Keep a Low Maintenance Life

Washing, cleaning, fixing, organizing, repeat. The elements in our life require a certain amount of maintenance. But how much of the maintenance we do is actually required? It seems to me that there are only three reason why we maintain things:

  1. Functionality
  2. Looks
  3. Status quo

Functionality is a perfectly justified reason to maintain all of our elements. Looks are kinda important too. But how much of the maintenance we do is solely for the purpose of keeping functionality? How much for looks even?

Example: Consider self cleaning (showering/bathing). There are very real hygienic reasons to keep clean, like preventing infection. But must we shower every day to fight off infection? Certainly not. There is looks to consider as well though. Smells too. If we do heavy manual labor during the day, then YES it may be absolutely necessary to shower/bathe every day (maybe twice a day). But if we work desk jobs, than the likelihood we will get dirty or perspire enough to even be noticeable is probably slim. Cleaning every day may not be necessary. Not necessary for functional OR cosmetic reasons.

So why do we do it? Status quo. Social convention. It’s what is expected of us. In the end, it is the norm we have become accustomed to.

I don’t think I need to point out that these are illusions. Mental limitations that are in the end, just mental clutter.

How many of us are over maintaining for mere cosmetic reasons, or even worse ….. social convention?

This is true for ALL the elements in our lives we maintain: Our home, our automobiles, our laundry. So many of us are over maintaining the elements in our lives to keep with the status quo, and it is clutter eating up our most valuable resource ……time.

Maintain our elements for functional purposes, and for a modest amount of cosmetic purposes only. Doing this, we will find that we gain back a considerable amount of our time.

Just as a general rule, I say: “It’s not dirty unless it is noticeably (with at least one of your senses) dirty. The fact that it has been a while since you cleaned something doesn’t make it dirty”

Choose a Mantra

Living a simple intentional life requires lots strong principals on which one needs to stand in a world of excess; in a world of selfishness, and consumerism. This is what I try to teach in my posts. But it occurs to me that when it comes to our day to day lives, we need these principals at our fingertips to be able to handle making the right decision, or be in the right mental state, at a mere moments notice. After all, when the time comes when you need to apply a simple intentional life mentality, you are not going to dig in your brain for one of my long winded essays. That’s just ridiculous.

This is why it is important to take on a small set of life Mantras. At least one or two. Mantras are short phrases that serve to remind and keep us grounded in our values. They help us detach from stressful situations and bring us back to center, back to ourselves. They are often used even as a pre-cursor to meditation. They are a way to always keep our values at your fingertips; ready when we need them. Mantra’s should be memorized, spoken, and repeated often in order to keep us grounded. They should be short; one small phrase each. They should be kinda broad in their scope, as one small mantra that only applies for a very specific circumstance is not exactly a philosophy of life to live by.

I have read many minimalist mantra’s, but these are the ones I find valuable:

– Less is More

– Events happen the way they are supposed to

– I am enough

– Be kind always

– Love thy neighbor, love thy self

– Live in the moment

– Live intentionally

– Don’t apply judgment where love should be

– I can do this

– Never trust a hooker with cold hands (joking). …… hookers with cold hands are just as trustworthy as others (still joking ….. I wouldn’t know).

Pick one or more of these to hold on to in areas we may be lacking. In areas we don’t have the values available to us at a moments notice. Repeat them, and in the beginning, make time for them each day to instill the idea.

Minimalist Healthy Hobbies/Interests

It seems that every hobby or interest out there involves the accumulation of possessions. Half of them have the word “collection” somewhere in the name: Coin collecting, Franklin Mint Plate collecting, bottle cap collecting, stamp collecting, porcelain doll collecting. Even the ones that don’t make it THAT obvious, have some underlying collecting aspect to them.

Even if ones interest is something as simple as chess, likelihood is that they have a hoard of Chess supplies somewhere in their home. To play Chess, the only thing one needs is a chess set (a board and 32 pieces) …… that’s it. AH, but the likelihood is, they have a few sets: A formal set, a travel set, a BIG set, and the untouchable marble set. Additionally they will also have an entire shelf of books delving into various chess strategies. Documentaries of famous players. Also, gotta have the time clock thingy. They have their coffee mug with a rook on it that was a gift from their niece.

The truth is, ANY hobby can get outta hand and expensive with the amount one can collect from it. While a hobby like Chess in no way requires the accumulation of possessions to grow in that passion, it is a basic human compulsion to acquire more of the tools of the passion we love.

With all that being said, I’d like to offer some ideas for minimalists interested in pursuing new hobbies, interest, and even potential passions that they don’t have to clear a big space in the closet for. Many of which I have dabbled in from time to time. These are:

  • Blogging
  • Podcasting
  • Web design
  • Coding
  • Yoga – A matt, a couple blocks, a pillow, internet access, and soothing music, boom
  • Sporting of any kind (Soccer, Volleyball, Running, Cycling, Roller-skating, etc) – Most of these all you need is a ball and attire.
  • Gaming (video, board, card) – It’s all digital these days.
  • Reading novels – Don’t have to keep the book once it is read, and we also have e-books
  • Photography – Again, it’s all digital.
  • Astronomy – All one needs is a good telescope, and lots of digital reading material.
  • Investing – Like pennystock and such.
  • Community Event Volunteering.
  • Dancing – Learning new types of dance.
  • Meditation
  • Learn a new language

Even the ones I have listed above can take up much space if we let them, but I chose these specifically because it’s not necessary to collect an abundance of stuff to continue to excel and grow within them.