents, who are much more fond of the memories anyways. As for things that are with you currently you should look for different ways to either incorporate them into your space, like as a focus piece or art piece, otherwise I would advise you find somewhere safe to store them. And if all else and you can find a way to let go of these items then I mean do so, find a way to either make something from them or find someone else who will cherish them. I think that is one of the hardest things, because when you sell off your items to someone else you want to sell them at their value to you, when in reality they are not as expensive to anyone else.

Getting rid of functional pieces and clothing, this includes everything from multi purpose pieces or gadgets, and well your entire closet. I group these two together because when it comes to gadgets and clothing everyone thinks that one day they will use this and they should keep it around for that one day that it will be used. Then in reality it never gets used and you continue to use that excuse. So we need to try and find a way to get over that barrier of swearing that things will get used. I mean I’d love to say that the one month rule still applies here but that doesn’t remove the excuse, I want to find out how to actually get over that barrier and let go of these things. Alright well I am aware that we think these things and we need to convince ourselves that the piece will not get used and could apply to someone else much better. Most people don’t keep their closet on display so it isn’t like you are proving anything by having a huge extensive closet, so I mean who are you trying to impress? Yeah, no one, so just let it go to someone who will use it. Donate, sell or hand down, they all benefit someone else. Create a look, stick to that look, and use that look all the time, if a clothing piece doesn’t fit into that look or isn’t in regular circulation then get rid of it. I keep one giant sweater that doesn’t fit my look in case I need one around the house, but that’s all, everything else is used all the time and the moment I find something that isn’t in circulation I get rid of it too.

Lastly furniture, I find that people who become attached to their furniture are the ones that end up having cluttered or gaudy spaces when they move. I realize furniture is expensive but that printed leather couch doesn’t fit in every space in the world. Sometimes you need to change things. For the most part large furniture isn’t a problem, but say a comfy chair, or a piece of decor seems to stick with people even if they aren’t used. Why? I’m not really sure if it is a memory thing or just attached to the piece in the first place. Either way we need to figure out if it is used enough to keep otherwise get rid of it. For myself every time I move I figure it is a brand new start, I let go of the memory of the old place and allow for a brand new opportunity to create and design a new space. So other than the functional items like electronics I choose to get rid of everything else, plus hey it saves on moving costs, I move everything in a car, in a couple trips.

Overall we need to learn that excess isn’t good, it doesn’t provide good space, it doesn’t promote a relaxing lifestyle, it inhibits creativity and causes multiple issues with our space. So figuring out that we don’t need or use something often is a good thing to figure out and it actually proves to create a great space, that is easy to upkeep, easy to use and easy to move. I, myself am working on letting go of some of the larger or less functional items and either repurposing or transforming them, if this doesn’t happen I will sell them to someone who can use them. The idea that the stuff I don’t need can be someone else’s benefit is a good thought and one that keeps me motivated to get rid of and simplify my life. Try it out and see how it feels and what it does to your space.

As always thank you for reading, I hope you learned something or gained some cool ideas!
Have an amazing day, keep it simple, and stay classy!

Downsizing and Tiny Homes

I have previously discussed the ideas of life editing and downsizing, today we will specifically touch on downsizing. The main idea of downsizing is to take a space and bring it down to a sustainable and manageable footprint. So through the statistics business we have determined that the average person needs 150 square foot per person. That’s fairly small but that is the space needed to feel comfortable, and yet the standard in most cities is a home cannot be smaller than 1000 square feet even if it is a one or two person home. So why has the standard becoming 6 and a half times what we need? Where did the standard suddenly rise so dramatically and when did our society get so greedy about space.

Many people look at the tiny homes, living spaces and hotels in Japan and think it is madness, yes its crowded but it is a good system. In under 400 square feet you can sometimes find up to 6 or more people, it is crowded but it is livable. Then we shift back to North America and we see average of 1000 square feet and upwards for a home. Most cities won’t even allow a tiny space to exist. Many building codes prohibit the existence of spaces under a certain square footage and there are very few codes that allow it. Most of the tiny house movement would be considered illegal if they weren’t built and classified as trailers. It’s unfortunate for those who want to downsize to such a good level but can’t due to their cities limitations. See our current society is actually working against the potential for small spaces and small space development.

