A huge area of excess for me is content and media. So books, mags, dvds and digital content is one of the first areas I tackled in my minimal journey.
Anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows how much I love the written word. I also love photos and illustrations so that’s double the trouble. Make that a triple because I’m a drama, documentary and comedy addict too.
Isn’t it good to be a booklover? Well, yes, but it’s not good to be overwhelmed with an unmanageable level of content taking over your home and making you feel like a bibliophile failure. Prior to writing this post, I had shelves filled with back issues of periodicals and fashion mags. I have more content coming in then I have time to read. As my interests have changed I’ve found I’m no longer as interested in certain reading materials I’ve kept or subscribed to out of habit. So I did mini media projects, limiting myself to 15 minutes each time. Here’s what I accomplished:
- Donated 40 books to the Maui Friends of the Library
- Filled 2 shopping bags with dvds to donate or sell
- Cancelled my online membership with Weight Watchers
- Put back issues of WSJ & WWD in the recycle bin
- Cancelled my weekday subscription to WSJ (I kept the weekend edition)
- Cancelled my renewal to Marie Claire
- Pulled a huge stack of unread or partially read fashion mags off the shelf for donation
- Removed blogs I consistently skip from my Google Reader and put what was left into categories
- Consolidated all my blog subscriptions into one platform
I chose 15 minute projects because 15 minutes minutes was manageable with my busy schedule while setting a time limit ensured my decisions on what to keep were swift.
I had pre-determined guidelines for each project. I mentioned in my Minimal Me post that I’ve been journaling about a desired minimal lifestyle. This sort of brainstorming and mind mapping in a thoughtful way helped me see connections between the various areas of excess in my life and helped me focus on what I really enjoy and need. Having this focus enabled me to choose what stays and what goes quickly.
For example, one area I would like to simplify is my food prep and eating. Food has a direct relationship to media as I’m an aspirational cookbook reader. I don’t cook often and bake even less. When I do cook, I go online and stick to very simple recipes with few ingredients. Yet, I had an entire collection of cookbooks including several cupcake themed (I’m allergic to wheat). By mulling over all areas I’d like to simplify, it helped me purge brutally in related areas.
Any cookbook that was unread, too complicated or wheat focused was donated. Any book that didn’t appeal to me and fashion mags were tossed even if unread. My interests have been changing and evolving and there is no reason for me to keep books and mags around that are no longer my first choice when presented with some precious time to curl up in bed and read. I’d rather pass those on to someone who will appreciate them.
The dvd purge became easy because if I have two hours of free time, I’d prefer to watch something I haven’t seen before. With online streaming via Hulu and Netflix, I never find myself without options.
I’m not perfect yet. I still have quite a bit of inventory. I will continue to buy books but will be mindful in my selection at a manageable rate. I will use the kindle “sample” feature and the “to read” area on my Things app to list books I would like to read at a later time. If one has a change of heart, it is much easier to delete a line on an app or a sample on your kindle than to give away a book you’ve never read!
Do you have any tips for managing media and content?