Working on my #minimalist lifestyle

I have not posted much lately about how I am trying to live a more fulfilling life of less goods and materials and more on streamline my life to be more productive. I have been working on this quite a bit to really lead by example. It is not easy and something I have been working on since the summer.

Here are some things that I am trying to wrap my mind and habits around.

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1. Be clear about goals and motivation – I have found that when I don’t have a clear path to achievement then things don’t get done. I must work to keep myself in check. A few things I have found to be helpful are to create mini milestones, checkpoints to evaluate my progress, and to write daily about how I am doing. I find that when I don’t write each day about my progress then I lose sight. Reflection is key to anything in life, but is really important when reaching goals and visions. The key is to really have an honest talk with yourself about what you want to accomplish.

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2. Identify important elements – As you work towards leading a better life and reaching the milestones you want to achieve don’t lose sight of what is important. Balance is very important. I have blogged before that I don’t think balance is really attainable, but it is something we should strive for in our lives. When you check yourself daily then you can assess to make sure things are not out of whack. Don’t sacrifice family and loved ones. Don’t sacrifice health. Don’t sacrifice professional growth. It is about keeping it all in check.

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3. Flexible – don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go according to plan. Life is not a linear path. Be ready to make adjustments. If you don’t hit a checkpoint, reflect and come up with a new plan to get back on the road to success. Don’t dwell on the past, but continue to work towards making the future a success.

 

4. Be mindful – remember that every decision we make has a impact on our life’s chain of cause and effect.

 

“Coffeechug Minimalist Ideas”: http://www.haikudeck.com/p/KSwK5Nnscb

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Coffeechug #Minimalism Challenge Day 5: More Good, More eBay

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Yesterday I had another package arrive that I did not take into account due to the system I had in place already. The package that arrived were some replacement parts for my quadcopter that I crashed into the ocean. I purchased 4 ECS boards and 4 motors. I have a total of 8 items to eliminate to break even. I am starting to see how quickly I can accumulate things. Obviously, I have two days of things that have arrived in my house so my spending habits still need some work. And I forgot that I bought two more items tonight. I bought a book(shoot me) and a tool as I am working on salvaging an old hard drive on my Macbook Pro and I also purchased an ebook on how to write and publish a book.

My total is 11 which is like WOW! What am I doing? As I continue to chart my purchases and work on eliminating items I am really not able to hide and fool myself into believing my habits are not so bad.

Today is proving to be the most challenging so far and way more challenging that I anticipated. I am struggling to find things to toss in my house even though there is probably plenty. I currently have 23 items up for sale on eBay, but those don’t count unless they sell and I mail them. I have several packages ready to be mailed, but with three kids fighting and in some sort of mood I am not about to take them to the post office to mail them off. This leaves me coming up with things to toss that are garbage and not worthy of selling.

So far I have come up with the following and some in which I feel like I will regret later on. I tossed

2 pairs of Chuck Taylor shoes that I have had since high school. I might wear these once a year so it is not like I don’t have enough shoes. There is just that nostalgia to them that good old worn out chucks have that no other shoe can possess.

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5 hats(one not pictured) – I tossed two visors that I never wear and cannot remember the last time I actually wore a visor with my bald head. I really don’t know how I came across these or why I bought them in the first place. I also tossed three baseball caps from my glory days. My good old Arizona hat that Amanda loved on me when I was in college. It has seen better days. I have an old white ND hat that I never wear because I hate the way it feels after being washed. Last, a golf hat that I don’t know how I came into possession of it, but I never wear it so out it goes. As much as I hate to toss these items I type this up and realize that I don’ t really need them.

Next up was a poster book report Aiden made in school this year. Perhaps I kept it because he actually put time and effort into something at home and I wanted to preserve it, but we don’t really need a book report from 3rd grade. What will we ever do with it? Nothing. I have pictures saved to my computer so that is where it shall remain.

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Last, I have tossed four more pairs of shoes that I had in the garage for mowing. Nobody needs four pairs of mowing shoes. I downsized to just one pair that actually look almost brand new so those I will wear the rest can go.

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That puts my total to 12 but with my 11 item purchases that arrived yesterday I still have to come up with a few more. I need at least two more items to make the 3 item cut. I will have to look around and see what else I can toss. In the meantime I need some stuff to sell on eBay with the quickness to make life easier on this voyage.