So why is our society so against small spaces and tiny houses? What happened that our society can’t deal with the thought of downsizing? Well it turns out that generally there are two mentalities associated with tiny homes. Either these are poor people, or hippies, most people assume living in a tiny home is a choice made through poor life choices or homelessness or being a “hippy” when the reality is quite the opposite. The people moving into and building these usually are well off or doing okay, these people are conscious of their footprint or like me fed up with using so much space. Often these people are forward thinking and understand the movement and that it can save us lots of money to do something like this.

The real problem is that tiny homes aren’t profitable, to take up space and set up a tiny house community wouldn’t be a lot of space but for the same space someone could build a more profitable “resort” or even an apartment structure. Both of which are far more profitable than a tiny house community. It’s an unfortunate reality in the business world and anyone who has the space will want to create something that makes them the most money, since it is an investment.

But back to downsizing, downsizing isn’t expensive, anyone can do it and anyone can begin to simplify their life like this. It starts with need vs want. People who live in tiny spaces and people who have already simplified their lives still have stuff, but this stuff has some use. They have learned to bring it down to the necessities, not bare necessities but the things that are most needed. Just because you live in a large home doesn’t mean you need to fill it with stuff, take a look at minimalist decor and you’ll see that less is really more. This is part of the excess mentality where we are convinced that more stuff is better, the more you have the better you are. But it isn’t that, long time saying of quality over quantity, let’s learn to keep quality and useful items instead of junk and random pieces to fill space.

Start downsizing, you’ll learn how free your home feels and how relaxing the process can be. If you haven’t used something in many months chances are you won’t be using it much down the road so why keep it? What purpose does that hold. If there is something that sits around and collects dust don’t you think it is time to get rid of it? Maybe one person’s trash is another’s treasure, so why not offer someone a treasure today? There is no value or purpose in keeping junk and it is a mentality that needs to change, we can’t continue to amass more without getting rid of something. One of the best rules once you’ve downsized is for something new to be purchased and brought home something old needs to be removed. It makes sense because the more you buy the less of the old things you will still use, they lose their lustre. So why do you still need them around, well you don’t.

Downsizing is very freeing, you can look around at your open space and know the things you have are of value and are useful. You can breathe easily if you ever have to move because you have less to worry about moving. You know that everything has a purpose and a value and it makes for a better home. Plus you can come home and relax knowing there is less to clean and less to organize. Let’s be real who doesn’t want more relaxing time?

I feel the benefits to downsizing really outweigh having junk around, so really what’s stopping you? One or two days of sorting and hard work, some donations to a local thrift store or selling some old stuff and wow look now you have a more open and relaxing space!

Thanks for reading and as always I hope have an amazing day!
Next I want to dive more into the subject of tiny space living and also the idea of flatpack!
Stay tuned!
Thanks

Being Young and Staying Refined

Everyone is always trying to seem older, act older and be older than they are and often this fails miserably. It’s often quite obvious when someone is trying to be older than they are because age is experience and we are still to young to have the experience to act that age. However something I enjoy is refinement, because being able to look refined is easier to do and gains so much more attention.

Let’s think about this when standing on the street would you be more likely to ask the young man dressed in a hoodie and sweatpants with his cap tipped to the side or the young man in a button up and tie carrying a shoulder bag and seemingly important? Well for most the man in the tie is much more approachable and has a more friendly appeal to him and that makes him seem better to ask. So in my mind refined is what makes a person approachable.

If you’ve read here before you will know through my writing on minimalism that a simple but refined minimal wardrobe is great. It is multi-functional and fits all occasions. It is rare that someone will complain that you are overdressed for an occasion, however underdressed is a complaint we hear all the time. We would all rather see someone who looks classy then sloppy. Also you may have discovered from my writing that it is actually affordable to have a minimal wardrobe. You pay reasonable prices for well made pieces, you buy functional accessories and everything can work together when need be.

