Eight Lessons being a Minimalist has Taught Me

1. If you don’t know where every penny of your money goes, you are wasting it. Probably  a lot of it.  We’re still imperfect budgeters at best, but becoming minimalists has taught us to look at every dollar and determine if where it goes is really where we want to spend our money.  This behavior has led to cutting cable, stopping magazine subscriptions and eliminating nearly all fast food splurges ( we still hit sonic at happy hour on occasion. Mmmmmm cherry limeade.).  We’ve found money that we want to divert to other places and become able to be generous in ways that bring a return of joy which is beyond money value.

2. The American Dream has become a slave driver.  I do believe that at one time, what people were looking for out of life was an ideal worth striving for.  But lately, the American Dream has become a never ending chant of BIGGER BIGGER BIGGER and MORE MORE MORE.  This really hit home with me a few years ago when someone asked my thirteen year old what colleges she was looking at.  Thirteen. When I expressed my shock I was assured that the only way she was going to get anywhere was to be ahead of the pack in her college options.  Seriously? We’re told we need bigger homes, newer cars and to never stop climbing the corporate ladder.  Please don’t buy the hype. Life is so much more than these pathetic talismans.

3. People will take offense at your life choices, no matter what you choose.  I certainly don’t think that this is limited to people who choose a minimalist lifestyle.  There are always people who are threatened by those who have chosen  an alternate lifestyle as though choosing a different path than theirs threatens the superiority of their choice.  I do think minimalism is a better life choice than what culture is selling, but no one has to choose it if they don’t desire.  I’m not going to argue or justify my choices. They are my choices. We each get to make our own.

4. Life will always have troubles and take unexpected turns. Minimalism isn’t a magic bubble of perfection.  Bad days and difficulties come to everyone.  Minimalism does make it easier for me to focus attention where it most needs to be rather than being distracted by many less important details.

5. Routines matter.  Routines are what keep things flowing, especially when you are working through the minimizing process. I used to tell myself that I didn’t have to make progress every day but I could not go backwards on any day. Routines are what keep my mind from wondering what hasn’t been done and allow me to make order quickly when life disrupts the routine. The balance is in allowing routines to be your tools, but not strait jackets from which you cannot escape.

6. A minimalist lifestyle means you have more time for many new things, but you still cannot do all the things.  One of the most important components of the minimalist lifestyle is not only making space, but keeping space. We’ve done no real good if we clear out our possessions but cram our life full of obligations instead. Slowing down, pacing your activities, even doing nothing for periods of time are all part of the minimalist lifestyle.  Don’t let your freedom get rebogged down in new ways.  Keep some space in your life.

7.  You will never agree with every single thing that another minimalist says about his/ her lifestyle. We all choose for ourselves how our lives will be lived. Fortunately, I haven’t yet met an adamant minimalist. However, across the board we are all very passionate. Don’t mistake passion for judgement and don’t let someone “guilt” you into change you aren’t comfortable with. Not even me.

8.  Boundaries matter. Sometimes boundaries are upsetting. This can happen when we limit the number of Christmas gifts we allow for our children, or when we turn down bringing home Great Aunt Ruth’s bottle cap collection.  Remember to be gentle when people don’t understand, but also be firm in your decisions.  We cannot please all of the people all of the time, nor should they expect to be pleased always.

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Four steps to a Bedroom Beautiful

Let’s face it. Life is messy.  I  believe our bedrooms shouldn’t be. Too often we use the room where we sleep as a catch-all for anything we aren’t certain where to put in the rest of the house. We stack our clothes and pile our papers, completely covering every flat surface with odds and ends.  Shouldn’t the room where we sleep be peaceful and inviting rather than cluttered and confusing?  The moment we open our eyes -BAM- we’re hit with mess from every side, defeating us before our feet even touch the floor.  We can solve this by focusing on four separate things.

1. Clothes.  I discussed clothing briefly when I revealed my closets. Our clothes should always fit neatly into closets and dressers. Old, stained, stretched, worn, unflattering clothes do not belong in our wardrobes. Becoming Minimalist has a great guide to owning fewer clothes which I recommend. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, Courtney Carver has a project you can join (free!) to help you beat the clothes horse: Project 333.  Once you’ve handled your closets and dressers, all clothes should be put away each night. It’s either dirty or it’s clean; put it in the hamper or put it away. No other family member should have clothes stacked or stored in your room.  If you have so many clothes you can’t put them away easily, you won’t put them away at all. Reassess what your clothing needs truly are; what you already own, and how you are using your space. I do not recommend running out to buy more under-the-bed storage containers. These are seldom convenient for clothes and are usually an organizational tool more than a minimalizing tool. Whatever combination of actions you need to take for your needs, clothes and space to align in a way that allows an end of clothing clutter, do it immediately. Most of us have conquered half the bedroom problems when we have minimized our clothing.

