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教你如何体会简约生活的乐趣

2014-04-02    来源:中国日报    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

The joy of living with less

“所有的物品全部卖掉,只保留最基本的必需品,越简单越好。”如果你曾有过这种幻想,那么简约主义对你来说应该并不陌生。

If you’ve ever fantasised about selling everything you own and paring down your possessions to the bare essentials, you’re probably familiar with minimalism.

But it’s about more than just de-cluttering—it’s about getting rid of all clutter, permanently. “Minimalism isn’t about empty white rooms with hardly any furniture,” said Chris Wray, who writes a UK blog about minimalism, TwoLessThings.co.uk. “It’s about removing all the things that distract us from what’s important in our lives.”

For extreme minimalists, such as Andrew Hyde, who lives in Colorado in the US, it means owning only about 15 items. For others, it means getting rid of the excess until you are left with essentials — and your definition of essential might evolve.

“A minimalist lifestyle entails being mindful about the things we own, the things we buy, and how we spend our time,” said Francine Jay, author of The Joy of Less. “It is a lifestyle that values experiences more than possessions.”

Naturally, minimalism tends to flourish in countries that have embraced consumer culture, such as the US, UK and parts of Europe. It’s difficult to revolt against the get-more-stuff mentality if that isn’t your country’s way of life. But you can live a minimalist life anywhere and capture more money for savings and great experiences, and have less stuff to maintain and clean.

Here’s how to get back to basics:

What it will take: Mental fortitude. Getting rid of your things requires commitment. You have to make a decision about every item you own, and that can be mentally taxing — and it won’t happen overnight.

“It almost certainly took you longer than one afternoon to collect all the possessions in your life, and it is going to take you longer than one afternoon to sort them out,” said Joshua Becker, a minimalist in Arizona and writer of the blog BecomingMinimalist.com.

How long you need to prepare: Not long at all — you can start this process today by putting a box in every room. “When you come across something you haven’t used in a long time, or ever, throw it in,” said Rachel Jonat, who lives in the Isle of Man in the UK and writes the blog TheMinimalistMom.com. “If you are scared about wanting those items again, hold onto the box for six months and then donate everything.”

Mentally, you may have to do some preparation to get into the right mindset — because, let’s face it, a lot of us like our things. But things have a catch. That big house and everything in it take time to clean and organise, and it takes money to maintain it all.

“Look at an item and think about how many hours you had to work, or willhave to work, to pay for it,” Jonat said. Every piece you own is a chance to regain time and/or money if you sell it or give it away. Once you’re ready to start purging, dive in.

Do it now: Think about the places in your life where you feel anxiety or frustration, said Cristin Frank, US author of Living Simple, Free & Happy. “Too many decisions? Is your closet so crowded that things get lost or easily wrinkled?” Pinpoint those areas and deal with them first. Name brand clothes and household goods in good condition are perfect for eBay — check recent sales of similar items to help you set a price. Your first 50 listings every month are free; if you sell it, the site takes 10% of the final sales price.

Start small. You aren’t going to be able to declutter your life in a day, or even a week. And the process may seem really daunting. If you are feeling anxious about change, “try one thing for 30 days, starting with the easiest things to get rid of,” said Joshua Fields Millburn, a minimalist who lives in Montana and writes at TheMinimalists.com blog. Another strategy: Spend 15 minutes a day de-cluttering. Set a timer — you can make great progress when you race the clock.

Ditch the obvious things.

Get some forward momentum by starting your giveaway pile with the items you clearly do not need—the mugs you never use, that ugly thing you received as a gift. Start a pile for a car boot sale or yard sale. List furniture and larger household goods on classified-ad site Craigslist, which is available in more than 80 countries. You can also make it easier to part with things by passing them along to someone else who can use them via local charities.

“Throwing it all in the garbage can make you feel guilty or wasteful,” Frank said.

Do it later: Once you’ve started selling your stuff and not buying new knick-knacks, repurpose the money you’re saving.

“My husband and I paid off our home in less than seven years with our minimalist lifestyle,” Frank said. “I was then able to quit my job and be a blogger and author full time.”


