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I have a lot of stuff.

 

keepitsimplewhite1280x800.jpg

 

 

When we last moved house, about this time last year, the removal men had to get a second van as we’d completely filled the first. We still had boxes and boxes of books and DVDs along with old furniture, broken appliances and other junk that we should have thrown out years before but instead stored up in our attic. The driver told us that the first van could happily move the contents of a five bedroom house so they were a little surprised that our small three bedroom maisonette needed an overflow vehicle. They were surprised, we were embarrassed.

 

('What are we then?…We are consumers. We’re the byproducts of a lifestyle obsession.')

 

Luckily our new home had a large garage where we just stacked all the boxes with the intention of gradually unpacking them as and when we needed the bits and pieces inside them. I even planned that over the Christmas holiday period, I was going to go through each and every box so I at least knew what was inside. I had a plan.

 

('Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.')

 

However, before I got the chance, 'disaster' struck. Have rain and winds drove a couple of inches of water into what we had assumed was a water tight garage and the boxes and the bottom of each stack, most filled with books, sucked up the fluids like sponges and a large selection of items that I’d been carefully preserving for years changed from books to paper bricks. Electronic items, that were most likely damaged already, were ruined, ancient paperwork became infused with mould and damp, a lot of my most favourite possessions turned into junk in the space of a couple of days.

 

('The liberator who destroyed my property has realigned my perceptions.')

 

I was a bit upset, but not nearly as much as I’d imagined I would be. After all, most of this stuff had been sitting in boxes for months, if not years. If it hadn’t seen it for so long, did it really matter that much to me?

A few months later, whilst surfing the internet instead of doing my job, I stumbled upon theminimalists.com- a blog set up by two guys who made the brave leap from living in huge houses with six figure incomes to small apartments with virtually no material possessions based on the premise that maybe, just maybe, we don’t actually need a whole bunch of stuff to make us happy.

 

I read and read and read.

 

And here I am now: the beginning of a new six week challenge and the beginning of a new chapter in my life. Inspired by their essay ‘Fight Club’s Tyler Durden Is a Minimalist’, for the narrative theme, here are my goals for the beginning of my process of stripping all the irrelevant crap out of my life.

 

 

Goal 1: Inversion Therapy

 

‘Time to stand up for what you believe in.’

 

I’m flipping things around for this challenge. Instead of 3 fitness goals and 1 life goal, I’m going for 3 life goals and 1 fitness- it’s my challenge and I’ll do whatever the hell I want! In the spirit of this inversion of conventions, my fitness goal will be to turn myself upside down as much as possible too. For a long time now I’ve been mainly focussing on basic strength training goals- increasing my pull-up numbers, push-ups, pistol squats- that sort of thing. Whilst these are all well and good, I think I need to spice things up so at least one day a week, my workout shall consist mainly of headstands, bridges, crow stands, hand stands and a variety of other gymnastic endeavours. I’m not giving myself any numbered targets such as working up to a specific hold time for anything, just I want to be doing more of it.

 

Goal 2: The meaning of life, the universe and everything.

 

‘The things you own end up owning you.’

 

Starting off with how I intend to progress, it’s time to get rid of some useless crap in my life; for every day of the challenge I want to discard some sort of material possession. Mainly these are going to be books and DVDs as I have so many of these but it can be anything provided it’s taking up space and I honestly don’t need it anymore. I’m not going to actually get rid of one thing every day however my plan is to discard at least one item for each of the days that the challenge lasts- 42 things for 42 days. Each item will be carefully considered; I want to eventually question every single thing I own.

 

Goal 3: Paring down

 

‘You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis.’

 

Similarly to the above goal, it’s come to my attention that I have too many clothes- some are old, some are now too big, some are just filling up closet space stuck at the bottom of piles which I only ever wear the top three items of.  In a previous challenge I got rid of a lot of clothes but since then either I’ve bought more or it’s become obvious that I wasn’t strict enough. I don’t need that many pairs of shoes. I don’t need shirts that don’t fit with horrific sweat stains under the armpits. I definitely don’t need any fucking khakis! So, for goal 3, I’m getting rid of it. Not every item of clothing but most of it. I want to be able to look at each item of clothing in my wardrobe and know that I’ll actually wear it sometime and on more than one occasion.