2. Make your bed. At the risk of sounding like your mom, I’m going to say it again: make your bed.  Three minutes a day is all it takes to make your room less cluttered and more inviting.  This one action will make a huge change. From a health perspective, investing in a good mattress and pillows for your bed will work wonders on how you feel physically, which of course improves life before even lifting a finger.  Personally, I love to sit in my bed and read a book, so comfort and pillows are a must. We also enjoy the luxury of a king size bed which we first bought to accommodate mom, dad and three small children. The teenagers don’t visit our bed in the night anymore, but we still enjoy our spacious bed. It’s an area we could minimize, but we don’t want to.

3. Bedside space/ Nightstands. These can be terrible spaces making lazy piles, after all, we’re in bed and not dealing with minimizing anymore!  The only items that need to be on your nightstand, are things you use while in the bed. On my own I have a lamp, my books, lotion – I often climb into bed and decide my hands are dry, so I keep lotion by my bed-, lip balm, a reading light, a flashlight. There is a place for my kindle and my phone to sit while charging. Anything else that finds it’s way to this surface, is removed each morning right after I make the bed. Once this becomes a routine, you won’t even think about cleaning it,  There are things we need near us at night, but they are few and they shouldn’t present you with an “I really need to clean that” moment as soon as you open your eyes.

4. Try to find a place for everything else somewhere else.  Bedrooms should be about relaxing and recharging.  Keeping every hobby and project just complicates how your bedroom looks and feels.  It also makes it more difficult for your brain to stop focusing on the next thing demanding your attention. An uncluttered room gives us room to breathe and dream.  I have slept in bedrooms the size of a living room, and ones so small we could barely walk around the king size bed. I have seen both types become cluttered and overwhelmed by stuff. Whether your bedroom is large or small, you can control what goes into it, and how restful an environment it provides. Make your bedroom a welcoming place to come home to and the rest of your home won’t seem as daunting to minimize.

4 1/2. What about the TV?  There are many arguments against having televisions in bedrooms, however, my Hunky and I do have one which we very much enjoy. We do not watch it every night, and we do not have it on for “noise in the background,” especially since we don’t have cable. But we do enjoy snuggling up in bed at the end of some long days and watching a movie or a show together.  Personally, I believe TV is as useful or as detrimental as we allow any other items we own to be and it’s up to each of us to determine how much technology is too much in the bedroom…and every other room in our home as well.


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Ten Kitchen tips for the Minimalist

I don’t know about you, but the kitchen is always my most challenging room. To begin with, we have five people in our family who make the majority of our meals right in the kitchen.  There are always dishes to be washed and crumbs on the counters. Please don’t think after all this minimalist talk that we keep an immaculate household here. We live  in our home. Living is a messy business. Minimalism makes it easier to bring order to the mess, but it doesn’t sweep the floors or empty the dishwasher. We still have plenty to do around here which is why keeping the kitchen an easy-to-clean environment is so important. Today we’re going to talk about ten things that can make our kitchen easier and more enjoyable to navigate.

1.) If you haven’t used it in the last 3-4 months, it is time to let it go. I realize that I keep repeating this statement, but there is literally not one other single thing that will clear our lives more quickly or efficiently than disposing of things we don’t use.  Kitchens are full of shelves, cabinets and drawers that simply beg for more things to be shoved in that we can “deal with later.”  Maybe it’s time for later to be today.

2.) Make sure your storageware has mates.  I honestly no longer have a problem with losing sock mates, but I swear my lids get eaten in the night by gremlins. Any stray lids or stray containers need to move on out. Most plastic containers are recyclable. Once you have matched your goods, carefully consider how much you use or need before replacing it. I have found that less storageware forces us to use up leftovers more quickly resulting in less food and money waste. Win-win.

3.) Clear your fridge, pantry and spices of old, stale and expired items.  It’s just clutter we don’t need.

4.) Cut back to one set of dishes and glasses.  We’ve been operating on two sets right up until this summer, when I reconsidered why one family of five needs sixteen plates and bowls with different patterns. The answer is we don’t, and unless you are have a larger family, you don’t either.  We’ve been using one set of everything since July, and we have yet to miss the extra dish washing.

