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Several weeks ago I discussed how we are trying to adopt more of a minimalist lifestyle by selling unwanted items around our home. We are calling it our minimalist revolution and plan to take small steps forward in simplifying our lives.
Not only are we working to reduce clutter and junk around our home, we are also trying to cleanup our personal finances. For example, just last week we started a credit card spending challenge to try and limit our expenses. That is just one way we are trying to live a simpler and easier life.
As a recap from our last post, here are characteristics of what adopting a minimalist lifestyle means to our family –
- living without clutter
- getting rid of things you do not use
- living without debt
- reducing distractions
- focusing on what is important
- simple living
- focus on things that give you joy and provide value like family
- don’t obsess with doing everything or too much
- limit obsession with material things
As you can see from the list above, some items are directly tied to our personal finances. For example, we want to eliminate our debt which will allow us to invest more money and grow our net worth.
Then there are others that may not be directly related to our personal finances but certainly impact them indirectly. For example, by eliminating clutter we may have the opportunity to build extra cash by selling off unwanted items. A few months ago, we sold an old college textbook for $20.
Our minimalist revolution is not just happening at home. I have started adopting these principles at my job too!
The Minimalist Lifestyle at Work
Adopting minimalist traits does not just need to happen at home. I recently got the urge to try and minimize my work environment. For example, it had been weeks since I had emptied my recycle bin so I took 5 minutes the other day to cross that off my list.
Not a big deal but I feel a lot better about my work environment now for some reason?
I also have a drawer at my desk that hadn’t been cleaned out in over 4 years. For the past couple of months, this drawer has been bothering me every morning when I got to work. Maybe it is a direct result of our minimalist revolution at home, but the clutter in my desk drawer just didn’t make me happy.
I generally use this drawer to store my wallet and keys when I get to work. I also use it to throw a bunch of other random items in it. I finally decided to give it a shot one day last week at lunch and give it a clean.
As I was cleaning out my desk drawer, I came across the following items. I have included what happened to each of the items after my cleaning session.
- One Belkin Charge Sync Cable Box (Empty) – recycle bin
- Broken Vacuum belt – trash
- State Farm Coffee Mug – coin holder
- 86 Old Receipts – paper shredder
- 1 Dime – new coin holder
- 4 Pennies – new coin holder
- 1 Paper Clip – ???
- 14 Plastic Grocery Bags – future trash bags
- Box for Coffee Maker – kept it
To be honest, the clutter looked worse than what I found. While there were some strange items in my desk drawer, it was the lack of order that drove me crazy.
I found an empty box that I kept for a phone charger (Belkin Sync Cable Box) that I recycled. Then I found a broken vacuum belt that got thrown in there several months ago that got trashed. Not really sure why I felt the need to keep either item?
My old state farm mug I found hadn’t been used in years is now a new coin holder. That is because I found a sweet $.14 in my drawer. Hey – that is only 3 cents less than the dividend I received from my DPS stock a couple months ago!
For some reason, I decided to discard any random receipts I have had in this drawer too. 86 receipts in total – yes I decided to count them all for some reason. Some dated back at least 4 years ago! Crazy but all of these went directly into the shredder. There are actually some apps that I use to scan receipts and earn a little cash back. Unfortunately all of these receipts were way over 2 weeks old and not eligible to be scanned.
Finally, I pulled the box for my coffee maker which I kept. Good size box that can haul my coffee pot back home someday. I also found 14 old plastic grocery bags which are going to be used as future trash bags. I really like to reuse anything I can.
Oh yeah – I found a paper clip that I am sure I can put to good use somewhere!
So what does cleaning out a desk drawer at work have to do with my personal finances? Not much directly I guess, but it is more about adopting good minimalist habits. If you are a messy, unorganized person – there is a good chance that your finances will be messy as well.
I also feel that by being more organized and living a minimalist lifestyle, those habits spill over into other areas of your life and keeps you motivated. For example, shorty after I cleaned out my desk drawer, I decided to go out at lunch and clean the inside of my car. I won’t even get started on the crap that I pulled out of there!
I think it is important to live a simple and easy life with few distractions. The less you have means the less you have to worry about. The fewer expenses and bills you will have to pay. The fewer your expenses means less overall liabilities and more money that can be considered assets. You get the picture!
What steps are you taking to live a minimalist lifestyle?