 

Now, whilst this goal is specifically about paring down my wardrobe, I’m going to be extending the same philosophy to everything as and when I feel like it. If I’m looking for something in one of our many junk draws, and I’ve got a few minutes to kill, I’m going to pare it down- strip out everything that really doesn’t need to be there. All the just in case items- all the bits of rubbish kept for sentimental reasons- I’ll really have to justify to myself why they should remain. I’ve been doing this on and off for the last couple of weeks in little ways- my wallet is not a quarter of the size since I chucked most of the plastic and my key chain now consists of my front door key, a key ring with my daughter’s birth date and birth weight on, and a micro multi-tool that I’ve used pretty much every day since I bought it- and I’ve found that there’s something immensely satisfying with stripping away the superfluous from your life.

 

Goal 4: Project Mayhem

 

‘The first rule of Project Mayhem is you don’t ask questions about Project Mayhem.’

 

In five years’ time I don’t want to be working in an office. I never want to have to wear a suit again. I want to be being paid to do something that I’m passionate about.

 

‘What do you want? Wanna go back to the shit job, fucking condo world, watching sitcoms? Fuck you, I won’t do it.’

 

I’m never going to get to that situation without putting in the hard work. So the hard work starts now.

 

 

‘This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.’

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Hmm... You reminded me of some important things

and got me thinking seriously. Thank you.

 

I can't remember where I picked it up,

but one way to 'kind of' keep the things you're fond of and getting rid of,

is to take a photograph of them, and hold the memories that way.

 

Are you giving your old stuff stuff to charity, or just to the junkyard?

 

How much have you thought about the other side of the coin,

do you plan to use more money/get some seriously awesome things

that add value to your life? Or unforgettable, marvellous experiences?

 

My friend said to me that there's two basic commodities in the world:

money and time. You spend other to get the other.

But the trick, he said, was that you never have both,

so there's choices to be made.

Thought that the thought would be related.

 

I am very interested about the future development of your journey!

-Yours, Fearkiller

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Some of the stuff I might try to sell, but only if I think the time and effort will be worth it. If the things are of usable quality, I'm definitly going to give them to charity. There are about 10 charity shops in my local area so I'm going to be dropping a lot of stuff off at them over the next couple of months.

I'm only going to throw things away if I really don't think anybody would want them at all- just because I don't have a use for them, it doesnt mean somebody else won't.

 

As for the other side of the coin, I'm going down the path of wanting to have awesome memories rather than possessions. I've been talking to my wife about this and we're both pretty certain that from now onwards, rather than buying presents for each other for birthdays or Christmas, we'd much rather spend the money on experiences. We have so much stuff cluttering up the place, we don't really need more- especially if the only reason we have it is because of some misguided idea that you should give somebody a material posseion to celebrate them getting one year older. Instead, I'd like to be spedning my next birthday thinking about all the cool things I got to do over the past year. When I'm old, I want to have stories to tell people rather than a bunch of crap sitting around that will have to be disposed of when I'm dead. Last week I took my daughter to see 'In the Night Garden Live'. The look of pure joy and excitement on her face was so much better than the toys scattered around the place that she played with once and then forgot about.

 

Also, part of the philosophy behind minimalism is cutting down on your day to day expenses. If you have less outgoings then you don't need to bring in as much money. It's the idea that you can grant yourself an immediate raise by just not spending as much money every month. So I'm not just going to be dumping stuff, I want to cut back on my, and then eventually, my whole familes unnecessary outgoings. If I don't need to be earning so much money, it'll give me an incentive to quit my job and start working on something different which might not pay nearly as much but i'll ultimately feel more satisfying. It's a long term plan but if I don't ever start on it, I'll never achieve it.

 

I think it was Kevin Smith who summed up a job as 'somebody buying bits of your life of off you'.

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This, I gotta follow. Not only is the challenged named from a quote of one of the best movies of all time, it also embraces all of its greatness.