5.) Stop stacking piles of pots and pans on top of each other. If our stoves only have four burners, why so we need so much cookware? We’ve pared down to one set of pots (three sizes) and a steamer, a set of five cast iron round skillets, a cast iron square skillet and a cast iron dutch oven.  I love cast iron. We store lids on pans and don’t stack anywhere. They are easy to get out and easy to put away.

6.) Clear your counter tops. Counter tops aren’t storage spaces; they are work surfaces. Mail, appliances, knife blocks, knick knacks and keys make using the kitchen difficult and visually overwhelming. Clearing cabinets of excess pots, storage containers and dishes should make room for the blender, the crock of cooking utensils and and any other item that belongs in the kitchen. Mail and magazines don’t belong in the kitchen, and nasty keys should never sit on a counter. Ew.  Clear surfaces make a room look neater before we ever lift a finger.

7.) Steer clear of unitasker tools. If it can only do one thing, it’s a space stealer.  Stick with items that can be and are used in multiple ways.

8.) Get rid of your junk drawer. No really. No one needs to keep junk. Stop calling it that and you will stop filling it. We do have a utility drawer for batteries, light bulbs and a few often needed tools. No papers enter the drawer, nor do I gather up things that I don’t know what else to do with and throw it in there.  If you don’t know what to do with it, it’s trash.

9.) Stop buying every new and improved cleaning product under the sun. I find it terribly ironic that one of the messiest places in the house is the cabinet with the cleaners. Most of us only need an all purpose cleaner, a glass cleaner and perhaps an abrasive, dish soap and dishwasher cleaner.  I keep a few Mr. Clean sponges as well.

10.) Create an empty space.  I wish I could remember where I first read this jewel that suggested having an empty drawer, just to be able to say that you have it. I don’t know why it works into helping the mind stay in uncluttered mode, but I have done it for several years and somehow knowing it’s there always helps me stay on track. I actually stepped it up a notch and stopped putting things on the top shelves in every cabinet. I’m quite short, so the only things I kept up there anyway were things I never used because I couldn’t reach to get them down.

There you have it. Ten ways you can start minimizing your kitchen today. These are simple and can be done bit by bit, or you can take a weekend and overhaul the whole thing. I promise once you get started you will enjoy your kitchen more and find it much easier to keep user friendly, the way kitchens should be.

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Living Spaces: 5 ways to regain control

Several rooms qualify as living space, rather than get into semantics I’ll define my meaning here: living space is space that is not kitchen or dining room and  not used for sleeping or showering. So whether you call it the living room, the office, the den, or the great room, it qualifies as living space. These are the rooms where we spend the most time during our day, generally. Personally, I am a fan of simple, uncrowded, multi-use space. Our home now has several rooms that are “living spaces” The good news is that we also have what I call disposable furniture so when we downsize, we won’t be crowded. Let’s get to it.

1. A flat surface does not mean you have to put something on it.  Walls, tops of furniture, tables, these were not made to be filled with stuff. In fact, the less we have on them the cleaner our home looks all the time. Do not fall into the greenery, knick-knacky, quaintly cluttery trap. A clear surface is a thing of beauty.

2. If you love a coffee table, you may need to take a deep breath. I’m about to get all up your space business.  I feel about coffee tables like I feel about closets. They are crap collectors and space wasters. Most of our rooms are not big enough to accommodate them comfortably. We use them as, “we’ll take care of this later” storage spots, allowing the piles grow and spawn.  The most use they get is to hold food while we sit at them to eat and watch television. I challenge you to say good bye to the coffee table. Just put in the garage for a few weeks and see how it goes.

3. Books are a touchy subject. No one is really middle of the line when it comes to them. Either this whole paragraph doesn’t affect you at all or your jaw is set and you are already kicking and screaming, ready to throw your protests out to the world.  Take some deep breaths and go read this post about books (click here). I’m won’t repeat what has already been well written. We are down to one and a half bookcases from six full bookcases and stacks of books everywhere.  Both pieces of furniture with books are ones Hunky and I have agreed are not disposable; one of them houses school books which are, of course, not optional.  I am a lover of books. I love everything about them, the entire book experience. They were one of the last things I was able to begin letting go. But since we continue to live a gypsy lifestyle, my desire to be unburdened won out over my love for books.  Honestly, I was never going to read or reread them all anyway. I have no one to impress with my collection.