Okay so in order to make this experiment work I am going to have to dig deep to find the power to get rid of things that I think are important to me. Maybe they are, but it is the memory that is important, not the physical object. What is nice about they physical object is that it can remind you of certain events that you have since forgotten. Did you forget because it is no longer important? Did you forget because you wanted to forget? Or can the brain just not retain that much? I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I know that today when I opened the massive container of Aaron memories I came across things that I forgot about. To reach my goal today I tossed three more things. I tossed a bowling path, a bowling trophy, and my high school graduation cap. All three are important memories, but I don’t need the stuff to remember. They have sat in a container for years and have never been touched or looked at. So why do I keep them? I don’t know, but today is a start where I need to begin to purge my house of items that no longer need to be. This will be the hardest part as I continue to explore not only decluttering my physical objects, but memory lane, and who I have become over time. I don’t bowl anymore so being a good bowler is no longer important to who I am today. Yes, it played a role in shaping me, but I cannot connect the dots or anything else.  It is one of those paths you explore and eventually shut down as you find a new path to explore.

This whole day of work put me at +4. It was the toughest day yet, but I made my goal!

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Coffeechug #Minimalism Challenge Day 4: Trouble Lurks Ahead

**This was from a few days ago, but just had not posted yet.**

Today is going to be a challenge. I don’t have items to mail off from eBay yet. I have not worked on the Nerd Cave to toss items and prepare for today like the other three days have been. Today becomes even more difficult because yesterday a box from my shopping online arrived. I know I shared that I am working on not buying online, but as a teacher I need new pants each year. You might argue that this is not a need, but it is when you have not worked out and the two pair of pants that fit last year have been wore out in the good parts regions from wearing each and everyday. When I slim down I can wear my other pants, but that is not happening overnight. I order four pairs of pants from Dockers and order two new belts. My belts are old. The black belt was my dad that I borrowed for a wedding 10 years ago and the brown belt was one I borrowed from my brother in his closet when I was back in Indiana and forgot to pack a belt. The belt was his from high school so both need to go.

Adhering to the rules I need to toss out 6 items to balance the purchase and then more to stick to the challenge. I need to put together a plan to eliminate some goods. This is not going to be an easy day by any means.

Here I am at the end of the day around 11:00 pm and I was able to make today a great day. I had to get creative so I ventured into the closet of the Nerd Cave. The closet is the place I have avoided. I have spent time decluttering the actual interface of the office, but the closet is packed with 33 years of life.

Today I took down the rack of guitar goodies. I have placed my guitar, amp, and pedals up for sale and today I sorted through the rack of magazines and books. Once again I reference magazines, but you are now starting to see the issue I have with keeping everything. Today I recycled 32 guitar magazines from 1999-2000. Yes, 15 years old and I still have them in tip top shape ready to shredded in my guitar playing days. I had to convince myself to toss them. And I did. I took the 14 guitar books that I purchased in stores up for sale on eBay.

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Overall, I had to ditch six items to break even with the goods that arrived. I tossed two belts in exchange for the two new belts and 32 magazines. This brings my total declutter for the day today at 28 after taking off four from the pants I purchased. Additionally, I tossed out some unnecessary guitar papers and eliminated that crate of guitar stuff today.

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The Nerd Cave is mess, but I am slowly getting rid of stuff and actually have eliminated more than ever before.

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Coffeechug Minimalism Challenge Day 2: Runner’s World

Today seems even easier than yesterday. I know that you might be thinking what a joke this guy is only throwing away two magazines. What you may not know about me is that I have stacks of magazines. I have probably 40 guitar magazines from high school back when I tried to learn to play guitar. I have old Rolling Stone magazines that I think are cool, but have not read or touched in a decade.

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Today I tossed out two Runner’s World magazines. I tore out the running plans that were shared inside. Typically I would just keep the whole magazine. I have hundreds of magazines in the Nerd Cave just in case I would ever use an article again.

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Writing this makes me realize how stupid this sounds. In my mind I can freely justify the reasons and be okay with the fact that I have kept so much. Reading these words and knowing that perhaps one day this book could be published and read by others makes realize how stupid the notion of keeping magazines sound.

Magazines are one of my favorite items to get the mail. I love them mail. I am that person that if I am home when the mail truck comes by I am to my mailbox while the truck is one stop over at the neighbors. Magazines feel like a little gift each month. I love to read each article, highlight quotes, circle passages, tear out images, blog about articles, and of course look at all the pictures and ads.

So today hopefully marks the point in my declutter phase where I continue to toss out more magazines. It started with two. I have many more to go.

On a side note, some items have sold on Ebay. I am not able to record these as part of the plan because I have not officially mailed them off yet. The plan is to do so tomorrow. As I sell items on Ebay I realize that not everything I have is complete junk. I am bringing in some cash for the items which is good. This money can be used to help pay off our credit card debt without messing up our budget.

Not sure what I will toss or sell tomorrow. And I am not sure how many items this will be. Perhaps I will have enough items sold on Ebay to mail off tomorrow to make this decision easy.

Until then, continue to work towards decluttering your mind and life to lead a more positive lifestyle.

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Coffeechug Minimalism Challenge Day 1: Shoes are GONE!

