30 Days of Minimalism

Thursday, April 28, 2011 7:48 PM Posted by Molly MacIntyre 2 comments
Lately I have been inspired by individuals I know who live their lives on almost nothing. While "meager living" is more difficult to find in this materialistic culture we live in, there are some that either by choice or by the need for survival live much more simply. My sister for example lived on 50 dollars a month while on tour for 2 years, and after visiting her recently I noticed her closet which was probably a 4th the size of my own.  I began to wonder as I watch other people live... why do we need so much? Even the amount of food we eat is disgusting. In fact, Americans eat 815 billion calories of food each day, that's roughly 200 billion more than needed and is enough to feed 80 million people.  It is estimated that we throw away half of the food we produce in America. Obviously the fattest nation in the world (although Australia is close behind), we are also ranked 2nd to last in overall health. We are actually eating ourselves into an early grave.
And on the spending front, it is no secret we don't live within our means as the average household has $14,500 in credit card debt. And when we use a credit card to purchase something we spend 30% more, in addition it typically ends up costing us 112% more than if we were to use cash. And even with all this spending we are still ranked 7th in highest rates of suicides compared to other countries, so obviously we are not happy. How is it that underdeveloped nations have lower suicide rates and report higher levels of happiness? 
So how can a busy 24 year old college student do about all of this? I have always been excited about the idea of living a more simple life. Buying quality and not quantity, using cash to pay for almost everything, eating quality healthy food in smaller portions. Turning off the TV and reading a book. Spending more time with people I love. Getting rid of things I don't use, not throwing them all away away but donating them, or giving them to those in need. A minimalist lifestyle, to me, is more than just living simply, its living happily, sustainably, healthy,  and squeezing absolutely every ounce of life I can out of my time. 
So for 30 days I will be diving into the radical, and see how I come out on the other side. For 30 days, from today through May 28th, I will be living different areas of a minimalist lifestyle from how I spend my money, what and how I eat, my use of resources, and my use of time. 
Money: I will not spend anything during the day that wasn't already planned, whether that be lunch because I forgot to pack it, or a stick of gum... no exceptions. I will also be buying everything with cash, with the exception of gas and sometimes groceries where I use my card to build credit. 
Diet: I will be doing a 30 day intensive detox, which cuts out all breads, grains and simple carbs along with all sugar (a few varieties of fruit allowed). And adds all kids of good proteins, fats, and vegetables, along with special supplements for detoxing. 
Exercise: How better to exercise with a minimalist perspective than by running barefoot. I will be doing burst training, strength training and incorporating barefoot running 5 days a week. I will record my progress daily. 
Resources: I will, over the course of 30 days try on every item of clothing I have and get rid of what I don't wear. I will also be going through all my books (which is a rather ridiculous amount) and selling them online, and going through everything else I own to determine if I really need it. 
Time: Time is a resource all of its own. So many of us (myself included) sit idly by and watch life happen while we watch TV, waist valuable time on facebook and doing other activities that count for nothing in the end. I will not be watching any TV unless it is an activity I am doing with friends, or be spending more than 5 minutes on facebook at any given time. I will be spending my time working on my future business, making extra money, spending time with friends and planning some community activities that teach people how to live healthier lives. Overall a much better use of my time. 
Feel free to comment on ways you have learned to live minimally

The beginning

3:15 PM Posted by Molly MacIntyre 1 comments
I decided to start this blog one night while I was laying there in bed, desperately trying to fall asleep. It is at this time of day that my brain decides to remind me of my dreams, goals, and failures, or less dramatically the list of things I need to do the very next day. I originally thought this phenomenon of late night brain activity was unique to women, but I have begun to realize I may not be the only one who is tempted to grab a notepad at 11 o'clock at night and write down whatever my frontal lobe is threatening to throw away if I don't record it. For those who have also experienced this you probably share the opinion that this "system" of thinking is extremely annoying. And as I have heard, this annoyance is also shared by your spouses as they attempt to sleep while you're just "now" remembering things you can not forget to mention.
Lately, rather than a list of "to do's" for the next day I have been reminded of goals that had not been met or ideas I haven't taken action on. So in an effort to get some more zzzzz I am scribbling these thoughts into actions so they no longer torment me.