There is absolutely no fault in wearing a tie everyday, if anything people will mistake you for much more important than you are, which hey in my mind is much better than being mistaken for same homeless. The stigma associated with teenagers is already bad, our reputation isn’t great because people expect us to be the generation of mistakes and figuring it out. For the most part the way teenagers dress does nothing but reinforce that opinion, we aren’t doing anything to prove them wrong.

As a young person just recently out of school and just living alone while working I have learned that things that are so simple such as hair and clothes make a huge impact on how we are treated by older folks. I have never received any disrespect for wearing a tie, I’ve never been stated as childish or immature, because well looking refined and put together is nothing bad. We all admire these well addressed men in magazines, tv shows and such, and look they are all really well put together and refined looking. The best part being that this look is easy to obtain, not all of us can afford gucci or Louis Vuitton but that doesn’t mean that we need to look bad. There are more consumer based brands that provide these options and they are easy to come across, a good dress shirt or vest does not mean you need to buy from a professional suit place.

For example I wear simple denim pants, some are a little too tight admittedly, button up shirts in either black or white, vests and nice sweaters, I top these off with dress shoes and a nice tie. This look isn’t hard, denim isn’t expensive, vest can be found at so many young retail places and well ties and dress shoes are also really simple. The difference is that many people own a nice suit or dress clothes and yet they reserve it for a fancy occasion, instead they are wearing sweaters, and jeans all the rest of the time. Both of these styles of dressing can be around the same price, it really isn’t all that hard.

What I really want to convey here is that looking refined and looking like you know what you are doing isn’t difficult whatsoever and in fact in my mind is more favourable both to look at, as I said it is more approachable and for not that much of a change in cost you can change the way people see you drastically. It isn’t really a challenge to button up a shirt and put on a tie compared to just pulling on a hoodie, so why not?

A fun fact is that many jobs nowadays base your interviews off so many different aspects, and one is how comfortable you are. Many employers have noted that they can tell when someone is clearly not used to dress clothes and this can impact their decision, because in theory looking good all dressed up helps confidence but if you don’t do it often than it can seem foreign and it can really impact how people view you. However on the flip side if you are used to wearing nice clothes and dressing refined you will seem so much more comfortable and it will show in your confidence.

Dress clothes and looking refined also doesn’t mean a tie everyday, it is simply a way of combining clothes to look put together, matched and approachable. Dress clothes have never inhibited my abilities and I have managed to do heavy lifting, moving, and physical labour while wearing a tie, they don’t stop you from anything and hey whatever your doing you will most likely look damn good while doing it. So why not?

As always thanks for reading today’s post and thank you for coming back if you’ve read here before. I hope you’ve learned something or found a new idea and I wish you another awesome day!
Thanks

Minimalism in Housing

This is a subject I completely forgot to touch on and it’s weird because it is a topic I feel pretty strongly about. The idea of minimizing not only your lifestyle but the space you take up. Small space living is a phenomenon that is only now starting to turn heads and get noticed.

Small space living is simple, you take the size of any house and bring it down to a couple hundred square feet. Some of these are under 100 square feet but generally small space living counts as any space under 1000 square feet. So it can be a pretty broad area to play with.

Living in a small space does not mean sacrifice, especially if you are already embarking on a minimalist lifestyle. If not, it is still possible, most people who live in small spaces just get really good at hiding the things they need but not constantly. Many tiny homes are built around the idea of storage. So if you do still have a ton of stuff then find a way to hide it.

One of the main reasons that this trend may not be catching on as much as we’d like is that small spaces aren’t commercially available, they aren’t easy to find. For the most part people design and build them all by themselves. So really a small space is a decision and something you need to dedicate yourself to, there are many misconceptions about small spaces and I want to address a couple of them.

First off, small spaces aren’t like living in a bad studio they are created to take an entire house to a mobile or small footprint setting, without sacrificing the feeling of being in a house. There are still divided spaces, height, dimension and complex ideas.

