Creativity doesn’t only have to be about stuff like art, writing, and filmmaking. We can get creative in the way we live, too. In fact, one way to move toward a simpler lifestyle, is to be unique; to stand out from the crowd.
I just did something huge last summer. I sold my house, paid off all of my debt, and moved back into an apartment. It’s been over three months since the move. I’m happy to report that I’m still loving the new lifestyle.
Sometimes Simple Living is Unique to You
There are so many ways to simplify your life, and you don’t have to buy into minimalism to do it. Here’s a list of unique ideas:
- Sell your house: If your house is bigger than you really need, or if your waist-deep in debt, you might want to sell. This will free up a shitload of cashflow. The key then is to let that cash continue to flow and refrain from spending.
- Apartment life: I know people say that you throw your money away when you rent. However, if you get creative, an apartment can be a unique way to save a lot of money. Live small, and choose something in an older part of town. Invest the money you save.
- Move to the Midwest: I could buy or rent in many places in the Midwest for about 25% of what I pay on the West Coast. Save some money and do that and you could be set for years.
- Mobile homes: You have to pay lot rent, but sometimes you can find decent mobiles for a song. This would minimize your outgoing cash.
- Eliminate debt: No matter how you do it, this is probably the most important thing on the list. Fuck debt. I know it’s the American way. But by saying no to debt, you force yourself to find creative ways to get by. And you’ll find that it’s absolutely possible if you simply try.
- Work less: If you downsize and eliminate debt, you can work less. I’ve done it several times in my own life. Guess what? It works every time. When you work less, you’re less rushed. Life becomes more simple.
- Van life: Lately, I’ve been keeping an eye on vans and small motorhomes. This lifestyle seems like it could be a unique and valid option for some of us.
- Buy small: Just because I sold my house doesn’t mean I’d never buy again. I might. However, if I do, I’m going to be very intentional about buying something small that I could pay off all at once.
Be Careful of the Stuff You Keep
I’m not going to preach about getting rid of everything that doesn’t bring joy. Frankly, I think that’s a bunch of bullshit. What I will say, is that you should be careful and creative in what you do keep.
You don’t have to live in a stripped-down shell in order to live simple. Still, if you have closets or garages filled with unused stuff, I’d recommend a thorough purging. Extra stuff makes extra weight. When you lighten up, you simplify.
Also, find ways to use one item for two purposes. For instance, layering clothes is a valuable idea. I gave my super-heavy winter coat to a homeless guy a couple of years ago. Why? Because I could layer clothes that I already owned. The same idea applies to kitchen and cleaning gadgets. Most of us don’t really need half the shit in our drawers and cupboards. The key is in finding unique ways to make one item serve several purposes.
Let Go of Preconceived Notions
Finally, stop reading hundreds of posts about minimalism and simple living. All the advice in the world won’t really help you simplify your own life. Sure, you might get some ideas, but in the end, each of us has to forge our own unique and creative trail to simplicity.
Your apartment doesn’t have to look like The Minimalists apartment. Your house doesn’t have to be as small as Joshua Becker’s or Leo Babauta’s. You don’t have to only own 33 items of clothing. Those are somebody else’s ways of simplifying. Be your fucking self, not somebody else. Make your own choices in how you simplify your life. Be unique and creative. You might just feel happier and more successful in the long run.