This morning I decided to hold true to my minimalism challenge. Even though I have already discarded many things the last few weeks I did not want to shortchange one day. I am already modifying my shortcut that I posted in my original post where I said day one was already taken care of with my past few weeks. I should have titled that post Day Zero as today is Day 1. Today was a breeze.

Today, I am able to mark off one item from my chart.

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The one item I got rid of today was a pair of racing shoes. My good old pair of Iso Transition shoes that require no socks, very lightweight with holes at the bottom for water and sweat to leave. These shoes are lightweight, small, and easy(three words not used to describe me) to slip on during the transition of a triathlon race.

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The reason I am discarding them is that they KILL my feet. Every single time I wear them my feet hurt terribly the next day. Never mind the weight they are trying to absorb. I have owned these shoes for at least three years maybe four being that I have not raced more than once in two years and the last time I wore them for running was June 17th 2012 at the Quad Cities Triathlon.

I came across these wonderful shoes when taking Ava on a walk. She was ready to go and I needed a pair to put on quickly. I ran to my closet and grabbed them. Today my feet hurt. These shoes are not made for 230 lb men. Additionally, the soles of the shoes are breaking apart and therefore are not nice enough to sell.

It is time to let them go for once and for all. Maybe I hold on to them as a reminder of how fit I used to be. When I see them I think about being 210 lbs, fit with a six pack and running fairly fast for my size.

Today, this item to dispose was an easy one. I think it was easy because of how much I have already begun to process this notion of getting rid of unnecessary items from my life. Remember to start small and keep the movement going. The whole project takes time. Be sure to reflect and be ready to let go.

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Coffeechug Minimalism Challenge Day 1: Kickoff

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One part of my stuff in the Nerd Cave

The past few weeks I have hit a point in my life for change. This is not a mid life crisis. I am not losing my mind(at least I don’t think so) and have not gone off the deep end towards drugs, tattoos, and growing my hair long. Rather, I am going in a different direction in trying to simplify my life.

This summer I have hit this place mentally that I don’t know how to describe. It is not a state of depression. It is not a state of extreme happiness either. Motivation comes and goes but not in the directions that I want it to be. So, the first thing I had to do was QUIT. I quit training for triathlons, marathons, and endurance events. I QUIT running, biking, and swimming all together. Now, I plan on coming back to these as well as my health and nutrition and exercise, but what I discovered was that I had other things to take care of in my life.

What I needed to do was simplify my life. I was and still am in many ways spread too thin. I have taken on more than I can chew. My personal expectations of myself can be quite rigid and what I was doing was burning myself out. I had nothing left in the tank. It was time to do some things differently and take a good hard look at myself.

Just a few weeks ago we went on our first family vacation of seeing the ocean. Technically it was the Gulf, but to the kids it was all ocean. During that time I created a Digital Detox challenge for myself that really opened up my eyes. I kept it going longer than planned and during that time as I was trying to write a book on education, I found a new avenue of writing on my life and the changes going on during this detox. From that point I have made some headway(the most in all my five years of book writing attempts) in writing a book.

As I continue to make change in three key areas: Detox, Declutter, Decaffeinate(this might change to Decline) I will keep writing and documenting what I am learning. It has not been easy for me, but has opened my eyes to some new paths of insight and learning.

One of these areas is decluttering or working towards a minimalist lifestyle. I will never achieve true minimalism, but I can sure as heck make some strides.

This post here is the launch of a challenge that I am putting upon myself. I read a blog post when researching how to declutter and achieve a minimalist lifestyle of a 30 day challenge in which you start with getting rid of one item on the first day, two the second, etc. until you reach getting rid of 30 things on the final day.

I am going to mix it up and adapt this challenge. I have already started to get rid of stuff. I have cleared out 3 garbage bags of junk from my office. I have many things for sale on ebay. I am going to consider the last two weeks as day one. It is a jumpstart. Instead of working in order of day one, one item, day two, two items, I am going to have a check off system from 1-30. It will not matter which day I mark off, but all 30 days have to be marked in the 30 day period. The reason being is that I have many items already up for sale on ebay. They won’t count unless they sell so some days I might have several items sell and other days zero. I might hit a part of my stuff where I can toss a ton of stuff and other days I just don’t have it in me to sell/trash anything.

I am also going to add a new rule. If I buy anything for myself I have to get rid of something in return. With school starting and little exercise it will require buying some fat pants and some new things to prepare for another year.

Each day I will document my journey along with adding these ideas to my book.

Feel free to join me. By making this public it will hold me accountable. I have a hard time holding myself accountable at times.

You might be asking what this has to do with education and learning. I will tell you straight up – EVERYTHING!

If you are not satisfied as a person how can you expect to bring your best to the classroom every single day?

Declutter is good in my house as well as my classroom. Perhaps the Coffeechug Cafe will be the next challenge!

I have already started the challenge so each post will be from a prior day to give me time to write and reflect.

This might end up being one of the most difficult things I have done.

 

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