 

I too am a minimalist of sorts, I don´t own a car, I live in a small 1 room apartment, I have low monthly expenses, and generally few possessions. And I love it.

The Minimalists blogg is really good, and other great bloggs include: Zen Habits, mnmlist, Becoming Minimalist.

 

I share the same dream as you, not working in an office for the rest of my life. I rather cut my pay check in half and do what I like then having money and only really living on the weekends.

 

Looking forward to reading about your progress!

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This, I gotta follow. Not only is the challenged named from a quote of one of the best movies of all time, it also embraces all of its greatness.

 

I too am a minimalist of sorts, I don´t own a car, I live in a small 1 room apartment, I have low monthly expenses, and generally few possessions. And I love it.

The Minimalists blogg is really good, and other great bloggs include: Zen Habits, mnmlist, Becoming Minimalist.

 

I share the same dream as you, not working in an office for the rest of my life. I rather cut my pay check in half and do what I like then having money and only really living on the weekends.

 

Looking forward to reading about your progress!

Good to have you on board!

I've read a fair bit of Zen Habits, in fact I think it was a link from there that took me to the minimalists, but I'll definitely have to check out the other blogs you recommended.

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In five years’ time I don’t want to be working in an office. I never want to have to wear a suit again. I want to be being paid to do something that I’m passionate about.

 

‘What do you want? Wanna go back to the shit job, fucking condo world, watching sitcoms? Fuck you, I won’t do it.’

 

I’m never going to get to that situation without putting in the hard work. So the hard work starts now.

 

‘This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.’

 

I share the same dream as you, not working in an office for the rest of my life. I rather cut my pay check in half and do what I like then having money and only really living on the weekends.

 

This really puts a whole new light on the 9-to-5 five-month practical training place I have for summer. O.o'

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Here's some of the crap currently cluttering up my life:

Closet:

MOWH9Tul.jpg

Book shelves:

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And some old phones I dug out of a draw which I'll hopefully be able to make some money back from:

6hhjLBsl.jpg

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Your bookshelf looks a lot like mine did and since I like to read, it was pretty hard getting rid of books, so here´s how I did it.

You make up three categories ´; Save (books you aim to read in the near future, books you really like etc), unsure (books,you think, "hmm, i might perhaps possibly read this later, I mean it cost me XX$") and give away ("Books you have no intention of reading, or you have read and don´t plan to ever again). For me, at first it was like 20/60/20, and that's ok. Then I did it again after a while with about the same result. Eventually the book collection sank from about 300 --> 10. Granted, that's not for everyone, but I realised that most books I can get in the library and there is really no sense in keeping everyone. 

 

I also did the same thing with my closet.

 

Another good idea is to clear out a bunch of stuff, perhaps too much, and then put it all in boxes and stuff in the attic. The things you haven't used in XX months, you get rid of (if it´s not seasonal clothing).

 

And finally, nice handstand!

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The three categories thing is a great idea but I think I might have to be a little more ruthless- those bookshelves don't contain all my books! I have at least 4 boxes in my attic too so I think I'm going to have a serious cull, especially as I'm going to be a losing a couple of the bookshelves when we turn that room into a baby's room in the next couple of months.

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I should probably make a note here of what I'm actually doing exercise and diet wise seeing as I've not covered it in my goals except for the hand balancing aspect.

 

One of my goals for the year is to bring my % bodyfat down to under 15% (it's currenty hovering around 17%). In previous challenges I've been working on bringing down my overall weight but focussing on reducing my fat by cutting out sugar and various other 'bad' foods. However, for this challenge, and depending on my success the next one too, I'm going to approach it from a different angle and try to increase my lean muscle mass instead and therefore reduce the % fat that way.

 

So, to increase the size of my muscles, I'm going to switch from doing lots of low rep/high sets with nice rests in between sets and instead go for high rep numbers (aiming for 8 and upwards) and only doing 2 or 3 really intense sets. Also, I'm reducing my rest time between sets from 2 to 3 minutes to just 1 minutes and maybe even reducing it to 45 seconds towards the end of the challenge if I think I can take it.