The people who live in small spaces, there is no stereotype of people for small spaces, people think it is just a bunch of cheap hippies or near homeless people. There are so many different people, and let’s think by living in a small space if you were already rich you would just have even more money to save, making it a great idea for anyone.

Next if you have seen any small spaces there are many that are built on trailers and kept in one spot, however that doesn’t mean all small spaces are built on a trailer. There are many different formats, from small apartments, to small trailers, to small structures, the number of options is really limitless.

So to conclude small spaces are a cool option that are both up to your own needs and design, budget and are limited by your imagination. They are great to save money or live smaller and they teach us lessons in frugality, space management and multi purpose. They are really great to go with the idea of minimalism and below I will be posting some links to some really neat tiny house projects. Let’s hear some feedback, would you ever consider living in a small space? Could you sacrifice your current home for smaller spaces? Let me know in the comments below.
As always have a great day and I hope you learn or find some inspiration here
Thanks

http://tiny-project.com

15 Terrific Tiny House Projects of 2011

http://faircompanies.com (my personal favourite, these videos are amazing)

How Can I get a Minimalist wardrobe

As we discuss all the aspects of minimalism I speak about the wardrobe a lot, it seems to be a crucial aspect to minimalism and allows for many aspects of your life to be simplified. To begin a minimalist wardrobe is sleek, simple and allows for a simplified routine.

Let’s think about how much laundry we do somedays, not everyone manages to do laundry every week and most of us don’t have to because well you really don’t need to worry when you have multiple weeks worth of clothes. However when you do have to do laundry it becomes a cumbersome task and can take a while. Minimalism aims to change that, by downsizing your closet, keeping essentials and once again making everything multifunctional.

Today I will write in a wardrobe style that is more suited to men, I am researching and looking at the ways to achieve minimalism in a more feminine wardrobe. So to begin we need to get things down to the basics, this once again means we will need to implicate the rule of learning to let go. You need to simplify your wardrobe to a point where essentially you are prepared for one week and one day. Laundry must be done every week and clothes need to be well maintained and must be sustainable. My key point with a minimalist wardrobe is sustainable. I want to have less clothes that need to be replaced less and repaired less.

When changing your wardrobe over to minimalism you need to choose what your over all style will be. Because then you can choose clothes to complete that look, there are no real lazy days and there are no bad looks. I choose casual professional, because I don’t work in a job that requires a suit but I do want to look refined throughout the day. I wear a uniform for my job so my clothing is not a problem. Outside of work I want to look like a professional and still be comfortable. Since I am young dressing professional takes a little bit of extra work and really helps sell the fact that I am young and responsible.

So I will approach this lesson for a professional individual, there are certain things that will be required and there are also staple items. This is a great area to explore since it can be customized to your personal taste and changed around to suit your needs. Minimalism in wardrobe is to have a clean look, no logos or extravagant prints. Simple colours and simple designs allow for a clean and professional look.

Starting with pants, most people know that denim and jeans can be worn multiple times without wash. As jeans and denim don’t really hold any odours. I opted for chinos that are loose enough to drape down and resemble dress pants. As mentioned I don’t need to be in a suit for work so wearing dress pants is impractical. Chinos offer a very minimal look, clean edges for the pockets and a nice drape and cut where they meet the shoes. I would say have 4 or 5 pairs of paints and some would argue that you could even make do with 3. Look for simple colours, like grey, beige and other neutral tones. Avoid black because the wear and tear is visible, they fade quickly.

Next one of my favourite things to wear, this is button ups. Luckily button ups come in so many different styles and can be worn in so many different ways. Whether it is tucked in and professional or untucked and casual, button ups are probably one of the best items. I always choose to go tucked in and also throw a pull over or cardigan over top. Either way you do this you look more refined than a t-shirt and sweater. Add a tie and look instant classy! As for the look of button ups, I would stick to plain colours and maybe one or two plaid patterned, depending on your look. If you want to be professional stick to black, grey and white, if you are looking for refined but casual add some simple plaids, nothing too loud or out there just simple light colours. Keep 4 or 5 button ups which will be plenty for the week.

