When we moved into our new house, we technically downsized, even though both houses had two bedrooms.
Our first idea was to find a carpenter to install custom shelving units. We needed more space to put all the stuff we brought from the old house.
We were still in this process when we had our son very prematurely.
Some of our minimalist behaviours came from having our son: it was very simple for us to get rid of things we were never going to get to, or that would never become a priority.
There was a very simple thought process: if we hadn’t gotten around to doing it before having our son, then we were never going to get to it. Our family would always take priority.
So we got rid of the things that we thought we’d have time for one day. We got rid of an enlarger for black and white prints that I’d never used. I sold a film camera I wasn’t going to shoot again. I sold an entire entertainment system. I sold a chess set that I was hanging on to for purely sentimental reasons. We gave our unused bikes to my parents.
It took some effort, but we had to be honest with ourselves.
When we got rid of those things, suddenly we didn’t need extra space for stuff, so the carpenter order got cancelled. In fact, they never called back, which was even better.
You don’t have to have a child before finding out what you have time for.
Find the contradictions between your values and priorities, and your time and actions.
Keep asking questions about what we allow into our lives. Keep answering those questions honestly.
Then we can align ourselves with our priorities and values.
What future projects have we said yes to that are actually delusions? Are we facing up to reality? Are we being honest with ourselves?
Think about the stuff in your loft: how much it is stuff that you’ll get to one day?
Is it something that non-existent, hypothetical, imaginary versions of ourselves would do?
Think about the books on your shelves: When was the last time you made time to read? Are you actually reading any books? How many do you read a year?
Be honest – most of it will just sit there.
Unless you change.
If you had objectively observed my life two years ago, you would have said that my priorities were scrolling through facebook and 9gag instead of getting good sleep.
If you had observed my life one year ago, you would have said that my priority was watching TV instead of spending quality time with my family.
I managed at least 45 minutes of TV every day. Now, I maybe watch an hour a week.
Make slow, simple adjustments to your life.
Constantly fine tune.
Optimize for your values.
Ask yourself how you can be more meaningful, more intentional with your life.
Be honest with yourself.