Friday, June 3

Introducing Minimalism

After going through 3 moves over the past 18 months, I've realized I've acquired a massive amount of things, many of which I do not see on a regular basis. I think that most people, particularly recent graduates, are in the same situation that I am. Now I'm planning on sorting out things I need, things I don't, things that have no reason for assigning any value, and really tackling the mound of things I have acquired.

A year or so ago minimalism started to get really popular. The New York Times wrote an article on an experiment that called for people to only wear the same six articles of clothing for a month. This movement is called Six items or less and it is still active. There were exceptions of course, including undergarments, swim wear, workout clothing, work uniforms, outerwear, shoes and accessories. But the findings were still salient. People didn't realize that they were wearing the same clothes day after day, and the time freed up from picking out an outfit allowed for higher endeavours. The "100 Thing Challenge" also became a popular way to build up to (or maybe pare down toward) a minimalist lifestyle, by keeping only the 100 most necessary items. In this day and age, everything is being pared down, from personal spending habits to the portions on our plates, and there is no reason why this shouldn't be extended to the testaments to consumerism that take up your valuable space.

Perhaps your unneeded items can find a new home. I find a lot of satisfaction in donating unused clothes. Clearing out your pantry of non perishables can lead to some needy people benefiting from the can of tuna you'll never open. Or if you're a capitalist, sell your goods on Craigslist. I've personally had a lot of success and it's only 10 minutes of your time to make a posting.

Here are a few tasks to experiment with:

Pick out 6 essential items of clothing and only wear those for a week.

The satisfaction and added time that will come from not having to sort through your closet will help make this your most productive week yet.

Make a list of the 100 things you could not do without.

That ice cream maker that's been collecting dust since you bought during the last scorching DC summer, or the unused crepe pan you bought after that life-changing trip to Paris? It better not be on the list. The rest of the items doesn't need to be immediately thrown away. Just take care in what you chose to add to that list once you reach 100.

Start by tackling your clutter in a hands-off manner, that way you don't overwhelm yourself. Perhaps clearing your space of the clutter can help clear your mind as well, that way it can be used for higher pursuits. More on that in my next post.

If you are interested in reading more on minimalism, the blog Zen Habits is a great resource and provides a great list of further reading.

Wednesday, June 1

Is There a Difference Between Blogging and Being a Blogger?

I've had this blog for several years at this point. I used it to cover the radio show I and a college roommate had together my Sophomore year. It followed me to China, as I shared my perspective on being abroad in a country where access to my blog required circumventing the great firewall of China. I used it to follow my attempts at budgeting eating in and eating out over the summer after Junior year, when I lived and worked in DC. After all of these years, I would tell people who inquired, "I blog," yet I never considered myself to be a blogger.

I was recently invited to be a part of the "Local Voices" section of the Georgetown, DC Patch, part of a network of blogs that follow local news and events. I find it a bit ironic that I am part of the "Local Voices" at a time when I am searching for my voice beyond Georgetown. As an unemployed, recent graduate, the transition is and will be bumpy. However, this opportunity is a way to reach out to other young adults in transition and show them that it is navigable and a part of growing up.

Was this invitation the call to blogger-hood? What about this makes my blogging more official? Is it the fact that I have a larger platform and a larger audience? Was it because now there was an authority who can dictate whether or not my posts deserved to be posted, whether or not my voiced deserved to be heard? I like to think that there is no difference between blogging and being a blogger, just how there is no difference between running and being a runner. I guess it is a matter of doing versus defining oneself by the action. Regardless, I'm beginning to feel like a blogger. And I believe that it will only be more real once my first post goes live.

See for my posts as a contributing blogger! Add the RSS feed to your Google Reader, make it your homepage, do whatever you need to do...


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