Next pull overs and cardigans, in my mind these are the essential to my wardrobe. They are so nice, warm and the button up style and flexibility makes them perfect. As I was saying you can put them over any button up to make it even more refined. I choose to keep grey, beige, brown and black sweaters as I find they can be paired with anything. As with the collar on a shirt the collar on a sweater is important. There are different types, cowl neck, rugby neck and v-neck styles. These can be visually matched with your shirts, all of these styles work with a button up it just depends on your look. I keep more sweaters than needed however if you have 4 really nice ones then you are set. You can mix and match like crazy, most are made of wool which means another layer of warmth and also a comfy look and feel to them.

It cannot be argued that everyone needs to own some t-shirts. Mostly I use them as undershirts to my button ups and I prefer v-neck shirts to allow them to remain unseen under a button up. Keep the shirts plain white or light grey to keep a simple look, this way they should remain mostly hidden under nearly any shirt. Also this means that on more casual days or stay at home days you can rock a shirt and sweater if needed. I wouldn’t however go out with just a shirt and sweater, only around the house. Remember just because you have a button up doesn’t mean you are wearing a suit, they can still be very casual. All of these pieces can look a variety of ways it just depends on how you wear them.

As for undergarments I would keep one for every day of the week plus two extra pairs for emergency. This reinforces the fact that laundry needs to be done on a regular basis and needs to be kept as a habit because otherwise you will run out of things. As a side note the benefit to many of these clothes is that if you haven;t done any intensive work in them they can be hun up and used again without the need for washing. This sounds lazy but it is actually true and can be done multiple times.

Finally keep one suit, one good suit for those occasions. It is rare that it will be used but it is good to have.

Overall a minimalist wardrobe is simple, clean and of course multifunctional. The pieces all need to be used over and over and in multiple combinations. Everything should be well maintained and last a long time, there is no reason for it not too.

If you have any questions or comments please leave one below. Any feedback is greatly appreciated and of course stay tuned for more in my series on minimalism.
Thanks for reading !
Have an awesome day!

Minimalism in more Intimate Spaces

Tonight I want to tackle a bit of a tough aspect of minimalism, yes that’s right, intimate spaces. The spots that are close to you, the things you love, the things that define you. For the most part this concerns our bedrooms, however I want it to apply to any spaces like this.

As stated in the series we want to bring things down to the essentials and so everything has purpose. This is where an important life skill that not many hold comes in. The ability to Let Go. We need to accept that not everything needs to stay with us forever. You may have a favourite piece of clothing or a favourite collectable or something but you need to question it’s uses and whether it is of value. If it doesn’t have any use and it isn’t of value then why are you keeping it. You have memories, and I know it sounds a little insensitive to just tell you to throw a way things like that however it is true. When we talk about minimalism you must accept that letting go is going to become a common theme.

So what if an item has value or will have value. Old comics, antiques, and such can all gain value one day. Well we need to evaluate these things, if the value will climb or it is extremely rare then find a way to incorporate it and make it a showpiece in your room. If it won’t climb in value and you don’t want to integrate it, get rid of it and see what you can get. Remember we want to get down to the essentials and things with purpose. If it doesn’t fit in those things then it may have to go.

Once we are down to the essentials let’s take a look at some key elements of the bedroom. Starting with the bed, alright it is the main reason you have a bedroom, so let’s make it a nice focal point. Try to keep a simple bed spread, a simple amount of everything, keep your bed balanced with equal parts of everything. Keep a simple bed frame, something with clean lines, easy but soft colours, and nothing extravagant or out there. You want the bed to blend with the room, but still be something to admire. This is also a balance that needs to be achieved. If you choose to have a head board it also needs to be simple, clean lines and nothing elegant or curvy or odd shaped. Minimalists try to keep things to the bare essentials including furniture, there is no need for the ornate details when simple can be beautiful.

