“Ca suffie” was one of my favorite french sayings when I lived in France. It’s sufficient or that’s it, that’s enough. People seemed to say it more often overseas. It seems rare in our culture to think we have enough, but minimalism is all about having enough. Minimalist is defined as being a person who favors a moderate approach to life. Our house is not pinterest worthy, but the definition fits our way of life.Being on fire is a verb that describes inspiring or igniting with passion. F.I.R.E also means being Financially Independent Retire Early. Although we are not there yet, that is our goal and we are well on our way. I write to hold myself accountable and to allow the lessons of life to sink deep into my core. I write to inspire you by sharing our story of our moderate approach to life.
There is no correct formula to being a minimalistonfire. I only put forth ideas and inspiration for what worked for us. Read, reflect, assess, realign. Allow concepts, systems, and consequences sink in. Don’t rush to the next blog. First spend time self reflecting what you read and how your life could look in a certain area with minor changes. No two journeys should look alike as one would simply be mirroring someone else’s life. Your life is worth more. Don’t become a cookie cutter minimalist and give up your identity. Block out the noise. Turn away from society trends and persuasion. Meditate. Pray. Figure out who you are underneath all of the stuff. We all are like frogs in a pot of hot water. When you jumped into adulthood the water was cold. As the years went by the water kept warming up. It’s critical that you get out of the pot once in awhile to assess your life before the pot gets too hot to get out and it’s too late.
It’s about having enough. What we have is an abundance. It’s more than adequate. Our lives are over full. We have more than sufficient. Our homes are like an over eaten Thanksgiving meal. Why do we need copious amounts of every item? We should be fed up. When will we find the last straw? We passed satisfactory and plentiful long ago. The types of items we can buy are unlimited. We have been saturated. Truly saturated. Our lives have been saturated by materialism.
Saturation is the state that occurs when no more of something can be absorbed. Nothing else can be added. It is beyond the point regarded as necessary or desirable. Why are some people waking up while others continue to mindlessly consume? What is the difference between the two groups? We race around like rats in a rat race. Organizations and governments are pushing, seducing and lying. Profit and economy is being prioritized over health and sustainability.
We don’t need new fashion trends to be stylish. We need to conserve our resources. We don’t need more useless stuff. We need scarcity and environmentally considerate produced objects. We don’t need government leaders telling us to shop. We need leaders protecting our forests and lakes by making sustainable choices for future generations.
It seems overwhelming, doesn’t it? Do you wonder, what can I possibly do to make a difference? Or do you even think, why bother? These attitudes should show you how far you have fallen from who you desire to be. Change rarely comes quickly. It usually takes an enormous event to push people into a change. Until that comes I recommend the concept of making your actions match your values. One at a time. Start one new habit every month. Stick to it after the month and add a new habit. In a year you will have 12 new habits and your life will look significantly better. I dare say you won’t be the same person. As each month passes successfully you will become more confident and content. You will be more of who you want your children to model after. You will be more of who you want your grandkids to remember. One habit at a time.
No one’s year will look the same. No one’s order of priority will be the same. This is not a formula but an idea how to produce change in your life. Grab a pen and brainstorm your own list. Think of 12 new habits you’d like to change about yourself and connect them to a month. Don’t wait for January. Start this month!! Here are some of my brainstorm ideas. Some are easy and some are more difficult. It doesn’t matter where you start. What matters is that you start. Starting is the hardest part.
- Refuse plastic bags. Take your own.
- Look at the packaging you are paying for and bring home less plastic.
- Try a No Buy Day, Week, or Month. Use up what you have at home. Sacrifice and live without. Try to think of other ways to be content without shopping.
- Know what you need and stick to needs.
- Make a meal plan. Save money and time by being prepared.
- Make a Spending Plan and follow it.
- Keep your receipts and track your spending habits. Knowledge is power.
- Make your coffee at home or bring your own lunch. Saves time and money.
- Take inventory of your stuff. You may realize it’s time to stop accumulating.
- Pay yourself first. Make savings a new priority.
- Decluttering helps you become aware of what you already own.
- Try the one in one out rule. If you buy something, get rid of something. If you want to use it as a decluttering method do the buy one two out rule.
- Eat less meat. Maybe it’s once a week or more often. Meat is hard on our wallets and our environment.
- Exercise daily. If possible do it as your transportation and save money and the environment.
- Cut out one food that’s bad for you. Why not start with sugar which is more addictive than meth?
- Use less chemicals in your home and on your body. Use old fashion cleaning agents like baking soda and vinegar. It’s better for your air quality, our water supply, and less expensive.
- Get a physical. Ask the doctor if you are healthy or if there is something you need to change to prevent disease and other future health risks.
- Go on a pop diet. Avoid sugary drinks. Drink water only for a month and see how you feel and how much money you saved, let alone less plastic bottles into our oceans.
- Increase your vegetable intake. Eat less carbs and more of the good stuff.
- Buy organic. This is one I’ve’ not done myself but may try this coming year.
- Change your sedentary lifestyle and exercise daily.
- Change to a stand up desk. There is research that supports standing over sitting all day.
- Go for a 30 minute walk in the woods/nature daily.
- Start everyday with a glass of water.
- Clean and organize one small area a day. Less clutter is more relaxing.
- Grab a box once a week and walk around the house finding things that you no longer use or need. Donate the box to a charity.
- Depending on how deep you are into stuff, declutter one room a week or one a month.
- Host a gathering instead of going out.
- Gather like items with like so you can do a true inventory.
- Try the 333 Project with your closet. If you can’t get to 33 items of clothing at least cut it down to 50.
- Try a depth month (or year) and use up what you already have purchased.
- Remove items that hold no value. Donate them to a local charity.
- Create a drop box for items that need to leave your home. It makes decluttering a lifestyle not a one time event.
- Remove unnecessary items to make cleaning easier.
- Make a meal plan from your pantry and clean out the excess.
- Start composting.
Theses are just a few ideas. Maybe something triggered a desire within you but the possibilities are endless. You are unique. If you value health above all then start there. If you need to get a handle on your home, start there. Pick a theme or topic and brainstorm. Implement one new habit or experiment every month. What’s the difference between a dreamer and someone that lives out their dreams? They do something about it. Starting is the hardest part. Once you’ve done day one you have some momentum. Starting is more than half the battle. But who do you want to be in one year or five years? The same person or better or worse? I’m rooting for you!! You can do it!