FAQ

Here’s where we try to answer any questions you may have about minimalism. We’ll also use the page as a blog roll of sorts to highlight other minimalists and their approach to this less is more lifestyle.

Our hope is that by giving you a better understanding of what it’s all about you’ll feel inspired to try it out for yourself.

It’s a work in progress though, so be sure to check back from time to time to see what juicy new nuggets of insight we’ve added.

What About My Books? 

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The thing about books is that the savouring is in the reading. The story will remain with you long after you’ve turned the last page. So knowing that, what’s the point of hanging onto a book you enjoyed but in all likelihood won’t ever read again? Why not spread the love? Donate your books to your local library or old age home.

If appropriate of course, the biddies might not appreciate 50 Shades of Gray. 😉 

We have a three-pronged approach to reading. For those lazy Sunday afternoons on the couch we take books out at library. We buy self-improvement books on our Kindle, because those we invariably revisit. Finally, if we find there’s a new novel we desperately want to read we’ll buy the book and then give it away (we hardly ever do this though, but it’s nice knowing we have the option).

Read: how giving away 1000 books got James Ball reading again.
Read: our take on the book debate.

What About the Sentimental Stuff?

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Memories reside inside of us, not in the things we own. One of my favourite ways to remember my Mom is to stop whenever I see a bakery. She had a sweet tooth and a fondness for cream cakes and doughnuts. Staring at the display and guessing which ones she’d have chosen always makes me smile.

Read: our tips for dealing with sentimental clutter.
Read: is downsizing photographs even an option?

Do I Have to Sell Everything?

FAQ Selling Everything

No, absolutely not! Just ditch the stuff that doesn’t add value to your life.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. —William Morris

I’ve Got Kids, Can I Still Be a Minimalist?

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There are lots of families out there living this lifestyle. And no, their offspring aren’t dreadlocked and barefoot (not all of them, anyway). Most of these folks live regular lives with jobs and houses and cars , they just don’t buy for buying’s sake. They’re mindful people raising mindful kids.

The Art of Simple by Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh recently returned home after travelling around the world with her husband and three kids (all under age 10) for a year. Her post: 3 questions I ask myself before buying something is an excellent read for recovering shopaholics.

Here we talk about the why behind living simply, because it’s all well and good to want to get rid of your stuff, but if you don’t have your reasons for doing it, there’s a good chance you’ll get discouraged, unmotivated, judge-y, or slightly nuts. We define “simple living” this way: living holistically with your life’s purpose.

Becoming Minimalist by Joshua Becker

Joshua and his family embarked on their minimalist journey after a conversation he had with his neighbour. He and his wife are doing a superb job of raising mindful kids.

Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It requires a conscious decision because it is a countercultural lifestyle that stands against the culture of overconsumption that surrounds us. The world we live in is not friendly to the pursuit of minimalism. Its tendencies and relentless advertising campaigns call us to acquire more, better, faster, and newer. The journey of finding simplicity requires consistent inspiration.

Zen Habits by Leo Babauta

Leo is married with six kids, which is kind of the antithesis of a minimalist lifestyle, but clearly it works for him. His journey along this path kicked off when he quit smoking in 2005. He’s achieved a phenomenal amount since then, making him the poster boy for the “If he can do it, anyone can!” mindset.

These days we have an abundance of luxuries, but I’ve found that excess actually decreases my enjoyment of life. I’ve been finding that simplifying things means I can savor life more fully.

A Good Place to Start

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A list of posts that speak to the how of living a simpler life. I’ve included a range of topics here, because it’s not just about owning less stuff.

25 Lessons When You’re Ready for a Simpler Life by Marc Chernoff | Marc & Angel Hack Life

Simplicity is ultimately a product of focusing on what matters. Identify what’s most important to you. Eliminate as much as you possibly can of everything else.

Parenting Spoiled Kids by Julie Suratt

We’re lavishing our kids with unwarranted praise, trying to be their BFFs instead of their parents, and giving them anything they ask for. Where have we gone wrong?

Do Fewer Things, More Often by Allison Stadd

Do less. And do the things that you ARE doing better and with higher quality. Have a shorter to-do list with more things that are in the “done” category.

20 Questions for a Minimalist by Joshua Fields Millburn

The answer to question three is especially helpful for those of you just embarking on this journey. I found the idea of a packing party particularly ingenious.

4 thoughts on “Mostly Mindful FAQ

  1. Hi Angela,
    I was really touched to read how you remember your mom whenever you see a bakery. And I suddenly realized you’re so right. For the past year and a half, I’ve been reluctant to give/throw away any of my mom’s stuff. Even things I don’t like or use at all. I’ve been telling myself I was keeping her closer near me that way, but I wasn’t. In fact, most of the times they were only pulling me down. I thought about what you said and realized that the times I do feel really close to her is when I’m doing something she liked doing, when I’m eating her favorite candies, when I’m handling things the way she would have and that I’m not paying her any respect by keeping all kinds of stuff just because it was hers. Thanks for a very wise and helpful lesson.

    • Hi Lies. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I’m really chuffed you found my way of remembering my mom to be helpful. Recently I decided to give away my old family photos to my aunt because I know she’ll really appreciate them. I never look at them because they make me sad. I like stopping by the bakery, that always lifts my spirits! 🙂

  2. Hi Angela – you’re an inspiration and having just rewatched your chat “The less you own, the more . . . ” you’ve nudged me into action.
    I was intending to do this, but now I AM DOING IT. I am closing down my workshop for however long it takes ( I’m a Luthier – I repair, service & customise stringed musical instruments). Last December I had a massive initial clean up, now it’s phase 2. (The photos of some of the piles of chuck-out are embarrasing) I gave huge amounts to TEARS and vast amounts of “paper” (notes, old magazines etc) to AA Waste.
    This final “clean up” will make my wife extremely happy, she’s a minimalist & I’m a bit of a hoarder – so here we go! New horizons down the road – here I come 🙂 I’ll let you know once I’m done and what my new experience is like.
    Be Well

    • Hey Mike

      Good for you! You’re going to feel so much better afterwards, I guarantee it. This past weekend Sporty and I did our somewhat overdue 3-month clean-out and we’re feeling on top of the world. You’re making space for new and exciting stuff to come into your life, which is always rewarding. Good luck and let me know how it goes. 🙂

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