Next key element is a closet, or dresser or however you store your clothes. Everyone chooses to do it differently. I choose a rack to hang clothes and a shelf to fold clothes. I personally have an industrial edge to my rooms so my closet is an old department store rotating rack, my shelf is a leaning ladder design and it holds plenty. If you have a closet keep it clean, use organizers or insert shelves. Add more storage to the small space, some even opt to turn their closet into a workspace by adding a form of desk that folds or pulls out. Anyways this is where we get the option to hide a lot into a space to keep the room looking clean. If your closet can close then you are golden, you can create whatever you want within and allow the rest of the room to shine in all it’s minimal glory. Remember we will tackle wardrobe and what clothes to have in an upcoming article so for now just remember to maximize your storage.

Finally the option for a desk or workspace in your room, some people have home offices or large tables to work at so it isn’t a big deal. However even though I have a workspace I still have a nice simple folding grey table that allows some workspace, I bring it down to a low heigh and work from a seated position on my bed to avoid an extra chair sitting around. The desk is it’s own space and you must be careful that it fits with the rest of your design and it fits with everything you have. If it has drawers great, keep them organized and keep as much off the desk as possible. Keep statement pieces such as colourful decor or your own personal style on the desk to compliment the room but the rest goes inside.

Just remember that even in such a special space as your room it is still possible to achieve the minimal look. You can create the space you need and make everything work. Some of the big things to remember is clean lines, purposeful furniture and nice simple looks. Nice simple patterns, and simple colours will help create a comfortable but functional space.

As always keep reading and check back for more on the series!
Thanks for reading and well from when I wrote this have a great night!

Minimalism in the Common Spaces

The first part in my series about minimalism will be in the house, specifically in the common areas. Thankfully when it comes to minimalism this is the best area to start. The problem many encounter with this process is that we all have many possessions of sentimental value or of importance. However in common spaces we have an easier time, because items of such value aren’t often kept there. However if there are while you follow this post, try and find a way to turn these items into a centrepiece or show piece.

So the first place I decided to work with was my living room, I did this when I first moved so it was a little easier. We tried to fill the place with a couch and entertainment unit, it just didn’t work. So instead I decided to re think the entire house, and we started there. I got rid of the large entertainment stand, got rid of the couch. Replaced it with stackable chairs and a table that can be taken apart really easily. Everything in the room is now functional. The table serves as a desk, workspace and table for any other uses. It is still in great shape and could be be used for a large dining table. The chairs serve as seating, for both work and entertainment, they can be stacked out of the way and they can easily be removed, as can the table. The small little flat screen and Apple TV, provide all my music and all the entertainment needed in the house.

Essentially you need to work out what the room’s main purpose will be, then once you have that think of it’s location and what other things you could easily use the room for. For example our living room was to be a workspace, social space, art space, conversation space and extra room for company. So after many ideas thrown around, from a bed/ couch to other ideas. I decided a simple polished white tabletop with black sawhorse legs and black chairs would be great. It is a beautiful space and can be easily changed depending on the needs.

The next choice you need to make is whether you want minimalist decor and design or just to fulfill minimalism in your life. One is taking on the glossy white and simple look where the other is making your life simple and easy. For example I prefer to mix style and most of my house is industrial minimal. It is open, uncluttered and with purpose but not all white and standard.

Finally decide on the kind of furniture that can be multifunctional. Things like stackable chairs, folding or expanding tables, transforming furniture and things with hidden storage. Most minimal designs actually hide so much. You may see a wall with some cupboards but inside is piled with stuff and everything is just cleverly hidden. Organization is key. I personally just chose not to own a lot, so that helps, but on top of that we have all the multi functioning pieces that help achieve this.

Keep checking back in for the next steps where I go into wardrobe, bedroom, kitchen and other areas of our lives!
I hope this post helps you find some inspiration and reason to try minimalism! If you have any feedback feel free to comment and tell me your thoughts. I am not an authority on this but I know what works for me so I’m so open to feedback!
Have a wonderful day!