For Francine Jay, living minimally allowed her and her husband to travel. “We lived in London for two years, and travelled throughout much of Europe and Asia during that time,” Jay said. Rachel Jonat and her husband paid off $80,000 in non-mortgage debt in less than three years. When you don’t fritter money away on junk, you have more to put toward the essentials — house payment, debt, retirement, and experiences.

Reassess after a few weeks and see how you feel. “Decluttering isn’t something you just do once,” Jay said. “It’s an ongoing process.” You may find it difficult to let go of certain items in the first or second round of purging, but on the third round it could end up on the giveaway pile. “It took me eight months to slowly pare down my possessions while constantly asking myself, ‘Does this thing add value to my life?’” Millburn said.

Be smart about future purchases. Shop only when you need something, not for fun or entertainment, Jay said. Before you buy, “make an inventory of what you already have,” Jay said. “Counting just how many shirts or kitchen gadgets you own will likely discourage you from purchasing anything new.” When you do add to your home, seek out versatile, multipurpose items.

Consider a big change. Moving into a smaller space isn’t for everyone. But if you are a renter and your lease is coming up, or you’re really struggling to manage your home payment each month, downsizing accomplishes a few things: It encourages less stuff, less time cleaning, and of course, smaller bills.

Do it smarter: Avoid comparisons. Your minimalism is yours alone—it’s what works for you, in your life, at this time. If you want to keep every book you’ve ever read but cut your wardrobe down to 12 items, that is what you should do.

“Comparing your progress to someone else is rarely helpful,” Becker said.(中国日报)

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但是简约生活的含义不只是把眼前的凌乱收拾整齐,而是要永久性摆脱凌乱的生活方式。英国的极简主义博客TwoLess Things.co.uk的作者克里斯·雷(Chris Wray)说:“极简派生活并不是提倡房间里空荡得没有什么家具,四周只见白墙。极简主义强调生活空间里要摆脱那些分散注意力的五花八门的东西,只保留生活里最需要的即可。”

对于像美国科罗拉多的安德鲁·海德这样比较极端的极简主义者们来说,简约可以意味着只拥有15件东西。而对于其他人来说,简约是不断摆脱多余的物品,简约到只剩下基本必需品的程度就可以了,另外,必需品的标准对你而言可能也不是一成不变的。

《简单的快乐》作者一书弗朗辛·杰(Francine Jay)说:“简约主义生活方式需要人们留心对待自己所拥有的物品,所购买的物品,以及对时间的利用。这种生活方式重视生活体验而不是拥有的物品。”

在一些包容消费文化的国家,比如美国、英国、以及欧洲一些国家,极简主义自然而然会走向繁荣。但是如果一个国家的大部分人没有简约主义的生活理念,那么想要突破“拥有更多”的思维模式就困难了。但是无论在哪里,只要你想,都可以实现简约的生活,这样的生活方式可以让你拥有更多的积蓄,以及更加舒适的生活体验,更少的物品需要打理。

这里教你如何让生活返璞归真:

思想上的准备——要内心坚定。对你的东西说再见需要有坚定信念。你需要对每一件东西的去留做出决定,这个过程可能很费神,而且也不是一晚上的功夫就能解决的事情。
BecomingMinimalist.com网络日志的作者,美国亚利桑那州的极简主义者约书亚·贝克尔表示:要一次性收集你所有东西,当然是要花比一个下午还要多的时间,然后还要腾出差不多的功夫集中把它们分类。

其实,用不了很久的。你可以从今天开始行动,在每个房间里放置一个箱子。住在英国曼岛的雷切尔·德古斯曼(Rachel Jonat)是"TheMinimalistMom.com"网络日志的作者,他说:“当你偶然发现某样东西很长时间没使用过了,觉得可能用不着了,你就可以把它放进箱子里。”他还提到::“如果你害怕某天又需要那些东西的话,你可以先把箱子保留六个月,然后把它们送出去。”

在思想上,你可能需要为获得正确的简约生活理念做些思想准备。事实上,我们不得不承认的是,我们当中有许多人会留恋自己的东西,但事物如同双刃剑,偌大的房间和里面的物品是需要清洁和打理的,也要有经济上的支出用于维护。

