Minimizing Life, So You Can Live It

This is the long-overdue, final installment of a three-part series on minimalism.

Part 1 discussed our efforts to go paperless and embrace technology.  Since that post, we’ve also pushed to replace physical media (e.g., books, movies, music, even software such as video games) with their electronic counterparts.  Like books, movies, and music, video games can now be downloaded and run directly from a console, making discs all but obsolete.  Of course, there are downsides to electronic media.  First, the price is often fixed and set by the retailer/publisher, whereas physical media is often sold at discount.  Also, you cannot re-sell electronic media without violating a host of copyright/anti-piracy laws.  But it’s worth it to us to reduce clutter — we’ve only ever re-sold media to get rid of it from our home.  Plus, higher prices will discourage us from purchasing media unless we really, really want it.

Part 2 discussed our efforts to streamline our financial life both in terms of the process and the number of accounts.  Going paperless helped us get a better handle on our finances as we can access key statements and tax documents from anywhere.  We no longer have to have paper in front of us.  Even though our taxes became 1000x more complicated this year, we were able to handle them with little fuss as all of our information was readily accessible to us and we had a handle on our finances through adherence to our system.

I believe there are three primary ways to minimize one’s life:

  • De-cluttering
  • Avoiding information overload
  • Automating/optimizing tasks

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