4. Anything with doors and drawers needs to be severely assessed. I’m not opposed to cupboards and drawers. I am opposed to the fact that we employ ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality regarding them. Just because you shut the drawer, doesn’t mean the stuff goes away.  If your furniture has drawers, doors or shelves, I suggest having a specific purpose for each one (for instance we have a cabinet with the school pens, pencils, calculators and protractors in one drawer and bound playing cards in the other. Nothing else goes in the drawer but those items that belong there).  DO NOT HAVE A JUNK DRAWER. I’m planning to talk about this when we hit the kitchen, but just don’t. It never ends well.  When you go through your drawers and cabinets get rid of duplicates, pens that don’t work, any pen if you have over twenty – don’t be that guy, trash, scraps of anything, anything  that you can’t immediately identify, old keys,  stray coins, marbles, bouncy balls…just toss it. No one misses these things. I’m not going to tell you to run out and buy organizers for your drawers because if you are diligent, you won’t even need them.

5. All the other odds and ends really fast:

  • Paper Clutter. Unclutterer has two great posts: HERE and HERE
  • Old magazines. If it’s been sitting untouched for six months, you don’t need it. Recycle or donate. Most magazines now offer digital service with superior search engines, and it’s friendlier to the environment. At least consider it.
  • There should be nothing under any furniture. Period. (Those of you with littles get a small pass because those toys are tricky. We’ll be talking about that tomorrow)
  • If  you have too much furniture for an area, stop stubbornly hanging on to it. Why not give it to someone who needs it and can use it.
  • Exercise equipment.  This is not a clean clothes shelf or a mail box. Clear it off and use it. Putting stuff on it is just another excuse.
  • Anything that doesn’t have a home needs to be removed from the room. Remember when I talked about having some boxes to keep things in while you transition? Determine quickly if it’s keep, donate or trash and put it in the right box. Random stuff sitting around is discouraging. Put it where you have a plan to deal with it. DO NOT JUST STICK IT IN A CLOSET OR DRAWER. That would be counter productive, now wouldn’t it?

Do you have any questions about your living space? I’d love to help out or point you in the direction of someone who can. Speak up in the comments!

Begin with the End in Mind

I think these words often. We live in an instant society where it’s easy to get discouraged by things that take time. I say I have been a minimalist for two years, which is mostly accurate, except when I trace threads of thought back over more years than that, some even a decade. I have said time and again that being a minimalist is a process. Just because we claim the title doesn’t mean we are finished with the work, or that we have it all perfected.  But we have begun, and having begun we should develop an idea where we are headed. What is it that I want out of minimalism? What is my purpose, ultimately, on this journey?  Each day work towards it a little bit, as much as you can. Don’t be discouraged that it seems slow progress.  It takes time to prioritize a life, or if we are part of a family, a whole group of lives.

This week, I’ll be sharing some of the things I have changed, purged and minimized in my home, going room by room. Because we’re beginning with the end in mind, I’m starting in the bathroom. Also, bathrooms are smaller rooms that actually can be processed in a day if we set our minds to it. They are good places to begin.

*Linens  Oh my dear people, I could go on for days about the linens we keep. I realize that there are extenuating circumstances when we have babies and littles who are potty training, but the average American person does not need three sets of sheets per bed in the household. Yet we have them.  We have sheets that are twenty years old, and crib sheets, and toddler sheets and grandma’s sheets and guest sheets and flannel sheets…Do you see the madness? And the towels. My lands! We are not a hotel. Most of us do not have regular houses full of guests.  Stop. Just stop the madness.
*If it’s threadbare, stained or unraveling, it is trash. No one wants that. Throw it away. Don’t keep it for rags if you have rags already.
*Towels.  We have a bath towel per person and about three spares. That way if we suddenly have three people in the tub at once and all our towels fall in with us, we can still get dry. We wash them about twice a week. I’m not even discussing using and washing a towel for your hair and a towel for  your body every single day. Linens aren’t your biggest problem if you do this.
*Wash cloths. In the adult bathroom there are four. In the teens bathroom there is a stack of ten for three girls. They get washed about every other day. With five people we generate enough laundry that we’ve never gone searching. Laundry gets cycled beginning to end (most days) so it’s put away before dinner.
*Sheets – we do have regular and flannels per bed. So there is always one set of sheets per person in the closet (we do not currently have a ‘linen closet’ but the linens share an area in a larger closet pictured yesterday).  We also have three ‘spare’ sets (twin size). I keep these for camp and guests. There are times when all three are actually in use.
*blankets – these can take up quite a bit of space if you are a blanket loving family, which we are. It’s fall now so our blankets are out on the backs of furniture. They don’t all match but they are all right where we want them. In the summer we put about half of them away, usually in the bedroom closets.

