minimalism

minimalismEven a year ago, minimalism seemed like something I wanted nothing to do with. Live with less, really? Who could possibly find that appealing?

I loved my stuff and all new stuff that somehow made its way into our small place. Was I so completely overwhelmed by the massive amounts of stuff that I had no clue what to do with? Sure I was, but it was my stuff.

I just needed a way to make it all fit in a nice organized fashion, then things would be just peachy. What I really ended up doing, time and time again was just wasting my time. I would clear a space, organize it and store all the stuff that didn’t fit back into another place. Then when time came to organize that space, I ended up doing the same thing—until I realized the problem. I was shifting things from space to space and continually reorganizing the same stuff over and over again.

So, I decided it was time for a change. I’ve read a ton of great books on minimalism and can’t believe how far I’ve come.

The first one I read was Live More, Want Less, which was a great book to get me started. Then I read The Joy of Less.

Both were great books, but if I had to choose one that had the greatest impact on my life, it would be The Joy of Less. The only thing that didn’t really click was a chapter near the end of the book with a strong emphasis on being green. I’m not anti-green or anything, but I’m not a green machine either, so it was kind of a boring chapter—even though it made sense.

Some other great books on minimalism that I’ve read, but can’t remember in which order are:

If anybody with an open mind, who really wanted less stress and a happier life read all these and didn’t get all pumped up and inspired, I would probably crap myself.

These books are changing my life into something I never even knew I wanted. Read them and you’ll know what I mean. lol

Back on topic, over the last few months, I have purged about 40% of our stuff and it feels absolutely amazing.

I never would have believed anybody if they told me that I would actually be happier by getting rid of most of our stuff. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.

Having spaces with only the things we use regularly is freeing. It’s easier to clean the house and way easier to keep things clean and organized. Even picking up after other people is easier because their messes stand out more and I know where to put things.

Have you dabbled with the idea of minimalism? What’s holding you back?

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Read me: This post is more than likely to contain an affiliate link. Ahhh! What does that mean? Will I grow hair on my nipples or give birth to a platypus  Nope, you sure won’t (at least not from clicking on the link).
It means that if you click on the link and end up buying or signing up for something, they’ll throw a little change my way like a “thanks for promoting my shit” kickback.
The cool thing is that it doesn’t cost anybody more to purchase or signup through these, but it does help to cover my blogging expenses, such as: hosting, domain names and privacy, images, design, giveaways and much more. So feel free to click on them and I’ll ♥ you forever.)

Thoroughly Clearing Out Your Email Accounts

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who gets hundreds (sometimes even thousands) of emails daily across my various email accounts. They add up so quickly and it’s sometimes hard to know what to keep.

While going through one of my email accounts, I found some of the oddest things. Why do I keep these things, in what circumstance will I ever need most of the information ever again?

I found emails from Turbo Tax from 2010 telling me that our federal and state tax returns had been accepted. So why did I save this? They’re from 4 years ago. Obviously our returns had been accepted, as had the ones from later years. What’s wrong with me?

Sometimes it’s hard to know if you will ever need a certain piece of information ever again. What if…? That’s the problem! That’s how so many emails accumulate and get stored in our email accounts. Most of them will never truly be of use ever again.

Must. Purge. Now!

Options for Storing Potentially Useful Information

When you’re going through your many emails, sometimes you’re just not sure if you should keep something or not. So you need a place to store the potentially useful information just in case.

You don’t need to keep the whole email, nor do you need to keep this information stored in your email account. A simple copy and paste of the relevant information is the way to go.

But where are you going to paste it? Do you want to keep it only on your home or office computer; or do you want to have access to it from anywhere?

3 Recommended Storage Options

1. Evernote- is a free online cloud service that lets you store information online that you can access from anywhere.

2. Dropbox- Another free online cloud service that makes it easy to access the information from anywhere, but also makes it easy to put it the information on various devices opposed to just keeping it online.

3. A simple Word or Text document stored on your computer and backed up onto either an external hard drive, usb drive or burned onto a disk.

For passwords and log-in information, I suggest recording the information in a small portable, hide-able notebook. I use an Extra Small Moleskine Notebook for mine, but that’s just my preference. You could use a single sheet of folded up paper to save money and space.

Saving Information Quickly

Now that you’ve decided where to save your information, you don’t want to get caught up with properly organizing everything. Doing so would take extra time, slow down your purging efforts and probably end up not getting done.

What I do is have my little notebook and a pen handy for recording sensitive information, such as passwords and account numbers and have Evernote (where I copy and paste everything to) open and ready to go.

Then I’ll create a new note or folder and name it email info from x (x=  email address where information came from) to keep things simple and partially organized. That way, if I ever end up looking for information, I know what email address to look under.

Now I can quickly and efficiently copy and paste without worrying about putting them into separate notes or folder, everything from that email address is in one place. I copy and paste information and then press enter to get to a new line, then I add 3 dashes to create a small divider so that information doesn’t get mixed up and confusing later on.

The main idea is to get it done quickly and worry about organization later…if ever at all. More than likely, you won’t ever really need the information again. You’re keeping it “just in case.”

Back and Forth (Conversation Emails)

You know how sometimes people like to save email communications between friends, family, colleagues and various businesses? I do it, but I can’t be the only one who does. If you absolutely must save them, you have two options.

  • Option 1 is to save the email as a PDF. Assuming you’re using Google Chrome, because that’s all I use,  it’s so easy. All you have to do is click print, like you’re planning to print your email and in the print options for where you want to print, choose “save as PDF” from the menu. It’s that simple.
  • Option 2 is to just copy and paste into whatever program or online storage you’re using. You could create a new note or folder for this, but I don’t. Remember, we’re trying to get everything done as quickly as possible and saving organization for later or never. Just get it done, you know.