德古兹曼说:“看着每一件物品时候,想着为了购买它,你曾经,或是将要辛苦工作多少时间。”一旦你准备好对自己的生活进行一次彻底的净化,开始行动吧。

立即行动:《简单的生活——自由而快乐》的美国作家克里斯丁·弗兰克说:“考虑一下,你的生活里有哪些地方的不好打理,让你感到焦虑或者挫败?”“需要做出太多的决定吗?那么你想一下你的衣柜是否东西太多,以至于会有衣服找不到或者变皱的情况出现?瞄准这些区域然,首先着手处理它们。对于名牌服装和性能良好的家庭用品来说,通过易趣网站(e-Bay)进行拍卖是个理想的选择。查看一下近期类似物品的销售情况来帮助定价。你在每月在该网站拍卖的前50件物品是免费的。如果商品交易成功,网站将获取成交价的10%。

从小事做起:你不可能在一天之内甚至是一周之内就把自己的所有东西打理得井井有条,过上简约式生活,而这个看似漫长的准备过程有点令人没有勇气和决心坚持下去了。面对这样的情形,可能这个生活上的改变让你感到有点焦虑不安,不知道怎么着手开始。对此,美国蒙大拿州的极简主义者,TheMinimalists.com网络杂志的文章作者约书亚·菲儿兹·米尔本(Joshua Fields Millburn)建议:“先尝试坚持30天,从最容易处理的东西开始着手。”另一个办法就是:每天花15分钟清理。设置一个计时器,当你争分夺秒的时候,往往会取得很大的进展。

丢弃那些用处不大的摆设。

从丢掉用处不大的赠送品开始着手,比如从来不用的杯子,不好看的礼物等,在这个过程中获得些前进的动力。可以把一堆物品放在跳蚤市场或者庭院旧货市场出售。针对一些家具和大型家用物品列成一个清单,投放到克雷格列表(Craigslist)网站上,此网站的使用范围涵盖世界上80多个国家。你还可以采取更简单的做法,把物品通过当地慈善机构分发给那些需要的人,同时实现了物品的使用价值。

弗兰克说:“把物品全部丢进垃圾箱会让你有负罪感或是觉得太浪费了。”

之后要做的事:一旦你已经开始卖掉你的一部分东西,并且不再购买新的小摆设,重新对节省下来的钱进行用途规划。

弗兰克说:“通过极简理念的生活方式,我的丈夫和我在七年之内就还清了房子的贷款。后来,我得到机会辞去了之前的工作,成为了全职博客写稿人和作家。”

对于弗朗辛·杰来说,简约式生活给她和丈夫带来了旅行。“我们住在伦敦两年了,在此期间,我们游历过欧洲和亚洲的许多地方。”杰说。雷切尔·德古兹曼和她的丈夫用了不到三年的时间还清了非抵押债务。如果你不在毫无使用价值的东西上浪费钱的话,你就可以有更多的资金用于生活的基本需求上,比如房款、贷款、养老保险以及各种生活体验。
几周之后,再重新评估一下,看自己感受如何。“清理工作不是只做一次。”杰说。“这是一个不断进行的过程。”你在前一两轮清理工作中可能会感到难以放弃一些东西,但是等到第三周的时候,你可能还徘徊在如何处理那些赠品上。“我用了八个月的时间才把物品减少了一些。在此期间,我一直不断问自己一个问题‘这件东西为我的生活来增添价值吗?’”米尔本说。

“在未来买东西的时候动动脑子。记住只在需要某样东西的时候再去购物,而不是出于有趣或是娱乐的原因而购物。”杰说。在买东西前,要像杰说的那样,“要先盘算一下已有的家当。数一数自己已经拥有多少件衬衫,多少件厨房用品可能会阻止你再买任何新东西”。然而当你真正要添置新家当的时候,尽量挑那些有多种用途的商品。

考虑一个大的改变。搬进相对狭小的空间并不适用于每个人。但是如果你作为一个房东,租赁要开始了,或者你非常努力地支付每月的房款,精简可以实现以下几个目的:这样做可以让你东西变得少一些,节省打扫的时间。当然,还可以帮你减少开销。

明智一点,不要比较。你的极简生活是属于你自己的,也就是说,它只对你自己起作用,对你当时的生活有效。如果你想保留你读过的所有书籍,但是把衣柜里衣服减到12件,那也是你应该做的事。

“把你在简约生活上的进展情况与他人的情况相比较往往没什么益处。”贝克尔说。


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