Coffee cup cabinets in offices tend to be a hodgepodge of collections featuring a wide array of vendor produced ceramic mugs with a few "best dad" or "i love my grandma" cups sprinkled in.
One day, I opened the cupboard and it was filled with white cups.
The hodgepodge was gone.
Shelves of white cups in two sizes: large and small.
What surprised me was the emotional impact it had on me.
I never realized that choosing a coffee cup required energy before. Suddenly, there was only one choice to make. Large or small?
There was an odd sort of peace about it.
That experience was one of my first introductions to the benefits of minimalism. Around that same time I started reading authors like Leo Babauta, Courtney Carver and The Minimalists.
I took Courtney Carver's Project 333 Challenge and lived with only 33 items of clothing in my closet for 3 months. Know what? I loved it. So much that I've been doing it for a little over two years now.
Physical objects have a surprising impact on energy and time. It's been described as decision fatigue, but the more I've followed the path of minimalism, I actually think there is more to it than that. Something in us changes when we stop feeling like we need to "keep" things. We become freer somehow. The process of releasing has positive impact on us.
If the idea of minimalism is new to you and you would like to explore it further, I have three favorite books on the subject:
- The best "why" book is Everything that Remains by Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus. It's a really good narrative about why they chose minimalism and what happened to them when they embraced it.
- My favorite how-to book is Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It's a charming read with a very practical process for starting from scratch.
- The book I started with was Lorilee Lipincott's Simple Living - 30 days to less stuff and more life which happens to only be $2.99 on Kindle at the moment.
My office still only has white coffee cups in the cabinet. Every once in awhile a vendor cup sneaks in and gets edited out. Our lives are filled with so much to manage. Choosing to manage less has very tangible advantages.