Medicine Chest – this is also a breeding ground for evil. If it’s outdated toss it. If you have fifteen half empty bottles of tylenol, combine or toss. We really only need one type of medicine per ailment (children’s and adult versions if you have littles) Ours currently houses tylenol, cough syrup, one box of sinus meds, naproxen, one tube of neosporin, one box of multi-size bandaids, one ace bandage, saline solution, glasses/ contact lens cases, my current cosmetic needs (all under 6 months old), Hunky’s shaving things.  Everything is in date and used at least once a week, most of it daily. Stop shoving things in your medicine chest and thinking they disappear. They don’t.

Cosmetics – I am not a fashionista or a make-up guru, but my friend Cheri has taught me well: find out what looks good on you and stick with it.  I keep my make-ups very basic anyway, but this gave me “permission” to wear what I like consistently and not be all over the map experimenting. I don’t keep old stuff. Use it up; move on to the next. All my cosmetics fit into one clutch size bag which they live in in the drawer. I can literally grab and go for travel. Keep it simple.

Under the cabinets – Look, if it’s half full and it’s been under there for more than three months, it’s trash. Please don’t hang onto a half bottle of shampoo and the fourteen scented lotions and shower gels from Bath and Body works you’ve been getting for Christmas for the last five years. Most of us don’t need to keep spares since we’re less than ten minutes from a store.  We actually use very little of our under cabinet space.  Two cleaners (please don’t keep eight half empties of this either. No one is that dirty.) The toilet brush.  It’s pretty uneventful, and very uncluttered.

That’s about it for us, no extra stuff in the bathroom. It isn’t exciting, but it is useful and clean. The hardest thing is often to convince ourselves that we don’t need to keep things for “someday.”  If something hasn’t been used in six months, it likely isn’t going to be. Let it go. Unless you are running a dorm or camp, you don’t need linens for twenty.  Bathrooms are easy places to start. GO!

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Closets: An American Horror Story

( This is part 1 of a 2 part series. Part 2 is linked at the end of the post)

Personally, I think closets are the place where stuff goes to die and where evil is born.

We cram them full of as much stuff as we can manage, and then promptly forget it is there.  Two houses ago I had a large walk in closet. One of my children could have used it as a bedroom. It looked like a war zone, and I rarely used one-third of the contents. Currently, I have no closet. Everything is neatly put away, and I use what I have.  Yes, it’s taken  adjustment mentally and physically. It also takes time to pare down to this point, but I no longer spend twenty minutes deciding what to wear in the morning since everything fits and looks good. I dont waste time searching for items, either. I don’t get frustrated hunting through closets for lost or misremembered stuff, only to buy a replacement just in time to find the missing item.  I don’t have to shove doors closed and hope no one opens them again. I can see everything at a glance.  I don’t lose weekends to sorting  through and organizing closets. Here are some guidelines I have used in my own closets:

1. Closets are not primarily for long term storage. We use them to keep items we regularly use such as clothes, games, and linens.  We may have one or two storage items per closet, but since we are not keeping things we do not use or love, we use what is in our closet.

2. We do not cram, stack or stuff. Face it, if it’s difficult to put away or difficult to get out, we just stop using whatever it is.  When you clean out your closets only put back what fits reasonably. If it wasn’t one of the first things back in the space, you aren’t that attached to it. Go ahead and try this method. You will make sure the things you truly want are put in before anything else and in prominent positions. Assess what’s left. You can probably get rid of most of it.

3. Don’t fill empty space. I’m uncertain where we latched on to the idea that empty space is wasted. It’s perfectly acceptable to leave room for….nothing. I challenge you to leave space empty. An empty drawer, cabinet, or closest are not bad things.  We don’t always have to pack every crevice because we can.

4. Stop keeping clothes you might wear one day.  There are a million psychological reasons why we do this which I am not dissecting here. Aside from the fact that too-small clothes are discouraging and send guilt messages, they suck space, joy, and creativity out of homes. Get rid of them. Today. Keep things that fit, look good ON you, and that you actually wear. Stop worrying that tomorrow you will need something you don’t have.