For both options, you’ll want to do it with the most recent replied email so that you’re not going in and saving duplicate content and making your work redundant.

Questions To Ask Yourself

Am I ever going to need this information again?

Can I easily obtain this information through a quick online search?

In which circumstance will this be needed?

Is this something I should print?

Will it kill me to just delete it?

Is the world going to end if I don’t save this?

Why am I keeping all this useless crap?

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Sharing this post will bring you riches!

(Disclosure: sharing is not guaranteed to bring riches)
Read me: This post is more than likely to contain an affiliate link. Ahhh! What does that mean? Will I grow hair on my nipples or give birth to a platypus  Nope, you sure won’t (at least not from clicking on the link).
It means that if you click on the link and end up buying or signing up for something, they’ll throw a little change my way like a “thanks for promoting my shit” kickback.
The cool thing is that it doesn’t cost anybody more to purchase or signup through these, but it does help to cover my blogging expenses, such as: hosting, domain names and privacy, images, design, giveaways and much more. So feel free to click on them and I’ll ♥ you forever.)

How to get healthier, fitter and save money all at the same time

In our guide to getting healthier, fitter and save money all at the same time, we will give you some simple tips about how you can change you life for the better, get fitter and healthier while saving cash all at the same time. Too many of us focus on selecting one lifestyle change we will attempt in the New Year, like giving up smoking, but why not go the whole hog and give your life a health, fitness and money audit all at the same time? Read on for a few simple tips on changing your life for the healthier, better, richer and fitter!

Cancel expensive gym memberships and use the great outdoors

The great outdoors is so beautiful, but we rarely appreciate its full beauty. Even when we pay to work out we cut ourselves off from the great outdoors to sweat it out indoors. This year you could quite easily ditch the expensive gym membership which comes out of your bank whether you go to the gym or not, and use the local park as a substitute gym. You can use the walkways as a running track, the park benches as a support for doing arm dips and you can bring your yoga mat to do a few stomach crunches on the grass. There are many things you can do to increase your heart rate like jumping up and down or doing sprints so any kind of workout is just an open mind away! Use the money you save in a positive way: to buy a relaxing holiday or to kickstart your own startup project (check out the business funding guide here for more info on this.)

to avoid the need to get business loans or finance to start the business of your dreams!

Walk, don’t drive

Walking is a great habit and it does not cost anything so why don’t we all walk more? Walk to work, walk to the shops, walk anywhere! The trick to making walking work for you is to plan extra time in your day for the walk and learn to enjoy walking. Bring the doggie with you and see how much he appreciates getting out!

Ditch expensive habits

Ditching expensive habits is a great way to get fitter, healthier and to save money all at the same time. Perhaps the best change you can make in this vein is to give up smoking. Giving up drinking is another way to guarantee a healthier, fitter and richer you in 2014. A great way to survive the ‘giving-up’ process is to chart your progress and give yourself credit for the progress you have made. If you fail, start again, and see how far you go in six months. Too many people have an all or nothing approach which they ditch when they get a knock-back.

If ditching is too extreme, reduce unhealthy habits like drinking and smoking

Ditching is a dirty word for some of us who are really hooked, so instead of choosing between ditching and going all out in indulge mood, why don’t we just aim to reduce our unhealthy habits? So smoke one less cigarette a day, or have one less bottle of wine per week? As the saying goes, every little helps!

Get out by debt by working towards your next promotion

Do you dread Monday mornings and yearn for Friday night every week? In his lifetime, the average man spends a solid total of eleven and a half years at work but only 115 days laughing. As such a massive proportion of time spent alive, we need to make the very best of our careers with the aim to actually love going to work!

You can start right now. If the only thing stopping you from the next promotion is a qualification – get it. If that qualification will cost you money, use your savings, work part time in an easier job or ask for money for your next birthday. It will be worth it. Anna Green (a blogger for the wonga brand) outlines some of the best routes to pursue to achieve your goal.

Open University

A degree is not just a qualification attained in your late teens and early twenties; there are thousands of mature students working towards an Open University degree from home in their spare time. Don’t imagine that student loans are only for the youngsters, they are also available to older students who are in work, depending on their situation. More than one million students in England pay their fees annually with a student fee loan. It doesn’t affect your credit rating and is not means tested. Alumni include Joan Armatrading, Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge, Mylene Klass and Lenny Henry, so you will be in good company.

Mind Tools

Mind Tools is a website established in 1996 which helps more over 15,000,000 people every year with leadership skills, problem solving, time management, communication and a wide range of other tools to improve your potential. They can help make your working life happier, increase your chances of that promotion or even give the boost to help you change career direction. It’s a membership only site which costs 75p for the first month, then £12 or £17 month depending on which level to take up.

Local College

Some employers might allow you to study at college one day a week, or you could find an evening class. This might be to study a subject related to your current career, or something totally different to expand your skill-base or simply for enjoyment. Send off for prospectuses of the colleges in your area to see what they offer.

Clearing your head

Another tool, free this time, includes some help from your partner, close friend or maybe a parent. Turn off the TV, ignore your mobile phone and make yourself comfortable. On a large piece of paper, mark two columns; one for pros and the other cons. Think of at least ten things to put in each column about your current job. Think of the big things (maybe money) and the small things (friends, local pub, good canteen) and you’ll soon realise how much you love or hate your job. On another piece of paper, write down ALL your skills. This could be qualifications, hobbies, personality traits etc. When you’ve done all this, you can work out what job you really could be doing. It’s never too late to change direction, and if it makes you happier, go for it!