 

Rest between work-outs is also really important for recovery too (and it's during recovery that out bodies grow) so before I was alternating two different workouts 3 times a week, now I'm going to do the following:

 

Monday: Upper body pull and squats

Tuesday: Upper body push and core

Wednesday: rest ( but with a bit of balancing work and some stetching)

Thursday: Upper body pull and squats

Friday: Upper body push and core

Saturday and Sunday: rest (with possibly some balancing and stretching work).

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The three categories thing is a great idea but I think I might have to be a little more ruthless- those bookshelves don't contain all my books! I have at least 4 boxes in my attic too so I think I'm going to have a serious cull, especially as I'm going to be a losing a couple of the bookshelves when we turn that room into a baby's room in the next couple of months.

I see…. Then I suggest 2 options. 1. You get a finite amour of space to put your books, for example 2 shelves. Anything that doesn't fit…..

2. You can only keep the books that you like/ want to read AND remember having. This way will clear a lot of books, stuff, clothes etc. But it´s a bit extreme.

 

Seems you have the training bit nailed!

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I might have to revise one of my goals; I just spent 10 minutes looking through one book shelf and I just pulled 65 books to go to charity without having to think about it.

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Nudged into action by your insights and example, I am planning to go to the local second hand shop

and sell some of my books, cds and PC games. And getting rid of the useless things also.

 

It is very cathartic thing, really.

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Ah man, I think I seriously need to do this too! I have so many clothes I don't wear anymore or that are too big/too small and just don't fit! As well as a plethora of stuff that I'm keeping 'just in case' or because I might use it again someday...

 

Yup you're definitely proving a shining example of getting rid of stuff :P So I shall be following your shining light of minimalism for the challenge :D 

 

And I think you may have to re-structure one of your goals, I mean you can't pass it (and some!) in less than one week!?! Right!? ;) 

So a serious well done! :) 

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Nudged into action by your insights and example, I am planning to go to the local second hand shop

and sell some of my books, cds and PC games. And getting rid of the useless things also.

 

It is very cathartic thing, really.

 

In the past I always got excited by the thought of buying something new; now I'm actually excited to be getting rid of my stuff instead. I managed to empty a whole shelf- it looked beautiful once I'd cleared off the dust.

 

I am moving in just 12 days (aaah!) and am in the process of trying to get rid of excess stuff as well - mostly because I only have so much room! Best of luck :)

My reasoning is partially because I don't have enough room but it's also because I have so many things that I don't use. Books I read once but don't intend on reading again, some that I bought because I thought I should read them but in all honesty I know I never will, and some that I probably would read again at some point but I know my time would be better spent reading something new instead.

  

Ah man, I think I seriously need to do this too! I have so many clothes I don't wear anymore or that are too big/too small and just don't fit! As well as a plethora of stuff that I'm keeping 'just in case' or because I might use it again someday...

 

Yup you're definitely proving a shining example of getting rid of stuff :P So I shall be following your shining light of minimalism for the challenge :D 

 

And I think you may have to re-structure one of your goals, I mean you can't pass it (and some!) in less than one week!?! Right!? ;) 

So a serious well done! :)

I've carried some of this crap around with me for years, decades in some cases. I don't need it so but ditching it, I'm dropping some of my past too so that I can be free to move forward with my life. I'm not just shedding material possessions, in some way I'm also shedding parts of my old life too. I want to grow, not stagnate and that is just part of my process for moving on.

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I'm going to post a full round up of the week tomorrow but I'd thought I'd just check in because I've been a bit sparse with posting over the last week. I'm on holiday this week (starting today) so things have been a bit manic getting ready for it but I'm here now and I think it's going to be a pretty active time. I won't be able to do much minimising what with being away from all my stuff however to keep in the spirit of it all, I've only bought the minimal amount of clothes with me to the extent that I unpacked everything in about a minute.

One of the things I did bring was my new Nerd Fitness shirt so I'm hoping to get a photo of me doing something suitably awesome that I can post on here.

