Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Simplifying Life: trying to be clutter free (Part 1 of 2)

For me, simplifying our life aboard is easy. We constantly strive to have less stuff aboard. We don't have space for it. Less clutter, less stuff to pick up and put away, less stuff to buy. There are a few places on the boat that are clutter focal points for me: the three counters in the main cabin (the living room) of the boat. If the counters are clear of stuff, I feel like our life is somewhat in order. When stuff starts to pile up, which it does, and it does so at an alarming rate, I feel like we're inundated with mess and I get a sudden urge to start cleaning and purging. Clutter is a cause of stress.

Joshua Becker, a blogger, writer, and motivational speaker, feels the same way. His family of four embarked on a project in 2008 to live with less stuff. they are consciously and intentionally living with less stuff in an attempt to live life focused on their values, not on their stuff. He blogs about their lifestyle here: Becoming Minimalist, and includes a quick checklist of what he believes are the benefits of their lifestyle including less stress and having a living space that is easier to clean.

Having less stuff is also a key component to economic freedom. If we're not bogged down with the "need" to have the latest and greatest electronic gadgets, new shoes, or fancy clothes, we're left with space in our bank accounts to work less, save more, or pay off some debt. Economic freedom leads to freedom and self-determination.

For us, living on a boat makes minimalism a necessity. We don't have the space for extra stuff like seasonal decorations or decorative yet functional tissue boxes. We have a few nice things, like paintings and photos on the walls, and the counters in the aft cabin are lined with books. Besides that, I strive to keep the counters clear. Clear counters means there is space for temporary things like bright flowers or a small bum.

Freja sitting on the counter. Since it is normally clear,
it had space to host her bum,  Advent candles, and a gingerbread house at Christmas.

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