Last weekend I started the process of designing my life. It started from my goal to simplify my life, which I wrote about in a post 2 weeks ago here.
I realized that I had too much stuff in my apartment that I didn’t use and didn’t need and that those things were costing me too much time and money just to maintain them. I decided then that I needed to clear all of that excess stuff in order to take back control of my life and my spending. In the process of doing that though, I realized that what I was doing, or what I needed to do was bigger than just tossing out old stuff, although that’s a part of it. What I really needed to do was design my life.
In my previous post, I talked about wanting to make collages to help me focus on my priorities and truly understand who I am and what I want my life to be. It’s so easy to lose sight of that these days because there are so many things to distract us from what’s most important. I don’t want to get to the end of my life though and realize that I spent most of my life watching Netflix and shopping to fill my apartment with things I don’t need, and never pursuing the things that I really want to do.
Here’s what I’ve done and what I’m going to do to design my ideal life:
Mindmapping is a technique I recently learned about, which has been extremely helpful for my writing. It’s a more effective way of brainstorming or outlining, but it’s more effective. I created a series of mindmaps to really get to the core of my values and my interests.
2. Make collages
After I had my completed mindmaps, I used them to make a new collage to expand on the one I created years ago. The purpose of this was to basically create a visual representation of the mindmaps. For me, at least, the visual is important because it sticks in my mind better. I can look at the collages and actually see what my ideal life looks like, and I remember it better that way, as opposed to trying to remember what I wrote down on a piece of paper.
3. Toss/Clear the clutter
Once I had that visual representation of my ideal life and my core values, I was ready to go through my entire apartment, pull everything out of the closets, and decide if each item was something that was needed and if it added value to my life based on what I wanted my life to be. I’m going to do this at least one more time, because just a couple days later I felt like I kept quite a few things that I don’t actually need.
4. Inventory what I kept
I haven’t done this yet, but I plan to in the next few weeks once I feel that I have really gotten rid of everything I don’t need. I think it will be valuable and helpful for a few reasons:
- It’s additional reinforcement that I am only holding on to things that support my ideal life.
- For insurance purposes, it will be valuable to have a list of all my possessions in case of fire or theft.
- I can review it once a year to make sure everything on the list still aligns with my values, and if anything doesn’t, I can get rid of it. It will be easier to review the list, rather than having to pull everything out of my closets.
5. Make LIST OF APPROVED ITEMS, AND ONLY BUY THOSE ITEMS.
I have a big problem with impulse purchasing, so this step is important for me, and for the shopping ban I just placed myself under this month. I’ve done shopping bans before and it really helped. Most of my impulse buys happen at the grocery store or the drugstore. Banning myself from buying things that aren’t on my list of “approved” items will (hopefully) prevent this.
6. Create spending guidelines to prevent impulse purchases
- Only buy food or toiletry items on my approved list.
- All big-ticket items or lifestyle/entertainment purchases must be evaluated against my life design. If approved, research the best price.
- Plan clothing and accessory purchases carefully. Make as few purchases as possible (try for 1 shopping trip per season if possible), and before shopping, go through my closet to remind myself what I already have, so I make sure to buy things that can mix and match with what I have, and to prevent myself from buying trend items that I won’t wear very long.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Did I miss anything? Have you ever done a life design or a shopping ban for yourself? Please leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.