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I did a big book clean a while back. The thing is, now I don't want to buy books. I want to read books, I just don't want to have to deal with the physical remains. Sometimes I do buy one and give it to the LittleFreeLibrary nearest my house. Sometimes I get books from the public library but they don't have everything I want to read. Sometimes I avoid it all together and get the book on Kindle. Then I worry about a build up of digital refuse.

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I did a big book clean a while back. The thing is, now I don't want to buy books. I want to read books, I just don't want to have to deal with the physical remains. Sometimes I do buy one and give it to the LittleFreeLibrary nearest my house. Sometimes I get books from the public library but they don't have everything I want to read. Sometimes I avoid it all together and get the book on Kindle. Then I worry about a build up of digital refuse.

 

I pretty much only buy books for my Kindle now- I don't have the space for new physical books and as I mainly read on the train going to and coming back from work, a kindle is so much easier to carry around with me. I also find that I'm more inclined to read the books I buy now as I don't even have to wait for them to be delivered- they're there on my kindle straight away.

The same goes for music too and I'm buying a lot less DVDs and blu-rays. Gradually I'm going to get rid of pretty much all my physical media as it takes up space and I'd rather experience new things rather than constantly revisit the same books and films unless I really love them.

 

Your challenge gives me a lot to think about.... thank you!

You're welcome, it feels nice to be a (hopefully) positive influence on someone else's life.

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It's very late coming but here's my week 1 round up.

Goal 1: inversion therapy. I did some good hand balancing during the week and I even managed a tripod stand into a freestanding headstand. Obviously this is quite a far bit off of the handstand press that I'm working towards over this year but it's nice to be able to do an easier variation of it.

Goal 2: get rid of 42 items over the next 6 weeks.

I sort of smashed this one in the space of about 10 minutes although to be totally honest, I haven't actually got rid of the big pile of books I collected yet, they're just now on the floor rather than carefully arranged on a book shelf. Still, I'm going to have to reassess my target for this so that I'll still push myself forward over the rest of the six weeks.

Goal 3: paring down

Whilst I haven't shed any of my clothes yet, I did do some minimalist packing for my holiday this week so I've learnt just how far I can go with so little actual clothing and this knowledge will hopefully carry over to when I have a big clothing purge.

Goal 4: project mayhem

I've done some reading towards my secret long term life plan but my suspicion is that I'm starting to collect underpants. I really need to transfer my efforts towards actual action soon if I'm going to achieve anything. Anybody can plan great things but only the people who implant their plans stand a chance of success.

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Whilst I remember, I'll make a quick note of my current diet plan. Having read this article from The Art of Manliness (http://touch.artofmanliness.com/all/2013-01-18-how-to-increase-testosterone-naturally#1) and various other online sources, I'm experimenting with boosting my natural testosterone level through what I eat to see if it results in any positive physical changes. I won't bore with any of the background info about why higher testosterone levels are good for men (the manliness blog goes into quite a bit of detail) but what it comes down too is that I'm going to be eating a lot of meat, dairy and green veg with an emphasis on eggs, steaks, and cheese supplemented with broccoli and avocado along with other generally healthy food stuffs that we should all be eating as health conscious people.

I'm not exactly sure how this is going to pan out so I'm very interested to see how I feel/ what my weight and % body fat are by the end of the challenge. It might work out fit the best but then it also might be a total disaster. As long as I don't have a heart attack, it'll probably be ok!

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Nice first week! Great that you will make goal 2 harder (better) so that you keep it a challenge.

 

As for Project mayhem, the collecting underpants syndrome is really common, you see it in all people. "Ohh, I will change job and then become XYZ and my life will be awesome". 1 year later, they still sit at their desk, not really having change anything. I think it's important to make plans so you see where you want to go. And maybe big action isn't required at once? Lets say you have a plan to become a wilderness guide, hiking for a living: Then the best thing perhaps isn't quitting your day job at once and living in the woods. A better way may be to spend your spare time doing this, reading about it, make a detailed plan how you would do it etc. Then, when you have done that, you take yet another step, perhaps by working part time and being a guide on the side.

 

My point is that as long as you are moving closer to your goal, then you're preparing, which is good. If you don´t change anything, only have plans, then you´re collecting underpants, waiting for something to change even though you change nothing yourself.

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