5. Organizing is not minimalizing. I used to be an organization junkie, but now I am decidedly not. Organization says, “I can keep all my stuff if I can make it look neat while I store it.”  Minimalism says, “I don’t have to keep what I don’t love just because I loved it at one time or I spent money on it. I can get rid of it if I want to.”  Buying the lastest greatest closet organizer is a temporary solution at best. Eventually it too will become overcrowded and disorganized. The root of our problem is stuff gluttony. The way to kill a weed is to pull the root, not trim the leaves so they look pretty.  Don’t organize. Minimize.

Stay tuned: Tomorrow we are taking a tour of my closets. Unedited. (You can see inside my closets HERE)


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Life Outside the Box: 5 things we’ve learned since turning off cable

We’ve been without cable for almost ten years. Even before it was cool to get rid of cable we were  that family, the one who decided it cost way too much for way too little material value.  It all started rather accidentally; we’d had a satellite dish several years, but when we moved into a new place, there was no signal without putting a fifty foot pole in the yard. We weren’t interested in that. The cable monopoly in our town was ridiculously expensive, even the 487 movie channel package they kept insisting it was the best value. So we delayed, and didn’t do anything, and waited and finally, we just decided we didn’t want it. After all, by now we were used to the space, so why bother? For a short time we could still watch one or two local networks with our rabbit ears, but once the switch to digital signal happened, we had nothing. It was like the stone ages, before stations ran programming on the internet, before Netflix, before Hulu.

Since that time we’ve accumulated a nice little stash of movies (which we keep in one of the CD albums for maximum space advantage), and we’ve learned a few things:

1) Commercials really are one the single primary sources of greed. Ten years ago our children would have been 3, 4 and 5.  Yes, we let them watch kids’ channels. Yes, they wanted every single item they saw advertised. But once we stopped showing them all the very exciting things they were missing, they stopped wanting so much. Christmas became more enjoyable, sometimes even a challenging us to generate ideas for gifts to share with the grandparents.  Trips to the store weren’t filled with constant begging for toys. Hunky and I stopped thinking about buying new things simply because they were shiny and exciting.  If we don’t know what we’re missing, we aren’t missing it.

2) We let outside forces of little importance dictate the schedule of our lives.  I realize this problem is more outdated now with DVR and On-demand, but at the time, it was epidemic. Life without a television schedule opened our minds to the question if we had been allowing television to dictate our lives, what else had power over us without our realizing we permitted it? One slight drawback to delayed viewing was the three days we absorbed Season 1 of Lost watching almost nonstop, episode after episode, for the whole twenty-four episodes, but we watched it on our terms! No network told us to do that!  We sometimes lack discipline even today.

3) Media takes away our ability to think for ourselves. When someone appears polished, sounds intelligent and oozes sincerity, we want to believe they have our best interests at heart.  We conclude that the story they are telling is true and accurate.  I realize the fact that every media outlet operates from its own personal bias is no longer revolutionary ideology, but at the time it was amazing to me.   It made me relearn critical thinking and sifting through various sources for threads of truth.  I hope that by limiting television influence we are passing the same abilities on to our children. This world needs more free-thinkers if we’re ever going to change anything.

4.) Television isn’t reality. Even if it’s “reality television”.  Have you noticed the level of dissatisfaction in developed nations is higher than it’s ever been? We have more than we know what to do with and still we can’t seem to find happiness. Maybe it’s because we expect problems to be solved affably in twenty-four minutes or less, or that we haven’t slept with eleven hotties in the last two weeks nor have we been in even one high speed chase.   No, sometimes life is boring and we do the same thing day after day. Sometimes problems don’t wrap themselves up in a neat little package no matter how long we wait. Sometimes there is mess that just keeps going.  We’ve forgotten the things that make up actual reality while watching people fight for immunity in someone else’s imaginary world.

5.) We’ve lost the art of being quiet and still.  I remember a time when I would run the television for noise in the background. Seriously, as though there wasn’t enough noise in my life. We like to feel important, needed, on-top-of-things, so we tune into an endless stream of information, sound bytes, news reels and entertainment.  If we let our minds simply be still and quiet for a few moments, who knows what madness might break out in our heads!  Over time one of my favorite things has become stillness. Rather than my mind whirling and churning on the next thing, the next thing, the next thing, it has learned, over time, to simply rest, to let thoughts gently sift and settle. This isn’t something that’s popular, but in an increasingly hectic world ,it is something that it desperately lacking. Our ability to tune OUT and be still in necessary to our creativity and mental and physical health. Unplugging ( the internet too ) allows our brains to move in slower patterns that the world of media has all but eliminated, and we are suffering because of it.